The Secret Language Of Feet

Posted on: 16 - Jan - 2012

When it comes to walking the talk our feet are a dead giveaway, according to new research which reveals a secret language of feet.

From lying to sexual attraction, nervousness or dominance, unbeknown to us our feet and choice of footwear are speaking loud and clear.

British shoe-makers, Jeffery-West, challenged Big Brother psychologist Professor Geoffrey Beattie to put his best foot forward and de-code what the tell-tale signs are that men and women can’t hide.

“The secret language of feet can reveal a great deal about our personality, what we think of the person we’re talking to and even our emotional and psychological state, they are a fascinating channel of nonverbal communication,” said Professor Beattie.

While body language has long been accepted through body poses, gestures and eye movements, no-one has really concentrated on what our feet and shoes reveal before.

“Compiling this research has been a revelation. The reason our feet may be giving us away is that they are part of the body from which we have the least internal feedback. Whilst people might know what their facial expression or hands might be imparting, they will often have no idea whether their feet are moving or the messages their feet are sending out,” added Professor Beattie.

Now Jeffery-West and Professor Beattie have teamed up to reveal the top five signs that will help Brits decode this secret language. 

 1.      Sole-mates?

Does she fancy you?  When a woman is sexually attracted to you her feet do the talking. Whilst she laughs, look for foot movement away from her body and an open leg posture. The more open the posture, the more attracted to you.  Crossed feet or feet tucked under her body, it’s a no.

Men on the other hand don’t signal sexual attraction with their feet, look for submissive behaviour – a head tilt and leaning forward means he’s interested.

 2.      Doesn’t have a leg to stand on

Politicians, cheaters and conmen had better watch out as the research reveals how to tell when someone is lying and is more accurate in some cases than lie-detectors.


Contrary to what was previously thought (that legs and foot movements speed up when people are lying), they are in fact unnaturally still. It seems that we try to unconsciously attempt to control parts of the body which may reflect nervousness.

If you want to tell if someone is lying, establish a baseline by talking to them normally and watch what they do with their feet. Then ask the tricky question you want to know the truth about and watch their feet again. Look for a decrease in movement, if you see it, the likelihood is that they are fibbing.

 3.      Putting your foot in it

When it comes to nervousness, the research reveals the sexes are once again divided.


When men are genuinely anxious (but not because they are lying) they show their nerves by increasing their foot movements. As they become more comfortable and more relaxed, their foot movements lessen.

Women, however, somehow manage to inhibit the movement of their feet when nervous and only when they become more comfortable in a situation do they allow their feet to release nervous energy and move freely.


4.      Feet First

When you’re first introduced to someone, their feet can reveal what type of person they are. The research has already revealed how to tell a liar, a flirt or when someone is nervous but you can also spot other personality traits.


Alpha males and females have a low level of leg and foot movement because they like to dominate and control the conversation and the same goes for their body.


Extroverts do likewise but for different reasons, while shy people have frequent movements.


Arrogant people also keep their bodies more in check and use less foot movement.


 5.      Best foot forward

The research also revealed that it’s true, women do judge men on the shoes they’re wearing and it’s first impressions that count. In fact, it’s so crucial to women it can make or break whether they are attracted to you.


Social judgement on the basis of footwear is made fast and unconsciously, based upon: how clean the shoes are, the style of the shoe, whether they are demonstratively cheap or expensive and whether they match the rest of what the man is wearing.


So men, if you want to impress in a flash, wear good, clean shoes which compliment the rest of your outfit.


Challenging Professor Beattie to interpret the language of feet was the brainchild of Jeffery-West founders Mark Jeffery and Guy West.

The duo started Jeffery-West in 1987 in Northampton and now have five stores including the flagship Piccadilly Arcade store. Each pair of Jeffery-West shoes are meticulously crafted in England using traditional techniques yet feature the signature twists of originality.


“Shoemaking is our life and we’ve both been fascinated with what your feet and footwear say. It’s the first thing we notice when we meet people so we were delighted to team up with Geoffrey and uncover the science behind it,” said Guy West.


 As well as two London stores, shops in Manchester, Northampton and Leeds, Jeffery-West also available in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols and other top independant retailers across the country.


Jeffery-West signature mark is the much copied and admired cleft heel, combined with using only the finest materials and design twists such as hand burnished uppers, diamond broguing, gothic architecture and George Cross references and even song lyrics etched in

the soles.

The new Autumn Winter collection is now available and for further details log onto


Notes to Editors:

*Professor Geoffrey Beattie was commissioned by Jeffery-West to research the ‘Secret Language of Feet’.


For more information or to arrange interviews with Professor Beattie or Guy West, please contact Life PR:


Joanna Simpson                                                                     Emma Chadwick

0161 236 3362                                                                       0161 236 3363           

0773 4333 392                                                                       07885 047 194


 Professor Geoffrey Beattie BiographyProfessor Geoffrey Beattie is Head of School and Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester. He obtained his PhD in Psychology from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). He was awarded the Spearman Medal by the BPS for 'published psychological research of outstanding merit'. Geoffrey was President of the Psychology section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (2005-2006).Geoffrey has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences and is widely regarded as one of the leading international figures on nonverbal communication. He has published 15 books many of which have either won or been short-listed for major international prizes. One is a novel entitled 'The Corner Boys' and this was short-listed for the Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize in 1999. Another 'On the Ropes' is hailed as a boxing classic and was runner-up for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. His autobiography 'Protestant Boy' (Granta, 2004) has enjoyed enormous critical acclaim as has the most recent book on body language 'Visible Thought' (Routledge: 2004).Geoffrey was the psychologist and presenter on 'The Farm of Fussy Eaters' (UKTV Style, 2007) and Channel 4's 'Dump Your Mates in Four Days' (2006/07) and psychologist on ITV2's series 'Ghost Hunting with Celebrities' (shown on ITV1, 2008). He was presenter of BBC1's 'Family SOS' (first series 2004; second series 2005) and co-presenter of BBC1's 'Life's too Short' in 2002 (25 programmes). Geoff was the resident psychologist on all nine 'Big Brother' series. His television credits also include 'Child Of Our Time' (BBC1) 'Diet Trials', (BBC1) 'Tomorrow's World', (BBC1) and numerous documentaries on ITV and Channel 4. On the run up to the General Election in 2005 he had a regular slot on the main ITV news at 10.30 called 'The Body Politic', in which he analysed the body language of all the senior politicians involved in the election. He is also a regular contributor to 'Richard and Judy', the 'Lorraine Kelly Show', 'GMTV', the 'Extreme Celebrity' shows, 'BBC News 24' and 'Sky News'.His academic publications have appeared in a wide variety of international journals including Nature, Semiotica, The British Journal of Psychology, and the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. But he has been keen to show how psychology can illuminate many aspects of human experience and consequently he has written for a diverse range of newspapers and magazines including: The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The New Statesman, and Marie Claire.

Professor Geoffrey Beattie at J-W Manchester