Study: You Can Judge A Person By Their Shoes Shoes Tell Personality

Study: Strangers Are Judging You By Your Shoes

Yet another reason never to wear “mandals.” According to researchers from the University of Kansas, strangers can accurately judge you, ahem, solely by looking at your shoes.

Scientists asked a group of college students for pics of their footwear — flip-flops, boots, loafers, sandals, sneakers — and then had them take a personality test. Not shockingly, most of the shoes submitted were sneakers. (What? Did you wear wing tips to class?) A different group then rated the shoes’ owners on things like personality, political affiliation, age, gender, and family income.

Their intuitions were correct at a 90 percent rate regarding demographic characteristics. The study found that liberals were more likely to wear worn-down, cheaper footwear; laid-back people liked shoes that looked uncomfortable; agreeable people preferred practical and functional shoes, and aggressive people were drawn to ankle boots.

While we’re not shocked shoes reveal hints of personality — at first glance we knew that Ronald McDonald character was a total clown — the fact that subjects were also able to tell whether someone would be a stage-five clinger in a relationship was amusing. “Attachment anxiety” is the egghead term for clinger, and it refers to how concerned a person is that the people in their lives will one day go out for milk and cigarettes and never come back. Researchers think it may have to do with the color and upkeep: shoes in pristine condition may hint someone is more anal-retentive, while signs of wear and tear might signal someone is more easygoing.

The complete study will be published in the August issue of the Journal of Research in Personality.