It’s all common to come across shoes thrown over power lines, telephone cables, and even trees in just about every city in the world.
Borrowing inspiration from the Internet Dictionary Wikipedia, shoe flinging is the American and Canadian practice of tossing shoes whose laces have been tied together such that they hang from the overhead lines.
In the United States, shoe flinging occurs in urban as well as rural areas. Mostly, shoes flung on power lines are sneakers, but in other places, particularly rural areas, you’re likely to find a whole variety of shoes including boots and leather shoes.
But what do all these flung footwear mean? Much to most people dismay, there’s no broad agreement to the origin of tossing shoes considering the fact that there is more than one response as to what shoes on overhead lines mean.
Still, we shall get back to that later in the article. Let’s first get the shoes down.
Also Read: Why Does My Cat Lay On My Shoes?
So, How Do You Get Shoes off the Power Line?
It is fun to tie the laces and toss the shoes up onto power wires. The practice also involves some bit of skills to get the shoes up right there. However, once they are flung, chances are they will remain up there for years.
Caution! It may be illegal to screw around with power or telephone lines. Also, overhead wires might be electrical cables, and jabbing high voltage electric lines could be hazardous or lethal.
One technique of getting shoes off power lines involves using a long shaft. Choosing a metal pole for this method isn’t recommended as this could create a way for the power to get to the ground, through your body, meaning you could be shocked.
This post assumes that you don’t count on scissor lift equipment or cherry picker for that matter. Getting off the shoes involves some sort of attachment at the end of a long pole shaft. Some of these ideas are outlined below.
- Use the blunt shaft end to jab one shoe over the line, making the pair to fall.
- Attach a blade or edge to cut through the shoelaces
- Append a wire coat holder to lift the shoestring up and off the line.
For safety reasons, we would recommend the third method. Lifting the shoelace. We don’t recommend attaching a knife, a blade or such to the pole.
You can easily make a long pole by tapping two 10-foot PVC pipes in the most reliable and usable manner. These pipes might cost about $1.5 each.
Toward the end of the pole, design a human-like hand out of flexible wire and cover it with an old glove.
Connect an old coat holder, crossbar up. You might want to use a plastic or wooden holder since they don’t conduct electricity. It will also help you give a shot and catch the shoelaces quickly.
Another funny-dangerous element though- is that when removing the shoes, you will have to stand right in the street, ignore trafficking and look up into the sky.
It would be best to have someone to keep a lookout for the oncoming vehicles to protect yourself against traffic. Your body, as well as the pole, should be obvious to other road users. Also avoid positions where the pole might fall on, or close to a car. Traffic is typically lightest around 7 am on Sunday.
Point the coat hunger towards the shoes where the laces are on the power line. The PVC pole is flexible; thus, it will be easier to use once it gets into contact with the wire. Even where laces are twisted, the method should help coax them to undo and make it possible to get the shoe off the line.
The whole process of getting the shoes out might involve just the same amount of effort and skill that was involved when flinging them.
What Does Flinging Shoes on Power Line Imply?
Well, almost everyone has seen it, but no one truly comprehends what the shoes symbolize, or why shoe flinging occurs in the first place.
Urban fables offer a range of explanations, although the stories contrast from city to city and even among neighborhoods. In some parts of New York City, for instance, the most pervasive hypothesis is largely identified with drugs. Seemingly, the shoes showed destinations where they were sold.
Shoes on power lines could mean thoughts and prayers, the stated drug sale territory, gang crew territory, and in other cases disappearing mystery. Nonetheless, they could demonstrate nothing at all. Maybe the practice happened out of boredom- although that doesn’t explain the point in sacrificing a perfectly usable and decent pair of sneakers.
One of the most generally believed reasons for tossing shoes over electrical cables is to demonstrate or flag an area of a split house a drug-dealing spot.
Hanging shoes can similarly be the symbol of gang members claiming territories, particularly when shoes are dangling on power lines or telephone cables.
This once happened in Los Angeles where massive shoes were removed in 2003 following residents’ expressions that the shoes designated locations where drugs were sold, or even worse.
Chicago also had quite an issue with footwear clogging up overhead lines. Additionally, the city gets thousands of calls every year from residents whining about the dangling shoes. This has, however, reduced by +70 percent.
Honoring The Death Of A Loved One
It’s still unknown where this tradition began, but it’s believed that the death of a young person in a community would make friends and family throw shoes over power lines, telephone cables, trees, and other public places.
Recognizing Life Milestones Such as Military Training or Graduation
Although it is not so common, graduating seniors might mark their life milestone moment by flinging shoes over power lines. It is believed that this practiced as a way of leaving part of their past behind, which is more like carving a name into wet cement or tree. Other young boys would throw their shoes over power lines to mark the loss of their virginity.
Still and all, when you see shoes hung on power lines, it might be simply because someone got bored and decided to get rid of their shoes by tossing them on power lines. It’s not a surprise that such shoes belong to drunks or defenseless kids whose bullies or tormentors found it funny to flung their shoes on overhead lines.