The custom of removing shoes before entering a home is a mark of respect for the household in Japan but is also traditionally practiced elsewhere from Scandinavia to Hawaii. The habit is now catching on in the western world and it has been scientifically shown to reduce the number of allergens in the house.
According to traditional Feng Shui (wind & water) the wind brings the positive energy (chi) into the home, and water makes it stay. Neither shoes nor slippers should be left lying outside the main door of the house. The chi (energy) rides with the wind and collects all the smells from discarded footwear and carries them into the house causing sickness. In Japanese houses there is a raised border to prevent this from happening.
A shoe rack is connected with wealth and good luck. Five (5) is the preferred number of tiers and represents the Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire & Earth). Outdoor shoes belong in the Earth section (lower floors) of the home. Life Forces Theory determines the shoe rack should not extend to beyond one-third of the house’s height. When it does only brand new shoes should be stored on the top section with old shoes at the bottom. An enclosed ventilated shoe rack is preferred to keep them hidden from view and contain any smell from the shoes. The cabinet can trap the bad energy when it is closed. Ideally it is recommended not to keep a shoe rack in the bedroom as shoes give off a negative energy which may impact on bedroom feng shui. For the same reason it is best to not keep anything on top of the shoe rack.
Shoe racks must be kept clean and tidy, and shoes periodically cleaned to remove unwanted smells. Discard old shoes that are no longer worn. Dirty shoes should be kept at the bottom of the shoe rack with the shoe front facing inwards, to avoid bad qi directing at you whenever you open the enclosed shoe rack. Pointed shoes symbolize the Fire Element and should not be stored pointing outward if you wish to avoid ill health. To avoid a decline in luck always put the shoe front facing upwards on a slanting rack.
Bedrooms are particularly vulnerable as this is the inner sanctum and where we recharge our chi when sleeping. The yin (quiet and peaceful) of the bedroom should outmatch the yen or presence of powerful chi if we do not wish to sleep peacefully. The position of the bed in the room is critical and there needs to be a good circulation of chi with plenty of fresh air available for recharging. The farther we sleep from the door and the more of the room you can see while in bed, the more we appear to control our environment and, therefore, our life. Seeing the door to our bedroom symbolizes we are in control and prepared to deal with many areas of your life. It is very unlucky for our feet to be pointing directly outward toward a door. This is considered the death position in Chinese, Italian and other cultures. When a person dies at home, the body is removed feet first from the room and the house.