Why Do People Throw Shoes on Power Lines?

by Jason Flores

Since time immemorial, the human race is known to wear shoes. The shoes may be designed for outdoor or other activities. You may also need to wear shoes to improve your attractiveness when catching up on a date with friends, colleagues, and spouses.

When you wear shoes, there are certain comfort and stability you enjoy. These advantages are derived from the quality of materials that are been used to manufacture them. That said, shoes are supposed to be kept in a position dedicated to them. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. Taking a stroll around a city or driving around your neighborhood, what you see is the hanging of shoes on millions of power lines. This act may not be casual. Many a time, it is a common phenomenon that gives a signal about the kind of location you are in. If you are in this kind of environment, many questions on the reason why people are hanging their shoes on power lines will start popping up in your mind. Hence, there is a need to have a critical overview of how you can get yourself intimated with this kind of situation. With that said, today, I will be telling you the reasons why people throw their shoes on power lines.

What Does Shoe Tossing Means

Shoe tossing, also called shoe-throwing or shoe flinging can be described as a phenomenon whereby you tie the lace of your shoes together and fling them over a power line or telephone wire. The shoes can also be thrown on the fence or tree of the street or house. However, the usual practice of people is to throw their shoes on power lines.

Summary of Top Reasons People Throw Shoes on Power Lines

Summary of Top Reasons People Throw Shoes on Power Lines
Summary of Top Reasons People Throw Shoes on Power Lines

The table below highlights the points to note when tossing your shoes.

What to know when tossing your shoesPoints to Note
You may hurt someone while tossing your shoes
  1. It may hurt someone because of a lack of purpose.
  2. It must be thrown properly to avoid falling off.
  3. Practice before throwing the shoes on power lines.
Retrieval of shoes may be dangerous
  1. People may need to climb cars, ladders, lorries, or objects to remove shoes from power lines.
  2. There is a fear of electric shock while removing shoes from power lines.
Wrong Messages may be sent to people
  1. People that have previous knowledge of hanging shoes on power lines may have a different idea.
  2. People may need to inquire about the reason why shoes are hanged in their neighborhood before deciding to live there.

Why Do People Throw Shoes on Power Lines?

Though the act of throwing shoes on power lines or telephone wire has become a usual practice among the different categories of people, the rationale behind their decision is yet to be unraveled. Many people have opined that the act may symbolize tradition, local culture, or the adopted practice of the leader of a group of people or sect.

The Documentary that Uncovered Some Truth

The Documentary that Uncovered Some Truth
The Documentary that Uncovered Some Truth

Some years back, the quest to know the reason why people hang their shoes on power lines led to the documentary titled The Mystery of Flying Kicks. The research was carried out across the world. It covered many sneakers that were hanged on power lines. The film employed film footage volunteered phone calls, and photos from people in different parts of the world to elucidate the reasons why people throw sneakers.

The results obtained from the research showed that there is no definite answer on the reasons why people fling their sneakers. However, the few reasons pinpointed will be discussed below.

Joint Celebration of the Loss of Virginity

Joint Celebration of the Loss of Virginity
Joint Celebration of the Loss of Virginity

According to a caller from Sydney, Australia, it was said that male teenagers tie the laces of their sneakers together and throw the sneakers on the power line when they lose their virginity. This is their way of celebrating the momentous occasion that will last for their entire lifetime. The technique is, most people believe that the permanent loss of your shoes to the power line is comparable to the irreversible changes you undergo when you lose your virginity - since you cannot recover your virginity after losing it.

Bullying Act

The bullying act is another interesting explanation that was given on the reason why people fling sneakers on power lines. When you are to be bullied by someone stronger or craftier than you, the person will tie the lace of your sneakers together and fling them on the power line in order for you no to have access to the sneakers anymore. In this case, you won't only lose your shoes forever; you will also have to walk to your destination without shoes on your feet. In this way, it is assumed that you will walk in shame because the passerby and your housemates will believe your shoes were taken away from you by someone stronger than you.

If the whole scenario becomes successful, your bully will feel victorious. Also, you may feel insecure anytime you pass through that location because of the fear of your shoes been seized and thrown on the power line. In another sense, you may wish to also overcome his power dynamics by eliciting some strength and crafty methods. The act of flinging sneakers on a power line as a sign of bullying someone may not be limited to a specific geographical location. It can be usual practice in different parts of the world.

Sending Message to Police

Sending Message to Police
Sending Message to Police

A caller from Madrid, Spain, gave cogent information that flinging shoes are a common practice to criminals or the mafia. In their practice, the mafia hangs shoes on power lines to tell police officers to stay away from their location in the neighborhood. This action mostly serves as a warning to the police that they may be harmed with dangerous weapons - in case they come around their neighborhood.

Many a time, the act is like a courteous agreement between the authorities and the criminal gangs in a specific locality. Immediately the cops see that sign, they stay away from the area. Also, the more sneakers hanged on the power line, the more you need to stay away from such a location to avoid attacks.

Drug Deal Zone

Drug-related activity is a common practice in different parts of the world. Despite the efforts and resources committed to eliminating the illegal use of drugs, more cases consistently emerge every day. As part of the reasons why shoes are hanged on power lines, it was discovered that drug dealers and people involved in drug-related activities hang shoes on power lines to show that something is happening in that locality. When such a signal is seen, people call for thorough search and scrutiny of people living in the area. With this, cops may come around knocking on doors for detailed investigations. Hence, living in these areas may not be advisable.

Death Rituals

In some states in the United States, it was reported that it has become a usual practice of gang members to hang shoes of their rivals that were defeated on the power line as a symbol of their victory. This act was sighted in Los Angeles where local gang members hanged the shoes of rival gang members that died or sustained gunshot injuries on power lines. In this way, they will remember their victory and those that were lost in the battle for supremacy.

Gang Territory

Since time immemorial, gangs are known to mark their territories with colors or signals that will make rivals, passersby, or cops stay away from their neighborhood. That said, many gang members hang their shoes of a specific color on the power line to mark their territory and scare their rivals or timid people from living or passing across the neighborhood.

Performance Art

Art is a way of beautifying and improving the attractiveness of a particular location. That said, some artist has adopted the method of using shoes to create art on power lines. Some sneakers may be painted in two attractive colors to make them appealing and also to showcase their artistic prowess. This practice is common in cities like London, New York, and countries like South Africa. For instance, a study showed that there are more than 2,500 shoes hanged on power lines in New York City to showcase the beauty of the artwork.

For Remembrance Purposes

For many years now, people have always created new methods through which their stay or service in a particular location will be remembered for a long period. Hence, some people decided to tie the lace of their shoes and hang it on the power line of that specific place where they have worked for remembrance purposes. Students also hang their shoes on telephone or power lines in front of their school to signify their attendance at the school at a particular time. This act may be a good way of keeping memories of activities of your childhood or youthful days.


The act of hanging shoes is becoming popular among people of the world. Today, I have elucidated the reasons why people indulge in this act. Happy reading!

About Jason Flores

Jason Flores is a multi-talented individual whose unique journey has led him to blend his passion for craftsmanship and fashion into a creative endeavor. During his formative years, he found himself immersed in the world of handiwork, spending countless hours in his grandfather's workshop. These early experiences allowed him to develop a deep understanding of practical skills and a keen eye for detail.

Simultaneously, Jason harbored an innate love for fashion, drawn to the artistry and self-expression it offers. As he grew older, he recognized the potential to combine his proficiency in craftsmanship with his fashion sensibilities. This realization led him to a path where he began to explore and write about the intersection of fieldwork fashion.

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