If you’re here at Shoeaholics Anonymous, then you’re likely the type of person who puts a lot of thought into what you’re wearing below the ankle. You may even build your entire outfit around that one crucial piece of your wardrobe: your shoes.
In most areas of life, we purchase things based off of how we relate to them. We buy into ideals as much as we do products. When it comes to our footwear, it’s very much the same.
I was in a meeting today and I realized at one point that four of the seven people there were wearing Nike. This isn’t surprising in and of itself, but it is worth noting. Nike is the most valuable apparel brand in the world, and that’s because they’re selling more than just clothing.
Beyond Just Shoes
The key to Nike’s marketing success lies in the fact that when we buy Nike, we’re also buying into the lifestyle that Nike represents. We’re participating in the “Just do it” mentality that obviously appeals to the masses. We’re affirming the popularity of the athleisure movement. We’re recognizing that Nike already represents a set of ideas, and that we stand behind what those ideas mean, both in fashion and in life. In a sense, we accept their reputation as our own.
When we come into contact with brands or specific products that align with our vision of ourselves and of the world, we are far more likely to buy them.
I would go so far as to suggest that what separates a Shoeaholic from the rest of the shoe-wearing population is that we don’t just participate, we enjoy utilizing our footwear to make a statement about who we are.
We Use Shoes To Tell People Who We Are
If Carrie Bradshaw is your spirit animal than your closet is likely full of Sex and the City inspired heels (Shoutout to the show for removing much of the stigma revolving around being a Shoeaholic). But even for those not pining after designer pumps, shoes are an important component of who we are.
Surfers work to maintain their level of comfort and coolness even when they’re far from the beach. Sneakerheads are totally a community in and of themselves with their own convention.
Even Crocs, which historically have not had the best reputation among those with interest in chic footwear, have fans willing to pay nearly $400 for the right pair.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that, “Surprisingly minimal appearance cues lead perceivers to accurately judge others’ personality, status, or politics.” The study found that a whopping 90% of your personality can potentially be communicated by the shoes you wear.
Obviously, this is not going to be true without fail. I often wear a pair of my husband’s rubber, slip-on sandals to the mailbox; I shudder to think what my neighbor’s perception of me is when she catches me at the mailbox. However, the study does reaffirm what most of us were already thinking: you can, at least to some degree, judge a book by it’s foot-cover. Even if you don’t care about shoes at all, your shoes are likely communicating the very fact that you don’t.
The Heart and Sole of the Matter
Shoes can certainly act as a primarily superficial construct within our lives, however, they have the potential to be much more than that. Because we use them as a form of expression and identification, they’re able to transcend just aesthetics. If you identify as a Shoeaholic, it’s likely because you’ve recognized that the shoes you wear reflect the person you are.