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Study: Shoes indicate personality, kind of

UPDATE: Shortly after I published this post, I saw my colleague Sara Pauff blogged about the same topic at pretty much the same time as I did. Great minds think alike. Read her post here.


I called them Hippie Shoes.

I wore the gold, clunky heels while playing dress-up on Fridays as a child. Instantly, I traveled to the elusive land of Somewhere Else. It wasn't really the '70s. I wasn't really a hippie. But I most certainly wasn't Sonya Sorich.

More than a decade later, when the Hippie Shoes had grown dusty in an old closet, I found Business Shoes. I donned the heels while competing on a professional speaking team in college.

In retrospect, the activity wasn't an ideal fit. My frizzy hair was a stark contrast to the sleek buns my fellow female competitors flaunted. That was the least of my problems. I suffered more than my share of fainting escapades during those years.

But I had one thing in my favor: I wore the dark, bland professional heels that the most accomplished competitors owned.

If someone only looked at my feet, they'd think I was a champ. Which is exactly what I wanted.

It's also why I'm a little hesitate to fully embrace these study results about the amazing power of shoes. An excerpt:

In a study of college students, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, the authors found that people could correctly guess a stranger’s age, gender and income by looking at their shoes. That’s no real surprise, considering that the style of a shoe or its designer label can be immediately revealing.

But to their surprise, the researchers also found that people could accurately assess another person’s level of attachment anxiety — whether you tend to be clingy and insecure in your close relationships, or more laid-back and relaxed — based on their choice of shoes.

Hey, shoes are great. And I'm sure my orange pumps say something about who I am.

But here's the secret: They also say something about the person I'm pretending to be.