How Do You Feel About Wearing Dirty Shoes?

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Old Brown Leather shoes on the brown screen, Old Brown Leather Boots

The very nature of shoes makes them susceptible to dirt and grime. Whether it is road salt from city streets or rich soil from a country field, dirt absolutely changes the way a pair of shoes look. How do you feel about that? Going one step further, how do you feel about wearing dirty shoes in public?

We tend to think of shoes as nondescript pieces of clothing. But guess what? People really do pay attention to them. A 2017 survey of 1,000 adults revealed that 64% of women pay attention to the shoes men wear in order to judge their fashion sense. In addition, women judge a man’s personality, financial position, and attention to detail based on his footwear.

It is not just the style of shoes a man chooses to wear. It is also the condition of those shoes. Old and ratty looking shoes are not likely to impress. Even newer shoes that look dirty can be problematic. That’s why companies like GC Tech make waterproof shoe covers for men.

  • Dirt Was a Badge of Honor

When this writer was a kid, dirt was a badge of honor. When I got new sneakers, one of the first things I did was run outside and play in the dirt. The goal was to get my new sneakers as dirty as possible, as quickly as possible. Wearing clean sneakers to a neighborhood baseball game was just inviting trouble.

During my early adult years, I worked in the construction business. I discovered that dirt was a badge of honor in that environment as well. I remember buying a brand-new pair of work boots. I was at the receiving end of endless mockery until my boots got sufficiently dirty.


There is an obvious difference between work boots and dress shoes. I don’t know any construction worker today who would wear a pair of waterproof overshoes on top of his work boots. It is just not done. It doesn’t need to be done, either. Not so for other kinds of shoes.

  • Casual and Dress Shoes

We expect work boots to get beat up. The same goes for work shoes worn in blue-collar environments. Moving on to casual and dress shoes, it is a different story. Society just expects that casual and dress shoes will be taken care of. And that means keeping them dry and clean.

The fact is, showing up in dirty shoes only harms the image one projects. Wearing dirty casual shoes to a first date can sink your chances before you ever sit down for a drink. While you’re trying to tell her everything about yourself, she has decided there won’t be a second date.


Things ar worse when you are talking formal occasions. Dirty shoes don’t play well at weddings or formal company events. They don’t work well as an attorney in the courtroom or a business executive in a meeting. Salt stains, dirt, and grime can ruin an otherwise perfect appearance.

  • It Doesn’t Take Much

The thing about shoes is that it doesn’t take much to make them look dirty. After all, they’re constantly in contact with the ground. Even the cleanest of shoes can get noticeably dirty after just a couple of hours of walking around.

By the same token, it doesn’t take much to keep them clean, either. Waterproof shoe covers are the obvious front runner for doing just that. A good pair of shoe covers that slip on and off easily can be an indispensable footwear accessory. Whether or not you buy shoe covers really boils down to this: how do you feel about dirty shoes?