Superstitions and Symbolism of Shoes

I’ve been asked about superstitions and symbolism of shoes (say that five times fast).   I just happen to know these little symbolic shoe bits because I’m a recovering shoe addict, and I thought (as I typically do) my shoe fetish had a deeper symbolic meaning, so several years ago I investigated various meanings of shoes. 

I was happy to share a few of the more colorful superstitions in my reply here:

Dear ShoeStrung,

Shoes have a wealth of superstitions attached to them.

In the Western world, tossing old boots in the wake of departing ships was thought to insure a sailor’s safe return home.

This tradition is carried out in modern times by tying shoes to the car bumpers after a wedding.  This action is said to:

  • assure a happy home life,
  • keep a husband from wandering,
  • and all the roads a family takes will always lead back to the home.

Also in matters of love, if shoes are placed on the left side of the bed in the form of a “T” it is said that a vision of your love will come to call in your sleep.  A little rhyme goes with it to insure your dream lover will appear: 

“This night my true love will see,
I’ve placed my shoes in the form of a T,
now in my dreams come to me,
show yourself, my lover to be.”

Do not put your shoes souls up under your bed, as superstitions indicate this will cause nightmares and cramps.

Dreaming of shoes means something too; I’ve written a bit about it here: (4th dream symbol from the bottom of the page).

Even the wear and tear of shoes has a bit of symbolic superstition behind them, as evident in this Irish rhyme:

“Worn at tip of toe, wearer sees woe,
Worn out at the side, wearer meets his bride,
Worn on the ball, best not to buy at all,
Worn at the heal, wearer makes a wise deal.”

Placing shoes caddywampus in your doorway is a good way to outsmart devils from entering your door.  Place one shoe with toes facing out the door, and the other shoe with toes facing in – this is said to confuse dense little demons and keep your home evil-free.

On a more somber note, placing shoes on top of a table is symbolic of death. The origin of this superstition comes from the times of hangings in which convicted prisoners were hanged with their shoes still on.  Upon letting loose of the noose, their shoes would tap on the surface – the association was translated to table tops.

As synchronicity would have it, I just stumbled across this post on superstitions surrounding shoes at weddings.

I hope you enjoyed these superstitions and symbolism of shoes.