Converse-ing about shoes: What your favorite pair of kicks says about you

Illustration of Birkenstocks
Olivia Staser/File

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Since all of our classes have moved online and we no longer run into the same people over and over again on campus, we lose the opportunity to see that cool girl with the thin sunglasses and the chunky shoes. While we can no longer see what shoes people are wearing on campus, we can still uncover the meaning behind a person’s shoe preferences. Read on if you’ve ever wanted to know what your shoes say about you.


If you wear Birkenstock sandals, you’re a bit of a mystery. Maybe you’re an environmentally conscious hipster who studies in the College of Natural Resources — apologies, we meant to say Rausser College of Natural Resources. Perhaps you’re a VSCO girl with a stickered-out Hydro Flask by your side for every Zoom lecture. You could also be a Division 1 athlete looking for footwear that’s easy to slip in and out of. Or, maybe you’re just seeking to spice up your footwear with shoes that radiate the energy of Berkeley. You’re an amazing person inside and out, but you are often misunderstood. When people really get to know you well, you instantly become one of their favorite friends.  

Rainbow Sandals

If you wear Rainbow Sandals, you’re probably from someplace chilly and have no fear of catching a cold in this colder California weather. In fact, you probably think that the current Berkeley weather is warm and will probably make a habit of repeating, “This temperature is nothing compared to back home.” Being that you’ve known frigid weather for most of your life, you also don’t understand how cheap flip flops should actually be. (Some Rainbow styles will cost you upwards of $60!) However, perhaps growing up in the cold has toughened you, as you’re somehow always prepared for conflicts that arise. You triumph over any crisis thrown your way — and UC Berkeley is definitely no stranger to emergency scenarios.


If you wear Converse sneakers, you’re indescribable. Perhaps you’re a gym rat, skater, fashion connoisseur or just want a simple, everyday shoe. You could really be anyone; in fact, you’re adaptable to almost any situation. What really sets you apart is what kind of Converse you wear. Low tops? High tops? Comme des Garçons Play Chuck 70? White? Black? Green? The only thing we know about you is that we know nothing about you at all.


If you wear Vans, you’re somewhat similar to the Converse folk as you can describe yourself in many different ways. Are you a skater who spends their time around Lower Sproul Plaza? Are you a computer science student who never fails to finish their projects way ahead of deadline? Are you a self-proclaimed hype beast who never misses the opportunity to flex Supreme or A Bathing Ape on Instagram? Or perhaps you categorize yourself in the edgy group and pair your Old Skool Vans with a grommet belt and a choker necklace. Regardless of who you are, you tend to wear simpler shoes to draw more attention to the rest of your outfit. Sometimes you make poor decisions, like spending way too much for a Supreme hoodie on StockX, studying the wrong material for the midterm exam or walking alone at night when it is too late. You most likely surround yourself with an intimidating group of friends, so don’t be surprised if people are scared of you. But, at the end of the day, we all know how great of a person you are inside and out.

Dr. Martens

If you wear Dr. Martens, you’re stylish, powerful and will stomp out the patriarchy. You’re the friend who is confident enough to call out someone when they make you uncomfortable and you inspire everyone to be true to themselves. Even though you may refer to yourself as a “hot mess,” you manage to get near-perfect grades while maintaining a social life; in other words, you’re most definitely anything but a mess and are just forging your own unique path to success. Just make sure you grab your pair of Dr. Martens when you’re leaving a party or social gathering that requires shoes to be off. Dr. Martens have become overly popular on campus and a day doesn’t go by where you spot less than two people wearing the iconic boot.


If you wear Asics, you may be an old person trapped in the body of a young person (I can say this because I wear Asics). They’re very comfortable, and while they may not be the most conventionally stylish shoes and can signify that you’ve given up with fashion, they also reveal you are practical and have more important things to worry about than vanity. Similar to the shoes, there is a lot more to you than meets the eye, and your reliability and readiness makes you a great friend.

Sperry Top-Sider

If you wear Sperry Top-Sider shoes, you’re preppy. You most likely applied to the Haas School of Business, and maybe you got in, maybe you didn’t, but that’s none of our business. You probably have your life together, have a summer internship lined up and money in your 401(k), 529 or some other arbitrary three-digit number that someone from the 1930s decided meant something. “The Wolf of Wall Street” just might be in your top five favorite films list. Finally, one day you will most likely run the world from your boat that may or may not have a helipad on it and have guests like Dakota Johnson or Zoë Kravitz.

While these descriptions shouldn’t be taken at more than face value, you should trust that we at the Clog know what we’re talking about when it comes to the shoe game. After all, we do have the same name as one of the greatest, albeit uncomfortable, shoes known to man.

Contact Zachary Abuel-Saud at [email protected].