It’s true: You really can accurately judge a person by their shoes
It’s casual Friday here at Workopolis and I am wearing slightly beat up brown wingtip boots. Does this mean that I am particularly aggressive? Yes, apparently it does. A report by researchers at the University of Kansas has revealed that people can predict with a striking 90% accuracy personality traits of strangers based solely on their shoes. (And it turns out that ankle boot wearers are considered to be more aggressive.)
For this study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, 63 participants were asked to look at hundreds of pairs of shoes and to guess the age, gender, social status and a variety of personality traits of the owner. For example, subjects were asked to determine whether the shoes belonged to an extrovert or introvert, a liberal or conservative, how emotionally stable the wearer was, whether they were open, conscientious and agreeable and even how solid their relationship was with their partners.
Obviously the participants were able to fairly easily guess the age, income and gender of the people who owned the shoes. More surprisingly, however, they were also able to determine ninety percent of the personality traits as well.
So, what do your shoes say about your personality?
Pricey shoes belonged to people with high incomes, and men tend to have more expensive shoes than women. Showy and brightly coloured shoes belong to extroverts, and shoes that are not new but have been well cared for are worn by conscientious people.
The most agreeable people tend to wear practical and functional shoes, while ankle boots (as I mentioned) are more the choice of aggressive folks. And apparently calm personalities choose to wear uncomfortable looking shoes.
People who lean more to the left on the political spectrum tend to wear ‘shabbier and less expensive’ shoes than more conservative people. Plain and boring shoes tend to belong to ‘aloof and repressive’ characters. Shoes that were new but still showed signs of extreme polishing indicated relationship ‘attachment anxiety.’
Researchers pointed out that while people can always choose shoe styles to mask their actual personality traits, the volunteers for this study were unlikely to know how much their choice of footwear was revealing about their character.
“Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” concluded the study authors.
So, what are you wearing? ‘Aggressive’ boots? ‘Attachment anxiety’ polished new shoes? Or scuffed ‘liberal’ loafers? Whatever you’ve chosen to go with today, you’re apparently telling the world a lot about yourself.