You know that old X-rated saying, “the bigger the shoes, the bigger the…” I think you know the rest. Anyway, there’s a new study out that proves you can actually tell a whole lot about a person from his or her shoes–personality-wise, that is.
Research conducted by The University of Kansas found that, when presented with photographs of complete strangers’ footwear, people could accurately determine up to 90% of the wearer’s self-described personality traits and economical demographics.
Volunteers participating in the study filled out personal profile questionnaires, along with their most frequently worn shoes. Categories included age and gender, as well as less concrete traits such as political preferences, emotional tendencies, being extroverted v. introverted, and agreeableness.
Maybe all of our shoe-obsessions aren’t so frivolous, after all. Via the Daily Mail, the research team found that, while shoes are considered practical items (are you listening, Daphne Guinness?), they also “serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear.”
So what message does the pair you wear send out to all your admirers? We’ll start with the most obvious: Expensive shoes equal well-off owners (shocker). Bright, bedazzled pairs belong to extroverts, while conscientious peeps keep their shoes the tidiest. More surprising was the conclusion that aggressive girls are most likely to wear ankle booties (rethinking my worn-down Chelseas as I type!), and that the most uncomfortable looking footwear is most often rocked by society’s calmest citizens. Victoria Beckham must be a modern-day Gandhi. And according to the study, liberal people are more likely to wear scruffier, less-expensive shoes. Try telling that to Anna Wintour.
Which footwear wearers were the hardest to peg? People with ‘boring shoes’–they’re apparently the most “aloof and repressive” with poor communication skills, and unsurprisingly have trouble with relationships. The Huffington Post was quick to point out Kate Middleton’s favorite, glued-to-her-royal-feet L.K. Bennetts–though, considering Kate went from a commoner to a Duchess due in part to a minorly significant relationship with a certain prince, there must be some margin of error here.
So, do the shoes make the woman, or is it the other way around? Do you feel accurately represented to the world by your favorite footwear? And incase you’re thinking this all seems a bit contrived… there’s actually an entire book written on the topic of personality revealing shoes, Meghan Cleary’s aptly titled The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You.
Click through to see what this new study says about some of our favorites fashion people’s footwear… interpreted, of course, by us!