FILTHY footwear is a new fad among image-conscious teens, a study found.
They like to keep their trainers dirty to impress friends and show off their life experiences — such as muddy music festivals.
The relationship between Generation Z — born into an image-led, social media society — and their choices in footwear was explored by researchers.
Dr Naomi Braithwaite, who led the three-year study at Nottingham Trent University, said: “There were many pairs of trainers that were discussed which were covered in mud which could not be cleaned, as that might erase their meaningfulness.
“And the owners of these muddy shoes cherished them as a way to remember their favourite experiences in life and to tell a story to the outside world about who they are.”
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The study found many owned multiple pairs of trainers and chose what to wear depending on which emotions they wanted to express.
She added: “I had one individual who went to the pub for the first time with friends and they walked back through the muddy fields.
“They didn’t want to clean that mud off because it was a memory of that great life experience.”