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if the shoe fits
October 15, 2012 3:36 PM   Subscribe

You can accurately judge a person just by looking at their shoes, psychologists say. "Researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger's age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person's shoes." Virginia Postrel responded: "The study made a solid contribution to research on first impressions, but it was hardly earthshaking. By getting so much attention, however, it demonstrated a sociological truth: People love to talk about shoes. Even those who dismissed the research as silly often felt compelled to call radio stations or comment on websites, providing details about their own choices. Why this fascination with footwear? "

Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum has online exhibitions and a Shoe of the Month Podcast.

If The Shoe Fits: Footwear, Identity and Transition is an ongoing project at the University of Sheffield (papers, reviews and work-in-progress)
*If The Shoe Fits: Footwear, Gender and Identity (draft of paper, PDF file)
*Who do you think you are? (on trainers/sneakers) (draft of paper, PDF file)

Russell Belk: Shoes and Self
"ABSTRACT - Based on questionnaires, observations, and interviews in 1990 and 2000, it is clear that to most Americans, their footwear is an extension and expression of themselves. The study finds strong gender differences, with women being more alert to the symbolic implications of shoes than men. Shoes affect our perceptions of others and our perceptions of self, including our passage into adulthood. Among the magical transformations we attribute to shoes is their ability to supercharge our athletic performance. Not only is footwear an extension of self, it also acts as a repository of memory and meaning in our lives."

five excerpts from Women From the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us by Rachelle Bergstein
*How Ferragamo’s Arch Remade the Shoe Industry
*The Greatest Generation Was Robbed of Sexy Footwear
*Wrapping Stilettos in Foot-Binding Debate
*Smart Girls Wear Flats, Leave Heels Behind
*Feel for Heel Allowed Women to Do Boardroom Deal
*Marketplace Money audio interview with Bergstein (~5 min.)

*Shoes: A History, a ~5 min. video with Giorgio Riello (author of Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers)
*Footprints from History: Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil find shoes a fascinating key to social mores, and discuss what choice and design of footwear can tell us about morality, mobility and sexuality in Europe over the centuries.

Shoes Can Help "Heel" Your Body Image Problems

Linda Grant in the Guardian: Real women wear flat shoes

Sole Mate: Christian Louboutin and the psychology of shoes
To Louboutin, shoes are like books, or workouts: if they don’t demand anything of you, you’re not going to get a lot out of them. Wearing gorgeous shoes is a form of self-enrichment. “The shoe is very much an X-ray of social comportment,” he said.

Selling shoes at his first boutique, Louboutin became a keen student of consumer behavior. He noticed that Japanese women tended toward ankle boots, that most American women had pedicures, and that most French women didn’t (“When I started, sandals were not a possibility for the French”). Whatever their nationality, Louboutin’s customers enacted the same ritual upon trying on a pair of shoes. “When a woman buys a pair of shoes, she never looks at the shoe,” Louboutin said. “She stands up and looks in the mirror, she looks at the breast, the ass, from the front, from the side, blah blah blah. If she likes herself, then she considers the shoe.” Fortunately for Louboutin, women like themselves in designer shoes more than they like themselves in many other pieces of designer clothing. “The foot has this lucky thing,” Louboutin said. “A lot of women don’t like when they’re sort of fat, but a fat foot is as beautiful as a skinny foot. Think of Greek statues. Look how many people love the foot of the baby! There is something super-charming about the baby foot.”

Louboutin considers his shoes as a sort of man-bait: men like high heels, and women like being liked by men. “It’s not like we’re designing an object,” Hugo Marchand told me. “Christian will never do shoes that don’t give an advantage to his customers.” Louboutin recalled, “One man said to me, ‘I have never looked at shoes before,’ and it was a huge compliment.” He went on, “I would hate to be in a position of a person that does things that repulse the guy.” At this, I mentioned a fur boot that Louboutin made, with a cleft for each toe, so that the foot looked like a lion’s paw. I doubted that many men would find it as amusing as I did. Louboutin looked apologetic. “Yes,” he said. “That is for a woman who is alone.”
posted by flex (159 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite

 
my leopard skin stiletto heels are going to throw the whole study off.
posted by HuronBob at 3:39 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


A shoe salesman at Nordstrom's took a look at my well worn shoes and commented, "You are long lived." Twice.
posted by Xoebe at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't this true of every other article of clothing? I mean I guess everyone wears t-shirts at some point, but even then if it doesn't have something printed on it you tend to assume it's worn by a GAP shopper or a construction worker.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next the researchers tackle the question: is life really like a box of chocolates?
posted by mediated self at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Here are the boots I bought in Santa Fe a couple weeks ago. Judge away!
posted by rtha at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I go barefoot most of the time.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:45 PM on October 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Xoebe, I suspect that "You are long lived" is to Nordstrom's salespeople as "this house has good bones" is to Realtors.

Yep, rockin' the Vibram 5 Fingers at the office. Bite me.
posted by straw at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna wear my filthy huaraches with a suit next time I have to wear one just to prove these people wrong.
posted by cmoj at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The shoes right? The shoes are tragic!
posted by any major dude at 3:49 PM on October 15, 2012


Wait... I'd be proving them right. DAMN YOU SCIENCE
posted by cmoj at 3:49 PM on October 15, 2012


Betcha I can tell you where you got your shoes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:49 PM on October 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


okay, BAM, go
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 PM on October 15, 2012


I alternate between crocs and Church's brogues. Research suggests I don't know who I am.
posted by tigrefacile at 3:51 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of that scene in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter points out Clarice Starling's expensive purse and cheap shoes.
posted by ambrosia at 3:51 PM on October 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


BOP: I got my shoes on MY FEET! I thwarted many scammers on my trip to New Orleans by knowing that.
posted by Rykey at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm not poor goddammit, I just have a 5 mo. old puppy!
posted by mannequito at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Isn't this true of every other article of clothing?

Your foot size don't change too much after a certain point so you can be sure they'll always fit.
posted by The Whelk at 3:53 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You know, kid, I gotta pair of shoes older than you are, so what would I expect you to know?"

-The Finn, in Count Zero
posted by Danf at 3:53 PM on October 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


You might think I'm a hobo by my footwear, but you'd be wrong!

You might also think I'm a hobo because I hold my shoes against my chest when I sleep, but I'm not!

You might also think I'm a hobo because I smoke cigarette butts I find off the ground, but I'm not!

Seriously, why aren't I a hobo?
posted by mazola at 3:53 PM on October 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Isn't this true of every other article of clothing? I mean I guess everyone wears t-shirts at some point, but even then if it doesn't have something printed on it you tend to assume it's worn by a GAP shopper or a construction worker.

Maybe on the east coast; not on the west.
posted by flaterik at 3:54 PM on October 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


I'm not sure how important this research is for about half the population. I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?
posted by jedicus at 3:54 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And yes, I think you can tell a lot about somebody by his/her shoes.
posted by Rykey at 3:54 PM on October 15, 2012


okay, BAM, go

You fear socks.
posted by orme at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xoebe, I'd like to think they weren't talking about you, they were addressing your shoes. Individually.
posted by adamt at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder what it says about me that if rtha were sitting near me in those boots, I'd seize them and run away.

no, don't answer that . . .
posted by bearwife at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hi, I'm Joe Beets! Hey, what chance does a returning deceased war veteran have for that good paying job, more sugar, and the free mule you've been dreaming of? Well, think it over, then take off your shoes.
posted by tommasz at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yep, rockin' the Vibram 5 Fingers at the office. Bite me.

Research suggests that people who wear Vibrams are up to three times chewier than members of a control group.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:58 PM on October 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


Okay, I'll bite: "for industry!"
posted by skyscraper at 4:00 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shoes for the dead!

Me, I'm climbing a tree, cutting the soles off my shoes, and learning to play the flute.
posted by Kinbote at 4:04 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent a year trying to get the sociology lab I worked in to do essentially this piece of research. It's nice to know that a lab did it and confirmed my gut feeling.
posted by LSK at 4:10 PM on October 15, 2012


"When you greet a stranger look at his shoes..." -R.E.M. – Good Advices
posted by spilon at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Your foot size don't change too much after a certain point"

Anecdata suggests otherwise. Back when I was rock climbing my feet were small. Changed to whitewater paddling, and after a season of that I had trouble fitting back in my climbing shoes. Years later, I find that even seasonal shifts from running to cycling as my primary form of exercise dramatically change my foot shape.

I don't know if everyone is as picky a shoe-fit person as I am, and I tend to wear fairly loose flat wide shoes (Vibram, Birkenstock, steel-toed work boots, that sort of thing), but my feet have changed a lot and continue to change a lot over my adult life.
posted by straw at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


bearwife, those weren't even the prettiest boots I saw in Santa Fe. But the prettiest boots started - on sale! - at $1800, which is just...no. I treated that particular shop as if it were a very nice museum where you could handle the artwork but it was not for sale.
posted by rtha at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, shoegazers are just practicing amateur sociology.
posted by exogenous at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2012


Gentle socks pamper them by day, and shoes cobbled of leather fortify them, but my toes hardly notice.

Man even the great literary master Borges couldn't resists talking about his shoes.

I wonder what they looked like
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:15 PM on October 15, 2012


Besides maybe gender, I fail to see how anyone could guess anything whatsoever about me from the dirty Asics running shoes I'm wearing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:16 PM on October 15, 2012


I was just noticing I seem to have worn the tread off my 12-eye black docs. again.
posted by mwhybark at 4:16 PM on October 15, 2012


My shirt, shorts and underwear would each tell you way more about me. I'm trying to think of an article of clothing that would actually be *less* informative and all I got is my socks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2012


i have some really nice heels but they have a tjmaxx price tag sticker that wont quite come off the sole. I be thats how they can tell my income.
posted by sio42 at 4:20 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Please don't judge me by my shoes.
posted by docgonzo at 4:23 PM on October 15, 2012


Besides maybe gender, I fail to see how anyone could guess anything whatsoever about me from the dirty Asics running shoes I'm wearing.

Well if you're not actually running I'd hazard a guess you're American. If they're largely white and you're wearing them with long pants, you're older than 35. And if you're wearing them with white cotton socks, you're a city boy.
posted by fshgrl at 4:24 PM on October 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Okay. Decode me.

I've had those boots for so long that the person who I was when I got them has very little resemblance to the person who kicked them off earlier today.
posted by cmyk at 4:24 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gray "Air Pegasus" with yellow laces.

Must be a brony.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:25 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay... lemme take a stab at this.

Yup, cmyk = awesome.

Pretty simple, really.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay. Decode me.

You are obsessed with color.
posted by swift at 4:27 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay. Decode me.

You are not Marlon Brando.
posted by scratch at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bunions cure shoe lust.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, so what should I make of a guy who only wears cowboy boots, does not own anything else except one pair of engineer boots. Does not own sneakers, sandals, etc.
posted by mareli at 4:32 PM on October 15, 2012


He doesn't walk much and never runs?
posted by fshgrl at 4:35 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


According to my shoes I am run-down, old, grumpy-looking, held together through force of will and gaffer tape and require constant repairs.

Which is fairly accurate if you substitute 'constant repairs' with 'a steady supply of chocolate, scotch and steak'.

so what should I make of a guy who only wears cowboy boots, does not own anything else except one pair of engineer boots

Well, when the zombie apocalypse comes he won't be able to run really fast and he'll jingle and clack-clack-clack a whole lot, so mark him down as zombie bait.
posted by zennish at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was young I was told that women judge a man by his shoes and his watch, so I've always worn nice watches and well-kept shoes of quality. When it's cold enough I wear other things too though.
posted by Blue Meanie at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2012 [25 favorites]


I currently own 1 pair of Frye's Engineer boots, one pair of Vibram 5-fingers KSO, and one pair of cheap dress shoes, to wear with a suit, which last occurred over a year ago.
Make of that what you will.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:39 PM on October 15, 2012


I wear either these (and have for more than 30 years, stylistically speaking) or expensive hiking boots, depending on what Im doing.
posted by elendil71 at 4:40 PM on October 15, 2012


Where's mutant? I've seen a picture of his shoes, and I don't think anyone would guess his profession from those.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:48 PM on October 15, 2012


My regular everyday shoes are "clumpy" sensible Clarks, as per the Guardian article. Yep.
posted by janepanic at 4:48 PM on October 15, 2012


I wear these. I'll also wear these when I'm not going to be doing much but need to be able to walk a bit.
posted by ZaneJ. at 4:49 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is relevant enough.
posted by fzx101 at 4:55 PM on October 15, 2012


I am middle-aged woman in Italy in 1995 and, having refused to wear American athletic shoes for my entire adult life, have chosen to wear a pair of Clark sandals, which can only be described as serviceable. My cousin's daughter says they look like nun's shoes. I am approached by a French nun at the Venice train station, asking me for directions in three different languages, none of which I speak.
I am at an outdoor American shopping mall the same year, wearing a pair of lace-up burgundy suede Italian shoes with heels my boss thinks look like nun's shoes. I am approached by a woman even shorter than I am, asking me for directions in Italian.
I am pleased both times not to be taken for an American, exactly my intent. I don't think I was mistaken for a nun, I was wearing a faux leopard coat the second time, something sleeveless the first. That is all.
posted by kemrocken at 4:57 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I bet I have aspirational shoes.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2012


Apparently my high-tops mean that I am less extroverted, more neurotic, less friendly, less conscientious, and more avoidant. Damn. I've got to get my shoes some friggin therapy.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:59 PM on October 15, 2012


I wear the shoes required for any given event, as long as that event requires sandals worn with socks. Since I left the corporate world I only wear shoes to go somewhere. I do have Danner boots bought 30+ years ago for hiking/climbing they weigh at least 2.5 lbs a piece. I have water "socks" for rivers. I have also worn Kirkland Court Classics buy a new pair every two years. Shoes are utilitarian objects to me now, comfortable and functional, I could not care less about what is on my feet. Don't have much time for those that use shoes to pigeonhole people.
posted by pdxpogo at 5:00 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mostly wear these, just comfortable, occasionally closed heal hiking sandals as well.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:00 PM on October 15, 2012


I wear bright red crocs that are usually either sandy or dirty. Aside from their size, I think most people would judge that I am a six-year old.
posted by snofoam at 5:01 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll also wear these when I'm not going to be doing much but need to be able to walk a bit.

It's a sign. I was just thinking of ordering my first pair of Birks in more than 20 years. My husband will be pretty sure I've lost my mind. I dig the Arizona. There are probably other styles that appeal to a wider range of people, but the Arizona works for me.
posted by PuppyCat at 5:02 PM on October 15, 2012


I never noticed shoes or accessories until last year when by chance I purchased a pair of what I thought were unremarkable Nike running shoes for reasons of fit and comfort. Suddenly I put on these shoes and strangers were asking me where I got those "awesome kicks." This went in for months. Then they became a bit worn and fashion moved on and I returned to anonymity.
posted by humanfont at 5:05 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looks at shoes.

Looks at self.

Yeah, pretty much.
posted by kyrademon at 5:07 PM on October 15, 2012


I have totally been repping my yet-to-exist PhD topic of ANCIENT SHOES, which will mainly be researching the sweet espadrilles once seen in an Etruscan tomb painting. I am chuffed that my lifelong study of every shoe ever has been vindicated BY SCIENCE!


(also I own about a billion pairs of stilettos in colors unsuitable for a library gig, except on the days when I want to confuse and befuddle my students...)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:07 PM on October 15, 2012


Sherlock Holmes scoffs "They call this news?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


My shoes tell people the same thing that the rest of my apparel does: that I crave attention and that I am basically a magpie when it comes to things I can wear, collecting as many shiny and bright things as I can get my claws on.
posted by padraigin at 5:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whenever anyone judges me by my shoes, I judge them by their judgement of my shoes.
posted by Aquaman at 5:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


For months now, I've been putting money into a clothes budget so I can buy two decent pairs of oxfords. Now I have shoe anxiety all over again.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2012


I once shared a cigar with the (then) curator of the Bata Shoe Museum.

What? I did.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love 'em
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:10 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit of a shoe whore, for a slob. I alternate two pairs of running shoes (and a third pair of trail runners), steel toes, hikers--to my wife's chagrin I sometimes wear them out, Teva sandals, some REI cutout-bin huarache-like things, some vaguely sporty-looking faux-suede things, and the usual black and brown dress shoes.

And a pair of bullhide cowboy boots I bought in...jesus christ, 1995? They've had at least four re-solings--I drag my heels--and still look good. The wife laughs at me because I'm a city boy who's vaguely afraid of horses (they're fuckin' BIG, man!), but any time I want to be 5'-11 1/2" instead of 5'-9 1/2" (5'10" on my driver's license), there you go.

But the pair of shoes I wear the most is a pair of leather clogs I bought on mega-sale at the Bass outlet. The liners are gone. The leather is one giant scuff. But they still give good arch support and are, I'm told, so very very...me.

OK, what the fuck am I?
posted by notsnot at 5:10 PM on October 15, 2012


Well, I'm pretty sure you're notsnot, but I couldn't really guess who you are.
posted by merelyglib at 5:22 PM on October 15, 2012


Hrm, well 2 pairs of python cowboy boots, 2 pairs of Dan Post non-reptile boots, a pair of Italian-made Kenneth Cole NY ankle boots and some heavy-soled loafers from the same, other slip-on type things from Born, Calvin Klein, Ecko, a pair of antelope-hide(!) driving slippers from WS Trask, suede Cole Haan ankle-boots, some two-tone Doc Martin brogues and some fisherman's sandals from the same, a pair of lace-ups from Via Spiga where one side of the sole comes up around the vamp that I got just because I couldn't figure out what the hell they were about, and a pair of black Mezlan alligator-skin sleazebag-shoes (I am sure that's the technical term for them.) ...and some randomish other pairs of sneakers, sandals and water-slippers. All are in fine shape, 'cept maybe some of the cowboy boots.

What can you tell about me from all that? I am *damned* good at thrift-shopping, and a bit of label-whore, that's what.

Except that you can't even tell that because I live in Austin and it's just too damned hot to wear shoes most of the time. It kind of bums me out when I buy shoes and have to wait 6 months to ever wear them. :(
posted by hap_hazard at 5:28 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hundreds and hundreds of shoes. Many too many shoes. Office contains two mid-heeled pumps (cheapo high-vamped pair, black patent with white topstitching, and a Bruno Magli, very BCBG) a pair of black spiked ankle boots, and a pair of brown snakeskin pumps with a 4" heel.

At the moment, though, I am wearing gloriously comfy over the knee Fluvog boots, brown leather, nice significant but clumpy heel and big round toes. Found in a consignment store :).

Judge away, Mcjudgersons....
posted by jrochest at 5:29 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


These. These are on my feet all the time.

I have one worn in pair, and three on standby.

I keep moving, and fast at that... at least when the disc between L4 and L5 aren't leaving me a heaping mess of bones lying on the floor as my sciatic nerve burns with pain down my left leg.

I'm 34, male, divorced, and dispossessed...

Quite the catch.

Make of that, what you will.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:30 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in North Carolina, my lazy-day, who-gives-a-fuck, hungover-brunch shoes were a pair of sneakers. The brand I couldn't tell you, but I know I'd had them for at least three years and never once cleaned them. Now my ultra-low-effort shoes are black leather flats, designer but I got 'em on sale, old now but I take them to a cobbler to keep them looking nice and shiny. Can I tell you how many times I went to a cobbler before I moved to New York City? Zero. Zero times.

I remember when I first moved here, fresh from college and the suburbs, never really been to NYC before, sitting on the subway on my way to a job interview. I was wearing my best shoes, a pair of half-inch-heel mary janes I got from a thrift store back home. I sat there looking at other women's shoes and marveling at the sheer impracticality of owning such obviously expensive, elaborately trendy, soaringly high-heeled shoes. Then I looked back down at my own shoes and wondered how I'd never noticed how the fake wood veneer was peeling off of the heel...

This weekend I bought my latest gorgeous, impractical, expensive pair of heels- four inches high, grey, real snakeskin. Don't worry though mom, I still buy them at thrift stores... they 'only' cost me $40, which would have been my absolute upper limit on a brand-new pair of shoes when I moved here a year and a half ago.

Sometimes I wonder idly if I've turned into a person who my younger self wouldn't have liked. It does seem at times that I've become more superficial since I've lived here, if only when it comes to my own appearance. But then again, sneaker-wearing college student me had piles and piles of angst about never feeling attractive or comfortable in her own skin... and damn do these snakeskin heels ever make me feel like a sexy beast. So I thiiink she'd bo ok with the new me.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:46 PM on October 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Here are mine.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


You you believe that your petty observations can reveal my sole? That my eyelets are a window into my psyche? That my tongue will reveal...

no, I'm off to bed. Go climb a shoe tree.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


What I notice: that everyone hates it when other people can see things about them that they may not entirely intend to be visible; and that it is very easy to confuse "see" with "judge". I think everyone's first thought on reading this kind of thing is "I bet I could fool them with my shoes" - which strongly suggests to me that we can't.

I think that this is why many people are also skeptical of the less controversial aspects of psychoanalysis - disavowal, Freudian slips, etc. We don't like the idea that we can be "letting slip" things about our personal identities without intent.

Happily, I am vain of my shoes, spend too much money on them and have I think come to terms with the things about my personality that they reveal: vanity, some snobbery, fear, anxiety.

But people, the purple suede brogue boots are just so gorgeous. They may reveal every flaw I have but I can still spend time just admiring them.
posted by Frowner at 5:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


I just today splashed down a wad of cash on these (gardeners) and after a two mile mile walk home, my feet are happier then my dog. He's just tired.
posted by qinn at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2012


I have been debating getting these, and this post has pushed me into the "oh yes I must have them" category. Why no, I don't have trouble forming relationships, funny you should ask.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


All I have worn the last 20 years are New Balance sneakers. And jeans. And mostly black shirts. And I am not Steve Jobs, it's all about comfort, and the fact that I'm a fat dude.
posted by dbiedny at 6:13 PM on October 15, 2012


I saw a woman tottering down a nearby ave. in 8-inch neon-green stilettos. Pure envy.
posted by telstar at 6:14 PM on October 15, 2012


An astute observer will note that my shoes tell you I have both a wicked case of plantar fasciitis and a bunion/arthritis, all on the same foot.
posted by mollweide at 6:20 PM on October 15, 2012


Oxfords or standard-issue combat boots. Other shoes are dead to me.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:24 PM on October 15, 2012


Anyone else do that "estimate how many pairs you have, then actually count how many pairs you have, and compare the two numbers" that Postrel mentions doing as a poll?

I just did, and my husband is razzing me.
posted by flex at 6:30 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do what I can.
posted by Evernix at 6:52 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your foot size don't change too much after a certain point so you can be sure they'll always fit.

Oh, Whelk, you are so funny!

Yeah, right. Length, maybe not, but let me tell you my used-to-be medium hoof is now a duck's foot width. It's absolute hell buying shoes that are nearly as wide as my foot is long. I'm sure walking barefooted most of the time doesn't help, but I think feet tend to spread with age (along with asses.)

As a horse owner, I can tell you it doesn't matter whether I'm wearing my Birkenstocks, New Balance, Tevas, Adidas, or Roper boots, I tend to accessorize all of them with the subtle, yet permeating smell of horse manure.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:57 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


My shoes during the warm seasons are boring loaferish things, but as soon as October hits I'm all about boots and skirts. All the fabulous clompy confidence of heels without pain or ankle twisting. I can wear socks with them, and they make my ass look awesome. The return of warm weather is the return of hateful sensible lady shoes that require pedicures or hose, ugh.
posted by emjaybee at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is an awesome post! so much for getting things done tonight. I would love to design shoes - and I may very well try - check out Fleuvog's open source footwear!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does it still work if your shoes are covered with chalk, milk, and other toddler mishaps?
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2012


Lately I have been 99% represented by flip-flops or motorcycle boots.

Which is a little sad since I own probably 20 pairs of shoes, but I haven't had much occasion to wear them. They're just sitting there going more out of style.
posted by flaterik at 7:21 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wear the same Chuck Taylor mono black hightops I wore 30 years ago (albeit a somewhat bigger size today).

I've seen females wearing the same.

Study debunked.
posted by pla at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2012


My shoes would tell you that I have a job that doesn't have much of a dress code and that I'm far, far from the east coast.

My wife, though, has a dozen or more pairs of shoes that I think of as pretty much interchangeable (though I am sure they are not) and exactly one pair that is totally sex on a stick. I mean, they are so sexual that if I was out of town and I learned she was wearing them out on the town, I'd know exactly what was up.
posted by Forktine at 7:28 PM on October 15, 2012


Researchers had asked each of the volunteers to fill out a personality questionnaire and to provide their most frequently worn shoes for the experiment.

I stopped counting at 30 pairs. I'm not really sure how I would pick ONE pair to bring to a study. What is this "most frequently worn" business?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:56 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My collection looks like:
Shiny black Nunn Bush oxfords at work. (They're more comfy than you would think.)
The least colourful New Balance runners for weekends.
Basic Kodiaks for digging holes.
Whatever else I can afford for casual wear.
I'm looking for another pair of Doc Marten hikers.

Make of that what you will.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:57 PM on October 15, 2012


I've got two pairs of dress shoes (one brown, one black) that I wear to funerals, weddings, symphonies and such
A new pair of Brooks running shoes every four months that I only wear when actually running
The rest of the time I either wear a pair of Tevas or a pair of blue Chuck Taylors depending on the weather
Oh and a giant pair of rubber boots for slogging through the slush in the winter

My feet have actually grown (or stretched) by one size in my forties. I now wear size 14M which makes shoe shopping difficult at best.
posted by octothorpe at 8:10 PM on October 15, 2012


Well, looking at any given pair of my shoes you definitely know I toe-in when I walk because they're always dreadfully scuffed along the insides.

I would say you'd look at my extremely practical Clarks, which are definitely the shoes I wear most often these days, and guess that I am a woman from northern Europe, which is why I bought them. I had a couple of trips planned to northern Europe that involved a lot of walking, and I wanted to not stand out. It totally worked.
posted by town of cats at 8:11 PM on October 15, 2012


Blundstones FTW. I buy one pair in brown and one in black every three years or so. Aside from sports-appropriate stuff like ski boots etc, all I need are wellies for wading and flipflops.

According to the article I am agreeable yet aggressive.
posted by drowsy at 8:11 PM on October 15, 2012


99.9% of the time I wear these black leather mary jane chunky-heeled shoes from Sam & Libby that I found at a thrift store. I bought them in the hopes they would be a direct portal to 1993 but it hasn't come to pass yet.
posted by Lucinda at 8:15 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm wearing Velcro shoes right now, and I'm in the over 12 but under 65 age range.
posted by dogwalker at 8:44 PM on October 15, 2012


A few years ago, when I was short of funds, my left shoelace was for a long time my flatmate's broken A-string. It was somewhat difficult to tie, being thin and surprisingly slippery, but it got easier with time. From this shoelace, a TSA employee decided, temporarily, that I was a potenshul turrrust. He was wrong, but I am, in retrospect, almost as impressed with his incorrect inferences from a single lace as with these researchers' correct conclusions requiring a whole boot's testimony.

The article is also somewhat misleading: they mean that 90% of the answers to questions on a particular survey are predictable, somehow, from shoes, not "90% of someone's personal characteristics", whatever that even means. (That's not a comment on the study, just on TFA.)
posted by kengraham at 9:12 PM on October 15, 2012


My usual footwear is none. I like being barefoot. It was chilly today though, so I wore socks. One is black with green stripes, the other is black with purple stripes.

If this says anything about me other than "One of the puppies steals socks", I don't know what it would be.
posted by MissySedai at 9:17 PM on October 15, 2012


If you looked at my collection of shoes, you might guess that I am a prostitute superhero biker hippie.

In other words, you could accurately diagnose my ADHD.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:22 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My shoe wardrobe says I'm in transition but I think it would be hard to tell the direction from just looking at the shoes.
posted by immlass at 9:45 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh no you can't do that once you've started wearing those shoes.

(vibrams in my apartment; chuck taylor's outside; black adidas stan smith's when I fear shoe examination)

Henry David Thoreau: I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes
posted by bukvich at 9:46 PM on October 15, 2012


5_13_23_42_69_666, those wedges are to die for. I agree that you must have them immediately.

My primary footwear: One gum-soled pair of black Mary Jane flats, from Camper. One trim pair of black, crocodile-embossed Mary Jane wedgies, also Camper. One pair of dark brown Frye engineer boots. One surprisingly versatile pair of d'Orsay-style Tevas, in muted purple. (Hard to picture, I know.) One pair of pointy, slouchy Fluevog boots, in dark purple. One beat-to-shit pair of heavy black Fluevog oxfords. Then an enormous pile of misc WTF in various colors and shapes-- much of it from Fluevog.

I really thought I'd shed the last of my goth-ness by 2003 or so, but now that I've having reflected deeply upon my footwear, I can see that's not the case at all.

♫ Bella Lugosi's dead! Bella Lugosi's dead! ♬

/Dyes hair in the sink; joyfully swigs wretched novelty rum.

posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:49 PM on October 15, 2012


Good timing, I've been consumed by shoe shopping recently. Just ordered these tonight. I also just got these. I was in the classic Birkenstocks all summer.

Yeah, I'm a librarian, how did you know?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was 20, I had a job as a music teacher at a summer camp. One of my favorite students was a little girl who seemed a little... behaviorally different, and she became quite attached to me. Even when under the supervision of the other counselors, she'd seek me out for anything she needed. On one such day, she came running up to me in her swimsuit, barefoot, loudly declaring that "Miss Hat, I can't find my shoes!"

I sighed and asked her what they looked like, preparing to head for the chaotic pile of flip-flops beside the pool.

She made eye contact with me (which was the only time I or any of the other staff had ever seen that happen) and said "THEY LOOK LIKE SHOES."

That is the truest thing I have heard in my life. I do not care about shoes. I don't notice shoes, I have shoe agnosia. Every time one of my more fashion-aware friends starts talking about shoes or berating me about mine, I shrug and say, "They look like shoes."

Despite my feelings about shoes, this is a delightful post and a fun thread.
posted by a hat out of hell at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, follow me in a journey from the head, we take an elevator ride down to the shoe, where we find the boîte de verre shoe.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 10:14 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. Interesting validation for something I knew as a street vendor back in the 80's selling African art next to the Museum of Modern Art. It's not just the shoes it's also if the ankle up appearance has any cognitive dissonance with the shoes.

To invite customers I put out a sign that said:
Personal checks accepted

I never had a single check bounce. Not one.
posted by nickyskye at 10:18 PM on October 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shoe agnosia!

This is the best crackpot internet self-diagnosis ever! Thanks, hat!
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


scurries off to join a support group
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:51 PM on October 15, 2012


For the longest time I thought that Shoegazing was a perverse modern mutation of rock and roll. But then I studied more about the history of music, and I learned that even early pioneers, such as Elvis Presley, composed tunes to blue suede shoes. The Beatles had a tune about an old brown shoe. I discovered that the Doors had a tune called Maggie M'Gill, which contains the line "If you're feeling sad and blue, go out and buy a new pair of shoes.

People talk about sex and drugs and rock n roll, but forget about the importance of socks and shoes and rock n roll.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:57 PM on October 15, 2012


My favorite boots were my signing bonus at Oregon's best bootmaker, West Coast Shoe Company. Crotch high burgundy leather and brass-buckled "Big Boss" engineer boots, custom top cut to fit my "fork" (as they put it) fore and aft. Yes, I wear them on motorcycles. But then I have to wear a jacket and helmet, too...

My other favorites are vintage Nordstrom butterscotch wingtips with the punching in a crossed golf club/field hockey stick motif. And custom Vancouver BC Dayton's gray suede cap toe Canadian Army service ankle boots. With my tastes in butch footwear, I'm blessed with feet large enough to wear standard sizes in spite of my diminutive height.

Several pairs of my boots are each worth more than my car. What does that say about commodity fetishism? About mine, or anyone else's?
posted by Dreidl at 11:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And on the topic of what shoes can do (or not do) in spite of love:

Portland's own late John Callahan cartoon of an OB/GYN saying "We're out of birth control, all we have are these" - a Birkenstock sandals box. (Sorry, couldn't find an online version)

Salon on loving someone so much they'd engage in trust-requiring sex act IN SPITE of his Tevas.
posted by Dreidl at 11:19 PM on October 15, 2012


I have big feet. I wear whatever style I can get. My shoes tell you about the rest of the world but nothing about me.

Yet another study where I don't fit in.
posted by EnterTheStory at 11:34 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


used to be exclusively a beat up pair of these.

now its mostly these (it rains a ton here).
posted by jonbro at 12:05 AM on October 16, 2012


I made these - a 'bootleg' version of some shoes I wanted and couldn't find/afford
posted by PistachioRoux at 12:12 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your foot size don't change too much after a certain point so you can be sure they'll always fit.

Au contraire! My feet went from a 7.5 to a 9 after two pregnancies. The old wives' tale is that for every child, you lose a tooth and gain a shoe size. I didn't lose any teeth, but man, the shoe situation is not to be believed.
posted by KathrynT at 12:13 AM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


My boots are black.

Honkies.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:30 AM on October 16, 2012


My entire shoe collection.

1 pair of trainers, only for gym use. Grey.
1 pair of steel-capped boots for work. Black.
I pair of DM boots, split at the sides. Black.
I pair of "smart" black shoes, worn about once a year.

This probably says something about me, and I have a fair idea what it is.
posted by Decani at 1:35 AM on October 16, 2012


I personally have two left feet, hence my moniker. It makes shoe shopping at least twice as difficult.

Also, I'm all thumbs, which means I can't buy gloves, only mittens. Or hand socks.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:36 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I first visited Dublin in 1991, having just graduated from college and traveling proudly with my well-worn forest-green Birkenstocks (I was an English major, natch), I remember noticing something profound while walking down Grafton Street. It must have been a weekday afternoon, because everywhere I saw girls still in their identical monochromatic school uniforms. You couldn't tell them apart, except for their shoes. Almost all of them were Doc Martens, but that's where the similarity ended. I saw oxblood red ones, neon green ones, hand-painted ones, beat-to-shit ones, shiny patent leather ones, bright yellow laces, mid-calf laceups, ones with what looked like two-inch-thick lugsoles... it was amazing. And it became patently obvious (bad pun not intended) that that's how these girls expressed their individuality, a way to break out of the unifying uniform and be who they were. I'll never forget that, and I love this post for reminding me of that memory as I lie here awake at 5 a.m. and realize I'm 43 years old (as of today) and I just bought a used pair of Birks on ebay. Happy sigh.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 2:03 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


P.S. I went to the Bata Museum in Toronto a few years ago, and I highly recommend it. Fascinating collection showing the history of shoes. Very cool stuff (and in many cases, cringeworthy, in particular shoes that made evident the oppression of women in various eras).
posted by flyingsquirrel at 2:07 AM on October 16, 2012


Your foot size don't change too much after a certain point so you can be sure they'll always fit.

This is what I very firmly said to my feet when they complained about being squeezed into a beloved 20-year-old pair of Salvatore Ferragamos (the only expensive shoes I have ever owned) for a trip to the opera involving a lot of walking in New York City. My feet won the argument. Funeral services for the Ferragamos are pending.
posted by JanetLand at 2:48 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm the werid one with the constant feet I guess.

But I'm like a size 12, if they got any bigger I'd have to get worried.
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 AM on October 16, 2012


5_13_23_42_69_666, those wedges are to die for. I agree that you must have them immediately.

in 5 to 10 business days they will be mine! boyfriend has already been warned that he may need to take me out somewhere fancy so I can wear my new shoes.

I have also recently purchased a pair of vertical striped black and white tights, which together with those shoes will give me the loopiest looking lower limbs ever!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:55 AM on October 16, 2012


@BitterOldPunk: You got your shoes on your feet.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 3:58 AM on October 16, 2012


I like that the people in this thread who are most readable by their shoes think it's impossible to peg them. They're mistaking the fact that their associations with their shoes (old and ratty = poor but lovable, for example) are not what a stranger is going to read out of those shoes. But, one would need to see the shoes first, preferably on the feet.

rtha: you're geeky. You might work in tech (of course, this is metafilter, so that's a bit of a gimme). You like to laugh a lot. You smile a lot. Sometimes, you feel very socially awkward - more so than average people, at least in your own opinion. You own at least one dog, maybe a cat or two. You're white. I want to say that you're blond, but I'm not positive; you could be brunette. You certainly don't have black hair. I do think you have curly hair, though.

How did I do? Give me a #. x/10.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 4:09 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


outlandishmarxist, I'd ask you to do me, but with the shoes I've linked to, I'm afraid that the answer will be "you are pale, have a large round red nose, and wear a teeny-tiny little hat"
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:22 AM on October 16, 2012


Damn it, this thread is making me want to buy shoes.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 4:40 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


5_13_23_42_69_666: sexually forward, white, hipster, creative, possibly in design (but also possibly a librarian), late twenties to mid thirties, 30-50k a year (unless you're really good at what you do, then more), your boyfriend is thin and tallish and a bit gangly, you're either somewhat heavyset and tall or very short and thin (there's an off chance you're thin and tall, though). Regardless, you're not "average" height. Under 5'2" or over 5'8". You talk a lot. You have a college education. You've watched at least one season of Mad Men.

Am I in the ballpark? It's okay if I'm wrong.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 4:50 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


all I got was sockless. :(
posted by The Whelk at 4:52 AM on October 16, 2012


not as forward as I was when I was younger, white, rivethead, creative, visual effects, 42, I'm good at what I do, boyfriend cute but not tallish, 5'2" and curvy, I talk a lot if I have a few drinks in me, but mostly kinda introverted, BA in psychology, don't really watch much tv.

so you're a bit hit and miss, but I like the image you've painted of me! I sound fun!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:59 AM on October 16, 2012


actually the earlier ones are a bit dressy - more typical everyday shoes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 AM on October 16, 2012


Le Bulot : outré mais connaisseur ; chic mais insouciant ; à la mode en suivant ses goûts du jour. Enchantée, monsieur. *flips her scarf*

I live in these and a pair of brown ("cognac", teehee) leather ankle boots in colder weather, though I also have a couple pairs of much-adored knee-high boots such as these that only get less wear because it's not always cold enough to warrant them. Birkenstocks in our humid summers... the Eugene influence will always be with me.
posted by fraula at 5:16 AM on October 16, 2012


Whatever's comfortable and affordable...two criteria that, distressingly, rarely coincide.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:21 AM on October 16, 2012


rtha: you're geeky. You might work in tech (of course, this is metafilter, so that's a bit of a gimme). You like to laugh a lot. You smile a lot. Sometimes, you feel very socially awkward - more so than average people, at least in your own opinion. You own at least one dog, maybe a cat or two. You're white. I want to say that you're blond, but I'm not positive; you could be brunette. You certainly don't have black hair. I do think you have curly hair, though.

/falls out of chair in undercaffeinated hysterics (I guess that's 1/10 so far, right?!)

Fourish out of 10! My workplace is not tech-y though it is in Silicon Valley and my role there is sort of tech-y; no dogs - cats! Half white - how I'm perceived depends on where I am. Black hair, with a lot of silver; it used to be curly when I was a kid, but isn't any more. And yes, sometimes I feel terribly shy even when I'm with people I know; usually I grin and fake it till I make it!

(I wonder what you might've thought if I'd linked a photo of the shoes I wore for 99% of the trip we were on that ended in Santa Fe!)
posted by rtha at 5:41 AM on October 16, 2012


My favorite boots were my signing bonus at Oregon's best bootmaker, West Coast Shoe Company. Crotch high burgundy leather and brass-buckled "Big Boss" engineer boots, custom top cut to fit my "fork" (as they put it) fore and aft. Yes, I wear them on motorcycles. But then I have to wear a jacket and helmet, too...

Those aren't boots, those are heavy-duty leather pants with footies and no crotch.

Add a matching codpiece and you would be ready for Thunderdome, though.
posted by Forktine at 5:47 AM on October 16, 2012


(I wonder what you might've thought if I'd linked a photo of the shoes I wore for 99% of the trip we were on that ended in Santa Fe!)

Geeky, work in tech, like to laugh...
posted by Forktine at 5:48 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Careful study has determined that people who want to look like they have lots of money buy flashy shoes, and plebes wear ordinary shoes?

Yep, that's the science of psychology in a nutshell.

In other news, birds without wings fly less.
posted by Twang at 6:10 AM on October 16, 2012


jedicus: I'm not sure how important this research is for about half the population. I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?
Ever since a girlfriend described her memory of our first date... and the first thing she mentioned was the "really cool sandals" I wore.

Now, I realize that women don't just think about their shoes...
posted by IAmBroom at 7:22 AM on October 16, 2012


jetlagaddict: (also I own about a billion pairs of stilettos in colors unsuitable for a library gig, except on the days when I want to confuse and befuddle my students...)
Get a job at FIT's library. Seriously - you're just at the wrong library!
posted by IAmBroom at 7:28 AM on October 16, 2012


snickerdoodle: Does it still work if your shoes are covered with chalk, milk, and other toddler mishaps?
Yes.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:31 AM on October 16, 2012


See these? These are my shoes and I love them. Or. Um. I loved them, despite my daughter's raised eyebrow and snicker, despite the number of decidedly unfashionable ladies who asked me where I got them, despite all . . until. Until the fateful day a couple of weeks ago when an elderly lady wearing my shoes walked into the bookstore where I work. And she was not a dedicated follower of fashion, oh no, she was carrying a fair amount of padding and rocking the sweatpants and My Grandchildren Decorated This Sweatshirt for Halloween look. Now she was pushing 80 and I am pushing 50, carrying some extra padding myself and fully planning on never wearing anything but yoga pants or sweats again after my 70th birthday so I get that and more power to her but. But my shoes. My hip, trendy, funky, unusual, oh so comfortable shoes. My flowery, shiny shoes that I thought said, hey, look at this totally cool bookstore clerk in her comfortable yet different, amazingly fantabulous shoes, my beloved shoes, were walking along on Meemaw's feet and what, just what does that say about me?

Fortunately I have two pairs! And these are clearly totally cool, right? Right?
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:54 AM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hey, at least it's your daughter who snickers at your comfortable shoes. I get that from my mother.
posted by asperity at 8:58 AM on October 16, 2012


Generic hiking boots when there's snow on the ground. Low-top Chuck Taylors, rarely in black or white, usually a different color each time, always with patterned laces (tiedyed, plaid, whatever) for non-snowy times. If I have to wear a suit, I'll be wearing dress shoes similar to these.
posted by a person of few words at 9:25 AM on October 16, 2012


Carolina lace-up leather work boots with a 2" heel. They make me 6'8" tall, which means I'm usually the tallest girl in the room. I wear 'em 90% of the time. Cute black Fila x-trainers 9% and boring black flats for the remaining 1%. I spend most of my spare time in an oily, dirty, metal-shaving-carpeted shop.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2012


Mostly I'm home, so I wear Reef. Yep, flipflops. Used to go barefoot at home, then in South Africa, the house was all ceramic tile on a slab, and painfully hard and cold in winter ("warm" climate = no heat = too cold for this Michigan boy). So now it's Reef.

Outside, currently wearing Camel Active low-tops. Brown. I only ever wear black if it is absolutely required to look right. All summer, I was in GORGEOUS red sneakers with mesh uppers. My feet were never happier, except walking in Lake Michigan beach sand. They are now worn out. I fear also my Camels. I'm partial to no brand. I'm difficult to fit state-side, and have to go to special stores in Europe (a 46 should fit, but is too damn narrow. 47 too long/loose).

The last pair of shoes I bought at a non-special shop were Tommy Hilfiger moccasins that caught my eye. They seemed okay, but then weren't. I have wasted much money on shoes that prove to not work, but were bought in desperation.

rtha: I'd say, from your boots, that you have had cock roaches. (WTF Metafilter? Am I the ONLY ONE here that knows "roach stompers" when I see them?)
posted by Goofyy at 11:28 AM on October 16, 2012


My closets holds 2 pairs very worn out expensive boots, 7 pairs worn down expensive designer heels, 1 pair worn out Chucks and 3 pairs cheap fairly newish shoes (1 boot, 1 heal, 1 pseudo-trainer).

You can pretty much tell I once was doing okay financially, but not so much in the past few years.


I've always looked at people's shoes, especially since Silence of the Lambs. But now I often have anxiety because my shoes are either much more worn out or much cheaper than those with whom I socialize... I'm hyper aware of what my shoes say about me.
posted by _paegan_ at 12:08 PM on October 16, 2012


I wear black lace-up hiking boots almost everywhere. What they say about me is that my ankles are unstable (and black goes with everything).

The insoles come out of the boots so I can put in my custom orthotics, which are big suckers with a deep heel cup for stability. Most boots (and shoes) aren't deep enough to fit both orthotic and foot, so my options are limited. I have four other pairs of shoes I can wear, ranging from dress shoes (with special orthotics) to sturdy sneakers for exercise, but I live in the boots because my ankles feel best in them.

I don't care very much what people think about my boots. There was a time when I fell down without warning in crosswalks, and a time after that when I couldn't walk half a block without the slipping bones cutting off blood flow to my feet. I miss wearing cute shoes, but I really love being able to walk.
posted by swerve at 1:22 PM on October 16, 2012


Huh. I can tell you for sure that if my feet would let me wear the kind of shoes I want to wear, you'd think I was a completely different kind of person than you would seeing me today in my Josef Seibels and Borns. And maybe I would be. Maybe my feet have shaped my destiny. The kind of shoes I can wear dictate to a very great extent the kind of clothes I can wear, which creates a certain kind of image and I'm sure tends to attract a certain kind of friend. All of my friends look more or less like me. Is it because of my feet?
posted by HotToddy at 1:27 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Goofyy: (WTF Metafilter? Am I the ONLY ONE here that knows "roach stompers" when I see them?)

I admit, that is one of the qualities that has kept my giant grinders on my feet lo these many years. Bugs? No problem. Splat. They are also good at keeping out water, mud, and critters that want to bite my ankles.

The one thing my favorite shoes all have in common is that they can go on and off without using hands. I have two pairs of sandals: one set of Nice Sandals, black leather; there's also a set of These Can Get Filthy plastic flipflops, replaced as necessary. I don't know what that says about me, beyond the fact that I am in Florida and being barefoot is the natural state of things. Getting mail? Barefoot. Taking the dog out? Barefoot. As a rule, if I have to put a bra on before doing something, then I have to put shoes on. But as soon as I can kick them back off (sandals in the car, boots at a friend's house) I will. Things that require hands to put on and take off (like my ridiculous but beloved red fake snakeskin boots with the clunky platform heel) don't get worn much.

Feets wanna be free!
posted by cmyk at 2:11 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


fshgrl: "Besides maybe gender, I fail to see how anyone could guess anything whatsoever about me from the dirty Asics running shoes I'm wearing.

Well if you're not actually running I'd hazard a guess you're American. If they're largely white and you're wearing them with long pants, you're older than 35. And if you're wearing them with white cotton socks, you're a city boy.
"

Not so much on the socks. I am a city boy, but I rock white gym socks (and have since I wasn't a city boy), as I suspect I have a mild allergy to sock dyes, which leads to gnarly quasi-athlete's foot. And, no, I am SO NOT an athlete any more.
posted by Samizdata at 9:58 PM on October 16, 2012


rtha: I'd say, from your boots, that you have had cock roaches. (WTF Metafilter? Am I the ONLY ONE here that knows "roach stompers" when I see them?)

Nope. Not since I lived in the place with the terrible upstairs neighbors in Takoma Park, and that's almost 12 years ago. I didn't own cowboy boots then, so I just used whatever shoes I had on my feet.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on October 17, 2012


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