Why do Koreans take off their shoes at home?

Korea uses a unique heating system, which the floor gets heated by the boiler. Although it takes longer than the Western-style heater, with this system, the whole house gets warm evenly and the floor also gets warm. This is the reason why Koreans do not wear shoes at home. This way, it smells less and more hygienic.

This is quite amazing. In fact, the boiler heating system is what foreigners living in Korea value most highly. If you look at the replies to the video below, you can see how highly foreigners value ‘ondol’.

 

The reason why Koreans use this unique heating system traces back to Korean traditional ‘ondol’(Koreans still call this heating system ‘ondol’). As you can see in Wikipedia, this tradition had existed since 7000 years ago. Traditionally, Korea did not build multi-storied houses, and therefore the heating system making the floor hot was possible. For its structure, you can refer to the picture below.

 korean-ondol

The person who developed a modern-style Korean Floor Heater, which heats the floor using the boiler, is Frank Lloyd Wright. Impressed by ondol he had experienced in Japan, he came up with the idea that hot water pipe should be laid on the floor. It is highly possible that this was Korean traditional ondol, and it was because Japan had no heating systems making the floor warm.

Trivia : In fact, export of Korea’s such heating system is gradually increasing.

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