There is a sign in the subway that explains New York completely. “NYC: Tolerant of Your Beliefs, judgmental of your shoes.” We are open to many walks of life, but your shoes…well that’s another story. And it turns out, we know what we’re talking about. A new study by researchers at the University of Kansas, which will publish in the August 2012 online edition of the Journal of Research in Personality, reveals that you can judge 90 percent of a person’s characteristics by their shoes.
The study involved volunteers filling out a personality questionaire and providing photos of their most frequently worn shoes. Then 63 students looked at the photos and were able to accurately guess the volunteers’ gender, age, social status, and even whether the owner was an extrovert or introvert, liberal or conservative, and their degree of emotional stability and openness.
Some interesting findings from the study:
1. Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people.
2. Ankle boots belong to those with more aggressive personalities.
3. Uncomfortable looking shoes are (surprisingly!) usually worn by those with calm personalities.
4. Those who are most worried about their relationships wear brand new or well-kept shoes. This is because they are worried about what others think of their appearance.
5. Liberals (Read: hippies) wear less expensive shoes.
6. The more boring a shoe is, the harder it is for the owner to form relationships. This is because they don’t care what others think of their appearance.
“Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” the authors of the study said. “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.”
What do your shoes say about you?