"You ask my why I need
—No Secrets, "That's What Girls Do"
In the world of fiction, almost all women absolutely love shoes. Not only that, they judge people by the shoes they wear, have whole closets full of them, know every single designer, and no matter how expensive or painful to wear, they simply must have the latest ones for the season. Don't question this; this is simply one of those "women things" that men will never understand and must never question.
For some reason, whenever a woman's massive shoe collection is shown onscreen, they are always formal slip-on heels like in the picture, as if a woman would never own one or more pairs of sneakers, boots, flip-flops, or anything else without heels, even though they'd logically make her shoe collection even bigger. It's probably just that high heels drive home the femininity of this trope (compare, on this point, Mars and Venus Gender Contrast as well as Women's Mysteries). Alternately, it may be because formal shoes are more glamorous, leading to impulse purchases, and the matching rules for formal occasions are more complex (the "match the leathers" rule is much more complicated when your belts aren't all black).
Compare Distracted by the Luxury, Unlimited Wardrobe, Girls Love Stuffed Animals. Contrast Does Not Like Shoes. It should be noted that Foot Focus, the fetishization of bare feet, is also usually female.
Is, naturally, a Double Standard, but it has become so pervasive that few try to question it.
Anime and Manga
- An odd example in Blood+. Diva, while killing a bunch of people, takes interest in one guy's sneakers and steals them after killing him.
- Veronica from the Archie Comics buys a lot of shoes.
- In an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic, Buffy's deadbeat dad rants about all the things he hates about living in a house full of women. I forget the whole list, but he mentions shoes twice. When Buffy points this out, he replies, "You have twice as many shoes as you need!"
- Cinderella from Fables.
- Used as a plot point in Legally Blonde: When the supposed lover of the defendant makes a remark about Elle's "last season Prada shoes" (which apparently weren't last season), she realizes that he couldn't be the woman's lover because "No straight man knows designer shoes!"
Elle: Warner, what kind of shoes are these?
- The film In Her Shoes has the two sides in The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry have as only point in common that they really love shoes, and each one have an impressive collection.
- Even after forcing a woman out of an elevator at gunpoint so she can make a quick escape, Baroness is still able to take the time to compliment the woman on her shoes.
- A rare male example in the movie Kinky Boots, which features a small, family-business shoe factory making female footwear styles in mens' sizes for the Transgender/DragQueen market. Also a Real Life example as it is inspired by a true story; much of the movie was shot in the actual shoe factory that inspired the movie. Word of warning—don't mistake burgundy for red.
- Betsy Taylor, the main character of MaryJanice Davidson's Betsy the Vampire Queen series is far more interested in shoes and sales than in the fact that she recently became Queen of the Vampires.
- In The Lollipop Shoes, the sequel to Chocolat, Zozie de l'Alba has a whole collection of fabulous shoes that enchant and seduce, including the eponymous Lollipop Shoes. Anouk is also shown to be susceptible to their charms.
- Discussed in Love in a Nutshell where Kate comments that despite being a guy, Matt somehow has more shoes than her.
Live Action TV
- Sex and the City made Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik household names. Carrie was shown to be in deep debt because of her collection of hundreds of shoes costing several hundred bucks a pop, and in one episode Charlotte came across a shoe salesman with a foot fetish who loved her feet so much he gave her these fancy sandals for free. And many, many references to shoes being this kind of holy sacrament throughout the show's run.
- Jen of The IT Crowd loves shoes enough that she is willing to ruin her feet for them.
- In an episode of Leverage, Nate talks about what his team did with the "shattering amounts of money" they made bankrupting a corrupt corporation. Sophie, The Chick, "bought a frightening number of shoes."
- Lampshaded when Parker (the only other woman on the team) comments "What is it about women and shoes?"
- Brought up later when Parker has to play a part for a con, something Sophie usually does:
Sophie: Go to Nate's storage cupboard. You're gonna find a sexy little minidress and my emergency Jimmy Choos.
- Half of an entire scene in the Angel episode Billy (an episode about misogyny, domestic violence and women being victimized) is devoted to Cordelia and Lilah bantering about shoes.
- In a later episode, Cordelia threatens Eve thus: Get out of that chair and I will feed you those Manolo Blahniks. (pauses) Which are stunning, by the way.
- Cordelia in introduced in Buffy saying that she would kill to live in L.A. That close to that many shoes...
- Amanda Pierce and, to a lesser extent DJ, in The Latest Buzz. Even Naive Everygirl Rebbecca Harper falls under the spell of a fabulous pair of mood-changing red shoes in the Wizard of Oz homage episode "The Wonderful Wizard of Buzz Issue".
- In an episode of Hannah Montana, Miley's dad offers to buy her shoes if she will stop seeing Jake.
- In That's So Raven, Raven gets a bad grade on her art project because it's a collage about shoes. Her art teacher says that's all she ever makes.
- One Caroline in The City episode has Caroline out of commission due to a bad back, so Del and Richard step in to finish the strip for her. Unfortunately, Caroline can't come up with an idea to give them, so they create their own strip whose punch line is nothing more than "Women can never have enough shoes", which they think is hilarious. Caroline thanks them for helping her, although she secretly hates the strip.
- An episode of Coupling has Steve ranting, "Why do women have so many shoes? Do they have extra feet we don't know about?"
- Burn Notice: Fiona is obsessed with shoes. In particular, in "Entry Point" she is constantly distracted by the client of the week's large collection of shoes (he specializes in knock-offs).
- Lily from How I Met Your Mother is a subversion of this trope. She loves shoes but unlike the usual examples, she only likes boots, no high heels.
- In the episode of Black Books where they go on vacation, Bernard and Manny force Fran to pick two pairs of shoes to bring, rather than the twenty or so she wanted to pack.
Fran: Those are my slow dancing mules! What if we get invited to a boat party by drug dealers?
- In the 90's Sitcom Cybill Cybill's best friend Maryanne has a walk in closet filled with nothing but shoes.
- Sally on 3rd Rock from the Sun.
- Penny from The Big Bang Theory has a large collection of shoes, despite being in a poor financial situation.
- Emma from Hustle. After their first big score, her brother Sean comments that she can buy enough Jimmy Choo's to outfit an octopus.
- Scrubs: Shoe shopping...
- One of the earliest episodes from Pimp My Ride had a girl named Nile get her car pimped, and they installed an automated shoe rack in the trunk, with several pairs of brand new shoes for her. Upon showing the new car to her friends, they reacted with great enthusiasm, as expected, but seemed even more enthusiastic about the new shoes than the pimped out car.
- The Shania Twain song "Shoes" compares men to shoes.
- Comes up quite frequently in Cathy.
- Sara from Zits has this trait sometimes—she once got deeply offended by Jeremy when he failed to notice her new boots (but subverting the "men never notice shoes" part of the trope, when Jeremy claims this he asks Hector what's new about Sara. "Besides the boots?") but they made up when she realized that he's more enraptured with the nuances of her face.
- Parodied in The Far Side: a woman is on a date with a man wearing ridiculous clown shoes, dumping him because "I judge a man by the shoes he wears."
- In a Pearls Before Swine strip, Pig opines that men and women are Not So Different. Rat immediately shoots the idea down:
Rat:[to a random woman] Excuse me, miss. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Stand Up Comedy
- One of Tim Allen's routines has him asking his wife why she needs 19 pairs of black shoes. Her response?
"You stupid f*** er! Those are strap-backs, spikes, cobbie-cuddlers, espadrilles, flats, pumps, patent leathers, spectators, argh, argh, argh!"
- In one routine, Ardal O'Hanlon notes the oft-contested hypothesis that women have a higher threshold for pain than men. He theorizes that this is because no matter what is happening to her, there's always part of a woman's brain that is thinking about shoes.
- Fridge Brilliance - the higher pain threshold is what makes them able to WEAR the shoes. Have you ever worn a pair of high heels? They're extremely painful and in the long term will permanently cripple your feet.
- If going by that logic, wouldn't men have the higher pain threshold, given what nearly 100% of a man's brain is always thinking about?
- At the end of Wicked, Glinda, with visible difficulty/pain, says to Elphaba "They're just shoes!" Said shoes are the infamous ruby slippers.
- Glinda also has shelves full of shoes in her and Elphaba's dorm during Popular.
- Subverted with Dorothy, who doesn't even want the ruby slippers anymore and would be happy to give them to Elphaba...except for the fact that they won't come off her feet, despite the fact that she's been trying to get them off for days...
- Leliana of Dragon Age: Origins is obsessed with shoes. Not only are shoes the perfect gift item for her, one of her dialogs is pretty much nothing but her rambling about her obsession with shoes. The player, regardless of gender, can either tell her to shut up or start gushing about shoes as well... making this a subversion should the player be male.
- Also subverted with Zevran, who gushes a fair bit about these fabulous boots, although maybe that's more to do with his leather fetish.
- Also somewhat subverted in that no other woman shares her obsession, as Morrigan wants nothing to do with any of Leliana's fashion advice. One can only guess what else Marjorlaine would be talking about if she weren't hunting Leliana, but her disparaging over Leliana's state when first came to Ferelden hints that she's just as into fashion as Leliana is. Perhaps it's an Orlesian thing.
- Shale shows some mild interest in shoes during a banter with Leliana. This starts to make sense once you complete Shale's personal quest and discover that the golem contains the soul of a female dwarf.
- Cinderella's rooms in the second Dark Parables game include a massive walk-in closet filled with nothing but shoes. Of course, seeing as it's Cinderella, this is par for the course.
- I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space had the heroine distraught when she couldn't break the laws of physics to fill their spaceship with all the shoes she's bought.
- Fiona averts this quite well by only owning one pair of shoes.
- Mercedes Nieves of Other People's Business exemplifies this trope - although she occasionally puts her knowledge of shoes to good use.
- Vicki Fox apparently owns several pairs of shoes, but...
- Perhaps because she's so short, The Nostalgia Chick has an obsession with wearing high heeled boots everywhere. Even when fighting in a frigging brawl.
- The Simpsons: While not typically a big concern of Marge and Lisa's, when the family went to New York City they were both utterly hypnotized by a revolving display of blue high heels. Also lampshades their Limited Wardrobe: "I know I already own a pair of shoes, but I want these so bad!"
- This was also lampshaded/spoofed in an episode where the Simpson family clears out the late Maude Flanders's closet: upon seeing Maude's three pairs of shoes, Marge exclaims, (sans irony) "Wow--someone had a fetish!"
- South Park had an episode about this: "The List". Clyde's name is pushed to the top of a list of the cutest boys in school, but it's actually a conspiracy by some of the girls to get free merchandise from his father's shoe story. Even Wendy is momentarily distracted by how cute one particular pair is. We're talking about nine-year-old girls here.
- Carver of The Weekenders is a rare male example and possibly an aversion as there is no hint to the trope otherwise and no character ever compares the closet full of shoes to a womanly tendency. The love actually comes from his love of sports and all of his shoes are actually athletic in nature. Still, the man loves his shoes.
- It probably also helps that he doesn't organize his shoe closet at all and just has them in a big, manly pile on the floor.
- Alice from Dilbert has a secret affection for shoes. She is arguably the most masculine character on the show, and is somewhat shamed by her shopping habit.
- There was this one strip where Alice's cubicle is filled with shoeboxes. Dilbert comments that the money she spent could have fed a family of four for several months. The kicker? It's revealed that shoes all look exactly the same.
- Phineas and Ferb: While Candace doesn't seem to care much about them, her friend Stacy seems to love shoes enough to make a gelatin mold of some pumps.
- Lo from Stoked! has an obsession with flip-flops. After Fin claims that Lo has 50 pairs of flip-flops, Lo tells her not to be ridiculous. She is not some spoiled brat. She only has 36 pairs.
- Pepper in Iron Man Armored Adventures invokes this trope when she goes giddy over all of the shoes in the stores. Even claiming it is an addiction.
- Tony suggests Whitney is the same way when he accuses Pepper of becoming her during her shoe run.
- In Johnny Test Susan has a large collection of shoes in the lab that Bling-Bling Boy steals from her. She even gives us this quote:
Susan: "Johnny, there are many thing boy will never understand, and one of them is their love of shoes. I barely understand it."
- Imelda Marcos, wife of deposed Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, owned thousands of pairs of shoes when they were thrown out of the country.
- It gets even more disturbing when a few women on TV/radio/etc have commented what a horrible person Imelda Marcos was ... but ooh, look at all her shoes!
- In an interview for British television, Imelda Marcos defiantly asserted that of course there were shoes in her closet, she didn't have any skeletons to hide in there.
- It gets even more disturbing when a few women on TV/radio/etc have commented what a horrible person Imelda Marcos was ... but ooh, look at all her shoes!
- In a similarly gruesome example, during the Romanian rebels' show trial against their former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife, Elena, in 1989, which ended in their execution, Elena's very comprehensive collection of expensive shoes was used as an evidence of the pair's illegal gathering of wealth. This is quite an understandable sticking point: sometime in The Eighties Ceauşescu decided to pay off all of Romania's foreign debt and decided to do so by exporting everything that could be exported. Owning expensive shoes while ordinary citizens queued up for food and suffered severe shortages amidst one of the worst economic collapses in the Communist bloc can come across as a mite bit insensitive to say the least...
- Not the only time it's happened. When the European Union and later USA introduced sanctions and travel bans against Robert Mugabe's government after the fraud-laden violence of the 2002 elections, Mugabe's wife Grace was included in the list of people who weren't allowed to travel to Europe, with one MEP commenting that this will stop Grace Mugabe going on her shopping trips in the face of catastrophic poverty blighting the people of Zimbabwe.
- On a less depressing note, Ron Perlman was once asked why he does so many B and C-grade movies. His response? "What can I say? My wife likes shoes..."
- Kellie Pickler. The woman even wrote a song about it.
- And yet she sometimes performs without them.
- This Cracked Article statistically proves that, to some extent, this is Truth in Television
- Naoko Takeuchi has mentioned that she is obsessed with shoes, made evident by such a huge presence of Combat Stilettos in Sailor Moon.
- Hong Kong actress and singer Josie Ho Chu-Yi has over 300 pairs of shoes.
- Which could, in and of themselves, qualify as another of those pesky "women things"