You generally know if you were naked in your dream. If you were not, you probably took for granted that you were wearing clothes and shoes in your dream, just like it is usually taken for granted that you are dressed in waking life.
In some dreams, however, shoes stand out enough that they are worth trying to interpret.
Shoe Dream Summary
Shoe Dream Symbolism
As shoes basically protect your feet from the elements, a dream of shoes can symbolize how well you feel protected in your life in general. Shoes also keep your feet on the ground and help you accomplish practical tasks, so they may symbolize that you are equipped to take action and move forward toward your goals.
Shoes serve as markers of social and professional status, so shoes in your dreams can ask you to either look at your own position in your society or feel empathy for that of someone else.
Finally, different aspects of shoes can resemble human sexual organs, so a dream of shoes could symbolize that sexual urges are prominent in your life at this time.
Common Shoe Dreams
- Dream of new shoes
- Dream of black shoes
- Dream of red shoes
- Dream of walking without shoes
- Dream of someone else’s feet
- Dream of wearing one shoe
- Dream of lost or stolen shoes
Shoe Dream Symbolism
The main purpose of shoes is to protect your feet from all the uncomfortable things that are on the ground – heat, cold, filth, sharp things, and more. Dreaming of shoes that are in good condition can therefore symbolize that you have enough protection from hazards in your life that you are able to do what you need to do.
If there is something wrong with the shoes in your dream, like if they have holes that let water in, this could symbolize that you feel unprotected or unsafe in your life.
Macmillan Dictionary reports that the phrase “have big shoes to fill” means “to have to work really hard in order to live up to the high standards set by the person who had the job before you.” A dream of shoes could therefore suggest you are entering a situation where much is expected of you, whether you are taking on a role previously held by another person or simply making a change to your own position in life.
Different types of shoes are associated with different occupations, so the look of the shoes in your dream – like whether they are suited for a flashy office or for physical work outdoors – could give you clues to the details of how you see your position in life changing.
Grammarist says the saying “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is a reminder to practice empathy, asking you to look at the experiences and challenges another person is coming from before you judge them.
A dream of shoes, especially if it involves other people, could therefore encourage you to look at life from someone else’s shoes and become more aware of their perspective.
Being Grounded and Practical
Dreaming of shoes generally emphasizes that your feet are on the ground, and you are in contact with the consensus reality of the physical world. This would show that you are in a practical frame of mind for dealing with your concerns.
One exception to this rule about shoes keeping your feet on the ground is the Greek god Hermes, who wore winged sandals, as reported on GreekMythology.com. Even Hermes brings up another point about the practicality of shoes, though – they are often adapted to perform a specific task.
Shoes are associated with walking and running, so dreaming of shoes could symbolize that you are going places in your life. Of course, airplanes and cars can get you places faster than walking or running can, but walking and running show how far you can get on your own two feet.
Your shoe dream could therefore symbolize that you are working toward your goals in a self-reliant way. It may, however, be appropriate to look at whether you have the opportunity to accept outside resources that would help you reach your goals more quickly.
Psychology Today reports that dream analysis pioneer Sigmund Freud considered that “objects which enclose a space capable of being filled by something” represented the vagina in dreams. Shoes were just one example, along with caves, boxes, and more.
The Mother Goose nursery rhyme “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe” gives some credence to this theory, as it links the shoe with uncontrolled reproduction.
Meanwhile, shoes with excessively high heels can have an element of phallic symbolism. HuffPost reports that Lady Gaga made a 2011 appearance in high-heeled boots that displayed this theme explicitly.
Dreaming of shoes, especially attractive ones, can therefore symbolize that you are interested in dating and mating.
Common Shoe Dreams
Dream of new shoes
Dreaming of new shoes can symbolize renewal in life. It could mean improvements in your existing situation, but it could more likely mean you are taking on a whole new role.
When you get new shoes in waking life, however, sometimes it takes a while to break them in. The new shoes dream meaning could therefore incorporate an element of difficulty adjusting to your new role, even if the change is overall a good thing.
If the new shoes come in the context of a dream of buying shoes, this could symbolize that you had some control over whatever the change in your life was. No matter how difficult the adjustment process might be, you at least had a say in it.
If you just receive shoes in a dream without shopping for them or otherwise asking for them, the receiving shoes dream meaning could have to do with your role in life changing due to circumstances beyond your control. Your attitude toward the shoes in your dream, like whether you think they are attractive, could show how you feel about the change in your life.
Dream of black shoes
Black shoes portray a solid, professional image, especially if they are clean and in good repair. To dream of such shoes can therefore symbolize that you are working or hoping to work in a job where it is important to blend in and not look too flamboyant.
The good side of the black shoes dream meaning is that such jobs are often stable and reliable, so this dream could be a relief if you have been struggling financially. The bad side of this symbolism is that your ability to express yourself can be limited.
Dream of red shoes
Red shoes have a couple of disturbing stories associated with them. The first such story is “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen, in which a girl gets red shoes that force her feet to dance. She finally gets her feet amputated, and the amputated feet still in the red shoes continue dancing.
Meanwhile, in Japan, the song “Akai Kutsu,” which means “red shoes,” is based on the true story of a little girl who was adopted by missionaries in the early 20th century because her mother was too poor to take care of her.
The Hans Christian Andersen story also has an element of the girl’s mother being unable to take care of her. Of both stories, it could be said that the heroine is first conspicuous because of this primal loss, and only secondarily conspicuous because of her visible red shoes.
A dream of red shoes could therefore symbolize that you stand out in a crowd and not necessarily in a good way. Maybe it is well known in your community that you were the victim of a traumatic experience, and, as a result, you feel like people only see that terrible story when they look at you, rather than seeing you as the full, complex individual you still are.
Another famous example of red shoes, however, is in the movie The Wizard of Oz, in which protagonist Dorothy wears ruby slippers during her journey through Oz. She and her travel companions each seek to heal a particular wound of theirs, and they ultimately succeed.
In this context, dreaming of red shoes could symbolize becoming empowered in the wake of suffering some trauma.
Finally, video game character Sonic the Hedgehog has rocked red shoes since 1991, according to Sonic News Network. Sonic the Hedgehog is mainly known for running very fast, so, if none of the more dramatic interpretations of a red shoes dream sound right to you, your dream of red shoes could just mean that you feel like you are making progress toward your goals with surprising speed.
Dream of walking without shoes
The meaning of dreaming of walking without shoes really depends on other factors in the dream.
Walking without shoes on jagged ground with rocks or glass would be painful, so this dream would probably symbolize that you feel that you lack protection in your life. If you see yourself succeeding at this task in your dream, though, you might be tougher than you think you are.
A dream of walking without shoes on comfortable grass, dirt, or sand could symbolize that you feel in touch with nature. In this case, you could be benefiting from a manageable dose of getting away from society’s constraints.
A dream of walking without shoes indoors could reflect that you are spending more time than usual indoors, which is common during the COVID-19 era. The dream could therefore reference feelings of loss related to missing the outside world.
Dream of someone else’s feet
If you dream of someone else’s feet, the interpretation depends on what the feet are doing.
George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 famously included a torture session where protagonist Winston was told, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” Dreaming of someone else’s feet in military-style boots of that sort could definitely symbolize that you feel that others in your life are out to get you.
If you dream of someone else presenting their bare feet to you, this could be a vulnerable expression of intimacy. In the Bible, Jesus Christ and his followers washed each other’s feet as this sort of caring act.
Dream of wearing one shoe
If you dream of wearing one shoe, this could symbolize that you see yourself as caught between two worlds. There could be a dynamic where one part of your identity has social privileges that another part of your identity does not, so you are protected as long as you deny part of yourself, which is never really comfortable.
Dreaming of wearing one shoe could also symbolize that you are involved in a situation that is out of balance. It could be a relationship where one person does not pull their weight. Such a dream could also refer to a physical symptom or medical condition that affects one side of your body more than the other.
Dream of lost or stolen shoes
If you dream about losing shoes, this could symbolize that you are concerned about losing control over your life or losing your ability to protect yourself. When the shoes are simply lost, it may seem that circumstances in general are unstable in your life, and there may not be any one person at fault for the chaos.
If the shoes are stolen rather than simply lost in your dream, the stolen shoes dream meaning would be similar to the lost shoes dream meaning, but it would add the twist that you feel like someone is intentionally interfering with your ability to protect yourself or go about your life. If you know who stole your shoes in the dream, that might give you a clue as to who or what you think is causing the instability in your waking life.
As shoe designer Christian Louboutin once said, “A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.” This is true of shoes in your dreams as well as shoes in your waking life.