How I Became a Shoeologist

Shoeologist Shannon Bindler

Shoe⋅ol⋅o⋅gist
n. a person who studies shoes and the effects they have on the mind and behavior.

That’s me—I’m a Shoeologist. How does one become a Shoeologist? Well, I’ll tell you. For the past several years, I’ve worked as a Style Editor and Life Coach and have been referred to as a “couture hippy,” which means I love exploring spirituality (I even have a Masters in Spiritual Psychology) but also have a great passion for clothing— from designer to vintage, knockoff to haute couture. Some might consider fashion frivolous, but I’ve never put down the important role it plays in my life. A girl’s got to look good to feel good, right? And I don’t know about you, but when I visualize my future, it certainly includes a pair of killer heels. I’ve found shoes can sometimes be the best therapy around. They inspire, motivate, and keep me centered.

I discovered this was real for me a few years ago during a meditation retreat, when a fellow student accused me of being materialistic. I was upset by my choice of shoes for the day—but did that mean I was materialistic? I truly admired spiritual leaders—think Gandhi and Mother Theresa—who had forsaken material possessions to focus on inner peace. True, I owned a meticulously curated shoe collection, which I kept organized not only by style and function but also by the way the shoes made me feel. (My guess is that lots of women organize their shoes this way, at least subconsciously…) Somewhere inside, I knew there was something special going on with my relationship to footwear.

My big “sole awakening” happened when I was having one of “those days.” I felt blue and off balance and couldn’t shake it. I glanced at my feet and wondered if my wobbly heels had something to do with my unsteady state? I kicked them off and slid on a pair of ballerina flats I keep in the back of my car for emergencies. I suddenly felt more grounded than I had all day—not just physically but emotionally, too. I love the elegant simplicity of a ballerina flat; the versatile design works comfortably with almost any outfit. I envisioned myself moving with a dancer’s steadiness. My shoes supported my posture and helped me shift my inner experience.

I playfully tapped the heels of my soles. Something came over me… What if there was a shoe that could help with almost any situation? Could shoes be used to help heal a broken heart, for example? Could they give you strength? A sense of peace? Rev up your sex life? It was in that moment that my calling as a Shoeologist began.

I started by scouring Amazon for books that might tie into my newly invented profession. I stumbled upon some NASA—yes, really, NASA—research about forming new habits and found myself engrossed. The study showed that when we repeatedly think a thought, physical changes in the brain occur making it easier to think that thought and, more importantly, act on it. Basically, repeating positive thoughts can actually reprogram your brain and behavior. No joke! The rocket scientists say so.

While it wouldn’t be on the same level as a NASA experiment, I wondered if I could use this forming-­new-habits approach with my shoes? I could pick a pair that would act as a reminder of what I wanted, then focus on my goal while stepping into the shoes in the morning. Getting dressed was often my favorite part of the day, so it’s not like I’d forget to do it. And since the shoes drove the other sartorial choices I’d make, it seemed like a good fit.

My shoe closet became my medicine cabinet, and I became the pharmacist. I dove into footwear history, studying thousands of shoes. I used that knowledge to line up shoes with corresponding qualities, creating my “Shoe (Rx) Prescriptions.” I didn’t stop until I had uncovered a “sole­-ution” for just about every issue my life might present.

I wasn’t concerned with price tags or brand names. I focused on a shoe’s design and history, which together held the power of each quality I wanted to embrace and empower in myself. The prescriptions worked just as well with designer shoes as they did with H&M knock­offs and the pairs I borrowed from my sisters. The positive results came from what I created while wearing them.

________________________

If you love shoes as much as I do, you may be curious to learn how to hone their powers for yourself, so I’ve created this pharmacopoeia of shoes, arranged by the qualities I see in them. Maybe it will help you look at your own shoes in a different light and even help you use them to feel better about yourself.

I’ve used these Sole Prescriptions with dozens of women, all with encouraging results. While meditation and/or visualization can work well for some people, for others, shoes are just what the Doctor ordered. Stepping into a new sense of self is easy with a shoe prescription. Simply put, I believe you can change your life, one shoe at a time!

 

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me.

Don’t miss a thing, subscribe to my newsletter!

Shoes, Sex + Biology

It’s hard to deny that shoes can be sexy, but the female species may spend more time thinking about them than I previously imagined. A recent study conducted by the online retailer Very.co.uk says that women think about shoes and fashion 91 times per day—once every 11 minutes and 23 seconds—which is more than men think about sex per day!

Wait, what? Women think about fashion more than men think about sex? Do we think about what we wear because it makes us more desirable to men, who are thinking about sex? Or is there some other evolutionary reason?

These types of questions led me to one of my favorite shoe-purchasing rationales, which is that my attraction to shoes is, in part, biological. You see, in the earliest human societies, women were gatherers; and I think it’s still in our nature to put valuable objects in baskets and bring them home. It brings us satisfaction on a deep, possibly ancestral level.

Some part of our brains might be “programmed” to think about, gather, and store footwear. We can’t help it; it’s in our DNA—or, at least, that’s what I’m telling myself…

I’m curious, how often do you think about fashion?

 

Forget your bags? No worries, these shoes have you covered: