Your suggestion that the Daily Mail might consider launching a regular series of articles on academics and their footwear (The week in higher education, 16 May) may not be entirely frivolous. Over my 30-year career in higher education (across four mission groups), I have conducted informal research into colleagues’ footwear - especially men’s. As Danny DeVito vouchsafed in the film The War of the Roses: “My father used to say there are four things that tell the world who a man is: his house, his car, his wife and his shoes.”
I have always been comfortable dealing with men who wear leather-soled brogues (mainly medics and management types) and rubber-soled lace-ups (generally engineers). Instinctively, however, I have been less certain of those male colleagues who wear slip-ons, ankle boots and any black shoe/white sock combination.
(Russell & Bromley, a poor girl’s Salvatore Ferragamo)