What It Means If You Spot Shoes Hanging From A Tree In Someone's Yard

Some people have tidy shoe closets, suggesting they likely have an organized personality. Other individuals leave their shoes on a mat by the door. Both shoe storage methods are normal and practical, and you can expect to see shoes in these locations. But what does it mean when you see shoes hanging from a tree in someone's yard? Believe it or not, shoes hanging from a tree can be a generous gesture.

"Shoes were put in a tree so that if someone needed them, you could just take them ... It warms your heart thinking that you're helping somebody," Bruce Sarasin, who follows his family's footsteps by leaving shoes on a tree for other people to take, told the Toronto Sun. So, in some cases, leaving shoes on a tree is meant as a present for strangers, serving as a kind gesture. But that's not always the case, as the meaning behind the hanging shoes isn't always as deep or helpful.

Throwing shoes at trees can be linked to superstition

Sometimes, throwing shoes at a tree isn't meant to help others or be a thoughtful act of service. Instead, some people link it to superstition, believing that if the shoe lands on the tree, the person who threw it will get good luck. While some people may think that the link between shoes and trees is a myth you need to stop believing, others will still get excited when they throw their shoes at trees in hopes of receiving good fortune.

The University of Minnesota even has a "shoe tree" with superstition linked to it. "If you throw your favorite pair of shoes over and it catches onto one of the branches, you'll pass your finals and midterms. But if it fails, then you'll end up failing," Sabrina Le, a student, told CBS News in 2018. However, it's not the best idea to throw your shoes at a tree on someone's private property, even if you see other shoes hanging off it.

There are different reasons for shoes hanging from power lines

While shoes can hang from trees for thoughtful or superstitious meanings, shoes can hang from power lines for other reasons, and those reasons tend to be darker. For instance, shoes hanging from a power line can be meant to honor someone who has passed on, whether the late individual was beloved by the community or was a gang member. Or, the shoes could signify a spot where people go to purchase drugs. Moreover, in some cases, throwing the shoes at powerlines is just a result of pranks and other mischief, often with alcohol involved.

So, the rationale behind shoes hanging on power lines tends to be significantly darker than the reasoning behind shoes hanging from trees. But don't assume that those are the only reasons people would do so. "I suppose there are as many reasons as there are people who throw them over the power lines ... You have to do a lot more investigating than that to make a solid drug case you can prosecute," Reece Daniel, a police chief, told Jacksonville Progress back in 2007. Thus, shoes have various reasons for hanging outside.