Upon entry, shoes are usually turned to face the door so they can be slipped on easily when leaving. After removing shoes, one must avoid stepping in the genkan in socks or with bare feet, to avoid bringing dirt into the house. Once inside, generally one will change into slippers, or shoes intended for indoor wear.
Genkan are also occasionally found in other buildings in Japan, especially in old-fashioned businesses. In schools, genkan are equipped with shoe lockers or cubby holes.