Judge John Hodgman Episode 196: Mi Casa Es Shoeless Casa


Julia brings the case against her husband Sean. Sean likes to keep the house neat and clean. He insists that all guests remove their shoes before entering the house. Julia says the guest's comfort is paramount, and that they shouldn't have to take off their shoes if they don't want to. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Thanks to Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy for this week's case name!



Submitted by Julia

Photos of the house and mudroom


Shoes off. Provide a seat.

I see in the evidence that a place to sit down while taking off or putting on shoes in provided by Julia and Sean. This is one of the most important and most forgotten neccesities of a Canadaian household.

How many places have I been in, where (of course) I take my shioes off when entering someone's home, then have to balance, hop or lean while putting my shoes back on and tying the laces. It is simple coutesy to provide a seat.

To those who refuse to take their shoes off in my home, unless you are disabled, you are no longer welcome.

Jesse's contempt

I love the contempt that comes through bailiff Jesse in this episode. Strike one up for the germophiles!

Germy shoes - he should rethink the carpet

I don't care about shoes on or off in the house - do what you want. I've got hardwood floors that are easy to clean and disifect - unlike carpet. If he's really worried about germs - pull up that shag poo and vomit sponge. Vacuuming - unless you've got a good filter just sends the germs flying everywhere.

embrace the microns of dirt in your carpet

This episode was great. Sean was a great guy who took it in good humour and laughed a lot and is self-aware. I can't help thinking part of the lure of cleaning is to get in hours and hours of podcast listening while retaining the high moral ground.

Guys, though, haven't you heard about the hygiene theory of allergies? Dirt is good for your child! When has anyone ever been killed by a germ that they got off the carpet?! Never! So let it go. The world needs lower standards, not higher ones to live up to! Life is anxiety-making enough. Free yourselves!

Not sure how offering slippers is meant to help guests with their stinky feet problems. It would double the embarrassment probably, by failing to contain the smell, and by making the guest feel guilty for infecting your slippers with their smell. Also, slippers? Are the guests CHILDREN? This is not welcoming behaviour, at all.

To all the neat freaks out there - yes, you clean a lot. But you are way more of a pain to share house with than messy people, because of the DISAPPROVAL that comes off you all day long when others fail to live up to your impossible standards. Stop thinking you're such a catch to live with.

Japanese slipper website?

What was the name of the Japanese website that had slippers? Do they have Japanese bowling shoes? Are those a thing? And why not?

looks like it's MUJI

After some guessing, it looks like it's www.muji.us


I wish he submitted pictures of his Disney collectibles


I'm with Sean on this one, I personally think that it's rude of your guests to not take off their shoes when they enter your house, especially when there is a baby in the house.

Sean is dead wrong

I can't stand this fascist adherence to the no-shoe policy. The primary concern when you have guests over is their comfort. If you can't handle that, don't have people over! Nobody cares about your carpets and hardwood floors and going to your house will just become an unpleasant ordeal.

I guess all those fascist

I guess all those fascist Asian households should never have people over seeing as how they don't care about guests' comfort. This is 'Murica, love it or leave it.

People really wear shoes inside?

You mention that Japanese people take their shoes off when entering a home. So do Canadians. I'm shocked to find out that people actually leave their shoes on when entering a home. I thought that was just something done on TV. I have so many questions. Do you walk on the carpet with shoes on? Doesn't that make everything dirty and gross? What if your shoes are wet, would you still wear them inside? Do you put shoes on when you're getting dressed in the morning? People really do this? In Canada you always take your shoes off when you enter a home, even if it's summer and you've been walking on nothing but clean canadian sidewalks. In my 30 years of taking off my shoes I've never been offered slippers. Wow, I really learned something new today!

someplace to sit

I'm Canadian and we always take our shoes off. I cannot imagine not removing my shoes when entering a home. You people are Monsters! I even feel uncomfortable at parties when a host insists we leave our shoes. Especially when it's on carpet.
One point that was not brought up was the need for a seat, for people of all ages, to sit down and take off or put on their shoes. I see in the evidence that there is a bench is in the mudroom. That doesn't apply in this case but I think the judge should have mentioned it as condition of shoe removal.

Totally right

I'm Canadian, but I lived in the US for school.
As such, I didn't find this episode to be as shocking as I otherwise would have.

But I, too, once thought that leaving shoes on was something they only did on TV.
But no! Americans REALLY do it! Even in Massachusetts! It's insane!

Removing your shoes when you enter someone's home is an invariable, automatic and non-negotiable social convention in Canada. If you walk into a Canadian's house and don't take your shoes of, it is legal for him or her to kill you.
This is actually probably the most pronounced difference between the two countries.

Wearing shoes is weird

In Australia if you leave your shoes on it is quite weird and you should always follow the lead of the hosts.

I'm with him!

I agree with the husband! He should keep cleaning and wiping, especially with a toddler in the house. He can come and help me clean any time.


Sean and Julia sound like they are coming from a nice place, but I just want to throw in a thought as I listen to this episode. The first time a friend insisted I remove my shoes before coming into their home would be the last time I ever visited their home. I have a number of foot issues that are not obvious from sight and that I feel no need to explain to friends, and walking around shoeless for even a short period would cause a substantial amount of pain for the entire next day. That kind of a house rule that can make people feel very uncomfortable for a number of reasons will definitely make some folks feel unwelcome. Is the little bit of dirt saved worth it?


...the judge did not make these the verdict!!!