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How shoes can do the talking


Shoes can do a lot of talking.I discovered that fact at a conference. During the opening session,  the speaker asked us to look at our shoes. She then instructed us to tell the person sitting next to us the story behind our shoes. To my amazement, our shoes had a lot to say.  In this post, I’d like to guide both English language learners and their teachers in some ways that shoes can be mined for developing vocabulary and writing skills.

Vocabulary related to talking shoes

A lot of words are associated with shoes. For example, shoes come in a whole host of styles from Mary Janes to mocassins and cleats to clogs. For a comprehensive list, check out’s list. In addition, to types of shoes, there are the many parts of a shoe from the sole (the bottom of the shoe) to the toe, heel, tongue, and strap (on some shoes). Finally, shoes are made from a variety of materials such as leather, canvas, rubber, synthetic materials, and even wood. What are your shoes made of? Try to describe their physical appearance.

Shoe Vocabulary

Using shoes to talk

In addition to their physical appearance, shoes also say something about you. At the conference I attended, I heard one man discuss how his shoes were an attempt to please his wife. He knew that his tendency to dress thoughtlessly and without care for appearance bothered his wife. Paying attention to his shoes was a way for him to please his wife. He chose to wear that particular pair that day because they were professional, smart and complemented the rest of his outfit. Another person, a woman, spoke about how her family struggled financially. She chose to wear that day the best pair she had in an attempt to feel better about her lot in life. In addition, the higher heel made her look taller and helped to hide the extra weight she had put on during this period of stress.

Writing prompts to let your shoes do the talking

The shoes told a lot of other stories as well. Why not take some time today to write about the story that your shoes tell. Here are some prompts to get you going:

  • Do you remember the day you bought the shoes? Write about that day and why you chose them.
  • What do these shoes remind you of? Did you buy them because they are similar to a pair that someone else has? Why is that significant? Write about that person.
  • Was there a memorable day that you wore those shoes? Write about that day.
  • What do your shoes make you think of? How do the shoes make you feel? Write about it.


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