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You can’t trust your shoes with your secrets

If you’ve recently ventured back into dating after a long break, you might be forgiven for thinking the singles world is all a bit strange.

Last time you were courting, you probably met most of your dates at dances, through friends, through work or even your parents.

Nowadays, chances are you’ll have found your date online – through a site like Silversurfers Dating or an App – and without the back-up of friends and family, how can you tell if people really are who they say they are? Well, intrepid researchers at the University of Kansas have come up with an easy way of getting quickly to the nitty-gritty of your date: look at their shoes.

Yes, psychologists say that people can accurately judge a stranger’s age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional landscape and other important personality traits just by looking at their shoes, which we think is rather staggering stuff. Researchers found that a good look at the colour, style, cost and condition participants in the study were able to guess about 90 per cent of the owner’s characteristics. You could see through any porkies told on a profile in one fell swoop.

The Croc: killing sex appeal dead since 2002

The results of the study are fascinating. Most easily guessed by a look at a pair of shoes were the wearer’s age, sex and income. After that, and this is a very interesting one indeed for singles, was that they could most accurately guess attachment style; people with anxious attachment styles were more likely to wear new-looking or well-kept shoes, probably because they worry about appearances and what other people think of them.

Those who wear ankle boots apparently have more aggressive personalities, scruffy shoes went with calm people and functional or tame shoes were worn by easy-going types. Shoes that were not new, but had been very well kept, were worn by conscientious personalities and, at the more obvious end of the scale, extroverts wore flashy, colourful shoes and high earners expensive looking ones. “Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers,” the authors wrote. “Shoes serve a practical purpose, but they also serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear.”

So, next time you’re with a date, have a careful look at their footwear, and, lest they become concerned that you’re in the throes of a full-blown fetish, why not tell them what you’re doing? It’s a fantastic icebreaker (the study, not the fetish. Though you never know your luck).

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By Karen Dickinson

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