So remember that study about how you can judge a person based on their shoes? Turns out it might have been a little oversold. As Bloomberg columnist Virginia Postrel explains, while the guesses made by the research subjects were accurate, they were also a little too obvious since it mostly pertained to things you would expect to be evident from a pair of shoes:
Describing an experiment by researchers from the University of Kansas and Wellesley College, many reports declared that shoes alone reveal just everything about the wearer's personality. "Overly aggressive people wear ankle boots," proclaimed a Los Angeles National Public Radio host.
What psychologist Omri Gillath and his team actually found was more modest. Without the cues of facial expressions and context, college students could guess basic demographic characteristics from looking at photos of other college students' footwear: gender, age and income. They could also detect the personality trait known as agreeableness, as well as something called attachment anxiety, which is connected to fear of rejection and was correlated with dull-colored shoes. That was all: not political affiliation, not how extroverted the wearers were, not whether they were overly aggressive.
However, while the study itself might have been overrated, that doesn't mean the research isn't still worthy of further discussion on the impact of first impressions. And if there's anything to really take from it all this is that society just really, really loves to talk about shoes.