Do you take off your shoes when you come home? The vast majority of cultures around the world are used to ditching shoes at the door for mostly hygienic reasons — you don’t want to track all the muck from the street into where you eat and sleep. Oddly this custom is a lot less standardized in the USA (and the UK to an extent). Well new studies from around the world have looked into what exactly is on our shoes when we traipse around the house and it’s probably going to make you reconsider kicking off the sneaks.
Researchers at the University of Houston studied our shoes and found that they’re havens for bacteria. Sure, not all bacteria is bad and a healthy microbiome is essential to a well-balanced life, but the research here focused on the pathogenic bacteria that we pick up on the soles of our shoes. Specifically the team looked for Clostridium difficile, or C. diff.
C. diff. is one of the more severe bacteria out there and in 2011 alone “it was responsible for nearly a half-million infections in the U.S. that resulted in some 29,000 deaths” according to the CDC. Which, for comparisons sake, is close to the same amount of Americans who die from guns and car accidents every year — 32,251 and 33,561 respectively around the same time period. So, yeah, that bacteria is a killer and according to the research it’s on “26.4 percent of shoe soles.”