Where is it Rude to Show the Soles of Your Feet?

With every culture comes various regional etiquette that we must adhere to or risk being seen as rude.

These cultural differences include everything from tipping, making eye contact, asking for cheese with your meal, and even showing the bottom of your shoes or the soles of your feet.

But, where is it rude to show the soles of your feet? Read on below and discover an interesting answer!

Where is it Rude to Show the Soles of Your Feet?

In Asia, India, and the Middle East, showing any portion of your lower body is considered rude, including showing the soles of your feet.

If you aren’t used to the idea, it doesn’t seem like much to worry about (keeping your lower body covered and to yourself). 

But, surprisingly, when you sit or lean on one while standing (or stretching), you’ll find it is harder than you think to not reveal the bottom of your shoe or the soles of your feet if you are barefoot.

How Rude Is it?

rudemeter-rating-09

On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, showing the soles of your feet in India, Asia, and the Middle East rates a 9. 

The only reason showing the soles of your feet in India, the Middle East, and Asia doesn’t rate 10 on the scale of rudeness is that tourists don’t always know this cultural etiquette. 

Further, sometimes the soles of the feet may be visible by accident or no fault of your own.

Why is it Rude?

In parts of the world such as the Middle East, Asia, and India, showing the soles of your feet is unspeakably rude. If you are part of the culture and do so, you will be severely chastised (at the very least).

If you are visiting one of these regions you should be aware of the level of rudeness associated with allowing your lower body parts to be visible (for any reason). 

Otherwise, you risk offending people for no good reason.

Common Questions

What regions find the soles of your feet rude to show?

The main regions it is considered rude to show the soles of your feet (including the bottoms of your shoes) include most parts of Asia and the Middle East as well as India. Outside of these regions, showing the bottoms of your shoes rates very low on the cultural rude meter.

Why can’t you show your soles in Dubai?

In Dubai and other parts of the world including a majority of the Middle East and Asian countries, the sole of the foot is considered the part of the body which is the most unclean. By showing the soles of your feet or the bottom of your shoe, you are revealing your dirtiest body part, which is an act that is seen as extremely rude.

What does showing someone the bottom of your shoe mean?

In some cultures, showing the bottom of your shoe is offensive, in others, it is considered a filthy display. In Asia, India, and the Middle East, showing the bottom of your shoe is beyond disrespectful, it is seen as showing off the dirtiest part of your body (whether you are barefoot or have shoes on).