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Wise Guys: Do Men Notice a Woman’s Shoes?

Tue, May 25, 2010

Advice, Wise Guys

photo by jayceeloop

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, Do guys ever notice a woman’s shoes, or care whether or not she wears heels?”

wiseguy_benStraight Married Guy (Ben): I will never understand women’s ability to differentiate between very similar items of clothing and pairs of shoes. My wife has about 17 black sweaters that all look alike to me. Every time she comes home with a new black sweater I’ll say, desperately, “You already have about 17 black sweaters!” And she’ll say, “Yes, but look at the buttons on this one. So cute!” According to what I notice, there are three different types of shoes – flats, high heels and boots. I rarely notice flats (unless they’re super ugs). I mostly notice high heels (though mostly by always noticing legs, ass and height, which high heels seem designed to maximize). And I always notice boots, because women in boots are badass. But overall, shoes are just one part of a woman’s overall style that’s either working or not. The components aren’t as important as the complete package.

Gay Single Guy (Bradford Shellhammer): Yes. Guys do notice women’s shoes. Gay guys! We notice the heel height. The brand. If they’re appropriate. If you can walk in them. If they are current season. And we judge you. So, dress to impress ladies! Straight men, on the other hand, do not notice shoes. Well, actually, some do — weirdos with fetishes. But most straight men don’t look at your shoes. They look at your legs. The shoes helps the legs so you still want to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. You have two groups of guys to impress. I don’t envy that.

anonymous_suitStraight Single Guy (Max): Oh heck yes. You put a girl in Chucks and then that same girl in heels and I guarantee you that every straight man in the world will notice the difference. This is not to say that I don’t sometimes prefer girls dressing in sneakers, but good legs in heels? It’s enough to drive you mad. Also, my friends and I have repeatedly ranted about how little we care for UGGs. What is this fad? College girls seem to think that sweatpants + gigantic furry boots = something more than comfort and I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. (Although yes, I
know they’re incredibly cozy). If you’re super hungover and chilling with your girlfriends then I get it, but if I showed up to a date wearing Crocs and cargo pants would you actually be into it? I hope that you have more fashion sense than that.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles who runs AdultParlorGames.com; our Gay Guy is fellow SUN blogger Bradford Shellhammer, the creative director of fabulis and a New York Times featured decorator; and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New England. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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8 Responses to “Wise Guys: Do Men Notice a Woman’s Shoes?”

  1. Johnny Says:

    Yes. A woman with good taste in shoes is a woman with good taste in underwear.

  2. hlynn Says:

    I would not show up to a date in uggs. Ever. Also, if someone showed up to a date wearing crocs, I would probably have to just get up and walk away, even if he was a model because somethings are just not okay and speak of larger, deep seated personality flaws. :) There is something to how people present themselves, I think, and shoes make up a small part of that. Also, as a college girl, I solved all my comfort/style issues with leggings, and appropriate long top and/or sweatshirt/sweater, and flat, knee high boots. Not only did I not look frumpy, but I was crazy warm because long under CAN double as tights when it’s below freezing in the northeast.

  3. figleaf Says:

    Shoes affect posture and men notice that more than style or price. So I’ll agree with Max that there’s a difference between running shoes and heels and, say, bare feet.

    I’m not going to go along with the stereotypes that let men say we’re oblivious and we don’t know or care what shoes you have. Snark about Uggs would only be the first clue.

    That said the shoes women wear definitely isn’t as important to men as they are to women in the sense that the, I dunno, semiotics of shoes requires considerable investment in time and effort and most men don’t make those investments. And so we’re going to spend more of our time thinking about them in functional rather than signaling terms. Can you walk in them? Can you keep up? Do they look comfortable or uncomfortable? Are they the same color as something else you’re wearing? And maybe do some of the following adjectives apply: elegant, sexy, plain, new, cheap or expensive, practical, safe, well-made, and “designer-y.”

    Compare it to something else really gender-neutral like maybe playing Bridge. It takes a lot of investment of time and effort, how well you do it really matters to other people who play, but to someone who doesn’t play we’re mostly going to want to know “did you have a good time” and “who won?”

    That doesn’t mean don’t bother wearing them, any more than it would mean don’t bother playing bridge. Just don’t be surprised if someone who isn’t as invested spends more time thinking about the way you stand in them than how long you’ve had them.

    figleaf

  4. Elle Says:

    Men may not notice the heels – but they notice the result.

    From the 2005 film ‘Kinky Boots’:

    “Sex is in the heel. Stilettos require constant balance from the upper leg causing the muscles of the backside to tense and appear pert and ready for mating.”

  5. Rich Says:

    I certainly notice, if a woman has put effort in you can tell but looking at the areas they tend to accesorise with. + the right shoes can add a lot to the persona of a women.

  6. SS Says:

    “And so we’re going to spend more of our time thinking about them in functional rather than signaling terms. Can you walk in them? Can you keep up? Do they look comfortable or uncomfortable?”
    Gaa, Figleaf, you sound like my husband…you guys just don’t ask the right questions, like, “how would the heel of that shoe look over my shoulder, or digging into my back…” Heh.

  7. Madamoiselle L Says:

    hlynn,@ “Also, if someone showed up to a date wearing crocs, I would probably have to just get up and walk away, even if he was a model because somethings are just not okay and speak of larger, deep seated personality flaws.”

    You’re kidding, right? I don’t know a whole lot about shoes, designers etc. Crocks are those plastic shoes with the holes in them, right? Ugly? Sure. A sign of a personality “flaw?” I don’t think so. And, no, I don’t wear them. However, for many years The Man and I did a lot of the Grateful Dead shows , and from then on, until after my youngest child was born I had only two pairs of shoes…..both Birkenstocks.

    I have a few pairs of heels, now. One with an ankle strap, which I think is pretty sexy. But, I am more comfy in ballet flats. I weould NEVER wear what we call in Chicago “Gym Shoes.” (I guess they are called “running shoes.”) I don’t even own a pair.

    Uggs are those furry boots? I have NO idea.

  8. Miss Mar Says:

    Keep the uggs to the home and never take them out especially on hot weather. Of course men are going to notice your shoes and how you also take care of your feet especially if you wear great heels but your toes look like claws.


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