New Shoes, New You: Survey Reveals Connection Between Footwear & Feelings

What do you do with a pair of shoes that has been with you through thick and thin? Your favorite pair of shoes has seen it all — the mud puddles, the morning jogs, the hiking trips, the shopping trips, even the foot fungus. Unfortunately, once fungus strikes, your podiatrist might recommend that you throw out all your shoes and start fresh to avoid the possibility of recontaminating your feet. Or your podiatrist may recommend using the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer to remove 99.9% of the fungi and bacteria in your shoes with each 45-minute cycle. For most people, the latter is not only a more economical option, but also a more emotionally gratifying option as well, as a new study reveals the ties between footwear and feelings.

high heels

Thanks to the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer, you don’t have to throw out your favorite heels.
Image Source: Flickr user Jassie Singh

The Study

The Association for Consumer Research took a look at survey questionnaires and independent studies conducted from 1990 to 2000 to find out how Americans feel about their footwear. On average, men own 12 pairs of shoes or boots, while women own more than 30 pairs. Some women even reported owning more than 100 pairs of shoes. However, men spend an average of $25 more on their most expensive pair. The vast majority of study participants agreed with statements like “I often look at what shoes men/women wear,” “I often buy footwear to indulge myself,” “My footwear has sentimental meaning to me,” and “I have a difficult time throwing out old footwear.” It became clear that people view their shoes as an extension of self — a symbol that is connected to their personas. According to lead author Russell W. Belk, a former professor at the University of Utah, the shoes also act “as a repository of memory and meaning in our lives.”

How Do Americans Feel About Shoes?

Here are a few main points and quotes from the “Shoes and Self” study:

1. Shoes are a rite of passage. In regions of the world from Scotland to Mexico, it was discovered that shoes confer status. For American girls, that first pair of high heels represents a transition to womanhood. One woman recalled her first pair of high heels she bought with her saved allowance money in sixth grade. “[My mother] kept asking me if I was sure I wanted those shoes — those white, fake-leather, sandal-like shoes with a two-inch cork heel. Undaunted, I walked out of the store in my shorts with my new high heels on. I wore my new shoes home proudly, feeling like a real woman, sexy, and mature.”

2. Shoes are a reflection of interests. The study found that people made stereotypes based on shoes. For instance, “preppies have the penny loafers, and thrashers — all they wear are high-tops,” one study participant reported. Others mentioned that sandals were for people who were “idealistic and radical,” and that combat boots could be “scary” because racist skinheads have been known to sport the style. Cowboy boots suggest country living, hiking boots reflect a love of nature, and extremely high heels may suggest promiscuity. Whether you agree with these stereotypes or not, the point is: we are often judged — and judge others — based on footwear.

shoe personality

People believe shoes offer a hint of personality.
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3. Shoes can be transformative. Just as Cinderella’s glass slipper turned her into a princess, and Dorothy’s ruby red slippers helped her get to Oz, we see our shoes as a transformative piece of clothing that helps us attain an idealized self. For instance, one woman who received a fresh pair of ballet slippers said, “New shoes make me want to be a great dancer.” Another man said he believed his black canvas Converse tennis shoes would make him “run faster” and “jump higher” (the same concept regarding PF Flyers was referenced in a climactic scene in the film The Sandlot). Cowboy boots and high heel shoes, in particular, were noted with “boosting confidence.” One woman said she felt she was “meaner” and could “throw down” in flats, but that she was “always a lady” in her heels. Another woman said she felt “high-spirited” in her Keds, like a “jock” in her tennis shoes, and “regal, businesslike, and sexy” in her high heels.

shoe significance

Can new shoes make us run faster or dance better, and help us achieve our dreams? Some people think so.
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 Why the SteriShoe UV Shoe Sanitizer?

“Our soles are the mirror of our souls,” the author summarized. “We feel and act differently in different shoes.” So it’s not surprising that people can get a little sentimental when faced with having to throw out their entire shoe collection. Besides, shoes are not terribly cheap. Imagine the cost of replacing an entire wardrobe of shoes to avoid foot fungus reinfection! SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer founder Adam Ullman suffered from recurring outbreaks of toenail fungus and athlete’s foot for many years until he realized that tiny spores in his shoes were the culprit behind his condition. Only after he used ultraviolet light to eradicate fungus and bacteria inside his shoes did he finally free himself from the unending cost and hassle of foot fungus treatment. So rather than toss out footwear that is contaminated with fungus or smelly due to bacterial build up, why not just give your shoes a pass through the ultraviolet shoe sanitizer and enjoy many more years with them? Try the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer risk-free for 30 days!