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Zappos Debunks ‘Shoeperstitions’ With New Report

Social media can be overwhelming—navigating fact from fiction, a fad from faux pas. Zappos wants to help.

The e-commerce company released its first “Shoeperstitions Report,” a nationwide survey conducted across 2,000 people to validate—or disprove—popular theories and fashion trends on social media.

“Every day there are new internet trends and theories infiltrating customers’ radars, such as ‘will gifting shoes cause your significant other to walk out on you?’” Ginny McCormick, chief marketing officer at Zappos, said. “Our millennial and Gen Z customers come to Zappos for the latest fashion, footwear, and insights into social trends—the in-depth Shoeperstition exploration is the perfect blend of these experiences.”

Highlights from the report include an in-depth exploration into millennials and Gen Z’s beliefs around manifestation, the viral Shoe Theory that warns couples to think twice before buying their partner a pair of kicks, and the latest predictions on what will be Spring’s biggest fashion statements.

Before tackling the myriad of “shoeperstitions” floating on the internet, Zappos looked at the current appetite for trends across the board. When sensations arise on social media, 40 percent of millennials admit they’re among the first to hop on board, with 36 percent of Gen Z not far behind. Considering that the trends cycle has only accelerated  and it’s challenging to keep up with the fast-moving world of micro-trends, it’s not easy determining what has staying power. According to the majority of customers, the acceptable time frame is to wait one to two weeks before buying-in to a trend.


Manifesting: The Lucky Girl (and Guy) Syndrome

Springtime is traditionally associated with new beginnings and, apparently, superstitions. While seemingly neither has anything to do with the other, superstition and fashion have more in common than what meets the eye: one-third of consumers have a tried-and-true “lucky” outfit on standby.

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Millennials (rather than Gen Z) took the top spot for “most likely to be influenced by TikTok” regarding their views on manifestation. But consumers across all gender categories said they’re now more inclined to believe in the power of positive thinking, thanks to the social media platform.


When it comes to manifesting and “Lucky Girl Syndrome,” which uses affirmations to influence what the mind focuses on and to refocus on positive self-talk over negative, both millennials and Gen Z consumers have said TikTok has influenced their views on positive thinking and manifestation, with 45 percent of men and 49 percent of women pointing to sneakers as their luckiest shoes. Fifty-nine percent of men have a go-to pair of sneakers for when they need a bit of extra luck.

The Shoe Theory

While “deinfluencers” (average social media users who give honest reviews of products they’ve been influenced to buy) have cautioned people that gifting their partner a pair of shoes is bad luck, Zappos debunked this theory to prove that 73 percent of couples say the gift of shoes had a positive impact on their relationship, kicking this shoeperstition to the curb. While 56 percent of people in a relationship said they have a lucky pair of sneakers, over 60 percent also admit that they own a pair of sneakers that have lasted longer than their last relationship—over 18 months.

The Red Nail Theory is one of the more popular ones circulating the internet these days, and Gen Z believes it wholeheartedly; 38 percent contend that red nails are the key to attracting suitors and even an engagement ring. If you’re asking men, 80 percent of those surveyed believed that same logic applies to all things red when it comes to apparel.


Spring: A time for new beginnings and chaotic new trends

Keeping ahead of the trends by tapping customers, Zappos found that when it comes to mixing and matching, 49 percent of men and 52 percent of women mix and match their shoes.


Another trend to watch is “feet-first” dressing. One-third of millennials said they get dressed starting with their choice of shoes. Zappos said it’s a surprise more people aren’t on board, considering 60 percent of those surveyed said they can determine a lot about a person just by looking at their footwear—including one’s attitude and even marital status.

“In a social-first world, we all know that you can’t believe everything you see, or swipe by, on the multitude of platforms,” McCormick said. “But in listening to our customers’ concerns—such as ‘wait, is gifting shoes really bad luck?’—we set out to weigh in on the hype and serve in separating the myths from the truths. The results effectively put the most shoeperstitous theories back in the box.”