Street shoes

And why is it always the left shoe?

When I was in EMT training I learned that shoes, or often only one shoe, is removed by emergency personnel when attending to an injury. I don’t think that’s where they all come from, but it could be a contributing factor.

I have another theory…these solitary shoes belong to my wife’s one-legged lover who’s unmatching socks I keep pulling out of the dryer.

Suuuure they do, Dr. Kimble.

More disturbing than single shoes by the road is when I happen across a pair of undershorts in DC laying in the street gutter or flung in a yard. Some people had a very exciting evening, I guess (either a very bad or very good kind of exciting).

And now we have a corollary to the famed Monty Python routine of swallows and how cocoanuts get to England.

“How many seagulls does it take to carry a shoe?”

“Are you talking about Nike running shoes or orange work boots?”

“Would that be sea gulls or land gulls?”

As already pointed out in the article, losing BOTH shoes (if not attached together) at the same time and place is not likely to begin with.

If you throw a pair of shoes out of a fast moving car, they won’t tumble uniformly, and they’re not likely to remain together, and even if both stop on the highway a short distance from each other, they won’t both remain together on the highway for long before one gets kicked up by a wheel and sent flying.

If you throw the shoes out the window one at a time, and it takes even a few seconds to collect the second shoe, they will be pretty far apart, and still no guarantee they’ll both remain in sight of motorists, on the road.

A few likely places for mates of shoes, if still near each other:

  • In the weeds, off the road
  • In a nearby storm drain
  • Under other trash
  • Kicked up over the median (opposite side of the road)
  • Cleaned up from the from the shoulder by ‘adopt a highway’ or road maintenance, while the median is left for another crew.
  • Kicked up, jammed in an undercarriage or landed in the bed of a pickup and ‘randomly’ deposited somewhere else, even in another state.

Small samples plays a role in this as well. You might well find a shoe’s mate if you searched a quarter mile in each direction from the shoe, on and off the highway. Of course there’s no guarantee the other shoe will be around. Few people would bother to perform an exhaustive search for a missing mate of one shoe discovered on a highway. They see a few instances of ‘one shoe’ and it’s a phenomena. Like the media calling every incident involving buses a ‘plunge’, therefore ‘Bus Plunge’.

If a pair of shoes are together, a whole class of people might be very likely to pick the pair up. Only someone desperate (or one legged, or odd) would pick up a single shoe.

A better experiment would be to actually plant and/or throw pairs of shoes out a car window, and then monitor what happens to them with a camera. This is technically ‘littering’, so go to a state like Florida that doesn’t seem to mind garbage being strewn all over their highways. If scientific enough, it might be worth an ‘ignobel prize’.

Tag them and track where they end up. Compare the fates of different kinds of shoes.

Johnny, healthcare providers, including pre-hospital providers, are accountable for their patient’s belongings. If a medic takes a shoe off, that shoe better be somewhere in that bus before it leaves for the ER.
That said, accident victims often lose one or both shoes. Sometimes, the person is ejected, but their shoes stay in the car :dubious: A victim losing one or both shoes is a poor prognostic sign.

I have seen a* pair* of shoes on the freeway. I was driving across the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge during rush hour one day. Traffic was cruising along at a mind numbing four miles an hour. As I approached the mid point on the bridge, I saw something on the curb. What I saw, was a rather large pair of 3-4 inch, spike heels. The must has been at least a size 10. They were irridescent green and open toed. The toes faced the water and the heels were touching each other.
I’ve puzzled over those shoes many times. There were no reported drownings or suicide attempts that week, there’s no sidewalk on the bridge, so, whoever left them had to have been in a car…
Maybe it was “Art.” :confused:

That, and we tend not to take people’s shoes off unless absolutely necessary.

St. Urho
Paramedic