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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Everything Looks Better In A Great Pair Of Shoes

Posted by Author R. Ann Siracusa
Warning: Be careful what kind of shoes you wear. Not only can the wrong ones hurt your feet, they telegraph some of your personality traits to anyone who pays attention. Your shoes tell more about you than any other individual item in your wardrobe.
Do your personality traits and shoe choices match? Leave a comment about whether or not you believe this is true or at least partially true or, to quote Dr. Sheldon Cooper on TV's The Big Bang Theory, "This is pure Hokum!"
That's probably not a true statement. There has to be one woman somewhere who doesn't love shoes, but the general conception is that women can never have enough of them. I can't agree more.
Does your heart race when you think about shoe shopping? Does the adrenaline pump when you find a pair of Valentinos -- in your size -- for a phenomenal sale price? What would you save first if your house was on fire?
As researchers are wont to do, they all have different statistics regarding the number of pairs of shoes the average American woman owns. I found at least three references: seven, ten, and twenty pairs. Some people (men and women) have as many as two hundred, and Imelda Marcos admitted to owing one thousand and sixty pairs (but not the three thousand she was accused of). Still, that takes a lot of closet space and money.
But you must take into account that today, in our active and varied society, women need a wardrobe of different styles and colors of shoes to round off an outfit or a "look", and also we own shoes appropriate for a variety of activities.
So no regrets!
After all, according to the Style Forum at (, "Today our usual hardship isn't going without shoes, or putting cardboard inside the ones you have to make them last. It's longing for shoes you'll rarely wear or can't afford or both. Thanks to Internet shopping, you don't even have to leave home or live in a big city, to face the temptation."
Sometimes it seems that our personalities have been studied, dissected, and categorized by every conceivable notion that psychologists can come up with. Apparently, we can all be shoved into little square boxes or round holes.
In this case, researchers have used a variety of characteristics to classify the type of woman who wears a particular type of shoe, the variables depending on which psychologist or fashionista writes the article.
The most attention-getting was a 2012 study conducted at the University of Kansas which found that people can assess accurately 90 percent of a "stranger's personality, including their emotional stability, simply by looking at their most-worn pair of shoes." -- Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
April Masini, a relationship expert who authored Date Out of Your League, writes “It’s wise to check out her […a woman's] shoes for clues about who she is, and how she’ll behave.” She also says that "Women in revealing, high-heeled sandals are more likely to be confident naked than women in closed-toe heels."
Who Knew?
Another interesting aspect of our personal relationships with shoes is that some women rarely wear the shoes they love the most. It's as though a designer made the pair just for them, a coveted work of art to be looked at, perhaps occasionally touched. It's an experience that, for them, is special and private.
Researchers claim a woman's shoes show her degree if confidence, personality type, and personal branding.

It's true that our confidence is boosted by feeling good about ourselves. Since one's shoe size doesn't fluctuate much with either weight or age, our self-esteem is safer in a great pair of shoes that doesn't fit quite right than it would be in a dress, jeans, or a bathing suit that's too tight. High heels lengthen a woman's shape, display her legs, change her posture, and put a smile on her face that comes from inner confidence,
The statement I found most interesting is that psychologists noted that people will rarely and  purposely choose shoes just to convey a certain public image that is different from their real personality. I would have guessed that many women wear shoes, purses, and clothing, at least on occasion, to impress others. To me that is trying to project an image different from the real personality. But the, I'm not a psychologist.
My bad!
COST Expensive shoes are not necessarily an indication of financial status. While expensive shoes usually denotes someone who is a high earner, not all women who wear expensive shoes have excess money to spend. These are the characteristics of a woman who wears:
▪ Expensive shoes that are not leather is likely to be Vegan. ▪ Expensive shoes every day, but not a name designer brand people recognize, is either from old money, doesn't like to flaunt her wealth, or is a modest person who enjoys quality shoes.
▪ Expensive-looking shoes that are not authentic is a women who wants to appear wealthy to others. ▪ Expensive shoes all sorts, all brands, is a women who values her personal style and is willing to invest in herself. According to celebrity stylist Christina Scjerck, "If she's wearing an expensive pair of work shoes--closed-toe, conservative pumps--she probably values her work a lot. If she's got a pair of expensive riding boots, she's the kind of person who likes to splurge on luxuries."

HEEL HEIGHT As far as I'm concerned, these "characteristics" are self-evident in a Well, Duh sort of way. Not rocket science. Erin Ross of, is a researcher who throws age into the mix. According to her, these are the characteristics of a woman who wears:
High heels 3" and over and doesn't have ability to walk in them gracefully
     ▪ Probably under thirty
     ▪ Looking for a man
     ▪ Single and/or sneaky
     ▪ Desperate
     ▪ Not serene or laid back

She also says, "These girls do not realize that men are making fun of them behind their backs and imitate their wobbly-baby deer walk. These men typically see these girls as one night stand material." ( )
High heels 3" and over and is able to walk in them gracefully
▪ Probably over thirty
▪ Probably professional and/or walks in them most of the work week
▪ Confident
▪ Pays her own bills
▪ Works hard for her money
▪ Usually not in a serene mood.
Women wearing very high heeled sandals are likely to be more confident than women wearing closed-toe high heels.
Short heels (1-2") 
     ▪ Typically over 40
▪ Overall fashion chic (just in lower heels)
▪ Used to wearing higher heels but now can't
▪ May lack confidence

Wedges or very low wide heels
▪ Want to appear taller without the discomfort of high heels
▪ Middle of the road type personality
▪ Insecure
▪ Typically over 40
▪ Overall fashion chic (just in lower heels)
▪ Used to wearing higher heels but now can't
▪ May lack confidence
Wedges or very low wide heels
▪ Want to appear taller without the discomfort of high heels
▪ Middle of the road type personality
▪ Insecure
Flats are worn by all ages. While flat sandals weren't mentioned in the studies, I assume that they fall into the "flat" category in warm climates. Flat shoes appeal to a woman who wants to look put-together and dressy but also walks a lot or wants comfort. These are the characteristics of a woman who wears flats.
▪ More laid back
▪ Active, does a lot of walking
▪ Tends to be a practical, down-to-earth person
▪ Puts comfort above style

Women who wear functional and practical shoes (which doesn't mean they are inexpensive or unstylish) are found to be agreeable.
Ankle Boots
▪ Aggressive
▪ Sloppy ankle boots - Probably very blasé about everything—or at least pretends to be.
Athletic Shoes
Women differ widely when it comes to athletic shoes, in terms of the look, cost, color, and use. They come in a wide variety and are far more "socially acceptable" than they used to be. Most studies didn't have much to say about who wears them, because we all do. Remember, a woman in sneakers may not be as laid back as some might think; she's on the go and ready.
Color always plays a big role in fashion as well as personality. These are the characteristics of a woman who wears:
Flashy and/or colorful                                                       

▪ High maintenance (if wearing hot pink or neon colors)
▪ May have a challenging personality and expect to be put on a pedestal
▪ Playful
▪ Bigger risk takers
Boring shoes, dull colors
▪ Aloof and repressive in their emotions
▪ Don't care what other people think of them
▪ Don't stand out in general appearance
▪ Have a hard time forming relationships
▪ Not necessarily good communicators
In studies, the people who wore boring shoes were the hardest to judge. The last two traits in the list above are "self-descriptions" about themselves by people who wear boring shoes and dull colors. Doesn't Kate Middleton wear dull colors?
Mono-chromatic people are considered "self-serious". The shoe industry refers to them as "the black and camels".
● One study [Cherise Dyal, M.D.] reveals that "working women who wear high-top sneakers and orthopedic loafers are smarter."
People whose shoes are not new but are spotless, are conscientious.
People with "attachment anxiety" or people that were most worried about their relationships generally have brand new and well-kept shoes. Researchers suggest that this may be because they worry so much about their appearance and what others may think of them.
● Liberal thinkers tend to wear shabby and more inexpensive shoes.
As the saying goes, context is everything. By this point in my research, I'd become very skeptical. Who are these people that think they can say with authority that liberal thinkers wear shabby shoes?
Get real!
My experience is that people are far more complex than such studies would imply. Humans defy pulling out a few traits from a study of a thousand people and drawing broad general conclusions about everyone.
Personally, I know I wear different kinds of shoes depending on the circumstances and, yes, there may be times I want people to think I have more money than I do, or that I'm younger than I am. At other times, I wear boots (even ankle boots) just want to keep my feet warm.
The message shoes send is the context within which they are worn. What you wear with what and where, and how well you keep your shoes often sends messages that we wouldn't like. Context is everything. That's my conclusion, and I'm sticking with it.

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Cara Marsi said...

Very interesting, Ann. My first thought was, "Don't these researchers have anything better to study than women's shoes?" And why aren't they studying men's shoes? I used to wear very high heels, but as the study shows, the older I got, the less I was able to wear them. I wear many different types of shoes. I'm a liberal thinker, and my shoes are NOT shabby. I love sandals and all open-toed shoes. When I was single, I'd stay away from guys wearing worn or dirty shoes. I felt it told something about their personality. So maybe I'm no different from the researchers, judging people by their shoes.

Melissa Keir said...

Wow... that's a lot of information on what a woman wears on her feet! I am not a shoe person, nor a purse person. I have about 7 pairs and two are boots for winter, and two pair of dress heels. I tend to wear the same shoes all the time until they wear out. I am comfortable in both heels and not but I love a shorter heel the best.

It's funny because my husband has more shoes than I do... He loves shoes and boots. But then I'm a book girl and hoard those!

Susan Burns said...

I'm a TEVA kinda girl.
I can no longer wear heels for any length of time.

MaryG said...

I'm all for comfort, always have been. I loved high heeled shoes when I was younger, but when I started turning my ankle, I decided to go to a shorter heel. I love sandals and wear shoes until they fall off my feet,because they are comfortable.
Nice blog, Ann.

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