I’m back on shoes. I guess I really like shoes.
I’m really interested in shoes, and what they say about their owners. In theory, they’re inconspicuous, out of the way – as far away from the head, with its facial expressions and speaking as possible. We pay attention to faces, to upper bodies.
Down there at the lowly Cape Horn of the body sit the shoes, functionally tasked with keeping our oh-so-tender feet safe.
So as I sit in the park, watching the many people go by, I can’t help but wonder about the choices everyone made. Why those shoes? What possessed the wearer to choose this shoe instead of any other? Why does the market support such a wide variety of footwear?
What do my shoes say about me?
When I buy shoes, it’s an almost unconscious decision. I’ll browse online, or go to a shoe store (gasp) in person, and see what they have. If asked what I’m interested in, I’ll say “I don’t know”. I don’t know. And yet, I’m guided by an invisible will towards specific styles, brands, and types.
The reality is that I’m very specific about what type of shoe I’ll buy and wear, I just don’t like to admit it, even to myself. Whether or not I like it, whether or not I’ll admit it openly, I’m buying shoes in large part in order to tell you something about myself. Yes, I have some baseline requirements that don’t relate to other people (do they fit? Are they comfortable enough?), but the majority of my shoe buying decision comes down to you, and what I want you to think of me.
What do people’s shoes say about them?
Are they comfortable looking? Are they inconspicuous? Are they bright and obnoxious? Are they so obviously ugly that the wearer is either blind, or making some sort of statement about how little they care about what you think? Do they match the wearer’s shirt? Hat? Are they athletic shoes, in spite of the fact that the wearer is not currently doing anything athletic? Are they leather? Are they not leather, but brown anyway? Are they very obviously brand new? Are they dirty? Are they all white, but amazingly not dirty? Can you imagine how much work it is to keep all white shoes clean? Seriously, think about it, I’ll wait.
So, I don’t know, go look at your shoes. How much of the decision to buy that particular pair of shoes was about telling people about yourself? Are you happy with what they say?
Tune in tomorrow, where I’ll undoubtedly talk more about shoes.