The Power & Meaning in Our Shoes
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
One of the places we often express our confidence is on our feet.
From athletic shoes to heels, our footwear helps us express ourselves and can be as unique as we are.
Our shoes as ourselves:
A study by researcher Russell W. Belk (University of Utah) speaks to the power of our shoes in our lives far beyond a cute boot.
Our shoes influence how we feel about ourselves and others. They have been shown to super-charge performance. They define us and they represent our personal histories.
The image of a pair of beat-up old Converse in the corner can ignites the sights, sounds, smells and angst associated with being a teen; of pick-up basketball games and old friends; or that skateboard incident we would rather not talk about.
The shoe obsession:
When forced to flee the Philippines in 1986, shamed first lady and shoe-queen Imelda Marcos left behind some 2,700 pairs of opulent shoes. And those were the ones she left behind.
Hundreds of those are on display today in a Shoe Museum in the northern city of Marikina in the Philippines.
But the shoe obsession has become wide-spread.
The concept of the shoe-closet says so: an entire room dedicated to shoes.
Here’s one place where the gap is disappearing: in 2016, men in the U.S. spent $26.2 billion on footwear.
Women spent $30 billion.
”Like most animals, we’re wired to associate height with power.”
– Helen Fisher, Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers
The power of the heel:
A good heel can make you feel powerful or richer or hotter and many can do all three. There’s no question that shoes can be a mighty tool of self-confidence.
A 2014 study at the University of Bretagne in France found that the higher the heel, the more cooperation women received and the more influential and attractive they were thought to be.
For decades, I was four inches taller at work than I actually was on the weekends. All those wonderful heels were absolute assets.
Turns out, men like a good heel and women aren’t bothered by it.
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