Part of our Tropical Trivia About Hawaii and its Unique Culture series.
Why do people leave their shoes at the door before entering a home in Hawaii?
If you have ever been to someone’s home in Hawaii, I’m sure you have no-ticed the rows of shoes and slippers outside the entrance. Sometimes they are lined up in neat rows. More often than not however, they are all in front of the entrance. This causes you to have to step carefully to enter the home in order not to step on someone else’s shoes.
During the early plantation days there were a mix of cultures that took hold. Portuguese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Chinese were just a few of the migrant workers that stayed in Hawaii. The plantation was a muddy place. The beach a sandy place. Removing your shoes was a way to show respect to the home’s owner by not tracking dirt, sand, insecticide or other germs onto the floor. Even more so if they had a baby or toddler crawling around on the floor.
This is also a sign that means it is time to relax and join the party. Just make sure that when you leave the party, you don’t trade up for a nicer pair of slippers. That would be a huge faux pas!