Sportsmen who wear flashy, bright boots are signalling that they masculine, cocky, and excellent at their sport, according to new research at the University of Brighton.
Those who wear all-white trainers are usually ‘uber’ masculine and can be aggressive.
Dr Christopher Morris-Roberts, senior lecturer in the School of Health Professions in Eastbourne, said your choice of what shoes you wear often speak volumes about the kind of person you are.
Dr Morris-Roberts met with sports sociologists from around the world discussing his research, which introduced him to the concept of ‘podolinguistics’ – the ability to communicate feelings or attitudes via the foot and shoe.
He said, “I decided to focus on sportsmen and the connection they have with their bodies and footwear. I interviewed eight sportsmen with differing sexualities and from a variety of sporting disciplines, some professional and others semi-professional, including rugby, tennis, bodybuilding , football, squash and gymnastics.”
They discussed their sporting lives, their bodies, why they wore the sports shoes they did, and how they read messages into the shoes that other men wore.
He said, “The results were interesting. I found the lived reality of sportsmen and a podolinguistics relationship to other sportsmen existed quite profoundly. Sportsmen who wore flashy, bright boots in the sports environment were signalling that they were masculine, cocky, and excellently-skilled sportsmen; the term ‘peacocking’ was used. The problem was, if you were going to wear bright sporting footwear, you had better be good at your sport or other sportsmen would aim to hurt you, and get you out of the game.
“This led to most of the sportsmen preferring to wear black or neutral coloured sporting footwear; this was also seen as traditional.”