Unboxing Foot Fetishes

Foot Fetishes are Everywhere — Let’s Run With That

Of all the fetishes in the world, foot fetishes are likely the single most common. Yet it is also the one that is pursued so privately that you might have no idea how many millions of foot and leg lovers even exist.

Foot fetishes — especially foot worship, fetish boots, and bootblacking — are conspicuous in the BDSM communities. Yet, as common as it is in our worlds, did you know that it’s just likely to be a secret fetish for people who will never join any of the kink communities, even as they consume our porn and writings?

The Foot Fetish Closet is Cramped with Shame

At any given time, there will be one or two people in my practice who are struggling with their love of feet. The shame has haunted them since their teens when they first realized that feet and legs caught their attention more than breasts and genitals. Judging by my clinical drift (adults who seek support and help), many people who love feet think they are all alone in the world.

Why so much shame about such a fundamentally harmless, and usually sensual, fetish? Why do so many foot fetishists feel trapped by a fetish that should be considered perfectly safe and normal?

Dian Hanson, the renowned foot fetish expert, editor, and author, put it succinctly in Different Loving Too:

Who stands beside the foot or panty fetishist? Fetish seems comical, at best,

and threatening at its most misunderstood. Most wives and girlfriends would still

just rather the guy keep it in the closet. p. 95, DLToo

The kink world is generally accepting of foot and boot fetishism. We celebrate some footy rituals, like boot-blacking, boot-licking, and goddess worship. That leads some people to assume that most foot fetishists are kinky people and part of our communities. My clinical and personal experience says OH NO they are not.

  • Are not actively involved in the kink world.
  • Keep their fetish secret.
  • Struggle with shame.

The pity of it is that we could offer more comfort to them if we could prove how common this fetish is with solid data. But how do you gather reliable statistics about people who won’t admit to what they love?

Why are foot fetishes taboo?

  1. They easily fly under the radar. The guy who gives his wife nightly feet rubs may just be a caring guy. The guy who sucks on her toes during sex could be a creative lover. The woman who collects hundreds of pairs of shoes could be a fashionista. Or they could all be fetishists if they feel feet and shoes are magical keys to pleasure.
  2. Shame makes people go silent. There is a cultural anxiety that if anyone knew you or your partner has a foot fetish that you’d be labeled a pervert and lose your reputation in your community.
  3. Easily misunderstood. Misunderstanding of fetishism in general, both private and public, put a damper on open discussions of what we love and why, even among kinky people.
  4. Not clearly a fetish. The line between “it’s just something I like” and “it’s a fetish” is blurry. At what point does erotic fun with feet become a fetish?

Common Foot Fetishes

Anyone who hangs around the BDSM Community knows that WE LOVE OUR BOOTS. For some of us, that includes specific brands (one of my friends is a Wesco boots fan) or styles (another friend is mad for maryjanes).

Are dangerously high heels sexy? The type that makes an orthopedist cringe in horror? For many, yes! Heels can be symbolic, albeit for different reasons. For some people, heels make a person seem more powerful while for others, it makes them seem more vulnerable.

In the wild whacky world of heteronormative adults, boots, high heels, open-toed shoes, athletic sneakers, and really almost any shoe style you can find at Shoe Warehouse may have its own little circle of erotic admirers.

The “I Never Knew That Existed” Foot Fetishes

Here’s a rare fetish as described by Dian Hanson:

I heard from men whose fetishes I knew would prevent them from forming satisfying relationships, like the guy who was only aroused by seeing women step on a wax effigy of himself. — page 96, DLToo

One of the rarest told to me by a client was a fetish for seeing a woman in old-fashioned stockings and high heels smash her foot on the brake pedal of a classic vintage car. While his wife had indulged him early on, after a long marriage, she no longer complied and it had caused conflicts in the marriage — and huge frustration, even despair, for him.

From high-heel trampling and people who want to see bare toes wiggle in shoes to those who want feet and ankles concealed by tight shiny boots, from sock lovers to stocking lovers; in twenty years of working with fetish clients I’ve learned there is no end to the imaginative ways humans express a foot fetish. To me, none of them are strange, shameful, or dirty — words clients have used, not me! Foot fetishism is as universal as any fetish can be.

An attraction or interest in feet is so universal, in fact, that it should be a given that most people at least notice feet and often have strong opinions about them. So what can we do about that simple fact of life?

Learn to Embrace the Feet

Feet are a normal area of curiosity. I can’t say it often enough about fetishes in general: as long as they are mutually consensual activities, it just doesn’t matter what the fetish may be. It’s all normal.

Here’s what matters:

  1. Can you do it safely?
  2. Can you find a non-judgmental partner?
  3. Is your fetish something that enhances your satisfaction?

If you said yes to those questions, I hope that now you know you’re not alone. Millions of people like you are out there, enjoying their fetish in all sorts of ways. Join them!

Edited. Originally published at https://gloriabrame.com on February 17, 2022.

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Award-winning sex therapist, acclaimed sex author, and BDSM/Kink pioneer. https://gloriabrame.com

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Gloria Brame, Ph.D., Sex Therapist

Gloria Brame, Ph.D., Sex Therapist

Award-winning sex therapist, acclaimed sex author, and BDSM/Kink pioneer. https://gloriabrame.com