Some may call it an addiction, others an obsession. Stilettos, combat boots, flats, sneakers, and even the occasional pair of moccasins make my space look more like the Nordstrom’s shoe department than a personal closet. For me, shoes are the best accessory we can add as they can make an outfit go from drab to fab. Guy friends, boyfriends, and even my father have always questioned my love for shoes. “Why,” they ask, “does one girl need so many pairs of shoes?!” I simply respond, I love them. Isn’t that enough?
It all started with that girl who can pull off a blue, princess dress better than anyone else, Cinderella, then there was my favorite New York journalist, Carrie Bradshaw. Maybe my love of shoes came from TV shows that showed me how a pair of shoes really could change a character’s life. Before I knew it, footwear began to tempt my imagination and to empty my wallet! Turns out, science can explain why women love shoes so much. There are some very happy thoughts going through our heads when we try on new shoes at the store. "The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, providing a feel-good high, similar to taking a drug," says Martin Lindstrom, a branding specialist for Fortune 100 companies and author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. Furthermore, he explains that, "Shoppers rationalize shoes as a practical buy — something they can wear multiple times a week — so they hold on to that pleasurable feeling longer," says Lindstrom.
No offense to Mr. Lindstrom, but I have bought plenty of shoes that I have never purchased thinking “this is a practical buy.” Those 5-inch stilettos make me feel great when I’m in the store, but I don’t often consider myself wearing them on a daily or even weekly basis before purchasing them. So I dug a little deeper into the science world to figure this out and further explain my heel obsession. Helen Fisher, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University became my main woman on this matter. "Like most animals, we're wired to associate height with power," she states. "High heels can literally raise your status because you're taller when you wear them." That’s it. Right there. At only 5’2”, I desire to be taller, to look hotter, and to overall feel better about myself. Heels do that for me and for women across the world.
Simply put, I love shoes. There comes a feeling of happiness when I swipe my debit card for a new shoe purchase… followed by a feeling of regret and slight depression. But then I put the shoes on and the world restores its balance. Like myself, countless women have a shoe addiction due to not only our natural desires to purchase and spend money, but also scientifically and neurologically. So, the next time your boyfriend or father gives you an earful about your new shoe purchase, just blame science. After all, we are all creatures of habit, right?