Trainers are a mirror to the soul says Brighton academic

Trainers are a

Trainers are a "mirror to the soul" says Brighton academic

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The type of trainers sportsmen wear are a mirror of their souls according to a new university study.

Sportsmen wear flashy, bright boots to let fellow competitors and spectators that they are 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 Morriss-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.

He said: "I have always felt that understanding why people wear the shoes they do and what those shoes mean to them are fundamental to our role as a podiatrist."

His research 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.

"The research also highlighted that those who wore all-white trainers were considered uber masculine. It was felt that the podolinguistic signifiers of this footwear were of gang culture and aggression.

"However, sportsmen who wore these shoes felt that they gave the shoe an identity, rather than the shoe giving them one."

Dr Morriss-Roberts said future research could look into people's choices for everyday and evening footwear.

He said: "Podolinguistics is still in its early stages but I think opening up this discussion to the podiatric community, away from but including sports sociologists, will be an interesting experience."

Dr Morriss-Roberts discusses his findings in further detail in Writing in Podiatry Now, the journal for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

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7:07am Tue 22 Oct 13 BiggerH says…

I've always thought that people who spend upwards of £ 100 on a pair of flashy plimsolls and most of their spare time in a gym need to take a long hard look at their lives

  • Score: 7

8:13am Tue 22 Oct 13 tykemison says…

Staggering piece of study. Ground breaking in fact. To question 8sportsman and manage to decipher all that information is mind-blowing, great stuff, off the top of my head I cannot work out what percentage of the world's population that is but needless to say this story has opened my eyes to the ground breaking research these great minds are undertaking with our money, brilliant work, I salute you!

  • Score: 11

8:30am Tue 22 Oct 13 From beer to uncertainty says…

It has long been known the value of podolinguistics in healthcare. Nurse: good and bad news from the doctor Mr Jones Mr Jones: what's the bad news? Nurse: you have about an hour or two to live. Mr Jones: what's the good news? Nurse: the patient in the next bed is offering to buy your slippers.

  • Score: 8

8:33am Tue 22 Oct 13 From beer to uncertainty says…

Didn't the full title of this research include: "...but, sadly, still no cure for cancer"?

  • Score: 5

8:36am Tue 22 Oct 13 qm says…

"Podolinguistics – the ability to communicate feelings or attitudes via the foot and shoe" An example might be a boot in the nether regions of the individuals who thought to fund this study. Of far more relevance to humanity would be a study of the social habits of transexual amoebae!

  • Score: -1

9:04am Tue 22 Oct 13 Crystal Ball says…

What absolute rot. Is this what academia now produces as objective study and observation?

  • Score: 4

9:33am Tue 22 Oct 13 Morpheus says…

It's all r souls to me.

  • Score: -1

10:13am Tue 22 Oct 13 PetertheGrate says…

I think it's more like a mirror to their bank account.

  • Score: 5

10:25am Tue 22 Oct 13 Maxwell's Ghost says…

Mori and the other research companies use a standard of 500 people to be considered meaningful in research. Eight people is a vox pop. I wonder if this chap will look back on his life and wondered where the time went.

  • Score: 3

12:09pm Tue 22 Oct 13 Ashles says…

"Podolinguistics" Christ.

  • Score: -1

2:12pm Tue 22 Oct 13 rolivan says…

What gets up my nose is that none of these Professional athletes pay for their sportswear in fact most get paid to promote them.Then the likes of Nike and Addidas expect people to pay exhorbitant prices to wear these products and walk around as mobile advertising mannequins.

  • Score: 6

4:03pm Tue 22 Oct 13 Nick Kirby says…

I wear white trainers and I'm a right screaming nelly, so bang goes your theory, Chummy.

  • Score: 4

10:12pm Tue 22 Oct 13 PorkBoat says…

And if you wear hobnail boots on the pitch instead of sportswear, you aren't interested in the game, you just want to kick someone's head in.

  • Score: 6

2:08pm Wed 23 Oct 13 MuammarQaddafi says…

I have said for many years, show me someone's bookshelf and shoe rack, and I will tell you everything worth knowing about them.

  • Score: 0

2:55pm Wed 23 Oct 13 lowe.ant says…

Interesting, were any barefoot runners interviewed ? I'm curious as I run and live barefoot !

  • Score: 3
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