Where I currently live in Hawaii, is it the standard practice to take off your shoes when you enter a home and leave them off until you depart. Usually the owner of the home will have a shoe rack made of wood or metal on their front porch where you can leave your silipa or slippas (slippers), sandals, shoes or boots. It is pretty much a give away that you are not local if you leave your shoes on when you enter a home.
Most locals also understand that visitors or tourists are not aware of the custom, and have little signs at the door saying to leave your shoes off when you enter. Some say “no need” if they don’t mind you leaving them on. Oftentimes, we look around at the various shoes left on the front porch to see if we like any other shoes better than our own, and joke around that we may take them. A couple of times, I have had my shoes taken, but figure they must have needed them more than I did!
My father came to stay with us a few months here in Hawaii. He is of Scottish ancestry, and has lived all his life in Utah. He has very tender feet, having worn shoes and socks his whole life from dawn to dusk. I told him not to worry about taking his shoes off when he is here in Hawaii. He doesn’t even like the feel of the sand on his feet, so I don’t force him. My feet have toughened up a bit over the years, so I actually prefer no shoes. Personally, I can hardly wait to take my shoes off for whatever reason.
Then there is my husband, who can’t make up mind to leave them on or take them off. I find several pairs of his shoes in little corners stashed throughout the house wherever he decided to take them off!
In Japan, shoes are removed so they do not tear the straw floor covering. Some housing contracts in Tokyo actually retain some of the deposit if it is found that the renters are not removing their shoes inside their apartments. Also, the word for outside shoes in Japanese is “dosoku” which means soiled feet. They have a saying which means to dishonor horribly (dosoku de fuminjiru ) translated - dishonorably stepping on with outdoor footwear.