In this post, Mario talks about his experiences in Japan (and Canada) of removing shoes before entering the dojo, as well as homes, temples, etc. He gives a great summary of one of the excellent reasons for removing shoes
… a dojo is a place for studying not simply combative technique, but for training in a way of life. The “do” of “Karatedo” implies a path for us to follow and comes with a host of traditions and behaviours that we must observe. For that reason it requires a level of purity of intent both mentally and physically. This tradition of removing our shoes reminds us of the path we pursue, as does the simple white dogi (training uniform)
I know many contemporary karateka who follow some of the traditions reservedly, and others that avoid them. They don’t like to wear a gi, and remove many of the traditions of the dojo. But the dojo is an important environment for the cultivation of your karate mind, body and technique (shin-gi-tai), and the dojo traditions, although not the only way, are an excellent way to help the process.
Mario sensei’s insight into Okinawan karate and kobudo, and the Japanese way of life are wonderful. You should subscribe to his blog!