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November 09, 2019 3 min read

Put your best foot forward! Make the right first impression with your shoes

First impressions are incredibly powerful and difficult to change once they are imprinted into our minds. According to Forbes it takes around 7 seconds to form a first impression. So, when meeting someone for the first time, it’s likely that they can form an entire opinion of you before you’ve even opened your mouth.

Appearance has a strong influence on first impressions. According toFashionista, shoes “serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear."

We’ve found two studies, that investigated a wearer’s shoe choice, and the first impressions that resulted from them. One study looked at impressions that didn’t necessarily have truth behind them, and the other looked at strange truths your shoes could actually reveal about you.

Regardless of whether there is any truth behind a first impression, knowing what people will assume about you based on your shoe choice, gives you the power to choose “better” or more strategic shoes.

Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller,  the authors of Mate: Become the Man Women Wantsurveyed 434 young, straight, single American women to get a more accurate sense of how women judge a guy’s shoes on a first date.

The women were shown a number of men’s shoe designs and asked how they would feel if the guy pitched up wearing each of them on their date. The impressions these women were left with, even though in many cases inaccurate, were surprisingly similar across the board. The main take-aways of “what you can tell from a man’s shoes”, were…

Sandals on a first date are a bad idea.

Wear shoes that cover your feet. Sandals on a first date tell the woman you have no sense of style, nor interest in the date, because you didn’t bother to dress properly.

Leather is always a good idea.

Of the shoes that evoked a positive response from the women, the top 7 all had completely leather uppers. Regardless of the shoe style, leather tells the woman that you made an effort. You cared enough about the date to put on some smart shoes. 

Boots are neither bad nor good.

They scored in the middle rankings. So, if you like them, wear them, if you don’t, then don’t. If your only options are leather boots or sandals, you know what to choose.

Never wear athletic shoes on the first date!

Like sandals, they convey that you didn’t really care enough about the date, nor respect the woman enough to bother getting properly dressed. Erring on the side of being slightly overdressed, is preferable to looking like you didn’t give a hoot. Smart shoes are associated with confidence and maturity.

Whilst these ideas regarding shoes were fairly common,  they may be entirely incorrect. You might be a wonderful man, who has great respect for women, a decent job, and lovely manners, who made the unfortunate mistake of wearing flops on your first date. But that’s the problem with first impressions, isn’t it? Once the idea is imprinted, it is very hard to change, and you can’t change it if you don’t get another date…

The second study we looked at found what your shoes say about you that is often very true.

A study conducted by the University of Kansas, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, asked participants to fill in questionnaires describing their personalities and economical demographics. Their shoes were then photographed and shown to strangers. The participants who assessed the shoes could determine up to 90% of wearer’s self-described personality traits and demographics, which included age, gender, income, and even attachment anxiety 

So, here are the study’s highlights, or what we like to call:

What your shoes say about you that is true…

Extroverts and introverts.

Shoes that show lots of wear-and-tear indicate extroversion and also emotional stability. People whose shoes are worn are not easily brought down, or up, by the opinions of others. Extroverts were also found to be partial to high top shoes.

Flamboyant and colorful shoes are no indication of extroversion or introversion. Introverts and extroverts are equally likely, or unlikely to wear very loud shoes.

Attachment anxiety.

Well-kept shoes are not an indicator of a conscientious owner, but rather an owner with attachment anxiety. The study found that well-kept shoes may indicate a person is more dependent on others for reassurance.

Aggression.

The most surprising nugget of information the study provided was the affinity of aggressive women for ankle booties.

So, if you go on a series of very successful dates with a girl who often sports worn down Chelseas, and one day you find blow torch in her bedroom… you might be wise to put your smart leather shoes back on and run. ( Unless that excites you of course…)

steve watts
steve watts


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