You Should Wear Shoes Inside—But Only These Shoes

It’s every house guest’s moral dilemma: To shoe or not to shoe. Two out of three Americans abide by a no-shoes-in-the-house rule, according to a 2023 CBS News and YouGov poll, so there’s a hefty chance that you’re about to let the dogs out whether you like it or not. And the no-shoes-inside camp have good reason to believe that it’s best to leave the footwear out on the streets and not in between your sheets. From dirt and dust to all manner of excrement, outside shoes can bring some unsavory germs and bacteria into the place you call home. But according to some podiatrists, going barefoot at home might be causing some serious foot problems.

In a recent Time article, podiatrist Dr. Jackie Sutera explained that constant, uncushioned pressure on your foot can lead to inflammation, which can incite pain in other parts of the body like the knees, hip, and back. The answer, it seems, is to wear shoes inside. And while that might set off serious alarm bells in your mind, rest assured that we’re here to recommend indoor shoes—you know, the never-seen-the-sidewalk joints you slip into when you leave your regular kicks (and whatever nastiness might be hidden on their soles) at the door.

You’re probably thinking: Isn’t that what slippers are for? But the Time story contends your cushy bedtime footies are “probably not providing meaningful support.” (A good gauge of support is to see if the shoe bends fully in half, per the article.) May we instead recommend that you opt for a pair of Birkenstocks, the time-tested, hippie-beloved sandals that come fully loaded with surprisingly ample arch support and superior cushioning.


Arizona Soft Footbed Sandals

“I have never worn Birkenstocks outdoors, but I adopted a pair as my house slippers years ago,” Nick Catucci, GQ‘s site director, says about his black Velcro Kyotos. “Birks are as comfortable as your best sneakers and as easy to kick off as hotel slippers.”

Any pair of the classic cork footbed Birkenstocks will do—the popular EVA versions don’t provide quite the same level of support—with the most popular styles being the open-toe Arizonas or the clog-like Bostons. That signature footbed features a deep, cushioned heel cup, two types of arch support to promote stability and proper foot alignment, and a raised toe bar that boosts stimulation. Consider it GQ’s over-the-counter solution to combating plantar fasciitis and weak WFH fits (Catucci, like other fashion insiders, pairs his with socks to create a full look).

Buying a pair of shoes strictly for indoor wear might feel silly, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than spending years on physical therapy down the road. And now that we’ve gotten you on board with the concept of inside shoes, we’ll let you digest a little before we extoll the merits of inside clothes.

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