“Researchers found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger’s age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person’s shoes.”

Let people judge these.

This study is good news.  It provides yet another justification for buying more kick-ass shoes.

According to Medical Daily,

Researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger’s age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person’s shoes.

For the study, 63 students looked at photographs of 208 pairs of shoes, and then guessed about personality traits of the shoes’ owners.

Here is what the researchers found:

Expensive shoes belonged to high earners, flashy and colorful footwear belonged to extroverts and shoes that were not new but appeared to be spotless belonged to conscientious types.

***

Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people, ankle boots fit with more aggressive personalities and uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities.

I’m no shoe scientist but the study seems a bit flawed.  Disclaimer:  I haven’t read the study because it costs more than $30 to access it.  That is $30 I can put into my shoe budget.

Plus it is really difficult to understand this study without seeing photos of the shoes used.  What exactly is an ankle boot?  The ankle boots at this link certainly suggest aggressiveness.  But the ankle boots at this link, not so much (WARNING –link contains brown).

My biggest gripe with the study is that it seems a little skewed:

Researchers had asked each of the volunteers to fill out a personality questionnaire and to provide their most frequently worn shoes for the experiment.

People will choose shoes that they think will reflect personality traits they want to exude.  So at most what this study establishes is that people associate certain traits with certain types of shoes.  But it is pretty unclear to me how it shows that the people who wear those shoes actually possess those character traits.

The study can be found at this link.

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~ by siouxsielaw on June 14, 2012.

2 Responses to ““Researchers found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger’s age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person’s shoes.””

  1. Totally agree with your last paragraph. And yes, it’s hard to fully understand the results without photos of the shoes and/or definitions of their adjectives. For example, What does “expensive” mean – are $300 Fluevogs expensive or are they talking about $800 Manolo Blahniks? What does “flashy” mean?

    I do think that shoes are a fairly accurate representation of one’s personality — within the mainstream. And I’d assume their volunteers were mainstream. I think the success rate would be lower with subculture volunteers. I frequently wear New Rock ankle boots with silver crosses. They’re expensive (by my estimation) and one could say the silver crosses and shiny metal make them pretty flashy. I guess that makes me an aggressive, high-earning male extrovert. :O

  2. I have to agree with you on this and a sample of 63 students at a Kansas University is hardly a sample of the population as a whole. Poorer people sometimes buy expensive (or expensive looking knock-offs) to try to project they have money when they really don’t, some introverts like wearing flashy colorful shoes to draw attention to themselves and seem more open so someone else will start a conversation. Sometimes mild mannered old ladies like to wear ankle boots to keep their joints warm so their arthritis is not as painful.

    I

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