September 7th 2016

Today I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. Fifty metres down the road there was another shoe. The left shoe that completed the pair – or maybe it was the right shoe. I didn’t pay that much attention, I was driving. In the last two months I’ve driven 3,000 miles commuting to work and back, and the vast majority of that distance is just going up and down this one dual carriageway. And that road is always littered with shoes.

Every day it’s guaranteed that there will be some sort of shoe on the side of the road. Occasionally – but not always – in a pair. Sometimes it’s a man’s shoes, sometimes a woman’s, once it was a kids shoe. At first I thought it was weird, and then I kinda got used to it because it just seemed to be the same pair that no one had got around to cleaning up, but then new pairs started appearing and it got weird again.

I’ve cycled through the list of possibilities of how a shoe could end up on a dual carriageway and they’re all pretty grim. Car crash? Cult? Homelessness? The possibility that they’re a hallucinogenic projection of my consciousness that symbolises the end of the universe?

That last one is unlikely because other people have mentioned the shoes too. I thought maybe it could be similar to that thing where a pair of shoes hanging off a power line indicated a drug dealer is in the area (if that’s even true). To research it further, I Googled it. Turns out there’s a forum dedicated to the reasons behind random footwear on motorways. Here are some of my favourite theories.


I think you probably just made that up.


That’s a hilarious mental image.




But then you’d have to walk home barefoot?


Logical, but probably not.


Oh my God, there’s even a Wikipedia article about it. This is a real thing, people. I promise.

It can even be explained with science!!!

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 22.37.29.png 

And of course, someone will make pretentious art out of it.

“Some artists derive insight and inspiration from abandoned footwear – a form of art known as objet trouvé.[9]

The lost slipper in the Cinderella folktale is a classic example of the literary device of the “lost object”.[10] A fisherman hauling up an old boot, rather than a fish, is a comic-strip cliché.[10]

It’s just really weird to me. Firstly because it’s weird to just see a shoe on the road, and secondly it’s weird to think where the shoe came from. Someone once owned that shoe, it was on someone’s foot and for whatever reason they decided to throw it from their moving vehicle. But why? To symbolise man’s ability to walk away from consumerism? To protest child labour from conglomerate manufacturers? Because they’re off their fucking nut on powder? I don’t know. But it’s really weird.

I’m glad I’m not the only one to have noticed this. It seems there’s a community of people out there who are bemused and confused by this phenomenon.  Although there are many great theories, I’m gonna put my backing behind this one.


Until tomorrow, keep your shoes on.



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