Reuben Saltzman

Socks or shoes for the home inspector?

Should home inspectors wear socks or shoes while inspecting? I recently had a discussion about this with another home inspector on my team. We don’t see eye-to-eye on this topic, so I’m blogging about it. That’s what I do.

There’s no right answer to this, but there are valid arguments for both sides. To be clear, when I say shoes, I’m talking about indoor shoes. No professional home inspector will wear their outdoor shoes inside of a house under normal circumstances. I have to qualify that, because I’ve been in many houses where I definitely wouldn’t want to soil my indoor shoes by wearing them inside the house. See below.

Nasty floor

For the home inspector who wears shoes inside the house, there are three basic methods that I can think of:

  1. Indoor shoes. This has always been my preferred method. I have some Sketchers slip-on shoes that I keep in my inspection bag.
  2. Booties. Those blue things that go over your shoes. Quite the hot look. My problem with booties is that I go in and out of the house too much. I don’t like having to slip these things on and off of my shoes every time I go in and out. I’d much rather slip different shoes on and off. Still, I keep a 6-pack of booties in my inspection bag for some reason, and I have a huge box of them at the office for my inspectors. No idea why.
  3. Shoe covers. This is basically a boot for your shoe. You step into the shoe cover and your dirty feet are protected. I’ve never tried one of these because I don’t like the look and I’m pretty sure I’d end up falling down a flight of stairs. I’m sure they’re fine, but still, I’ve never tried them. Only seen them. One such shoe cover is made by Tidy-Trax.

For the home inspector who doesn’t wear shoes, you’re left with socks. When I first started doing home inspections, I thought slippers would be a good idea. Thank you, Anna, for talking me out of that. Not a professional look.

Benefit of socks

You can feel with your feet. The end.

Benefits of shoes

Shoes protect your feet (duh). That’s the job of shoes. I remember walking through a house once and having a screw get embedded in the sole of my shoe. I took a picture of the offending screw, of course.

Screw sticking up out of carpet

Can you believe that? I’ve had a few nails go into my feet while doing construction work with my dad, but thankfully never a screw.

Shoes save your socks.

Shoes keep your feet warm. Walking around on concrete floors in the dead of winter in Minnesota with no shoes just sucks. Your feet get cold very quickly.

Shoes reduce your conductivity. I’ve been shocked while doing a home inspection, and so have a few other people on my team. Fortunately, we were wearing rubber-soled shoes in almost every case. This made the shocks painful, but not too serious.

The only time that one of our inspectors received a serious shock was during the initial walk-through of a house. Our inspector hadn’t yet brought his indoor shoes into the house, and was taking a quick walk around in his socks. He happened to touch some metal furnace ductwork that was energized. He was standing on the concrete floor with his socks on, and this gave him a pretty serious jolt. This wouldn’t have been a big deal if he had been wearing rubber-soled shoes.

Shoes it is

After carefully weighing the pros and cons, I say home inspectors should wear shoes during the home inspection. If I missed any other “pros”, please leave a comment to let me know. Maybe you’ll change my mind.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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5 responses to “Socks or shoes for the home inspector?”

  1. David Christopher
    April 17, 2018, 8:22 am

    This is what I use. Very durable.

  2. Dale Kopp
    April 17, 2018, 11:14 am

    I wear slippers just for inside of new constructed homes. Shoes for foreclosures. Dale Kopp. Home Inspections By Kopp

  3. Mark Parlee
    April 17, 2018, 7:12 pm

    Second pair of shoes for me as well

  4. matt fellman
    April 17, 2018, 11:46 pm

    I do a combination of the above. Socks while doing my interior inspection (clean houses only, of course). Slippers or slip-ons at times. Maybe a quick walk out into a clean garage or driveway, up on a ladder for a peek in an attic, etc. Basically, the times I need something on my feet but don’t want shoes. I feel walking through most houses in stocking feet is a must. The buyers are certainly going to do it and I wan’t to experience what they are going to. There are just lots of (expensive) things that can’t be picked up as easily in shoes. Uneven floors is the big one. Whether it’s large scale sloping that gets my radar up for structural problems or just isolated problems in a floor, I catch way more important stuff with my socks. Band-aids and new socks are cheap 🙂

  5. Seth Miller
    April 18, 2018, 9:22 am

    I’m not a home inspector but I do enough work on my own home that I run into the same problems described here. I came across this on Kickstarter a few months ago.

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