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Psychologist Say, Shoes Really Do Make the Person | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Psychologist Say, Shoes Really Do Make the Person

Manolo says, once again, science proves that which we already knew to be true, that shoes tell us much about the person who is wearing them.

Researchers 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.

Lead researcher Omri Gillath found that by examining the style, cost, color of condition of the shoe, participants were able to guess about 90 percent of the of the owner’s personal characteristics.

And, we are supposed to be surprised by this? Seven years ago, our friend, the Miss Meghan published the very amusing book, The Perfect Fit; What Your Shoes Say About You that said exactly the same thing.

But, we must let the scientistic peoples have their say.

The 63 observers were then asked to look at each pair and guess the gender, age, social status and different personality traits of the owner, like whether the owner was an extrovert or introvert, liberal or conservative and the degree of their emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.

Researchers found that observers did well in guessing characteristics of the volunteers in almost all categories, and concluded that people do wear shoes that reveal their personality, whether they intend to or not.

Expensive shoes belonged to high earners, flashy and colorful footwear belonged to extroverts and shoes that were not new but appeared to be spotless belonged to conscientious types.


While some of the clues like the ones already described were obvious, other clues were more surprising.

Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people, ankle boots fit with more aggressive personalities and uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities.

Participants were able to most accurately judge a person’s age, gender and income followed by their emotional stability and agreeableness.

In psychology, emotional stability is an umbrella term that includes a person’s fear of abandonment, rejection issues and the ability to handle different kinds of relationships.

People with “attachment anxiety” or people that were most worried about their relationships generally had 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.

Not surprisingly, liberal thinkers, who many think of as flip-flop wearing hippies, wear shabbier and less expensive shoes.

And now the drum roll, please, for the grande finale conclusion….

“Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” the authors wrote. “Shoes serve a practical purpose, and also serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear.”

Ta-Da!! “People pay attention to the shoes they and others wear!”

Scientia omnia vincit!

And, now, the Manolo challenges you, using your newly discovered scientific super powers, tell the Manolo what sort of person would wear each of these three shoes…

Number 1:
Giuseppe Zanotti E20274 Platform Sandal

The E20274 Platform Sandal from Giuseppe Zanotti, retail price $1,150!

Number 2:
Super Birki White Flower Clog

The Birki’s Super Birki White Flower Clogs, with the retail price of $79.95

Number 3:
Jeffrey-West Ronnie Boot

The Ronnie Men’s Boot from Jeffery-West, selling for the $545.

Tomorrow, the Manolo will tell you correct answers to the question, what do these shoes say about their wearers.

6 Responses to “Psychologist Say, Shoes Really Do Make the Person”

  1. Victor June 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    1. Rihanna
    2. Rosie O’Donnell
    3. Adam Lambert

  2. daisyj June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    1. 23-year-old third wife.
    2. Either a gardener who is actually, currently, in the garden, gardening, or a person who thinks Family Circus is the height of sophisticated humor.
    3. Portrait of the investment banker as an angry young man.

    • erik nabler June 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      #1 – Jane Jetson

      #2 – Dutch Hippies

      #3 – George Hamilton and/or Antonio Banderas. (Slightly Fem or “Metro” media personalities.

  3. Klee June 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    #1: young, extroverted, more money than taste = Paris Hilton
    #2: young, organic, happy-to-the-point-of-manic-pixie = Zooey deschanel
    #3: rebellious rockabilly. Spends way too much time in the bathroom styling his hair and applying guyliner.

  4. shoes June 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    1 – A young disco freak.
    2 – A middle aged hippy
    3 – An ageing punk
    Since I was a little kid I have had the habit of looking at people’s shoes and trying to guess what the person is like, so this reasearch was really interesting for me.
    I don’t always get it right but I have great fun looking at footwear and guessing. It is a great hobby if anyone wants to give it a try.

  5. Laura V June 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Most frequently-worn shoe is a good choice, I suppose, since a lot of people have multiple types of shoe for different purposes.

    I’m kind of fascinated by the flashy & colorful -> extrovert correlation, because I’m an introvert who, right now, is wearing bright purple kicks (and own a fair number of flashy, attention-grabbing shoes). I’m not shy, though, and I’m kind of an in-your-face person (people think introverts cannot be these things, but they are wrong! Everything thinks I’m an extrovert and my husband an introvert when it’s the opposite, just I’m not shy and he is.)