What is the Wrong Shoe Theory? Meaning, explanation, definition

Time and again, social media platforms come up with some strange trends – including the so-called „Wrong Shoe Theory“. This theory, which admittedly sounds quite complex, refers solely to the phenomenon that an individual outfit only seems to be perfect when it is combined with shoes that one would never wear with it. All in all, the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is a viral trend that was initially launched by prominent users and has since been widely imitated.

Wrong Shoe Theory“ is also a certain fashion trend, according to which outfits are combined with shoe types for which they were not designed. For example, flip-flops with winter coats or high heels with costumes. However, what the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is all about in detail and where this trend actually comes from, the reader will learn more exciting information about it in the article below. Furthermore, it will be clarified by which target groups the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ has sometimes been internalized the most.

Definition of „Wrong Shoe Theory“

The term „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is a made-up word that originates from the English language. It is composed of the words „wrong“, „shoe“, and „theory“. In combination, the term „Wrong Shoe Theory“ can therefore be roughly translated as „theory of the wrong shoes“.

What is meant by this is the fact that outfits are usually perceived as extraordinary and beautiful when they are combined with (supposedly) inappropriate footwear. So instead of matching the outfit in terms of color and style, the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ states that „wrong shoes“ are clearly better suited to the possible outfit, or rather enhance it better.

The adjective „wrong“ in this context refers to „inappropriate“, „tasteless“ or „unconventional“. This is precisely the essence of the new TikTok trend: outfits only become unique with the appropriate footwear when they are combined with unconventional shoes. Because these then usually immediately catch the eye.

Origin and meaning of the „Wrong Shoe Theory“

The trend around the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ probably first emerged in June/July 2023, when the popular TikTokers named Katie Holmes and Hailey Bieber wore unusual outfit-shoe combinations for the viewer. For example, Bieber put on flip-flops while the latter walked around Los Angeles in a trench coat. Under the coat, this chose a short blue jeans. The outfit immediately attracted the interest of her followers. Soon, a new trend was established on the social media platform TikTok – the birth of „Wrong Shoe Theory.“ Although the outfit could not have been more offbeat, many viewers found this beautiful and stylish. This broke with old conventions that outfits must always have the perfect shoes. Apparently, these seem to look even more appealing when combined with supposedly mismatched shoes.

Use of the „Wrong Shoe Theory“

Meanwhile, the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ has expanded to many areas of life. However, the following areas in which the new trend is encountered particularly frequently are very striking:

  • the social media platform TikTok
  • among prominent people
  • in everyday life

In the subsections that now follow, the most frequent areas of use of the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ trend will be shown even more comprehensively.

Viral TikTok trend

„Wrong Shoe Theory“ is currently spreading furiously on the social media platform TikTok. Users are imitating the outrageous outfits of Hailey Bieber and Katie Holmes by posting their own short videos or commenting on others‘. In indirect challenges, users are then asked to come up with even flashier outfits. This ensures the comprehensive virality of this unusual trend and contributes to its further dissemination (also in other areas of life).


Among the celebrities still most associated with the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ are Hailey Bieber and Katie Holmes, who once (unknowingly) started the trend. Both count as the measure of all things as far as the most nonsensical shoe combinations are concerned. Accordingly, the outfits of that time are often imitated by young people or these are provided with completely new combinations. The „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is now spread by celebrities on social media, in everyday life and on TV and television.

Everyday life

Due to social media and celebrities, the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is now establishing itself in individual everyday life. Young people in particular are finding fun in dressing according to the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ in everyday life. This trend is currently making its way into schools and universities.

Social classification of the „Wrong Shoe Theory“

Socially, the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ can be largely assigned to younger generations, such as generations Y, Z and Alpha. Thus, the target group for the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is usually between 15 and 35 years old. These are mostly TikTok users, who are particularly quick to become aware of such trends and then implement or spread them themselves. Older people usually do not understand the „Wrong Shoe Theory“. They also do not consider the sometimes impossible outfit-shoe combinations to be aesthetically pleasing.

Criticisms of the „Wrong Shoe Theory“

The „Wrong Shoe Theory“ trend is in itself quite harmless, but nevertheless calls one or the other critic on the plan. Mostly criticized is the senselessness of this (another) social media trend. Apparently, Hailey Bieber and Katie Holmes wore their outfit-shoe combinations not wantonly, but rather by accident. However, based on their fame, it was immediately turned into a trend. In the eyes of critics, this would only show how easy it is to manipulate our youth. At the same time, the social value of such a trend is strongly doubted – after all, it would not offer any progress worth mentioning and is also otherwise only attributable to a rather niche target group.

Conclusion on „Wrong Shoe Theory“ and similar theories

The bottom line is that the „Wrong Shoe Theory“ is another TikTok trend that says that outfits are only perceived as particularly beautiful when they are combined with the most impossible shoes. The „Wrong Shoe Theory“ was brought to life by celebrities Hailey Bieber and Katie Holmes as they walked around Los Angeles wearing random, quirky outfits.

In addition to the „Wrong Shoe Theory“, there is also the „Burnt Toast Theory“ and the „Body Neutrality“. While the „Burnt Toast Theory“ uses the analogy of burnt toast to encourage people to always make the best of every situation, „Body Neutrality“ promotes a more self-confident and neutral view of one’s own body.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

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