Shoe Theory: Never Buy This Gift For Your Partner

If you want to stay together, never give your partner shoes. The shoe theory has been circulating on TikTok for the past few months – and it’s making people straight-up paranoid. If you are freaking out because you bought your significant other shoes last Christmas or Valentine’s Day, here’s what you need to know. 

TikTok didn’t invent the shoe theory. It’s an old superstition based on the idea that if you give shoes as a gift, they will leave your life. When the theory went viral, people started connecting the dots and sharing breakup stories that involved giving their S/O shoes shortly before getting dumped. 

Can The Shoe Theory Really Predict Breakups? 

Some TikTok anecdotes confirm that the shoe theory may be real. But, let’s face it, it may very well be a coincidence and a case of confirmation bias. For example, TikToker @imalibraacanutell created a video to share her horror story. “Shoe theory is 100% accurate because one time I bought a man $400 Jordans for Christmas, and he broke up with me a month later,” she said. 


we were together almost two years atp but he didn’t even giveme the shoes back🧍🏻‍♀️

♬ original sound – <3

Scrolling through the comments under her video, you’ll see plenty of real-life stories supporting the theory. “Seven-year relationship. I literally bought him slippers for his birthday on the 28th…We broke up on the 2nd,” commented one TikToker. “As a guy, I broke up with a girl the day she bought me [shoes]. Don’t know what the shoe theory is, but it seems true,” added another. 

These stories most likely sent some people into a panic. One TikToker commented, “This makes me so anxious; I bought him Crocs so we can match. Please tell me it’s not true.” But if you read carefully, you’ll see that there are also plenty of comments that dispel the idea that giving your partner shoes guarantees that they will walk out on you. Several people shared that they’ve given their significant other footwear – more than once, in some cases – and that they are still going strong or even got married. 

Where Did The Shoe Theory Come From? 

If you’re wondering how this now-viral theory started, you should know that the shoe theory has deep cultural origins. TikTok user @angela.chaan created an explainer to enlighten others on the origins of this gift-giving curse, which her mom warned her about growing up.

The theory originates in Chinese culture, as the Mandarin word for shoes is pronounced the same way as the word “evil.” Commenters chimed in to say that they, too, had heard about the shoe theory through their mothers. Apparently, you can cancel out the curse by giving the person $1 to “buy” the shoes from you instead. That way, it doesn’t count as a gift.

At the end of the day, various cultures have various superstitions, and it’s not weird or abnormal to embrace some of them. If the shoe theory stresses you out, don’t buy your partner shoes. Or have them buy them from you for $1 for greater peace of mind. 

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