Whatever is on your feet says a lot about you, at least when it comes to girls. The shoes on your feet could be the difference that helps you land a date, phone number, or at least a name.
To help guide you through the dog days of the summer, we spoke to seven single women to find out just how much your sneaker habit matters to them. Pay close attention—you may be able to pick up enough tips to ensure next cuffing season isn’t spent alone.
What attracts you to a guy?
Nicole Wojtowicz, 21, Fashion Blogger: I’m all about sense of humor and personality. If I’m just talking physically, then height is number one. Then I guess what they’re wearing, and hair. I also look at skin a lot. I think skin is important.
Marissa Pelly, 22, Freelance Stylist: Well there's the obvious physical attraction, but I am especially attracted to someone who's kind, smart, and has great taste in music. If you aren't into Kanye, it just won't work out. Also, a good sense of humor.
Joanna Quintero, 25, Medical Lab Assistant: I don’t really look at looks. Granted if I’m attracted to you look-wise, it’s a plus, but I look at the way you dress—the way you carry yourself. I don’t like seeing guys dress bummy. It’s nice to see a guy care about their appearance, about their shoes, if they have a nice hat with it, or anything like that. That’s attractive. Even when they can do the flipside—dress really proper with a nice pair of pants, nice shoes. Actual shoes, not sneakers.
Mia Niotis, 26, Hospitality: I like when guys wear things that are more fitting—not tight. If they’re wearing tighter jeans than I am then I’m like, “Are your balls bleeding bro?” I like when guys take care of themselves. They go to the gym and workout. They wear clothes that fit that because they take care of themselves.
Ivette Santamaria, 28, Sales: It’s always nice when a guy has a nice style. I like that because I feel if you can dress yourself and if you can present yourself properly, that’s always a plus. What gets me kind of giddy is when a guy is wearing fresh white kicks with blue jeans and a white t-shirt. I don’t know why, but for some reason that look—it gets me going crazy. My biggest thing is that if he can make me laugh, that’s what I want most in the world—to just be happy.
Lori Brown, 32, NYC Real Estate Agent: I think the first attraction is their energy. Their ability to be kind and approachable. Someone who I personally enjoy being able to have a conversation with. Being polite. That kind of energy sort of wins a lot. And then of course, presentability—if it’s an educated presentation. Some people love the holes in their jeans and that whole thing. I just happen to enjoy a well-dressed male.
Are you into sneakers?
Nicole: I know more about designer shoes and sport shoes. I don’t know shit about Jordans or Dunks, and whether or not that’s the same shoe or not. All I know is they’re ugly and I don’t like them. I like running shoes, but mostly Nike. I really like the new PUMA Rihanna Collection.
Marissa: I don't know if I would consider myself a total sneakerhead, but I'm probably on my way. I have about 16 pairs. I have a lot of Air Maxes, Air Force 1s, adidas, and a few collaborations. I really like Jordan 1s. Honestly, my favorite sneakers right now are the Fenty PUMA trainers. I think the design is sick and they're so insanely comfortable. I have the black ones and wear them with everything.
Joanna: In high school I was into Jordans. I want to say I had like eight to ten pairs of Jordans. I tried my best to keep them nice. I do actually still have a few, but I gave away most of them. I kind of grew out of it. I started wearing mostly espadrilles—girl type of shoes. Now recently, because my job involves a lot of walking, I’m kind of getting back into sneakers. I’m getting into a different type of sneaker—not really Jordans. I like Flyknit Racers. Those are now my favorite. I’m also really into Air Maxes. Air Max 90s are my favorite, and this new Air Max Thea—I really like those.
Mia: Back in the day I was into Dunks, SBs, and Converse. I dabbled in Supras and Vans here and there. I found Supras to not be good for skateboarding because they grip differently. Vans kind of fell apart. Converse didn’t have that much ankle support. I was always able to have Dunks and SBs that were rare—most people didn't really have them. Now I wear what I want to wear, depending on what I’m doing. Most of the time I wear Converse and Sk8s. I wear Dunks here and there, because I still have them, but now my attire is more feminine. I wear shoes, sandals, heels, and stuff.
Ivette: I got into sneakers because I worked at Modell’s. I hated Jordans before that. Once I started working there I started appreciating the sneakers. Working in a footwear department, and not only did I start appreciating Jordans, I started appreciating running shoes too. I feel like that definitely opened me when it comes to footwear.
Lori: I was influenced by fitness. Way back when I was personal trainer, I worked with a lot of men and women. I always found, for the sneaker part of everything, it was based on the fitness aspect of it. Then it just happened that most of the guys I would date were into Nike’s too. It all came from fitness.
Erica Herskowitz, 39, Sportscaster: I own too many shoes to count. I only wear popular brands like Tory Burch, Toms, Nike, Under Armour, and Birkenstock. I can't really say what draws me to a particular shoe. I like bright colors, fun styles, and comfort. My interest has diminished as I have other, more important expenses to worry about now. That being said, I dropped some coin on two pairs of Tory Burch Jellies recently.
Do a guy's shoes influence how you look at him?
Nicole: If he has a good outfit, and he’s wearing a pair of dad New Balance run-down shoes, it’s going to ruin the whole thing. Honestly, I’m going to be turned off.
Marissa: Footwear isn't a deciding factor for me, but it's important. I definitely notice when someone's shoes are pretty exclusive or expensive, and I definitely notice when they're super weak.
Joanna: It’s funny because I actually had a conversation a little over a year ago with a friend. We were checking out a guy and we said, “We need to see his shoe game.” Shoes do play into the equation. I’m trying to transition away from guys who wear Jordans or Air Maxes to a guy wearing actual shoes. He's much more of a man, I would say. I’m not materialistic at all. As long as you spend quality time with me, that’s all I care about.
Ivette: If they’re nice sneakers, I definitely appreciate it. There’s a time when I went on a date with a guy and he was wearing Skechers. I was like, “Nope. That’s it.” In that relationship I was the person that was buying $100 Nike sneakers and he was the person in the relationship buying comfortable Skechers. We’re just very different people and at some point it was going to be an issue. He was very proud of his sneakers and everything and I was like, “Oh my god.” I’m wearing my Air Max 95s and he’s talking about his Skechers.
Lori: I think shoes are really important. I live in New York, so kicks and Chucks, beat up Vans, and all that stuff is cool for this hipster generation. But I love a guy that can keep his shoes always clean. I think, whether it’s your sneakers or dress shoes, it’s really important to first of all be clean—which is kind of hard in New York. I run a company, so to me a man that is dressed in a suit and in his dress shoes is really important.
Erica: It’s not very important to me. Although, if a man has holes in his shoes, I’m out. I may be a little shallow to judge a guy by his footwear before giving him a chance to win you over with his personality.
What do a guy’s shoes say about him?
Nicole: How much confidence he has. Confidence doesn't come from other people liking your shoes. It comes from you liking your shoes and exuding that confidence. I think that the shoe collecting is kind of high maintenance. It kind of would be a red flag for me because I don’t even like that type of shoe.
Marissa: I think someone's choice of footwear says a lot about their interests, whether it be fashion, sports, music, or pop culture. It wouldn't discourage me at all if a guy showed up wearing sneakers on a first date. I wear sneakers all the time. They're most definitely a style staple—some being luxury items. Just don't show up in dirty sneakers or Roshes.
Joanna: I feel if you have a nice pair of shoes that it says something about yourself. I think if you are out on the street with a good pair of shoes, but they’re dirty or not kept, it says something about who you are—how you view yourself. That’s like a major thing for me.
Mia: If a guy is spending a lot of money on footwear and hype, I find it to be immature and unattractive. It automatically turns me off. I have an ex-boyfriend that I broke up with two years ago because he was completely into that. He didn’t even take care of himself. It was all about buying shoes and selling them. It was just like, “Are you serious? You can be paying for school. You’d rather not go to school and take care of your sneaker thing?” It’s very unattractive. It’s such a turn off now when your main focus is on shoes more than your priorities.
Erica: I think the type of shoes a man chooses shows how much effort he puts into making himself look nice and presentable.
Lori: I love it. I think it shows a lot about someone’s character. It’s an investment in what you take pride in. If that is something you spend a little bit more money on because it matters to you, then by all means go for it. I’ve actually dated a few other guys that were big sneakerheads. I appreciated and valued everything—especially since I got to learn more about sneakers. I got the tip of what has happening, who was coming out with what collection. I actually really appreciated it. It shows that maybe later on he can invest in a home or anything like that too.
When do sneakers become a relationship deal breaker?
Nicole: I don’t think I would try to break the habit. I would probably comment every now and then, “Do you really need another new pair of shoes?” But I would never try to stop him. It’s his money. He can do whatever he wants.
Marissa: I understand guys who seriously collect sneakers. I understand the desire to buy or covet certain fashion items. I wouldn't want to date someone who just buys and resells sneakers though. I'm really not into that whole scene. If my man was seriously into sneakers, I don't think it would weigh down on me because I love sneakers too. Unless he was ditching me constantly for sales and not copping me pairs too, then that's just rude. That goes for any hobby or passion, it's all about balance in a relationship.
Mia: It’s fine, as long as you’re taking care of your priorities. If he was being stupid and not taking care of his responsibilities, his bills and whatnot, I will will tell him, “You’re being pretty dumb. You’re not going down the right path.”
Ivette: I think it goes back to if you have the means, then go ahead and do so. If you don’t, I can try to help, but you can only help somebody so much. At the same time, I don’t want to necessarily change someone from who they are.
Lori: The reality of life is that it’s all about a balance. I naturally wouldn’t be attracted to someone who would buy sneakers and not pay his rent. It’s not about me trying to stop it, but more about what’s more important in his life?
Erica: I think spending a lot of money on sneakers is shallow and your money can be put to better use. Anyone who takes any collecting seriously—cars, stamps, coins, shoes, is not for me. It would annoy me because it's sort of a self-centered hobby. I don't really understand it.