With all those daily dirty shoes, muddy paws, and sticky toddler feet coming through the average house, it’s time to think twice about the flooring in our home and our feet.

Matt Lech, founder of sustainable flooring company Flooring By Nature, is telling Brits that we should be walking barefoot throughout our houses, and here are the reasons to ditch the shoes or slippers:

Slippers can damage flooring and cost you in floor repairs

Flooring expert Matt Lech says: “Although it might feel cosier and warmer for feet to swap shoes for slippers when you get home, these can actually damage the floor as much as outdoor shoes. By picking up small bits of grit and dirt when occasionally used to nip in the garden, or by their hard rubber bases, slippers can cause abrasions to a wooden floor and wear and tear by pushing in dirt to carpets.

“Instead, we could opt for flooring materials that are natural insulators such as cork flooring or undyed wool carpet, as these surfaces feel warm for the feet to touch and remove the need for slippers all together. Similarly, matching flooring materials to your lifestyle – whether you have pets or children – and how busy your home is with visitors, ensures you have the right, durable material to withstand time and avoid costs of replacing damage.”

Floors are easier to clean when there’s no shoes walking on them

“Shoes that walk on pavements and in public places have soles exposed to germs, viruses, animal faeces and all sorts of nasty dirt. By walking into and around the home, you’re bringing these into your house and compromising your clean, safe environment. And if there are pets, children, or those likely to touch the floor and then their mouth, you are bringing in added health risks.

“So by adopting a ‘barefoot at home policy’, you are making it an easier place to clean. Floor materials like sisal or wool carpets are particularly easier to keep clean because of their durability. The natural oils in wool that keep sheep protected from harsh conditions and bad weather, for example, will also give your carpet an inherent degree of stain protection by heavy footfall areas, and additional stain protection treatments can be applied,” explains Flooring By Nature’s Matt Lech.

It’s better for our health and wellbeing

It’s not just floor damage we need to think about, as our feet can be damaged too if kept in shoes and slippers all day, warns GulfPhysio’s Kieran Sheridan: “Wearing shoes at the office for work can be a good thing to protect your feet. But wearing them for too long, especially ill-fitted shoes, can damage your feet, which can cause health risks such as blisters, sores, and deformities. This is why being barefoot and shoeless when at home can produce a lot of benefits for your health.

“Walking barefoot may be unconventional for some but it has benefits to one’s health such as boosting heart health, improving blood pressure, and preventing foot pain diseases.
The practice of walking barefoot will also help with reduced pain and inflammation, improved sleep, and immunity, decreased stress levels, and promoted overall well-being.

Other benefits include reducing the risk of developing flat feet, improving circadian rhythm, and foot deformities, and enhancing sensory feedback.”