A study conducted by the University of Kansas found that people can judge a stranger’s personality by looking at the person’s shoes with more than 90 percent of accuracy.
A total of 63 university students participated in the study and they were asked to look at pictures showing 208 different pairs of shoes that were most commonly worn by the other volunteer group. The group also filled out a personality questionnaire to indicate their characteristics.
Lead researcher Omri Gillath said the judgments were based on the style, cost, color and condition of someone’s shoes.
“Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” he wrote in the journal.
As a result, the number of detailed personality traits could be detected including a person’s general age, their gender, income, political affiliation and emotional stability.
The study showed some interesting outcomes. For example, “practical and functional” shoes were generally worn by more “agreeable” people, while ankle boots were more closely aligned with “aggressive” personalities. People with “uncomfortable looking” shoes tend to have “calm” personalities.
The researchers noted that while some people may choose shoe styles to mask their actual personality traits, volunteers were also likely to be unaware that their footwear choices were revealing insights into their personalities.
The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.
(From news reports)