Why are there so many random shoes on the road?

It is one of the enduring mysteries of modern times: a lone shoe on the highway, abandoned and without its sole mate (pun intended).

So, how did it get there? It is a question that has seemingly been asked since the times of lone sandals turning up on the streets of ancient Rome.

The mystery surrounding abandoned footwear has inspired long Reddit threats and Facebook pages. It has its own Wikipedia page.

We have taken the time to examine a few theories of this phenomenon, but to be completely honest, no one really knows for sure what the deal is with all the shoes on the road.

Which do you think is the most plausible? If you’ve ever lost a single shoe (or a pair, while we’re at it), what happened to cause you to lose your shoe?


Dude, Where’s My Shoe?

As Lifehacker noted, people are forgetful creatures. We’ve all been there: You’re on the way to the gym on a busy day, carrying our shoes and gym bag and a protein shake and in a rush. You put the shoes on the roof of your car while you unlock the door and stash your bag. You begin to drive off and, wait, where are the shoes? They are car surfing, and probably falling off, that’s where.


We’ve all seen it. Shoes, hanging from telephone lines. Now, why people do that is diving into a whole separate rabbit hole. But regardless of how they got there, what goes up must eventually come down.

Here’s a poem about this particular phenomenon, shared on Twitter by Tweet Sized Fiction:


Speaking of things that cannot be explained, children (and parents!) sometimes get the urge to throw things. Sometimes, those things are shoes. Sometimes, they are in the car when that urge strikes.

One commenter on Reddit wrote: “I was about 4 or 5 and having a meltdown in the backseat because my shoes/socks didn’t feel ‘right’ so my dad grabbed them and tossed them out the window.”

And, yes, it happens to adults, too!

The Homeless

A columnist for the Denver Post once noted that more single shoes are found in areas with high concentrations of homeless people, who might find shoes in donation bins or dumpsters. Sometimes, they only need one shoe. The other gets tossed.


If you’ve ever been “over-served,” then perhaps you know the feeling of waking up the next morning to find all of your worldly possessions didn’t make it home with you. Maybe it’s your cell phone, maybe it’s your entire purse or maybe it’s a shoe.

Moral of the story? Drink responsibly and keep that footwear safe, folks.


What is your theory on the mystery of the missing shoe?


Related posts

squishmallow slides
Get some fun, comfy Squishmallow slides for only $15
A person runs on an outdoor trail.
What to look for in running shoes
Ozark Trail Waistpack/Time and Tru Women's Buckle Clogs
14 Walmart alternatives to popular expensive products
woman walking
How to pick the most comfortable walking shoes for women

About the Author
Mitchell Byars
Mitchell Byars was born and raised in Hawaii and currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he is a reporter. On his free time, he likes to golf, swim and enjoy a nice beer.

From our partners