So, you really, really like shoes.
December 22, 2009 8:25 PM   Subscribe

What does it mean when someone has a shoe fetish? What might turn them on?

I am pretty sure that a man I know has a "thing" for women's shoes outside of the normal realm of male interest in such things. I find this alternately exciting and amusing, and would like to make things a little more lively in the shoe arena when I see this gentleman. Hey, I like shoes too!

But first, I need to understand just what is going on, never having really encountered this. I'd especially like to hear from those of you with first-hand (-foot?) experience. I am a woman, btw.

1. Why the attraction to the feet/shoes? It obviously goes beyond the aesthetic. Please explain this to me.

2. What might someone with this fetish find exciting? I understand that this will vary considerably, but I am looking for ideas and things to consider.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

2. Why not ask him? Is there a reason you can't?

He's really the only one who can tell you what works for him.
posted by mmmbacon at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2009

mmmbacon: "2. Why not ask him? Is there a reason you can't?

He's really the only one who can tell you what works for him.

Sort of kills the surprise doesn't it? Although, the point is that while you can learn generalities about it, every person has their own preferences. In the absence of his prefs, I would take a shot and wear pointy spiked high heels.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:42 PM on December 22, 2009

yea, many guys tend to respond well to tall heels that are impossibly thin. make sure the parts of your feet that are showing are in good condition, and foot fetish people will be happy- use some lotion if they are dry, keep the nails clean and shaped, and maybe with a little bit of polish. have fun!
posted by saraindc at 8:50 PM on December 22, 2009

I'm not sure if it's possible for a non-fetish-having person to fully understand the deal with someone else's fetish. It's one of those things you just have to take on faith. You can track down a whole long rational explanation, but at heart, a fetish is not rational. Ultimately, the answer is always "Because."

A lot of straight male shoe fetishists prefer shoes that many of us would consider cartoonishly feminine. Thigh-high black leather boots or stiletto heels are probably a better bet than, say, sensible flats or Crocs. (Not that there aren't "sensible flats fetishists" or "Crocs fetishists," of course. Rule 34.)

Be aware that there are several possible specifics involved. Some people dig the smell, others like the looks, and still others want to see the shoes performing particular actions.

And since you haven't given specifics, it's also possible that you've mistaken a foot fetish for a shoe fetish. (I read somewhere that feet were the most common sexual fetish.)
posted by ErikaB at 8:54 PM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Feet and shoes aren't especially my thing, although I do appreciate them, and am constantly pegged for gay when I exclaim "Oh, nice shoes!"

To answer your questions:

1. Feet are power. To step on something is, in many cultures, the ultimate sign of authority or disrespect. Feet are erogenous: classic tickle spots. Binding feet limits the person, and thus the power. Shoes can be authoritative: think of boots, or a pair of high heels on a woman that knows how to wear them well. Feet are also sensitive: we keep them covered most of the time, unlike hands, and allowing someone close to them is a sign of trust.

2. The classic is the black stilleto heel - typically the higher the better. But as you mention, the fetish can be extremely varied. He might be the type to go ga-ga over sneakers with short white frilly cotton socks. Experiment with both design and materials. At the very least, it's an excuse to shop.

Remember it's not just the shoe but how you use it, and how they affect you. Life in high heels can give you fabulous calves, for example.

Finally - remember to be playful. Watch for how he reacts to the click of high heels against a hard surface. Cross one leg over the other and let the heel dangle free, swaying it back and forth by flexing your toes. Have fun with it, be confident, and observe.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:05 PM on December 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

a fetish is something that usually springs from a cue - something in their childhood - something in their first sexual stirrings or encounters - first crush - things like that, so everyone will love something different. as erikab points out, there are many different kinds of fetishists out there.

typically, you'll find love with tall, thin (stiletto type) heels. i'd try a knee high or taller boot and a heel with a really low rise (the part of the shoe that covers the top of the foot).
posted by nadawi at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2009

2. What might someone with this fetish find exciting?

As other have said, often heels but not always. As for ideas...

As a guy who generally appreciates shoes (not to the point of fetishizing them, but more than most guys), I'll point you to Street Boners. It's a street fashion blog run by Gavin McInnes (formerly of Vice Magazine), and if there's anyone who fetishizes shoes, it's him. Disclaimer: it's a little tasteless at times, as should be obvious from the name.

1 2 3 4 5 6
posted by ripley_ at 9:10 PM on December 22, 2009

YouTube often has clips of various people's kinks. Maybe you can get ideas from searching there.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:13 PM on December 22, 2009

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
- I don't want to ask at this point, mainly because the man is cagey about it. This is obviously a very private thing for him, and also, the surprise element makes it a bit more fun/flirty.

- Just talked to him, and he said he is debating whether it is the shoes or the feet (how am I supposed to know?!).

- Wanted to say thanks for responding - please keep the ideas coming. I bet I'm not the only one with this question. In particular, thanks for the very helpful and specific responses from saraindc, Bora Horza Gobuchul, and ripley.

- If you want to contact me about this, you can use my throwaway email at
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:00 PM on December 22, 2009

IANA Foot Fetishist, but the Foot Focus article from TV Tropes may be interesting to see how his fetish is intended or perceived in media. (This article is to the "foot" side of the equation, as opposed to the "shoe" side.). Their article on a certain director with a well-documented (largely by him) foot fetish may also be interesting.

On preview: once again, IANA Foot Fetishist, but kathrineg's response re. requesting a foot massage sounds like a great idea once you get more intimate. See Tarantino, Quentin J., Pulp Fiction, 1994, and other works.

Good luck!
posted by tellumo at 10:48 PM on December 22, 2009

1. Not answerable yet. You can find lots of theories but it's all conjecture.

2. Not answerable at all. You might think black patent heels will drive him crazy but the spectrum is wide and endless. For starters, there's a stinky sneaker fetish that I've always found interesting. Me, I like boots though I can't say it's a fetish. Others might like the exposed toes or straps. There's no way we can generalize about this.

Since he doesn't want to talk about it, you can use non verbal communication. Wear something, see how he reacts, and try to guess where to go from there. I imagine it's like trying to find the perfect dog toy.
posted by chairface at 11:09 PM on December 22, 2009

It might not be the just the shoes: Google "foot worship" this kink, dominant women are often addressed as "Goddess" and have their feet kissed, stroked and licked for hours. While being "adored and worshipped," they tell the sub what to do, talk about how special and wonderful they are, demand compliments, etc. At the end of the session, the sub usually gets permission to come on, by, or with her feet. It can be quite nice and intimate, actually.
posted by aquafortis at 12:09 AM on December 23, 2009

For what it's worth, having a shoe fetish isn't just for men. Here's a story about femme lesbian foot fetishists with a thing for shoes from the 20s and 30s:


"A couple of months ago, I was in a upscale vintage store with an older woman who happens to be extremely knowledgeable about fashion. I was having a great time getting a mini-crash course on the finer points of couture: how to ID the different kinds of stitching popular in the 30s, how to recognize silk velvet from the 20s by feel, how to care for vintage stockings and where to buy them, etc. etc. Anything I wanted to know, she always seemed to have an answer--quite remarkable, not to mention an incredibly fun way to spend an afternoon. Nothing wrong with getting a spontaneous history lecture-- she was obviously enjoying it and so was I. [...] Anyway, I went over to the shoe rack and looked it over for awhile...a shoe very much like the one below caught my eye.

Great picture, eh? I picked it up...My thoughts ran on as I turned it over in my hands. Now, here's the freaky part: the woman I was with came over, saw what I was looking at, smiled and said in a low voice with a twinkle in her eye:

"Do you know why you think the old ones are sexy but the new ones aren't?"

WOAH! Where did that come from!? I think must have turned about ten shades of purple...busted!! How did she know I thought exactly that?! How did she even know I had a thing for shoes at all, much less what kind? Was I really being that obvious? Had she caught me checking out hers, what? My God, talk about well-honed pervdar!

Once I got over being deathly embarrassed, I considered the question. I turned the shoe over again...I couldn't put my finger on it. It was true, almost all modern shoes leave me absolutely cold, the so-called "fetish shoes" and most of the designer shoes everybody oohs and ahs over included. But give me one like this...absolutely enchanting! I honestly couldn't say why. "Uh, I don't know, they just ARE".

"Most people mistakenly think it has something to do with the heel, but it doesn't--that's not it at all, you see." she snapped curtly, with more than a hint of irritation in her voice. (Why was she taking it so personally? I wondered.)

"The reason old ones are sexy is that they're rounded all the way through the arch and vamp."

Wow! So true! That's absolutely right! I have no idea how she knew I thought that, but that's precisely the kind of shoe I like. The only kind of heels I buy, new or old... rounded all the way through the arch and vamp. "Oh, you're right!" We smiled at each other, avoided making eye contact the rest of the afternoon and never brought it up again.

So there's my heartwarming story of one generation of perverts enlightening the next. Hope you enjoyed it!
posted by aquafortis at 12:18 AM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

Im definitely a shoe man. Its not the feet by themselves, or the shoes by themselves. They must be together for me. No idea why, but I noticed my attraction to it in early teens.

As far as what I like as a person with this particular fetish....

As mentioned, you dont have to have model feet, but at least well groomed. Toe rings are a nice addition. Toe polish, nice. Sworski (sp?) crystals, or other little extra touches showing you put effort into making your feet cute go a long way.

Hearing a woman walk in heels on a hard surface will definitely draw my attention.

Seeing as much of the foot as possible is also a turn on. Lots or arch is part of it as well, so the classic clear stripper heel is always a winner. Strappy heels are nice too.

If its closed toe, toe cleavage is hot.

Seeing the heels/shoes during sex is also a winner. Try positions out where he can see them....a mirror may help :)

Let him watch you take them off and on, or even have him help.

Heels accentuate your tush and watching a woman walk in them is part of the turn on as well. Even if you arent quite up to runway model level of walking in heels, the effort alone is what makes it cute :)

Its a harmless fetish...but you will definitely have a happy man if you indulge him now and then. He will know what he likes as time progresses. I wasnt sure exactly what I liked either until my now wife indulged me for a while!

Have fun!
posted by EdoubleG at 4:48 AM on December 23, 2009

In this interesting video, a foot fetish model talks about her unique role in the sex industry, including the oft-unexpected things her clientele turns out to be looking for. One important take-away is how varied foot fetishes really are.
posted by thejoshu at 5:55 AM on December 23, 2009

I think the problem here is that an apparently simple fetish - the focus on the shoes and/or feet - actually encompasses a number of different things that may or may not overlap for the guy with said fetish.

For example, there's being attracted to feet as a body part, there's the theme of domination associated with powerful heels or boots, there's the theme of bondage and submission in other restrictive heels and strappy shoes, there's the simple pleasure of accessorizing an attractive body with attractive shaped shoes (which would probably connect with similar attraction towards socks, stockings, garter belts etc), and then there's people who get off on shoe dangling (erm, site is no nudity as far as I can tell, hence probably safe for work, but still looks like porn), where I guess the shoe half-off-half-on represents some kind of limbo between respectable everyday life and sex... Not to mention people who enjoy seeing things being crushed under foot. And of course, a guy could be taking a transvestic interest in women's clothes.

I guess what I'm saying is to tread carefully (if you'll excuse the pun), because someone into scary PVC dominatrix heels wants something different from someone into cute little kitten heels, and a foot massage might not interest either of them.

Still, all that said, if you start with strappy heels and go from there depending on his preferences, you can't go wrong really.
posted by iivix at 7:00 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

My advice, from a completely pragmatic perspective, is to start with some inexpensive shoes that shout "sexy" but are still heels you might possibly be able to walk in, for at least a few inches, before tripping.

... But most important? Get a pedicure. Especially if you haven't had one before. Especially in winter. Especially if it's been two weeks since your last one. Pedicures feel awesome and look awesome, so even if the shoes are a flop, your feet will look fantastic.

Suggestion: When the nail tech asks you to choose a color, go for either (a) Kennebunkport by OPI or (b) A List by Essie. (OPI has the round bottles; Essie has the square ones.) You want a dark red that doesn't have too much orange in it. Trust me on this. Red!

PS. If things get more serious with this guy, drag him shoe-shopping with you. I am not kidding. Go to DSW, mock the terrible shoes, and try on the awesome ones. Maybe he'll even buy a pair or two for you. ::grin::
posted by brina at 7:28 AM on December 23, 2009

I'm not a foot/shoe fetishist, but I like them. For me, it's the feet and the shoes just show them off.

From what I've experienced, seen, and read (R. Crumb?) leg and foot fetishes have to do with the strength and/or dominance of the woman. Now, the reactions to this can very. Some guys like to feel dominant over a strong woman sometimes, a la Crumb. Some rarely give up control in normal life and like to do so with a woman they trust, a la... well... me.

Anyway, notice that big heels are popular in the fetishist crowd, and notice that they make the woman taller, with more dangerously armed feet. Leather boots and such, too, are kinda like armor. Maybe it'd be good to mix in some of that kind of thing. I don't mean whips and cuckolding or something (maybe later), but just try being assertive if you aren't already ("Now how about/give me a a foot massage.").

Please not that I'm completely armchairing it here. If someone's an expert, I'd be very interested.
posted by cmoj at 11:45 AM on December 23, 2009

nadawi claims:
a fetish is something that usually springs from a cue - something in their childhood - something in their first sexual stirrings or encounters - first crush - things like that, so everyone will love something different. as erikab points out, there are many different kinds of fetishists out there.

Um, got any data to back that theory up? 'Cuz you could get some funding if you were ever able to show that there is usually a formative "cue - something in their childhood" behind a sexual fetish.

The jury is out, AFAIK, and no research to date has positively established a definite, causative source.

(IANAPsych, but have done a lot of study into paraphilia.)

Otherwise, to the OP: adding my vote for: go playful, think vampish or attention-whoring, and pick shoes that seem very sexy - comefuckme pump, strappy sandals, highest heels.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:01 PM on December 23, 2009

IAmBroom - no studies to back it up, but a ferocious curiosity into sexuality and kink - it's not set in stone, but many of the hundreds of people i've talked to/read/exchanged stories with will talk about things that they went through/noticed in their childhood/teen years that later figured prominently in their stated fetish, especially when the fetish was for something worn, like shoes or stockings. i didn't realize my wording would give anyone any other impression besides general observation.
posted by nadawi at 4:35 PM on December 23, 2009

nadawi: Ah, sorry for the reaction. It sounded like you were regurgitating past in-vogue psychological theories, that data has failed to validate.

As always, the plural of anecdote is not data.

In my personal experience, my kinky friends are generally unable to correlate their deviations with anything in their past. I have multiple BDSM-loving friends who were raised by loving, tolerant parents, without humiliation, physical punishment, nor suffering as a part of their childhood, for example.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:09 AM on December 24, 2009


Foot fetish guys are the BEST. They are sweet. Humble. They take pleasure in being generous and making you happy.

In the BDSM-genre, other so called "submissives" (aka - those who please others) obtain the opportunity to please by misbehaving first, and then making up for their misbehavior. However, the majority of foot fetishists are polite and giving to a fault. God(dess) bless them.

Show your friend respect and appreciate their nature by wearing lovely footwear.

As for suggestions....

It kind of depends on your friend's preferences. Suggest shoes you might look great in (expensive if that's possible) and accept the tributes as they magically appear. Wear them for his pleasure. In fact, always wear shoes and clothes that show your feet off, for his pleasure.

#1 - Save the moment of seeing/savoring your unshorn feet - if that is a possibility in this relationship. Otherwise, just always show your tootsies off in great shoes that hint at your naked footed beauty. Drive him wild, give him visuals to fantasize about.

If he ever gets down on his knees to worship your feet - ENJOY! But don't take off your shoes straight way, eh! Make the reveal slow and savor-able. Odds are, your friend has never had his desires respected and enacted, go ahead and make that memorable. Most likely, you'll end up with a long-term friend and/or romance and/or loyal respectful admirer - which ever you prefer!

If you are wondering about what role/attitude you should evince in those shoe-feet worshipping moments... You are the quintessential Benevolent Despot. You are the Generous Queen. You sense his approval and you revel in it.

And for Godess' Sake... ENJOY!
posted by jbenben at 7:37 PM on December 25, 2009

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