Have spotless shoes? You may be an insecure person

Turns out, you can judge a person rather accurately by their shoes.

Meryl D'Souza May 16, 2016

Stop pretending, you’ve judged people by the shoes they wear and vice versa. Here’s the eerie part though: all those assumptions you made of them and they of you are mostly true.

A study by psychologists 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.

The study had about 200 volunteers submit pictures of their shoes along with a completed questionnaire that detailed aspects of their personal lives. Later, a group of 63 students carefully examined the pictures of the shoes and were asked to guess the age, gender, personality, social status and anything else that would describe the person that owned the footwear.

Just by examining the style, cost, colour, and condition of someone’s shoe, participants were able to guess about 90% of the of the owner’s personal characteristics.

Their findings included:

  • Expensive shoes belonged to high earners
  • Flashy and colourful footwear belonged to extroverts
  • Practical and functional shoes generally belonged to agreeable people
  • Ankle boots fitted with more aggressive personalities
  • Uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities

Researchers also found that people could accurately assess another person’s level of attachment anxiety — whether you tend to be clingy and insecure in your close relationships, or more laid-back and relaxed — based on their choice of shoes.

The study that’s now published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that people with anxious attachment styles were more likely to wear new-looking or well-kept shoes, perhaps because they worry about appearances and what other people think of them whereas liberal thinkers wear shabbier and less expensive shoes.

While the students got the characteristics of owners right in almost all categories, researchers noted that they missed out the fact that the most boring shoes belonged to those who found it hard to form relationships.

This is because these people are 'aloof and repressive' in their emotions and do not care what others think of them so they do not stand out in their general appearance.

This was one of the few cases where the shoes they wore said very little about their personalities because it was so dull. If you’re one of the guys who fall into this particular category, we suggest its time you up your shoe game and rig the system.