Basic Rules of Shoe Etiquette

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Building a shoe wardrobe takes time, thought, and effort and the selection will rest on comfort, style and appropriateness. The type of shoe you select depends on your age, particular job, occasions, etc. Shoe etiquette can be tricky. Here are some basic rules of shoe etiquette.

Choice of your shoe

Which shoe are you supposed to wear to what kind of event? The degree of formality, the venue and even the time of the day will dictate you what kind of shoe you have to wear. Rule: the more darker is the color of the shoe and the more close it is, the more formal is the shoe. So if you have to go to a job interview, go for a dark closed toe shoe. Because a shoe that is closed and is of a darker color is deemed to be more formal.

The time of the day will also dictate to you what kind of shoe you have to wear. Generally speaking daytime shoes have heel size smaller than 10 centimeters. If you want to stay elegant, the heel size should not be higher than 11 centimeters.


It´s a vety important element of etiquette. An important aspect of hygiene regarding shoes is keeping not only the outside of the shoe clean but also the inside. A beautiful pair of shoe that is not clean from the outside will make a very bad impression but even when it´s clean from the outside and there is an occasion when you have to take them off and someone gets to see the inside of your shoe then that´s when you have the chance to really shine and make a very good impression by keeping it clean.

Never buy a pair of shoes too big or too small for you

Stick to your true size. Sometimes we think shoes that are a size smaller can strecht over time. But wearing too small shoes sooner or later becomes painful and may lead to foot deformation, which is common knowledge. Another consequence, which people give less thought, is that by wearing too small and uncomfortable shoes, we are actually limiting ourselves. In tight shoes you won´t walk as far as you want to.

Also, a shoes too big can make you look like a child borrowing your mother´s shoes. The best buys are always the ones that fit your feet perfectly at the time you buy them.

Nude stockings and open-toe shoes are not to be worn together

However great a brand of stocking you wear, nude stockings are not nude, and it becomes more apparent when they´re worn over your toes and exposed to the world in your open-toe shoes. Be careful with open-toed shoes - they are also considered informal footwear and inaproppropriate for formal occasions.

Shoud you take off your shoes before entering someone´s home?

It´s a very culturally sensitive topic, it varies from a household to a household. Family in Spain can have a rule that you have to take your shoes off whereas other families in Spain could be fine with you walking around in shoes. You have to be very attentive to what your host does at his or her home. In most of North America it´s acceptable to remain in your shoes when entering someone´s house. But most Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures require that you take your shoes off before entering someone´s house. In most countries and in most cultures it´s better to take them off than to leave them on.

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