Air Jordans

Random hanging pairs of shoes on power lines has always been a source of confusion for me. I attempted to solve this mystery by calling the Sacramento Police Department, PG&E and SMUD.

According to Sgt. Darrell Martin, the hanging shoes are not a sign of gang activity, at least not from local gangs.

Brian Swanson, spokesperson for PG&E, told me that the hanging shoes could cause two major problems:

1. The shoes can weigh the wires down which can impact traffic. Tall trucks such as garbage trucks may snag the wires and cause power outages.

2. The shoes can also bring the two wires together which can short circuit the wires and cause damage to the electrical equipment on power poles, such as transformers and circuit breakers.

The worst case scenario, according to Swanson, would be if energized wires were brought to the ground because of the shoes.

Swanson advises that if anyone sees a safety issue — including a pair of hanging shoes that cause a wire to hang lower than normal or bring two wires together — they should report the problem to PG&E by calling 1-800-743-5000.

The SMUD representative could not be reached by the time the article went to press.

Does anyone else know the reasoning behind why people throw pairs of shoes on power lines? Has anyone done this personally? Can you refer me to anyone else who might know the answer to my longstanding question?

The pictures above were taken by laverrue and Dave Gorman.

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March 16, 2009 | 11:15 PM

I have shared your curiosity on this matter for a while. I always thought they were a safety issue.

March 17, 2009 | 10:03 AM

In Boston, it was a sign of where to buy certain drugs.

March 17, 2009 | 10:52 AM

Which drugs? Sandals for pot, high heels for heroin, and of course, Nikes for speed?

March 17, 2009 | 12:32 PM

Nikes for speed, so good it’s bad?

March 17, 2009 | 11:23 AM

This article on Wikipedia gives a little more information as to the causes of Shoefiti. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe_tossing

March 17, 2009 | 11:37 AM

I saw that article. It was interesting how it broke it down so much. Lots of myths and drug references. Thanks for adding that link.

Article Author
March 17, 2009 | 12:48 PM

According to my local drug dealing source, I asked him about this…they are a sign of where to buy drugs… and different colors mean different drugs. Once again, looks like Sac PD is clueless.

BTW why is the Sac County and Sac PD’s gang task forces almost all white?

March 17, 2009 | 12:59 PM

I notice that the first picture you used seems to be in England. I also notice that there’s about 9000 pairs of shoes on the wire. They just don’t quite get it, poor guys.

March 17, 2009 | 4:07 PM

There must be a lot of drugs on that particular street, Raoul.

March 17, 2009 | 2:18 PM

We could use some of them shoes over at Tent City. How do you boys git em down?

dan
Profile photo of dan
March 17, 2009 | 8:10 PM

A Sac PD officer told me it meant a corner to find drugs.

April 28, 2009 | 12:26 AM

Around here they’ll point you in the direction of weed. For sure.

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