Buy One Thing: House Shoes

Not slippers. House shoes.

Image: Vanie Castro

Recently, we became a shoe-free household, much to my pleasure and excitement. With the reshuffling of rooms and the addition of a hulking dining table and a few fake plants, the dining room now serves as foyer and mudroom. There is a shoe rack against the wall where the coat hooks are. Everyone who enters must take off their shoes.

“Take off your shoes!” my sister will yell from across the room when a guest enters the house. The arrangement of the shoe-removal station isn’t quite perfect. You have to sort of shuffle across the floor to get there, still in your coat, still carrying the things that you were holding when you entered. This year at Thanksgiving, a fight broke out early in the day, between one sister and another, over the removal of the shoes and the way the request was phrased. I anticipate more fights like this in the future.

On Sunday, a friend came over and, when accosted to remove her shoes, she obliged without question. “I’m not wearing socks,” she said. “I need house shoes.” We had no house shoes in the house; a pair of rubber flip flops was produced from the back of a closet. We need house shoes. Everyone should have house shoes.

House shoes are not slippers. Slippers are warm, fuzzy, lined with something plush and non-breathable. Slippers are meant to be scuffed on and worn to the mailbox or, if you’re really pushing it, to the corner store for toilet paper and lightbulbs. The sole of a slipper is hardy, meant to withstand city streets and functional enough to look like a real shoe at a distance if worn for a city block or less. You could really push it and go to the gas station in your slippers, if you wanted to. A slipper is an indoor-outdoor shoe, full stop. A house shoe, on the other hand, is much different.

They’re not expensive like slippers are — maybe $4 a pair. The Chinatown closest to you will have a table of brightly colored slippers on a table outside of a store that also sells potted bamboo and those tiny plastic stools that are meant for children but are also really great to have in the kitchen to reach the tall shelves. Don’t get the ones with the massaging soles; they look comfortable and seem like a good idea at the time, but you will find them to be torture. Just get a couple pairs, throw them in the closet and put them on your feet when you take your shoes off.

House shoes keep the floors of your house clean because you’re not wearing real shoes in the house. Your house shoes should not go outside; they should remain indoors. Floors are cold; socks are slippery; slippers are expensive. House shoes solve the problem. Get some house shoes. You won’t regret it.

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