The psychology of men’s shoes

Before we build relationships, we have to make a first impression. So often the look of the person and the clothes they wear are the driving force behind this meeting moment, but what about the shoes?

There are many theories on what different shoes for men represent, but a University of Kansas study reveals some startling results. Whether it’s Chelsea boots or penny loafers, what you wear on your feet may well dictate how other people perceive you.

Oxfords: solid guy

Black Oxford shoe

The classic, solid Oxford shoe

A man with immaculately presentable shoes, may seem like a catch, but he might not reciprocate an emotional attachment. According to the study, those who have fantastically shiny shoes, may be more attached to their footwear than friends, family or a possible partner.

So if a man is dressed in a wonderfully shiny pair of Oxfords, does that mean he is exuding messages of short-termism?

Though the gentleman in question may have attachment anxiety, it may be that he’ll apply his conscientious approach to footwear, to the rest of his life. The same shiny shoes that are the mark of a social shyness, might also be a sign of dependability. In short – shiny shoes – solid guy.

Good time Gibsons

Brown lightweight Derby shoes

Is it a Derby or is it a Gibson?

A man in unkempt trainers, or unshined Gibsons, may seem like a lazy so and so, but research suggests the wearer is socially energetic.

Wearing well worn, slightly shabby looking shoes, is a sign that the gent in question doesn’t have time to buff his boots or go shopping for replacements. Wining, dining and having a good time top his list of priorities, and he is very good at them too.

Chelsea boots: colourful characters

Samuel Windsor boot collection

Which boot would you wear?

It seems obvious, but the bolder and more colourful the shoe, the more extrovert the character wearing them.

But it goes a bit deeper. While someone who picks big, bright boots may be confident, it also appears those more partial to colourful shoes are more open to conversation and are good at public interaction.

Chelsea boots are the footwear choice of ‘entertainers’, but at the same time, a colourful shoe wearer makes a better friend.

These shoes have a point

Their shoes may be the envy of many, with style oozing from the seams, but according to the study, those wearing the most stylish shoes, were also the meanest. And those who had the most visible brand name, were the worst of the lot.

Pointy shoes look great but they can be pretty uncomfortable. According to the study, sharp toe caps give the first impression that the man wearing them is more concerned with personal aesthetics, than inner happiness.

To say that all stylish men are mean hearted, is a wide sweeping statement. Take time to chat. Check that the man in question is comfy in his shoes, before making up your mind. A sartorially elegant man can be likeable too.

Style costs

Fashion doesn’t always come cheap, but researchers did show that the more expensive the shoes, the more stylish people considered them to be.

But be warned that flashing the cash, doesn’t necessarily make a man more likeable. The more money, spent, the more stylish shoes become. But in terms of first impressions – the more you spend, the more shallow people think you are.

It’s certainly possible to look stylish and be a nice fellow, but perhaps what this proves is that money can’t buy you happiness.

The style of politics

G8 summit walk

Image source: Pete Souza – The White House / Wikimedia
Style Summit

No politician is universally loved. But adored or not, some are undoubtedly stylish.

Here we take a look at some of the world’s most dapper politicians. Power dressers with style, wearers of fine Italian shoes and lovers of tailored suits. Because unlike the Devil, a politician doesn’t just wear Prada.

Barack Obama

Image source: The Official White House Photostream / Public domain
Quiz: who is he calling?

Thanks to his confidence, poise and fun filled attitude, Barack Obama can attend a ‘ball game’ in jeans and a jacket and still turn heads. But when on official business, he emanates sophistication.

His Hart Schaffner Max suits, Johnston and Murphy shoes, and Ray Ban sunglasses are just part of what has built the ‘Obama look’. And though the promised “change” at the beginning of his tenure, has arguably not come to fruition, Obama is definitely more fashionable than his predecessor, George Bush.

Enrique Peña Nieto


Image source: PresidenciaMX 2012-2018 / Wikimedia
Not as popular as he used to be…

Mexican supremo, Enrique Peña Nieto is known for his natural good looks. But a handsome face is worthless without a strong sense of style. With his tailored suits and fine Italian shoes, Nieto certainly knows how to dress for success. And while Nieto’s noisy Northern neighbour might have scored more economic goals, as far as dress sense is concerned, it’s a level playing field.

Like his northern neighbour, Nieto isn’t afraid to get out of his suit, and into his casual gear. After Mexico was named the most obese nation in the Americas, he took part in a 10k run to promote healthy living. But it was his shorts rather than his message that captured the media’s attention. Perhaps he should stick to pinstripes.

David Cameron


Image source: Tom Evans / Open Government License – Wikimedia
Cameron commands respect for his well chosen suits

The Prime Minister may not have the natural sophistication of Obama, or Nieto’s good looks, but his suits are well chosen, and flattering. Vanity Fair were so impressed with his wardrobe, they named him world’s most chic politician.

Conservatives have been accused of being out of touch with the public. We couldn’t possibly comment, but the Tory supremo was spotted at the 2009 party conference sipping champagne in a Richard James suit from Saville Row. At an austerity beating £3,500, it was certainly stylish, but thrifty?

Vladimir Putin


Image source: / Wikimedia
Supreme power dressing

When Vladimir Putin isn’t in a tank, hunting topless or doing judo, he looks very smart in a tailored suit. Some would even say he looks intimidating, which is perhaps his very intention; power dressing at its most powerful.

The late Iranian fashion designer known simply as Bijan, is said to have made a suit for Putin. We can only assume it didn’t come cheap because while the fiesty Russian may ride in a limousine, the late tailor drove custom Bugattis, Ferraris and the odd Rolls Royce.

How to keep your deck shoes smelling fresh

Leather deck shoes from Samuel Windsor

The perfect deck shoe
Image source: Samuel Windsor

If Captain Cook was alive today, we’re sure he’d wear deck shoes. Favourite of boaties everywhere and commonplace on the high streets, this casual footwear classic looks great all summer long.

But how do you keep boat shoes smelling fresh without making the fashion faux pas of wearing them with socks? Here are ten easy steps to deck shoe happiness.

1. Clean

Having your daily shower isn’t enough. You need to clean and scrub your feet with rigour. Use your soap of choice, just make sure you scrub hard enough to kill the skin bacteria responsible for unwanted odours.

2. The secret to cleaning is drying

It’s futile going to all that work in the shower or bath if you then let your feet stay wet. Damp skin will allow odour causing bacteria to grow. Get between the toes with a towel and make sure your whole foot is bone dry.

3. Shoe rotation

No matter what you do to your feet, if you wear the same shoes every day of the week they’ll get smelly. Rotate your footwear. Wear boat shoes one day, sandals the next and on day three, a pair of laid back loafers. Just don’t batter your boat shoes.

4. Powder and products

Talcum powder will stop the smells before they start by keeping your feet dry. Cornflour is moisture absorbent too – it’s just as good for soaking up sweat as it is for thickening sauces. Baking powder makes life very unpleasant for bacteria as it’s an alkaline. Find the powder that works for you. But don’t go overboard – if you don’t let your feet perspire at all, you run the risk of heat rash.

Not sure where to start with products? Well then check out The Ged Lab’s brilliant post on foot-care products every man should own here.

5. Use in-soles

Available in outdoor shops, shoe shops and online, this is a simple, low maintenance solution to unwanted shoe odours. Just slip an anti-bacterial in-sole in your shoes. Look for one that offers high breathability to improve the airflow to your feet.

6. Antiperspirant

Sweaty feet cause nasty smells, so use an antiperspirant to limit the amount your feet perspire. Choose one with a scent that’s not too overpowering. You don’t want to swap one bad small for another.

7. Foot sanitizer

Actually, it’s hand sanitizer – those little bottles of cleansing gel we take on our holidays. As well as killing bacteria, the right gel is cooling and can add a hint of fragrance to help revive tired soles.

8. Go natural

There are some great natural ways to remedy the problem of smelly boat shoes. Cloves are a great idea as they have a strong smell and when placed in your shoes will help rid them of any lingering odours. Soaking your feet in green tea is also an effective way to combat odour causing bacteria.

9. Freeze your footwear

Put your boat shoes in a plastic bag, and put them in the freezer. The cold kills the bacteria so when you next wear your boat shoes, they’ll be fresh and odour free.

10. Relegation

Demote shoes once smells become ingrained. Make them your gardening shoes, or a spare pair you leave in the car. Extend their life by giving them a second wind, a new job. But don’t be afraid to bin them and start again.

If all else fails, give invisible socks a try. Designed to be discrete, they create a barrier between leather and skin. They are also known as footies – a great solution for keeping feet and boat shoes smelling fresh.

For deck shoes and more, visit the Samuel Windsor website.