Men’s Decision-Making on Footwear

Nocostrich08As my regular readers know, I enjoy wearing boots. I wear them every day, usually two to three pairs each day, sometimes more, depending on what I am doing and where I am going.

Lucroperblack10Let me provide the context of my life: I am a middle-aged adult man, living in a single-family house in a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I work in an office and am a middle-management professional. I ride a motorcycle (when the weather is suitable), and a four-wheel cage (truck) when not astride my Harley. I eschew the trappings of yuppiehood (fancy cars, the latest gadgets, and braggardry). In my off-time I build things, remodel homes, look after elderly friends, and serve as a civic leader in the community where I live (and where I grew up.) I am married to the love of my life. I am well-educated, including graduate-level studies in the field of observing human behavior and anticipating results of human action.

It is this latter element of my background that gives me some insight into the topic of this post — how men make decisions on footwear.

These observations apply to most men, but not all. Nothing applies to everyone. However, there are more similar decision-making processes among men than some may think.

First of all, men are keen observers. They watch what other men do and how they act. While most men do not want to admit it, they are not “their own man” — not really. Most men conform to unstated social norms when it comes to choosing what to wear.

Look around — boys in school dress like each other. Men at the office dress pretty much the same way, too.

Men who question “should I wear this?” (including, in my subject area, “should I wear boots?”) will NOT ask other men or trusted women. Instead, these days, they get on their smart phones (or the computer in cases like me — a guy who avoids having one of those wallet-suckers) and use internet search engines.

Anonymous tracking software that I have on my website shows me what questions are entered into internet search engines and drive visitors to it. Here are real examples of questions asked just yesterday:

  • mens jeans boots colour combination
  • mens jeans that go with cowboy boots
  • when should a man tuck his pants into his cowboy boots
  • the best everyday cowboy boots to wear
  • how to wear cowboy boots men fashion
  • how to wear cowboy boots with jeans
  • what kind of socks do you wear with cowboy boots
  • do you tuck pants into cowboy boots
  • why wear cowboy boots
  • do men wear boots in an office
  • can you wear cowboy boots with a suit
  • can i wear dress slacks with boots
  • what to wear with cowboy boots men
  • khakis and cowboy boots
  • do boots get hot
  • cowboy business attire
  • what to wear with cowboy boots for guys

And these questions are asked by the thousands every day. Every day!

That proves the point that men are inquisitive and use the internet to explore these questions. The internet is good that way–it provides an anonymous method to ask questions that a guy doesn’t want to discuss with another person due to embarrassment, not thinking it is important, just plain curiosity, or just time-wasting while playing around on a smartphone.

Worktoday01When internet search results provide consistent answers, men tend to think the results are the “right answer.” So if more results to the question “should I wear boots to the office” link to articles on men’s fashion websites written by queens with “bootaphobia,” then it affirms in a guy’s mind that his choice of footwear should be the same old drab dress shoes worn by as many clones with whom he works.

Also, there are some men who still believe some folklore — stories passed down through the ages — that only “real” cowboys wear cowboy boots, only men who work in construction wear work boots, and only cops wear tall black equestrian-looking boots with breeches. While these perceptions are not 100% true, many men think this way because that is what they have heard throughout their lives. And, after all, perceptions form reality for most people, and folklore is usually based on truth somewhere in the distant past.

Finally, men in general prefer to be decisive. “Just figure it out and do it” without giving much thought to a matter they consider to have minor importance. If it is easier to conform to social norms and wear dress shoes or sneakers — because “all the guys” wear the same footwear — then that is what most men do. Again, most men do not spend much time thinking about these things (or they do not want to admit that they do.)

BHDweb07232013In summary, one thing that I find my website and this blog doing is giving a voice to a different opinion about choices of footwear. Yeah, I admit — I am to the extreme when it comes to my personal choice of “boots only/boots always.” I realize that there are times when other types of footwear are a better choice, such as sneakers when playing sports or working out at a gym, or when there is an old-fashioned office dress code that requires dress shoes with business attire.

I give the voice to the choice for men to wear boots in various, ordinary, common every-day things that men do: go to work, do things around the house, volunteer in the community, visit and play with family and friends, and so forth.

It really is not that complicated. Simply:

Life is short: wear boots!