Shoe superstitions

A few minutes ago, a young man  I’d never seen before was walking through the hallway outside my office.  His shoes were squeaking.  I looked at him.  He smiled.  “Well, at least it isn’t my funeral.”  He walked on; I didn’t have a chance to ask him what he meant by that.   

I was puzzled by his remark, so I Googled “squeaky shoes” funeral.  I found some examples of the locution “as annoying as squeaky shoes at a funeral,” enough examples that it might be a proverb or at least a cliche.  But that didn’t explain why he said that it wasn’t his own funeral.   

I also looked for squeaky shoes funeral superstition.   That came up with some spotty results, nothing that quite explained the guy’s remark.  I did find an old book which records a traditional injunction “Never wear new shoes to be married in.  You will always be squeezed in your walk of life.  It means poverty”  New shoes might squeak, so that might explain why squeaky shoes at a wedding would be regarded as bad luck.  And funerals sometimes have ritual similarities to weddings.  But few people walk at their own funerals, so the danger of squeaking wouldn’t likely be a concern in selecting shoes for the deceased.  Anyway, this man’s shoes were squeaking because of rain, not because they were new.  A search for wet shoes funeral superstition didn’t come up with anything promising.  And now it’s time for me to get to work, so my researches are ended. 

Here‘s a collection of superstitions about shoes; here‘s a long list of superstitions, including these pertaining to shoes:

SHOE: lucky, hence the custom of tying an old boot to the back of the car of a couple who have just got married; shoes on the table is symbolic of hanging; shoes left crossed on the floor or put on the wrong feet brings bad luck; and walking anywhere with one shoe on could lead to the death of one of your parents. A shoelace which comes undone as you set off on a venture is unlucky; if you tie someone else’s shoe laces up you should make a wish as it is lucky.


  1. cymast

     /  October 15, 2009

    The squeaky shoes man was playing on a proverb of sorts- “Don’t wear squeaky shoes to a funeral,” and combining it with self-death humor-

    At least I’m not (wearing these squeaky shoes) at a funeral . .

    “Well, at least it isn’t my funeral.”

  2. acilius

     /  October 15, 2009

    Maybe so!

  3. Very interesting post,Acilius. I am glad I am not superstitious, it makes my life less complicated 🙂
    I tried to think of any shoe-based superstition in French but couldn’t find any so I googled for “chaussures superstition” and I found this (my translation) :
    “stolen shoes are always noisy” but nothing related to funerals apart from
    “a dead man wearing clogs will hurt his feet when entering heaven”

  4. acilius

     /  October 15, 2009

    Thanks for the information, Armelle! I’ll make sure my corpse isn’t wearing clogs when it is cremated, just in case that superstition is right.

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