Putting on shoes

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The order in putting on and tying shoes: [1]

Placing on the shoes: When putting on shoes one is to [honor his right side[2] and therefore he is to] first place on his right shoe [without tying the laces, as will be explained] and only then wear his left shoe.

Tying the shoes: If one’s shoes have laces then he is to put on his right shoe without tying it, and then put on his left shoe. He is to then tie his left shoe and return and tie his right shoe.[3] If one’s shoes do not have laces he is [nevertheless] to precede placing on the right prior to the left shoe.[4]

Removing the shoes:[5] When removing shoes from one’s feet he is to first remove his left shoe, as this gives honor to the right.


One who places his left shoe on his right foot:[6]

One may not place the left shoe on the right foot and the right shoe on the left foot. One who does so draws down enmity and causes him to lose his livelihood. [Some are stringent to apply the same law to socks and hence they did not switch socks to different feet until after the socks were washed.[7]]



What is one to do if he does not yet have his right shoe?[8]

If possible he should wait until he is brought his right shoe and then put it on.


What is one to do if he placed the left shoe on first?

Some Poskim[9] rule he is to remove the shoe and then place the right shoe on first.


Must women and children also tie their left shoe first?

Some Poskim[10] rule they are to tie their left shoe first, just like a man. Others[11] rule that since they do not wear Tefillin there is no precedence given as to which shoe to tie first.


If a shoe has Velcro straps or sandal straps should one fasten the left shoe first?[12]

Some Poskim[13] write that the above law of tying the left shoe first applies by all forms of ties and not just to strings. Accordingly one is to always precede the fastening of his left shoe even if it is a Velcro strap, or sandal strap, or buttons.


How is one to untie his shoes?

Some Poskim[14] rule there is no need to untie the right shoe first. Others[15] however rule one should untie the right shoe first, then the left shoe, and then remove the left shoe and then remove the right shoe.


How is one to tie another person’s shoes?[16]

One is to first tie the left shoe and then the right shoe.


When removing one’s shoes for the sake of a Mitzvah which shoe is one to remove first?[17]

  • Example: When the Kohanim remove their shoes prior to Duchan which shoe should they remove first?

Some Poskim[18] write they are to remove their right shoe first in order to pay respect to the Mitzvah. Others[19] argue on this and rule the classical laws are not changed and one is hence to remove the left shoe first. 

[1] Kama 2/4; Basra 2/4

[2] Kama ibid

[3] The Reason: Although when placing on or removing shoes honor is given to the right side, as explained above, nevertheless by tying shoes that have laces, honor and precedence is given to the left, as the left arm was honored by the Torah to have the Tefillin wrapped on it. [ibid] Alternatively the reason is because the Jewish people merited the Mitzvah of Tefillin through the shoe laces which Avraham refused to take from the Sodomite people after winning the war. [Chulin 89a] Hence we emphasize this by honoring the left side [the area of Tefillin] whenever we have to tie a lace. [Levush 2/4]

[4] Admur Kama and Basra ibid, based on Rama 2/4 and so is written in Shaar Hakavanos; As precedence was only given to the left with regards to tying the shoes, just like the Tefillin are tied on the left arm. [Kama ibid] The novelty here is that even though one is unable to honor the left with tying it first, due to lack of laces, one nevertheless precedes the right shoe in wearing it first.

In Makor Chaim 25/5 [of Rav Chaim Hakohen, student of Arizal] he writes that if one does not have laces on his shoes then he is to only partially enter his foot into the right shoe, and he is to then wear the left shoe and only then complete the insertion of his right foot into the shoe.

[5] Kama 2/5; Basra 2/4

[6] Yifei Laleiv 2/3; Kaf Hachaim 2/10

[7] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 2 footnote 27

[8] M”B 2/7

[9] Az Nidbaru 11/24; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/5

[10] Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/5 in name of Poskim of today

[11] Halichos Shlomo 2/2 in name of Rav SZ”A

[12] The question here is whether the above precedence given to the left applies only to shoes which have laces or also to shoes which have straps, and its only regarding slip-ons that it is not applicable? On the one hand it says “Tying” which does not apply to straps. However on the other hand, the Tefillin is not tied on oneself, but is rather wrapped, similar to straps.

[13] Mishneh Halachos 13/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/5 and other Poskim mentioned there in footnote 38

[14] Tiferes Adam 3/1; Az Nidbaru 5/26; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/7

[15] Miasef Lechol Hamachanos 2/16; Beir Moshe 2/3

[16] Halichos Shlomo 2/20

[17] Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/7

[18] Orach Neman 8; Luach Eretz Yisrael

[19] Dvar Yehoshua 3/75; Sheivet Hakehasi 6/1

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