A mess of shoes at the front door
In the US, we mostly take off our shoes right after we step into the house. There's usually a foyer area, and I guess it's mentally seen as part of the outside. Similar to the genkan idea in Japan, where the front area--even though it's actually inside your door--is considered public space.
An example of a Japanese genkan
Here in Mexico, we don't have a foyer area, but we've chosen to take off our shoes right when we walk in. We sort of delineated a 3-4 step "foyer" area that we give ourselves permission to put and keep our shoes on. (Ha! Now that I think about it, it's funny how we both unspokenly decided on our shoe rule.) Anyway, it's not a common practice here in Mexico, and we usually remind guests to take their shoes off when they enter. The usually remark back is, "Oh, I hope my socks don't have any holes in it." Some, if they're only stepping in for a moment, would rather stand near the door than take off their shoes.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot our shoe habits because two incidents have prompted Nick and me to talk about our taking-off-our-shoes options. When Nick's parents were here, we were caught in a huge rainstorm and all our shoes were wet. We all decided to take our shoes off outside the door and leave them until they dried.
Before we went to bed, I asked Nick to take in the shoes. When he opened the door ALL THE SHOES WERE MISSING!! Nick's parents were already in bed, but the mystery woke us all up and we convened on the couch. Nick went downstairs to ask the doorman if he knew anything about the shoes, and he did. He embarrassingly said that he threw them in the trash because we had our shoes where we usually put our trash out for him. So, around midnight, Nick went to the trash bin and reclaimed our shoes.
Today, again, I encountered our other doorman mistaking my shoes for trash. Yesterday, I left my shoes outside again because they were wet. When I opened the door to put out the trash, I saw my doorman with my shoes in his hand. He asked, "Are these trash?" And I, in my amazement that this was happening again said, "No, no, no."
We are a little bewildered that our doormen keep mistaking the shoes outside our door for trash. Obviously we're having a cultural miscommunication, and they must be as baffled by what we're doing as we are by what they're doing. When it happened once, we thought something was wrong with our doorman; when it happened again, I realized the cultural difference. We considered a sign--something to the effect of "Our shoes are not trash!"--but I think a little explanation will do the job.