A successful politician needs a few things: good ideas, a strong voter base, and above-average height.
In any competitive environment where opinions and egos clash — as they often do in politics — an inch or two of height is no small advantage. Keeping that in mind, it’s understandable that a politician would want to wear boots or other slightly heeled shoes to appear taller.
There’s more to this desire to appear taller than just ego, however. Sociological studies and historical evidence have shown that taller men often enjoy more social success, partly because others tend to have a more positive perception of them.
“We conclude that human height is positively related to interpersonal dominance, and may well contribute to the widely observed positive association between height and social status,” write the authors of one peer-reviewed study that was published in 2015 by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
According to The New York Times, the taller of the two major candidates has won the US presidential election twice as often as the shorter candidate.
And all this time you thought Texas politicians wore cowboy boots just for their folksy charm.
Politicians from Florida Senator Marco Rubio to Russian President Vladimir Putin have visibly employed the heeled-shoe technique. It’s difficult to pin down a man’s actual height after all, as there is often a discrepancy between the official statement of a leader’s height and how tall they stand in real life.
There was some speculation that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s shoes had lifts during his visit to the White House this week, as the 6’2″ PM appeared to be at eye level with the 6’3″ President Trump. There is some debate about Trump’s height, as Politico obtained one of his old driver’s licenses that listed his height as 6’2″.
It’s safe to say that other politicians, especially if they’re on the shorter side, would want to exaggerate their height in a similar way.
Taking the Florida senator as another example: Rubio’s height is listed as 5’10” on official documents, though it’s rumoured he’s closer to 5’8″. At his unofficial height, Rubio would have been the shortest president since William McKinley, who stood at 5’7″. So it’s no surprise that he was caught with some wickedly heeled boots when he was running for president, though he was mercilessly mocked for the shoe choice.
Even if it is a politician’s goal to be a man of the people, there seem to be plenty of reasons to strap on some stacked heel boots.