Pink Nike running shoes with blue laces, stained with dirt and sweat, and yes, even ketchup—these are my favourite and most frequently worn pair of shoes. Coming in a close second: a ratty pair of slippers from Winners. What do my shoe-wearing habits say about me? They indicate that I am able to afford (or at least willing to extend my credit) to purchase running shoes over $100, that I’m lazy, messy and that I enjoy perpetuating the myth that I am (even passably) athletic.
Now what’s on your feet? Because if you thought your shoes were just an accumulation of rubber and leather, think again. A recent study (via The Huffington Post) illustrates just how meaningful our footwear choices can be when it comes to revealing socio-economic status and personality traits. What you’re wearing on your feet can be so telling in fact that people make a number of assumptions about who you are when you kick off those same shoes.
While it’s hardly a surprise to learn that people judge us by what we’re wearing, what may be surprising is the fact that very often the assumptions they make based on our external appearance turns out to be true.
Researchers at the University of Kansas and Wellesley College asked volunteers to provide photographs of their shoes; later, during a separate session, those same people offered personal information. Those photos were then given to a new group of participants who were then asked to guess the age, gender, income and even attachment anxiety of the shoe owners.
Oddly enough, their guesses turned out to be on the money.
The Huffington Post article summarized a few of the curious correlations between footwear and personality traits. For example, extroverts often wear eye-catching shoes, while conscientious people took good care of their shoes (no ketchup stains.) And interestingly, it seems that the more uncomfortable your shoes the more likely it is that you’re calm, cool and collected.