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Shoefiti: 5 meanings of shoes hanging on power & telephone cables

Every region has its characters, and there may or may not be a mix-up of violence, gangs, or drugs.

Shoes  hanging on telephone cables

If you live in an urban setting, a city, or even a town, or even a promising center, chances are high that you might have come across shoes hanging on power lines, telephone cables, or even on trees.

It is a trend that has been seen in almost every continent, from North to South America, Europe, and even Africa, not even the Asian countries have been left behind. Hanging shoes, which is at times referred to as Shoe-tossing, occur throughout the world in both rural and urban areas.

Most of the shoes that are tossed are sneakers. But they are not the only ones that are hung on lines or trees, there are leather shoes and boots that fling on lines.

Shoe tossing, also known as shoefiti, is the act of using footwear as a projectile in a number of folk sports and cultural practices. It involves throwing a pair of laced shoes onto raised wires, such as telephone wires and power lines, or tree branches, creating an art of shoe trees.


In the Arab culture throwing a shoe at someone means one disrespects the person they throw the shoe to.

One of such incident happened on December 14, 2008, when an Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his pair of shoes at United States president George W. Bush during an Iraqi press conference. Bush was however not hit by any of the shoes as he ducked both.

The journalist was protesting the work that the US forces were doing in Iraq and he was upset because women and children were the most affected.

However, have you asked yourself the meaning of the hanging shoes in these places, has it ever aroused your mind and left you with questions on the meaning of the same and how they get onto the hanging areas?


Let us looks into some of the meaning the dangling shoes indicate in the different areas and places they may be found.

One of the most commonly believed reasons why shoes hang over power lines is to signal the location of a crack house or a place where drug dealing is prime. This may mean the drugs are available where the hanging shoes are spotted.

Hanging shoes can also be the symbol of gang members claiming territory, especially when the shoes are hanging from power lines or telephone wires in road intersections.


Other beliefs have it that when you see shoes hanging over power lines, they’re there simply because somebody got bored and decided tossing some shoes on the line would be amusing.

In other cases, the shoes belong to drunkards or people that cannot defend themselves whose harassers and or bullies decided it would be funny to taunt their victims and leave them shoeless. Their tormentors do it just to harass the victims.


Although it is not clear when the practice of hanging shoes began and some of the meanings in different parts of the world, some do it for the remembrance of a loved one.

Sometimes the death of a young person in a community prompts close friends, family, and loved ones to throw shoes over different places, power, telephone wires, or even on trees.

It is also believed that gang members also practice this as an informal memorial in the location where a close member lost their life.

Some of the common celebrations that people carry out by throwing their shoes over lines or trees include graduation or completing basic military training. It is similar to carving a name into a tree.


The act of hanging shoes is also said to be done by a section of people as a way of leaving a part of themselves behind. Often reformed gangs also hang shoes over different places to signify that they are changed or have transformed for the better.

These could be considered as some of the reasons why shoes are hung in different places but in reality, the matter remains a mystery to date.


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