We asked four women to share their collection of boots, heels, and sneaks, then asked a panel of experts for some behind-the-soles personality analyses.
MEET OUR EXPERTS:
THE SHRINK: Larina Kase, psychologist and success coach
THE SHOE GURU: Meghan Cleary, author of The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You
THE GUYS: Andrew, 30, business consultant; Andy, 24, film editor; Daniel, 25, law student; Steven, 25, equity analyst
33, FASHION EXECUTIVE
THE SHRINK SAYS: "This is a girl who likes to have fun! The bright colors, wild patterns (leopard), and interesting details (straps, tassels) on Donata's shoes show that she craves stimulation and dislikes the mundane. She's a sexy, extroverted woman who enjoys being the center of attention. Donata likely has a job that requires lots of interaction with others. But her shoes convey uniqueness and change rather than stability, so they could send the wrong message if a situation calls for a serious professional image."
THE SHOE GURU SAYS: "Donata loves and lives in stilettos, which give her uber-feminine confidence. She is willing to explore new textures and color and isn't afraid to embrace a very fashion-forward heel silhouette, which means she's a modern thinker. I'd love to see her experiment with a funky ballet flat--just to see how it feels."
THE AVERAGE GUY SAYS: "Donata has an outgoing personality. The colors in her shoe collection cover the rainbow, so she must enjoy new experiences. Because each of her shoes gives off such a different personality, I bet she likes to change it up in bed." --Steven
DONATA RESPONDS: "The experts were entirely on target with most of their assertions--I am extroverted, my career involves a lot of interaction with people, and femininity and confidence are inherent in everything about me. But I don't agree with Dr. Kase about my shoes not conveying a professional image. An image comes from a whole package, and my attire is often conservative--at least for the fashion industry! And sorry, Meghan, but ballet flats will never happen. I've tried to wear flats, but the way a woman walks in them is too slouchy and casual for my style. I only wear flats to play sports and to the beach--and not always even then!"
GO TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR..."Cori makes herself look attractive, but not in an ostentatious way. I bet she'd be fun to date."
30, FASHION MERCHANDISER
THE SHRINK SAYS: "Cori looks for the purpose of the shoe and then gives herself a good deal of creative leeway. This indicates that she doesn't shirk responsibility--she's up for a challenge! Her large variety of boots show that she doesn't let anything, not even the weather, bring her down. While Cori values her professional identity, she does not live to work--there are only two pairs of formal work shoes here. She's probably spontaneous, fun, and definitely down-to-earth."
THE SHOE GURU SAYS: "Cori's shoe wardrobe indicates that she is extremely flexible. She likes to run around the city and get things done but also likes to dress up and look sweet and feminine at night. The chunky platform boots are most likely a holdover from a time when Cori needed to feel really butt-kickingly powerful. But it looks like she has refined her look since then and found other ways to dominate."
THE AVERAGE GUY SAYS: "Cori must have a well-rounded personality. I bet she's interested in everything from politics to film to fashion. She makes herself look attractive, but not in an ostentatious way. She sees her current job as a path to somewhere else, but she's not quite sure where yet. I bet she'd be fun to date." --Daniel
CORI RESPONDS: "I can't believe how accurate Meghan's comment is--I've had those chunky boots for a long time, and they're definitely not my style anymore. She and Dr. Kase both described my personality to a T. But it looks like I fooled Daniel--I don't follow politics much. And though I would like to start my own company someday, it will be in my current field. I'm surprised that no one remarked on my running sneakers--I go to the gym almost every day. They're so much a part of who I am."
GO TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR..."My guess is that Sandi is 20-something and broke."
34, ART DIRECTOR
THE SHRINK SAYS: "Sandi's shoes say that she has a warm, serene, and dependable personality. Her shoes have a classic style-- and so does she. In fact, Sandi's shoes were once her grandmother's, which shows that she cares about family. As a friend and girlfriend or wife, she is incredibly giving and loyal. She may be the target of other women's envy-- her shoes definitely are! But their simplicity suggests she is not arrogant."
THE SHOE GURU SAYS: "This is a woman who knows herself very well. Every single heel has the exact same height and silhouette. They also fall into a color family: browns, greens, rusts, reds, with one gold-metallic pair--for a party, I bet. Sandi is comfortable in her own skin and knows what she likes when she sees it. Every one of her shoes sports at least a two-and-a-half inch heel, which means she's sexy, self-assured, and not afraid to tower!"
THE AVERAGE GUY SAYS: "My guess is that Sandi is 20-something and broke. If she had money, why would she have to wear old shoes? But she looks like my type of girl--I bet she wears jeans and heels to go out in. She probably works in advertising or design, because people in those industries are usually fun and willing to experiment with their style." --Andy
SANDI RESPONDS: "The experts were surprisingly accurate. Dr. Kase is right--women stop me all the time to ask where I got my shoes. My grandmother gave me 30 pairs of her shoes a couple of years ago, and acquiring them changed the way I think about shoes. They have a sense of history and make me wonder what my grandmother was doing in them when she last wore them. I'd love to pass them down to my own daughter or granddaughter one day. My clothes are rough-and-tumble (jeans and tank tops), so I let my shoes dress up the outfit. I was shocked that Andy guessed my job, but he was off on age and money. Dressing creatively is very important in my industry, and my shoes help, since you won't see them on anyone else.
GO TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR..."All of these shoes are showy, but classy. Alfa's a confident woman"
ALFA 26, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF A NONPROFIT
THE SHRINK SAYS: "Alfa's shoes exude both style and practicality, showing that she knows how to tailor herself to any situation. She doesn't, however, lose her sense of self just to fit in. She is secure with her image. She is likely in a professional field. Alfa's style shows that she is dependable and has close friends who respect her personal strength."
THE SHOE GURU SAYS: "I get the sense that Alfa loves a tropical vibe, chilling on the beach in an exotic location. She has a resort attitude toward life. People may scurry all around her, but she's mellow and unhurried. She tends toward neutrals like beige and brown, embracing the natural world. Alfa is very grounded as she moves through life. But at the same time, she's not afraid to transform her sandals into a heel, taking it up a notch and embracing her femininity."
THE AVERAGE GUY SAYS: "All of these shoes are showy, but classy. Alfa's a confident woman: When she's dressed up, she's dressed all the way up; when she's dressed down, she's committed to taking it easy. I bet she can be stubborn-- those cream heels look so uncomfortable! But a little discomfort would never keep her from wearing them all night. Being so confident, she's probably a man-eater who tends to control relationships. She's going to be the one dumping the guy, not the other way around." --Andrew
ALFA'S RESPONSE: "It's true--I do wear whatever I want, but I always feel appropriate no matter where I am. I would never have a shoe that was purple or some other wild color! I love summer and how it makes me feel, so sandals are my favorite shoes, as Meghan picked up. Andrew is definitely on target with the cream heels: They're almost impossible to walk in, but they look fabulous. I'm certainly not a 'man-eater' now, but before I met my boyfriend, I definitely snacked on my share of guys. Looks like my shoes still show that!"