Why the Shoes You Wear Are Important

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Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore


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Do you ever throw on a pair of old shoes, figuring no one will care about what’s on your feet?

If you do, then you might be interested to know that footwear actually has a significant impact on first impressions.

While most appearance cues, like attractiveness or hair style cannot lead people to accurately judge others’ personality or status, the study shows that shoes are one of the few cues that can. According to a recent study, correct judgments about people are indeed made just based on their shoes!

Sami Sarkis

Sami Sarkis

The study by Omri Gillath at the University of Kansas was conducted by having participants provide photographs of the shoes he or she wears most often.

A second group of participants were asked to judged the shoe owners based on only the photos of the shoes. These participants were able to successfully evaluate certain characteristics of the other group, such as their age, gender, and even income.



According to Allure, the participants of the shoe study also correctly associated feminine-looking shoes with agreeableness, while they associated dull, neutral-looking shoes with anxiety about being rejected by others.

So it turns out that Forrest Gump was right all along! You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes! Keep this in mind when you put on your next pair, or when you see what someone else chooses to wear on their feet.

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