Sneakers the Sign of a Leader?

Leadership apparently sneaks up on you.

Sneakers the Sign of a Leader? A sneaker store in China's southern city of Guangzhou February 17, 2008. A recent poll has found that people who buy three pairs of sneakers or more a year are far more likely to be a leadership type that other people. (Joseph Chaney/Reuters) Got a passion for buying sneakers? It could be a good sign, with a poll finding that people who buy three pairs of sneakers or more a year are far more likely to be a leadership type than other people.

Mindset Media, a media company that examines personality traits of different consumers, found that people who buy more than three pairs of sneakers a year are 61 percent more likely to have the qualities of a modern leader. These qualities were defined as having ideas and vision, and a style with others that is both inclusive and decisive.

The survey of 7,500 people, using market research group Nielsen’s online panel, found multi-sneaker buyers were 50 percent more likely to be very assertive and 47 percent more likely to be spontaneous.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never bought three pairs of sneakers in a year. Indeed, I’m not sure I know anyone above grammar school age who wears sneakers.

There were years when I bought three or more pairs of athletic shoes of some variety but I’ve tended to wear running shoes or cross trainers rather than sneakers. I do have a pair of tennis shoes for the incredibly infrequent occasions that I play tennis but they’ll last a lifetime at this rate. Nowadays, I’m mostly in leather-soled dress shoes which I have resoled periodically, or some sort of hybrid casual shoe like Sketchers or driving mocs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    I suspect that such people are also more likely than not to be, um, male?

  2. tylerh says:

    Anderson: Nope.

    My 11 yo daughter, who is very much the leader of her clique, has been known to purchase three pair of Chucks in a single *day*.

    Thank goodness they’re only $30/pair.

  3. Cernig says:

    Why do I suspect this poll was commissioned by people who manufacture sneakers?

    Regards, C

  4. Jay says:

    You might find that some people call any not-traditional “athletic” shoes, that is, not made primarily of stiff leather and all, “sneakers.” By your definition, I haven’t owned sneakers since footwear manufacturers improved the design of sneakers and started calling them, you know, athletic shoes.

    I wore sneakers to my interview this week. They happen to be spiffy looking black ones, but I still call them sneakers because that’s what we’ve always called safe-for-gymnasium-floor footwear.

    That said, I’m lucky to buy a pair per year. OTOH I haven’t bought “shoes” for 20 years. Thus the interview conundrum and relief at having bought the black pair of New Balance, er, sneakers, a couple years ago.