What do shoes say about you?

June 29, 2012 1:23:28 PM PDT
First impressions matter. They happen fast and your shoes can make a difference.

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but most of us do anyway. It turns out, we also judge people on their shoes. Sexy high heels, ballet flats, or comfy flip flops - what does your footwear say about you?

"Something that, for most us, we might not think that much about can actually convey a lot of information about us to other people. And in many cases, it's judged relatively accurately," Scott Bea, Psy.D. at Cleveland Clinic said.

University of Kansas researchers asked about 60 college students to check out photos of the shoes of their fellow classmates. Not surprising, they were good at figuring out a person's age, sex and income. But they could also accurately guess certain personality traits - people in practical comfortable shoes are perceived as more laid back and relaxed. Those with masculine shoes are more uptight. People with plain shoes that look new are more likely to be anxious and insecure.

"People are actually pretty good at perceiving accurately the personality characteristics and some other aspects of the individual who owns the shoes// shoes give away much more about us than we might first think," Bea said.

But don't be fooled. There are times when shoes don't reflect the truth. You may assume that someone in a pair of beautiful well kept shoes is more outgoing and conscientious, but the researchers found that isn't always true.

As they say perception is reality, so choose wisely when you choose your shoes.

That study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

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