Shoe Thieves — Beware!

Korea is a “floor-oriented” society. That is, furniture and bedding in Korea has traditionally centered around  a culture where people are seated or lying down on the floor. It is not surprising, then, that in Korea you have to take off your shoes when you go indoors.

Of course, many Koreans use tables and chairs now, as well as beds. However, the tradition of taking off your shoes indoors is still a steadfast rule for homes. With businesses and restaurants, you just need to take a quick glance at the entry way to get your cue. Is there a pile of shoes and/or a shoe closet? Then take off your shoes…


Since your shoes are unattended while you enjoy your meal, another person could simply slip on your favorite pair and walk off with the wrong set. Or worse yet, you may fall victim to the uniquely Korean crime of intentional shoe-theft! Apparently, there are even people who make shoe theivery their specialty: they’ll make it a point to enter a restaurant as if they are part of another large party, go inside and meander for a bit before walking out with a pair of expensive shoes and leave their crummy ones behind.

So what’s a person to do?

Well, first things first, relax! In all my years in Korea, this has never happened to me or anyone I know. Maybe I’m lucky, or maybe my shoes aren’t cute or big enough to attract attention… But in my opinion, shoe theft isn’t nearly as prevalent as it may sound. However, if I were concerned about a particularly valuable pair, I could ask the restaurant for a baggy to put my shoes in and bring them with me to table. It’s like the secret menu at In-N-Out—if you know about it, you can request it!
There are restaurants who are also proactive in the fight against shoe theft~~ Some have lockers at their front entry, and others have inventive methods like what you see below:
This restaurant has large metal trays under each table where customers can stash their shoes with a complete sense of security!
So what do you think? Would you want your shoes locked up, right next to you, or just relaxing by the front door with all the other shoes?

About mz jenny lee

Wearing many hats for a living...because who wants to wear just one hat? My many and diverse interests have lead to different blogs so I can give them individual love and attention :)! I hope you enjoy them! View all posts by mz jenny lee

5 responses to “Shoe Thieves — Beware!

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