Contact Us

Shoes of a Dead Person

Shoes of a Dead Person



What's the deal with wearing the shoes of a deceased person? I have heard that Jewish people do not wear them. Why?


The Sefer Chassidim1 says that one shouldn't wear the shoes of one who has passed away. However, this rule has been interpreted in different ways:

a) Some say that this injunction is based on a Talmudic statement2 that a dream wherein a deceased person comes to take away any object is a positive sign—unless the object is shoes. Since dreams are largely a result of one's thoughts while awake, the fear is that wearing a deceased's shoes will cause the person to think about it by day—perhaps causing this "bad omen" dream.

According to this line of reasoning, there would be no exceptions to this rule.3

b) Another reason given is that leather is a conductor of contagious diseases. According to this reasoning, if it is clear that the person did not die from a transmittable ailment – such as if the person dies due to an accident or was killed – there would be no problem with wearing his shoes.4

Following this reasoning, some say that the rule only applies if the person passed away while wearing the shoes, while others say that they shouldn't be worn if they were worn by the deceased during the person's final illness.5

c) Others have a completely different spin on the words of the Sefer Chassidim. They understand the injunction to apply to shoes made of the hide of a deceased animal, whose death was a result of illness – "one should not wear the shoes of a dead [animal]"! The reason for this ban is for fear of transmitting the disease which felled the animal to the one wearing the shoes.6

According to this interpretation, there is no problem whatsoever with wearing shoes which were worn by a deceased person!

It would be advisable for you to speak with your rabbi to determine your family/community tradition in this matter. If your community has no defined custom, then you can choose whichever aforementioned opinion suits your taste.


A halachic work, written in the 12th century by one of the great Baalei Tosafos (Talmudic commentators), Rabeinu Yehudah HaChasid.


Brachot 57b.


Koret Brit, Kuntret Notfot Mor section 51.


This opinion is brought down in Igrot Moshe Yoreh De'ah vol. 3 s. 133.


See Nitei Gavriel Hilchot Aveilut.


See Igrot Moshe referenced in footnote 3.

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
The content on this page is provided by, and is copyrighted by the author, publisher, and/or You are welcome to distribute it further, provided you do not revise any part of it and you include this statement, credit the author and/or publisher, and include a link to
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Mark Manchester September 5, 2016

Shoes of the deceased I unfortunately lost a friend last year and I was asked to destroy the shoes by cutting them, separate them left and right and throw away miles apart so they could never be repaired or paired again so no other Jewish person can wear a dead persons shoes. Reply

Anonymous Beverly Hills September 2, 2016

What about Sephardim? I am Ashkenazi, but a Sephardic friend says at the time her mother died, the family was advised by four Sephardic Rabbanim that regarding the wearing of the deceased shoes, "No one is to walk in the shoes of death, for by so doing, they might take their souls, and soles from their final resting place." Would you know if this is so? Reply Staff via June 9, 2016

To Mariah Clothing can be reused by relatives or donated or regifted. Reply

Mariah California June 8, 2016

What becomes of deceased person's clothes What about the clothing of the deceased? Must they be destroyed? Reply

Anonymous Manchester October 9, 2015

Shoes of a deceased person I have been asked to remove the shoes of my recently deceased friend and put the left shoes in one bag and the right in another and dispose them miles apart so no other Jewish person could ever where them. I am told this is a big mitzvah for me, Reply

Antwan Chandler, AZ April 24, 2009

Shoes What if the shoes aren't leather? (I remember realizing on Tisha B'Av last year that I didn't have any leather shoes) Reply

Related Topics

Introduction: Dealing with Death; The Jewish Approach
Life to Life Library


Yahrtzeit Calculator
Kaddish Service
Yahrtzeit Reminder
Arrange Kaddish for a Loved One
This page in other languages