Marvellous or boring? Your shoes will tell me before your mouth does.

Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


Show me the shoes you wear most often and I will correctly judge your age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits.[1] Well at least research says so.

Evidence that it works

Shoes as a source of first impressions” by Omri Gillath, Angela J. Bahns, Fiona Ge and Christian S. Crandall in Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 46, Issue 4 (

You can take a look at some of the masses of the press coverage here.

How it was done

Researchers found that a massive 90% of a stranger’s personality can be judged by their shoes alone!

Participants provided photographs of their shoes, and during a separate session completed self-report measures.
Coders rated the shoes on various dimensions, and these ratings were found to correlate with the owners’ personal characteristics.
A new group of participants accurately judged the age, gender, income, and attachment anxiety of shoe owners based solely on the pictures.
Shoes can indeed be used to evaluate others, at least in some domains.[2]

Some examples of what shoes tell us…

  • Owners who wear masculine or high top shoes tend to be less agreeable.
  • Anxious, clingy people prefer new and well-maintained footwear.
  • People who wear practical shoes tend to be relatively agreeable.
  • People that are calm and emotionally regulated wear shoes that look uncomfortable.
  • Aggressive people tend to wear ankle boots.

So…let the games begin and show us your most used pair of shoes.


[1] Shoes as a source of first impressions

[2] Shoes as a source of first impressions

Originally published at

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