A Historical past of Shoe-Tossing: Why Do Folks Throw Sneakers Over Energy Strains?

Weird History | April 24, 2021

Three pairs of sneakers hold from energy strains close to nineteenth Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Lengthy Seashore. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Instances by way of Getty Photos)

Mysterious pairs of sneakers which have been tied collectively and hung from energy strains will be discovered all throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. It is not clear when or why this custom started, however there isn’t a scarcity of theories as to why folks throw sneakers over energy strains.

Historical past Of Shoe Tossing

The origins of shoe tossing could also be misplaced to time, because it’s one thing we have accomplished just about since we started carrying sneakers and particularly over energy strains ever since we acquired these. It could have its origins in an English wedding custom of indeterminate age during which celebrants threw sneakers at newly married {couples} to want them luck and symbolize the transference of authority over the bride from the daddy to the husband. Yeah, it was fairly bizarre. Sneakers have been additionally generally thrown for a similar purpose as bouquets in trendy ceremonies, that means that whoever caught it was believed to be the following to get married, besides it was thrown to each the ladies and males in attendance. It is also been theorized that the apply stems from the behavior of individuals within the Outdated West of adorning their properties with cowboy boots hung over fence posts or the army custom of throwing one’s boots over an influence line after finishing fundamental coaching, transferring to a brand new submit, or finishing another milestone. There aren’t almost as many wedding ceremony venues, troopers, or cowboys on the planet as there are sneakers hanging from energy strains, nonetheless, so why do folks do it now?

A pair of sneakers hanging from a wire in Thornbury, Melbourne, Australia. (Lachlan Hardy/Wikimedia Commons)

City Legends About Shoe Tossing

We could not know why folks throw sneakers over energy strains, however that does imply we most likely know why they do not. Probably the most prevalent urban legends about shoe tossing is that it marks gang territory or a location the place medication are offered, however regardless of anecdotal evidence supplied by present and former gang members, there’s no proof that this has ever been a widespread apply. It might even be an objectively ineffective system. Through the years, explanations for sneakers hung from energy strains have ranged from memorializing the lifeless to celebrating a transfer or job promotion to bullied youngsters whose sneakers have been stolen and thrown out of their attain. There is no doubt that somebody, someplace has thrown sneakers over energy strains for every of those causes, however with so many various attainable interpretations, nobody can ever make certain about any of them, and “certain” is what you need to be while you’re seeking to purchase medication or do some ganging.

Sneakers hanging from overhead wires in metropolis Oryol, Russia. (Alexey Vasiliev/Wikimedia Commons)

Why Do Folks Throw Sneakers Over Energy Strains?

If we all know, largely, why folks do not throw sneakers over energy strains, then why do they? The most certainly reply is that it is only a factor youngsters do. Typically, it is only a recreation to see who can get their sneakers up there with the fewest variety of makes an attempt or a method to be mildly naughty, like graffiti or littering. As with each of these issues, nonetheless, it has been elevated to an art form in trendy occasions. A sibling duo of Brooklyn artists have hung 500 pairs of woodcuts emblazoned with photographs of sneakers from energy strains all around the world, and many individuals nonetheless use the true factor for adornment or just to declare to the world that they have been right here.

Tags: shoes | urban legends | Weird Historical Facts

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Karen Harris


Karen left the world of educational, quitting her job as a university professor to write down full-time. She spends her days along with her firefighter husband and 4 daughters on a passion farm with an assortment of animals, together with a goat named Atticus, a turkey named Gravy, and a rooster named Chickaletta.

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