Guest Blog: Male =sole, Female = soul (some thoughts on men and their shoes)

Unlike women who seem predominately to buy shoes for self gratification and assimilation with other predetermined items or events, men seem to have an almost diametrically opposite approach.

Men by and large buy shoes on need, rather than want; on performance rather than the most noble of reasons … that they simply like them.

In many ways buying shoes and boots (which are an even more acute example) illustrates one of the many delightful differences between the male/female gender stereotypes. That is, men will predominately buy shoes because they have to, women because they want to or  for the even more charming reason, just because they can!

Sadly this means that many men miss out on experiencing the more sensual, irrational delights that having a great pair of shoes could give them. Rather than even moving away from the 90% solid black shoes to dark brown or any other slight colour variation, most men will remain in their conservative comfort zone seeking reassurance and mate-ship by not breaking ranks and wearing ‘weird shoes’.

"Weird?" Angels| Supervog by John Fluevog (burgundy with grey rub off)

Quality for men is usually hard wired into their brains with cost. This of course creates a very fictitious impression that the more money spent equals a higher quality product bought. Thus men are being conned at both ends of the market in that some cheaper shoes (those retailing under $200) are actually very good quality and many pairs that cost well over that amount are not so much priced on qualitative issues but marketing and by restricting availability. Another comparison would be that the average man would rather spend $60,000 on a brand new car rather than spend half that amount on a pre-loved classic which could be far more function rich and feature poor.

A 1956 Jaguar XK140 Roadster 0893 would cost a bit more

So back to shoes, putting the cost issue to one side the question of quality for men seems to be based on visible evidence such as weight, materials used (particularily in new or chunky shoes) and manufacturing complexity.  Quid pro quo the heavier, more performance based shoes made from new materials with evident build complexity will appeal to men.  For example, retailers have witnessed the sales of Timberland boots and Prada or Church shoes for men surpass other more ‘interesting’ brands.

Timberland(R) Boots = Build Complexity for aspiring Rugged Outdoor Types

Prada(R) Crocodile Patent Leather Shoes for Men Who Love High End Designer BrandsCourtesy of

Brogues by Church Footwear - Reliable, detailed, dependable and anonymous

So what do I call interesting in shoes? Well, in many ways I look for the same the same emotional contentment from my shoes that other men get by either spending a lot of money or buying the latest look so not to feel out of step (no pun intended).

So yes, men and women both ultimately want to feel good about ourselves in what we wear. I just prefer to fulfill this desire by satisfying my sensual criteria through the shoe, look, feel, smell (soft new leather) and sound (on hard surfaces).

One should never, ever underestimate the powerful sound that the creak and crack of new brogues make upon timber floors.

6 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Male =sole, Female = soul (some thoughts on men and their shoes)

  1. Men for the most part, only wear shoes to cover the holes in their socks. I regard shoes as being marginally more interesting than emptying the cat’s tray………..

  2. I once dated a man who said that he had thought a lot about how I felt about shoes, in an effort to understand me. He thought that if he was to liken it to his wants and needs then it would correspond to hats. He likes hats. He could see himself putting much effort in to finding the perfect hat, over and over again.

    We all have the something. For some of us, it’s shoes.

    • My husband says that we are all programmed to collect and gather something or other. I know someone who collects these:

      and someone who collects these:

      There is a good evolutionary reason for our shoe obsession, I just haven’t done enough research yet to find it.

  3. Thank you (both)!! It’s always awesome to read a new perspective on shoes.

    I’d have to say that MrO buys shoes for pleasure… Nike’s to be precise. He is so obsessed with Nike’s that I have nightmares about them 😉

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