Shoe fetishism (Retifism)

Black leather boots.
High heels and stockings
Source: High Heel Divas

Shoe fetishism, also known as retifism (after Nicolas-Edme Rétif), is the attribution of attractive sexual qualities to shoes or other footwear as a matter of sexual preference, psychosexual disorder, and an alternative or complement to a relationship with a partner.[1][2] Homosexual men with shoe fetishism are erotically interested in men's shoes.[3][4] Although shoes carry sexual connotations in mainstream culture[weasel words](for example, women's shoes are commonly sold as being "sexy") this opinion refers to an ethnographic or cultural context.[5]


In order to determine the relative prevalences of different fetishes, scientists obtained a sample of at least 5000 individuals worldwide from 381 Internet discussion groups. The relative prevalences were estimated based on (a) the number of groups devoted to a particular fetish, (b) the number of individuals participating in the groups and (c) the number of messages exchanged. Using these measures, feet and shoes were found to be the most common target of preferences. This is consistent with an analysis of millions of search queries by users from the USA that were accidentally released by the AOL internet service. (AOL Fetish Data) Sixty-four (64) percent of the sampled population that had a preference for an object associated with the body had a preference for shoes, boots, and other footwear.[6][7]

Shoe fetishism in popular entertainment

The mid-1960's British TV series The Avengers often featured fetishistic clothing, and Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman released a 45 RPM single in 1964 titled "Kinky Boots" [1][2]. However during the late-1960's the media also brought the case of serial killer Jerry Brudos to the public's attention. Brudos known as the Shoe Fetish Slayer would amputate his female victims' feet and dress them up in his large collection of ladie's shoes.

The Sex and the City episode, "La Douleur Exquise!" featured a shoe salesman with a shoe fetish, who allowed Charlotte York to have expensive shoes for free simply for allowing him to assist her in trying on various pairs of shoes. The relationship came to an end when Charlotte was discomforted by the salesman obviously climaxing while assisting her with the sixth pair of the day.

The movie There's Something About Mary featured a former boyfriend of Mary with a shoe fetish. He tried to steal her shoes.

In the animated comedy show Family Guy the character Glenn Quagmire has a foot and shoe fetish.


1. ^ World Health Organization, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, (2007), Chapter V, F65.0 Disorders of sexual preference.
2. ^ Peter Jerome Fagan. Contributor Paul R McHugh. Sexual Disorders: Perspectives on Diagnosis and Treatment. JHU Press. 2003. ISBN 0801875277. p.78
3. ^ Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Calhan, C. (1994). Homosexual foot fetishism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 611–626.
4. ^ Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., & Calhan, C. (1995). “If the shoe fits…”: Exploring male homosexual foot fetishism. The Journal of Sex Research, 32, 17–27.
5. ^ Pietz, William (1987) ‘The Problem of the Fetish II: The Origin of the Fetish’ , RES: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 13.
6. ^ Scorolli C, Ghirlanda S, Enquist M, Zattoni S, Jannini E A (2007). Relative prevalence of different fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Researchadvance online publication 15 February 2007; doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901547. retrieved March 2007.
7. ^ Dobson, Roger (2007). Heels are the world's No 1 fetish. The Independent Online Edition,, accessed February 2007.

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