General Question

Zaku's avatar

What do you see in shoes?

Asked by Zaku (19522points) February 18th, 2008

What do shoes tell you about a person? Personally, I rarely pay much attention to other people’s shoes. The only usual value judgment I know I make is about impractical shoes.

However, I know some people do care about shoes and “what they say about the wearer”, and it seems to only be women or extremely fashion-oriented men. I’d like to understand better what such people are thinking.

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28 Answers

tekn0lust's avatar

This seems simply horrible to me, especially if this is done prior to meeting someone for the first time. To form preconcieved notions about a person based on anything other than a persons mind would seriously undermine the possibility of forming any constructive relationship in the future.

It really doesn’t matter if it’s shoes or clothes or jewelery or even skin color this is an extremely shallow endeavor, IMNSHO.

I’m with you, I look at the eyes.

Here’s a fun test. Wear two slightly different shoes one day and see who notices. Report back :)

segdeha's avatar

There’s an R.E.M. song with the lyric, “When you greet a stranger, Look at her shoes. Put your memories in your shoes, Leave your travels behind.”

Just saying.

phoenyx's avatar

I don’t really thing about it. I am curious though.

Here are the shoes I’m wearing now.

What do you think they say about me?

kevbo's avatar

You strive for a brandless/label-less, somewhat earthy appearance that is not downscale like Wal-Mart downscale, but more a statement about not buying into a corporatized lifestyle. The lacing indicates a desire to show that you are clever enough to be frugal by choice (i.e. not simply poor due to ignorance). Also, they are either brand new, or you live a fairly clean and carpeted existence. You also don’t stray very far from earth tones, a) because it’s practical and b) because you feel bright colors are too flashy and egocentric.

After living with a costumer, I very much appreciate the beauty, sexiness and style that the universe of shoes inspire.

robhaya's avatar

Shoes are a more of a fashion accessory for women than men. Women have so many different types of shoes to wear along with colors (i.e. heels, slides, boots, etc.). For men the options are limited when it comes to dress shoes, brown and black. And not much else. Except when it comes to gym shoes, there is a little more variety.

I think that you can get a better sense of a person’s personality via their clothes, more so than shoes.

My two cents.

kevbo's avatar

I would add that my gf (who has a serious shopping addiction) has literally hundreds of pairs of shoes (and beautiful size 5 feet). My only complaint is that I think some of her shoe tastes are a little off, but the quantity (or the fact that she keeps buying them) is not an issue.

boydieshere's avatar

To me, men who wear flip-flops (thongs, to be precise) with jeans typically have really shitty personalities. Men who wear white shoes typically are the stereotypical frat boy. Women who wear Uggs tend to be bitchy. Chucks are pretty general, but people who wear Chucks are typically at least polite. There are more, of course, but those are the most common…

boffin's avatar

I think this question should be addressed to Almeda Marcos….

syz's avatar

I’ve never gotten the shoe thing either, although I can form an instant dislike for some individuals based on their shoes (women tottering around in ridiculous heels, flip flops, women who wear too-small shoes that leave toes hanging over the edges and heels bulging over the backs).

gailcalled's avatar

Boffin: funny answer but you mean Imelda (or perhaps Paris Hilton?)

@phoenyx: I like the non-traditional method of lacing, but w/o being able to see whether you tie double knots or not, I can only give a flawed analysis. Cute shoes, IAC.

@boydies; speaking of stereotypes!!! I wear Uggs up here in the frozen tundra of NYS (and haven’t considered myself bitchy since 1973); nor do the dozens of women who wear them for the same reasons…mountains of snow each winter.

@syg; I have an acquaintance who insisted on wearing Manhola Blahniks into her late 60’s.. She looked ludicrous and recently had to have an operation for severe hammertoes.

atr408's avatar

i love shoes and you realy can tell a perons personality by the shoes they wear. Im kind of weird because i wear two styles of shoes that are complete opposites. I wear “hip hop” shoes like nike dunks, jordans, air forces, and addidas. I aslo wear skateboarder shoes though such as circa, nike sb, vans, and fallen. By looking at a persons shoes you can tell what type of style that person has without even talking to them. If the have jordans they most likely have a urban style but if they wear skater shoes then they have a skater style. And if they have some payless shoes on then they just dont care what shoes they wear, they just got them because theyre cheap and comfortable. Shoes can also tell what type of music a person likes.

Zaku's avatar

Thanks for the answers, everyone!

So far I see some examples of how people who think about shoes think (though I don’t recognize many of the terms), and confirmation that many people don’t think about shoes, and some who resent that others try to read their personalities through their shoes. Looks like fashion-oriented men may be more common than I thought, or maybe it’s simply the crowd Fluther draws to this question.

It’s really interesting the specific examples of people reading character from shoes. (BTW, though I understand the tekn0lust’s sentiment, I’m not making anyone wrong for this – practically everyone has their ways of trying to understand who people are.)

phoenyx's avatar

The first thing I notice is that they are laced differently. The left shoe is under-over and the right one is over-under; something akin to coloring outside of the lines. They look comfortable.

I bought the shoes in the picture at a payless that was liquidating their inventory because they had to move to a new location. I paid about $5 for them. I got them because they were cheap and comfortable. I lace my shoes with a double-helix and mirror the pattern. I don’t really know why I like it so much, but the pattern is very satisfying to me. I tie my shoes with what I think is called a shoemaker’s knot. It’s basically the standard overhand knot but you take the loop around an additional time. It holds about as good as a double-knot, but you can still pull it undone easily.

kevbo's avatar

@zaku: You don’t enjoy shoe shopping, and/or you develop a comfort level/attachment to a particular pair. Also, you prefer classic looks—simple and unadorned, but not boring or plain by any means. You probably have a strong stride owing to your equally strong identity.

segdeha's avatar

@kevbo, You could have a sub-site here, maybe where people upload shoe photos and you analyse them. You’re amazing!

kevbo's avatar

Thanks! Yeah, it’s kinda fun. No idea how close to the mark I’m hitting, though.

Zaku's avatar

@kevbo: I’ll let you know after others have had more of a chance to divine my character.

gailcalled's avatar

So, this is my penchant during the winter, when I’m not wearing my Uggs.
Gail’s feet fashions

Zaku's avatar

@gail: LOL! Nice!

phoenyx's avatar

So I did a little research.

Apparently, the shoemaker’s knot is also known as the “turquoise turtle” knot. It is equivalent to Ian’s secure shoelace knot which he claims is three times more secure than a standard overhand knot. I think that once you try it, you’ll like it much better.

I also found out that double-helix lacing is patented by someone named Monte Fisher. I don’t even know what it means to patent a way to lace shoes. Perhaps my shoes are a patent violation?

segdeha's avatar

Who knew?!

gailcalled's avatar

So, nu, who knew?

@Kev; No analysis of me and my footwear? Waa! (Would it help if you imagined me wearing my toucan slippers AND my Groucho glasses/mustache?

kevbo's avatar

I was going to say that you have a long, pointy nose, but it didn’t feel clever enough.

You’re one tough bird. How’s that?

Zaku's avatar

@Phoenix – Yes, the Patent Police will be visiting you to extract all the joy you’ve derived from tying your shoes in a way that someone else owns. They may also try experimental memory-wiping techniques to prevent you thinking about it. Don’t try objecting, or you’ll get a communist armband and/or be made to disappear by Homeland Security. However, your next of kin will be reimbursed with a coupon for intellectual property in an estimated amount based on what they calculate you would on average have invented in the future, had you not wickedly violated a patent.

Zaku's avatar

Ok, time to respond to feedback on the pressing question of my shoes. And thanks, as I was wondering. :-)

@phoenyx: You immediately saw something I didn’t even know myself about myself: I laced my shoes differently as you observed immediately, and I never noticed. I was only barely aware that there were two possible patterns, so great is my lack of attention to cosmetic shoe details.
And you’re also right that the shoes are comfortable, which is vital because I do USE my shoes a lot.

@kevbo: Indeed I do not enjoy shoe shopping, and yes I do break them in and they get comfortable. I typically own and regularly use 1–3 pair of shoes which are all almost the same, plus 1–3 others that I almost never wear (boots & dress shoes that I can’t stand because they are uncomfortable and dangerously tractionless).
And ya, I stride around and express myself by walking, running, loping and bounding around as a physical embodiment of freedom and individual expression.

In fact, I failed to learn how to tie my shoes the orthodox way in Kindergarten, which was a stressful for me until I invented my own way to tie my shoes which made sense to me and the result looks identical unless you study it.

So in this in-depth study, 2/2 people can read accurate things about me from looking at my shoes, and I have no such abilities. :-)

Emelo123's avatar

I love shoes. And i wear all kinds of shoes. I wear shoes depending on the season, the color of clothes i have on and the occasion. In the winter/Fall I wear mostly boots such as UGGS .They are extremely comfortable and fashionable too! I have them in the Chestnut color which matches with everything! I also have them in Dark brown and light pink. In the spring I start to wear wedges and athletic sneakers too. They are also comfortable and Fashionable. In the summer I mostly wear Flip Flops. And i buy those in stores like Old Navy ,Victoria secret and other stores in the mall. I look mostly for it to be comfortable and Fashionable. But then again this what i wear to school depending the season. IF its a party then its High heels or something Dressy.!

dabbler's avatar

I notice shoes, but tend to have reactions that are not necessarily typical.
Super-fancy dress shoes that are impractical (can’t walk across a parking lot) or too high (eeek!), forcing the wearer to fuss or ache, just look stupid to me. It’s not a judgement, that I thought about, they actually look stupid.

Because I’m a runner, I find the training-shoe-with office suit look attractive – most people find that appalling. “Ballet” flats look lovely to me because the wearer tends to grip the road in an animal fashion. Mmmmm, pretty animal !
I like a shoe that looks like it is comfortable for the wearer.
On the other hand a woman who can step strongly in any shoe including those crazy stilts will always get my attention. And shoes that are playful get a nod too.

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