Tread Lightly: New Survey On What Women Think Of Your Shoes


Yesterday Allen Edmonds contacted me with a sneak peek at a survey they just completed. It is, as you’d expect, all about shoes, with the most interesting parts pertaining to the women who were surveyed.

First off, the women all had incomes between $50,000-$200,000, and while there were only about 500 of them, Allen Edmonds (whose Patriot penny loafer is pictured above) reports that the survey was completed in half the time alotted to it, suggesting that men’s shoe choices may be a pet peeve for many women, and that they were eager to chime in.

Among the finidings:

• 65 percent of women admit to insisting their man change shoes before going out

• 59 percent have bought shoes for their man

• 12 percent have thrown his shoes out

But most intriguing were the parts of the survey on which men and women differed:

Young professional men significantly underestimate the power of shoes in a successful romance according to most women. Women are more than twice as likely to say shoes reflect their date’s (or husband’s) fashion sense (64 percent for women v. 34 percent for men), personality 52 percent for women v. 24 percent of men), financial position (36 percent for women v. 18 percent for men) and attention to detail (54 percent for women; 12 percent for men).

If you’re reading this (that is, a style blog), and you’re one of our older readers, chances are you’re not one of those poor schlubs whose wife throws out his shoes. In fact, you may actually have more shoes than your wife.

But if you’re a young guy building his wardrobe while partaking in the splendors and miseries of single life, let this be a reminder that you should never skimp in the footwear department. A modest suit can be ameliorated with good alterations, but there’s no redeeming poor shoes. — c C m

37 Comments on "Tread Lightly: New Survey On What Women Think Of Your Shoes"

  1. Interesting data. So men don’t rate women based on fashion sense, personality (this is hard to believe), financial position or attention to detail…so what is left?

  2. Spaulding | July 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

    Well, there’s a reason they’re called deal sleds…

  3. @Steven: I believe looks have been a huge factor for a while.

  4. Steven, maybe the body (as cheap as it may sound)?

  5. Ryan Biggs | July 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

    You need to read the data more carefully, Steven:

    “Women are more than twice as likely to say shoes reflect their date’s fashion sense, personality, financial position and attention to detail.”

    Men care, we’re just not looking at her shoes to gauge these attributes.

  6. Pale Male | July 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm |

    Guys notice if a gal’s wearing a pair by Christian Louboutin.

  7. @ Pale Male

    or 6 inch Louis Vuitton pumps.

  8. What do the data about men’s reactions and women’s reactions really say? Did the survey ask the men about how their wives’ or girlfriends’ shoes reflected the wives’/girlfriends’ fashion sense, personality, etc., as the commenters above seems to have assumed? Or did the survey ask the men whether they thought their wives/girlfriends thought the men’s shoes reflected fashion sense, personality etc.?

    In other words, was the question:

    Do your wife’s shoes reflect her fashion sense?


    Does your wife think your shoes reflect your fashion sense?

  9. A. Overall, unsurprising results. Nothing new here. No shit, Sherlock.

    B. Coming from a shoe company that is up for sale, is it hard to believe that the results tilt toward selling more shoes?

    C. Another tempest in a teapot.

  10. Christian | July 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm |

    Regarding this story:

    AE tells me that it is “exploring additional investments to ensure the continued growth and development of Allen Edmonds, but it they are at the very beginning of what could be a long deliberative process.”

  11. Mitchell S. | July 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

    I heard someone say that shoes are the first thing a woman notices about a man, and the last thing that a man thinks about before getting dressed and heading out.

  12. Roy R. Platt | July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |

    As Allen-Edmonds (and others) make shoes in many different styles, does the survey say anything about how women view different styles?

    For example, I have a pair of Allen-Edmonds Flagstaff Penny Loafers. I put pennies in them. Would women be more impressed if I put dimes in them? What about any of the 1/4 ounce gold coins, which are about the same size as a penny or a dime? Do women prefer 1/4 ounce gold coins in penny loafers?

  13. For all we know the women in question threw out Lobb Balmorals and made Mr. Whipped replace them with Salvatori Salamandro bicycle toed rubber soled horrors….those being “so now”. And no matter how much Ms. Wondertaste makes, bet she didn’t pay for any replacements. And let Mr. Whipped toss her Manny Chooeys, and no more nice-nice.

  14. Roy,

    If you’re an adult male, pennies in your loafers signals loser to everyone.

  15. A.E.W. Mason | July 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

    Come to think of it, women do seem to comment on shoes. But in my experience, most women know less than nothing about men’s clothing and style. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked hard to get the arch in my tie just right, when some female, without prior warning, yanks my tie down, simultaneously saying, “Oh, your tie was sticking out. There (smile, smile), that’s better.” I am constantly amazed that this phenomenon has not provoked more murders. As a man, I definitely think that a man’s shoes are a reflection of his “fashion sense” and “attention to detail.” Speaking of murder, these days, when I see a man wearing a pair of those square-toed, elongated shoes–I think you know the one’s I’m talking about–my gut reaction is that he’s a cretin; a person who can’t think for himself; a person whose brain is numb to aesthetics; and who always sings “Happy Birthday” the loudest and the most out of tune. Sorry, I’m calm now….

  16. 59% have bought shoes for their man? What kind of man is this?

  17. To M. Arthur’s question “what kind of man is this?” The answer: THE KIND THAT WEARS WHITE SOCKS WITH SANDALS!

  18. I can only imagine the types of shoes that they are buying for those poor guys. AEW Mason, I enjoyed your rant and I feel your pain.

  19. A.E.W. Mason | July 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

    oxford cloth button down

    Thanks! And I’m glad you enjoyed it. In fact, as I reflect on it, your understanding makes me realize that there are not many forums where I could say that and have anyone understand what the heck I was getting at. So, thanks again.

  20. It’s always been taken for granted that women dress for other women. Why are we afraid of admitting a gentleman dresses for himself or for the approval of other gentlemen? Do readers of this blog really believe that women know anything about collar rolls, necktie dimples, cuff width, etc.? Have you ever come across a woamn who could select a proper necktie? Is that not why I immediately walked in the opposite direction when I was approached by a saleslady at BB’s flagship store? I would no sooner let a woman choose my shoes than I would letnher choose my briar pipe or my fountain pen. Come to think of it, I would never let another man choose any article of clothing for me, either.

  21. From a little different area here, I have a question for the readers. I’ve enjoyed the styling of the Allen Edmonds penny’s, but never have tried them. Now that Weejuns (that are regularly available) have hard, glossy,, painted leather, how do these AE’s stand up? Are they comfortable? Made with good satin finish leather? What would you pick, Alden or AE’s, from a comfort, fit, and style standpoint?

  22. RKW, try on your favorite style from both companies. Go with the company that fits you best. You will notice something that leads you to one brand versus the other. Good news, both are fine brands.

  23. Orgastic future | July 19, 2013 at 2:02 am |

    If you are a male over the age of 12 and you let a woman pick out any article of clothing for you… have failed. Besides, the majority of American women are into mass fashion, which means they don’t develop personal style in the first place……thus, their opinion is moot.

  24. Don’t really need a survey for this; she tells me what she thinks, and by God, does she hate penny loafers!

  25. Never let a woman pick your wardrobe for you, unless you are under the age of adolescence, it’s your mother, or your name is Guido If you do so, you will most likely end up with a nice contempory Euro-style wardrobe.

  26. Ok you don’t let them choose your clothes but do your wives have veto powers?

    “Why are you wearing your work shirt on the weekend?” “I’m not. My work shirts are blue or white OCBDs. My weekend shirts are *thrifted* blue or white OCBDs.”

    “Why are you wearing dress shoes to the party? You’ve overdressed.” “These are casual shoes. Loafers are for LOAFing.” “Put something else on.” “Fine, I’m wearing my toe shoes.”

  27. I agree completely. You see guy in really great suits and not so great shoes….brings down the whole look! I must mention that if someone threw my shoes out without telling me, I wouldn’t be too happy. Some have sentimental value and I keep them even though I may not wear them out. 🙂

  28. Southern Loafer | July 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm |

    I may in fact own more shoes than my wife, but I do not buy as many pairs as she does. Three pairs of loafers made the nearly annual trip to the cobbler only this week (they go for maintenance during the oxford saddle shoe season). Well made classic shoes have staying power and never go out of style.

    She has definite opinions on men’s footwear and rarely keeps her own counsel. In fact, when she was a practicing trial attorney, her evaluation of potential jurors included an assessment of the candidates’ footwear.

    That being said, in sixteen years of marriage, she has never shopped for my shoes or any other clothes for me.

    I am 55 years old. I told her at the outset, I dress in the same manner that suited my father in the ’50’s and the ’60’s. I always have and always will.

  29. A.E.W. Mason | July 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm |

    Southern Loafer

    Well said on all points.

    It’s Friday a bit after 7 here in LA and I’m just about to leave the office. Today I wore my favorite Alden tasseled loafers. I purchased them in 1998. They have aged to perfection like a fine antique; the patina is quite remarkable and, in fact, the very, very slight distress which the leather now shows on the sides at the bend is a thing of beauty and cultivation that a new pair (which I acquired less than a year ago) cannot reflect. In California shoes will wear forever provided they are (i) high quality; (ii) properly cleaned and shined as needed; and (iii) kept in good quality shoe trees.

  30. so. true.
    I didn’t throw away my husband’s (then boyfriend) shoes, but when my 3-year-old niece hid them behind the couch, I didn’t tell him I knew where they were, until AFTER we went shopping for a new pair and he’d grown accustomed to them.

  31. Fellas, fellas, fellas. None of this tells us what women ask men to change their shoes TO. For all we know, they could look down at a pair of nerdy loafers and suggest the Converse instead.

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  33. EVAN EVERHART | April 4, 2018 at 10:33 am |

    I once broke up with a woman because her shoes were so awful. I felt like I was re-enacting an episode of Seinfeld of something, but they really were atrocious! When I’d met her, we were at some sort of party and I never saw her shoes in the fray….Come the 3rd date and the continued wearing of offensive shoes, and I was running for the hills. For reference, she owned many shoes; all terrifying; half boots, and full boots with platformed crepe wedge soles, made up in suede, with straps and buckles and moccasin toes, and one pair, with all of the above, in deep lilac with fish fur edging/lining at the top. I’m still perplexed 17 or more years later. I can only chalk it up to the time, women’s general penchant for chasing fashion as previously stated, and just I don’t know – everything else that she wore was tasteful, but not those shoes! Ouch!

  34. EVAN EVERHART | April 4, 2018 at 10:51 am |

    I suppose the purpose of my response to all of the above is that women are not the only ones who might judge someone of the opposite sex, based upon their choice in footwear, or clothing….Speaking of which; Christian, what would you think of a woman wearing saddle shoes? Or….Crocs or Birkenstocks (shudder).

  35. Shoes are not the first sartorial thing a woman notices about any particular man. Shoes are the second thing. The cut of his suit is the first thing noticed, and from a half block away. Quality of the shoes needs to match the quality of the suit once a woman gets close enough to look demurely down.

  36. Although I do agree that women notice a man’s shoes, I think women are able to overcome men’s poor footwear choices if he has other admirable or redeeming qualities.

  37. My wife would check me out anytime I want to go out. It must be a fitting shoe/palm or we are going to argue. And yes, the second fact is true, she has bought at least one shoe for me and we haven’t been together for long. Good to see there are surveys/facts corroborating this.

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