Women love shoes; it’s an indisputable fact! Some women love high heels; some women love shoes that are bejewelled and bedazzled, some love Western boots, some love gladiator sandals, some love ballet pumps and some love thick, heavy boots. Whatever your shoe of choice, we know you love them. Ladies stalk through the pages of fashion magazines or blogs, searching for discounted designer fashion, we trawl through vintage and second-hand shops looking for just the right pair of already worn-in leather, we window shop with eyes lit up like Christmas trees. No judgement here; shoes are the best! The question is, why do women love shoes so much? I mean, in the end, they’re really just safety coverings for your feet…aren’t they? Let’s unpack some of the reasons why women love shoes so much.
Shoes: A Love Story
There’s the obvious reason, of course: shoes are pretty. I can’t count the times I have seen a gorgeous woman walking down the street. Her hair is blowing softly in the breeze, her face alight with happiness, her outfit perfectly coordinated and then…boom, bad shoes. A bad shoe can destroy all the beauty in a perfect outfit, in the same way, a beautiful shoe serves to complement it. A lovely pair of shoes is the star on top of the tree; no outfit is quite complete without it! There’s a shoe to suit every kind of woman. If you like adding a little height and extending those gorgeous legs, then high heels are for you. Platforms, stilettos, boots…and the list goes on. They aren’t very practical, however, if you do a lot of running around. For the woman on the go, there are stacked heels or, better yet, sensible flats. Sensible doesn’t mean drab, even if you opt for sneakers. The perfect pair of sneakers takes any outfit from flat to fab. In winter, there are delicious calf-length or thigh-high boots to complement your seasonal layering. In summer, there are strappy sandals to show off your new pedi or beat the heat. We love shoes because they’re beautiful and there are so many to choose from!
The Psychology Of It All
We love shoes because they’re pretty, and they make us feel good, but what’s underneath those surface feelings?
The curator of a recent exhibition at F.I.T. in New York, Valerie Steele, believes that shoes become an extension of a woman’s body and that they say a lot about our social status, sexuality, ethics and attitude. Valerie wondered if perhaps, the sculptural quality of shoes is part of the reason for the effect that they have on women. Clothing, when it isn’t on a body, looks lifeless. Shoes retain their perfect shape, and some even look like art. It might sound crazy, but buying shoes taps into something primal that our ancestors experienced: hunt, chase, kill. Just thinking about exciting new shoes starts adrenaline flowing through your body, so by the time you’ve reached the shoe store, the body has begun to release dopamine and serotonin as well as norepinephrine and oxytocin; those are some potent chemicals.
If you’re a high heel fanatic, there might be a reason beyond how gorgeous those Jimmy Choos are. Most animals are actually wired to associate height with power, and this includes humans. The saying “the higher the heels, the closer to God” could have an almost literal connotation in this context! When you wear heels, you become taller, which automatically means you are more of a threat in the animal kingdom.
The kind of shoe that a woman wears is a way to signal to the world what she’s all about. Much in the same way dangerous animals are brightly coloured, or birds of paradise use their incredible plumage to attract a mate. We aren’t saying that the perfect shoe will attract Prince or Princess charming, but it doesn’t hurt!
A very interesting aspect of our relationship with shoes is how, especially in the case of high heels, women often don’t wear their most loved shoes as much as others. This further emphasizes the artistic aspect of footwear; it is almost as if this pair of shoes is a priceless piece of art, only to be observed in safety and under the right circumstances.
Whatever the reason, shoes are beloved by women all over the world. We seek them out like huntresses, and we treat them like queens. Shoes will forever be an essential part of our lives.