I was visiting my brother over break when I came across these shoes flung over cables. I’ll come across it sometimes in random places, and I wanted to know whether or not it meant something. Interestingly enough the stories and myths of different possible meanings are interesting.


On my search for possible meanings, this is what I found:

Shoe flinging or “shoefiti” is the practice of throwing shoes whose shoelaces have been tied together so that they hang from overhead wires such as power lines or telephone cables.
There are many cultural variations as well, with differences between socio-economic areas and even age groups.
  • In Legends Ranch Subdivision, in Spring, Texas, the shoes on the wire delineate the starting line for the walking path for an over-50 group known as the “Legends.”
  • Soldiers leaving the military often paint a pair of combat boots yellow or orange and toss them over a power line or telephone wire near the barracks or unit to which they were assigned
A number of criminal explanations have been proposed as to why this is done.
  • The foremost is bullying in which a bully steals a pair of shoes and puts them in a place where they are unlikely to be retrieved.
  • Some also say that shoes hanging from the wires advertise a local crack house where crack cocaine is used and sold
  • It can also relate to a place where heroin is sold to symbolize the myth that once you take heroin, you can never “leave”: a reference to the addictive nature of the drug.
  • Others claim that the shoes so thrown commemorate a gang-related murder, or the death of a gang member, or as a way of marking gang turf.
Other less criminal explanations have been ventured for the practice.
  • In some cultures, shoes are flung to commemorate the end of a school year,
  • Or a forthcoming marriage  as part of a rite of passage

The different possibilities behind why shoes were flung give a mysterious new aura to the neighborhood. I’m curious to know what the story behind these shoes are… to know the possible emotions behind the person trying to fling those sneakers up that high (yes there is the possibility that it was done for the sake of doing it, but even that has a story behind it)

-Noor Gharbo