It may sounds like a simple task, but when it comes to the old ‘shoes-on-shoes-off’ conundrum, it’s difficult to know where to stand.

While it can sometimes seem inconvenient – after all you’re heading back out later on in the same kicks – it’s important to note there could be far deeper consequences than you think when it comes to not freeing up your feet.

To ensure you don’t skip past the important stuff, consider the following:

Germs

If you wince at the very thought of germs – yet you’re afraid of being separated from your sole-mate, it might be worth taking note of these grimy facts derived by shoe company Rockport at the University of Arizona.

[Read more: Is your dust dangerous? 5 ways to rid your home of toxic dust]

In the study, which collected germs and microbes on footwear, scientists found nine different forms of bacteria on the bottom of shoes – with further tests showing they could even give a toilet seat a run for its money. Within just two weeks of being worn, new shoes were found to have 440,000 units of bacteria (including E.coli), some of which could lead to such conditions as pneumonia and bloodstream infections. Yuck.

Toxins

There’s enough pollution in the outside world, so why carry it over into the safe haven of your home too? Wearing your shoes around the house, studies show, could well carry offensive toxins in that will contaminate the air and give you an increased risk of disease.

Such chemicals as the coal tar that is used to seal asphalt roads can stay with you far longer than you think, and once brought inside, settle into the house as dust particles. While it’s easy to assume this is a rarity, in the case of your health – and your family’s – it’s not a long-term risk worth taking.

Dirt

If the threat of hitchhiking bacteria and germs isn’t enough to see you liberate your paws, spare a thought for your poor home floors. No one wants to spend precious hours cleaning, only to undo the hard work by traipsing through the house in your grime-creviced shoes.

Not only will it mean more cleaning and perhaps more stress, but you’ll up the damage and wear and tear on your surfaces too. Now just to drum it into the rest of the family!

[Read more: How a doorbell fitted with a camera and microphone could protect your home]

Comfort

The same way peeling off a tight pair of jeans has the ‘Ahh’ factor when you get home from a long day, kicking off your shoes and wriggling your toes is good for your feet – and good for the soul.

Whether you’ve been standing, doing a lot of walking or even just sitting at a desk, your footwear – no matter how comfy – bind your trotters; so going barefoot or popping on a pair of slippers will do wonders for your tired tootsies, giving them a change to breathe, stretch and rest.

Health

Shoes serve a purpose. In the 40,000 years that we’ve been wearing them, they’ve protected our feet from the elements, made a statement and got us from A to B safely. But while we savour that support during the day, additional hours of wear come evening-time could prove detrimental.

By giving your feet a rest from the arch support in your footwear, you’ll allow your muscles to recuperate. Walking barefoot not only enables a needed airing – it encourages feet to stay strong and flexible, too.

What’s your policy – shoes on or off? Tell us your thoughts in the Comments section below