Podolinguistics, Podopersona and Women’s Everyday Shoes Choices: an Interpretive Phenomenological Diary Approach - Abstract
In the western world, shoes, sandals, trainers (the list goes on) are a part of our everyday dress choices; these choices shape our lives and how we exist day to day. We make conscious choices about the shoes we wear and these shoes we want to represent us. Previous literature has argued that this concept is called podolinguistics- defined as the ‘language’ of feet and shoes. The aim of the study was to look at the daily shoe choices women make about the shoes they choose to put on their feet and why these choices are made. Women across the University of Brighton were invited to opt into a study utilising an electronic daily diary approach recording their daily shoes wearing choices over a period of 2 weeks. 10 female participants were recruited into the study via a poster/email campaign, looking for women who had an interest in shoes and were willing to share their thoughts. All participants engaged in the study; however the demands on undertaking such a time-consuming piece of daily research was evident to some. Ethical was granted from the University Of Brighton School Of Health Sciences Ethics Committee. The diaries were analysed utilising interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) - which focuses on the ‘lived experiences’ of individuals and demands that only a few participants in a homogeneous sample are required. The results generated four super ordinate themes; (i) External Factors Promotion Choice of Footwear (ii) Psychological Connection/Attachment with Shoes (iii) Psychological Reinforcement from Shoes (iv) Colour of Shoes. It should be noted that 14 subordinate themes were also generated. Our findings highlighted that the participants had a personal connection with their shoes, which was significant in representing their podolinguistic identity. Women have an emotional connection with their footwear and their footwear choice, which we now define as ‘podopsychosamatics’ As a result, a woman’s podopersona (shoe personality/identity) is generated out of this complex relationship of shoe choice, colour, daily activities and a deeply personal psychosocial relationship.