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by Gert Hekma in Columns & Opinions , 30 mei 2001

Retiphism is a posh word for shoe sex. Rétif de la Bretonne was an eighteenth century French author, who, in his novels and autobiography, devoted lots of attention to his preference for ladies' shoes. He wasn't alone, since other celebrities like Goethe and Baudelaire also had a soft spot for it. Goethe asked his girlfriends to send him their shoes, so he could press them to his heart. William Rossi, author of a somewhat outdated standard work on shoe sex, thinks Goethe did several other things with those shoes. Footgear is popular as a fetish. Women build up entire collections, the most famous one belonging to Imelda Marcos. According to Rossi's vulgarized version of Freud men are supposed to dream of feet as genitals sliding into shoes, in their turn symbolizing the vagina.

Shoe laces

What do men do with shoes? They can sniff 'em and get turned on by sweat and/or the smell of leather. They can cum in them, they can ask their loved one to walk over them or place a shoed foot on their neck or genitals. Shoes come in all kinds and sizes. One man likes big, an other small feet. High heels, slippers, (military) boots turn people on. For centuries the Chinese had a preference for binding the feet, especially of women but also of boys. The binding made the soles soft and rounded and some men liked cumming in the curve. We had a talk with Rex (, who gets turned on by sneakers, a postmodern and popular addition to the retiphist variety.

I adore Nike's Airmax Classic and have the horniest fantasies about them. They came on the market some years ago and every three or four months there are new colours and different models. I'm wearing them now. That 'air' has to do with the padding, it's a flat shoe with Nike's swoosh sign on it. The trick is how to wear them. Not as a good boy with the laces crossing and tied in a bow. The laces should run parallel, no bow and disappear under the tongue, which should stick out. Surinamese do tie the laces, but short and in front of the tongue. For me the Nikes do not have to fit tight, but fit they should. A number of boys buy them a bit too small, but I like to be able to walk in them. It all began with Converse All-Stars. I was in the first class of secondary school. Some painters were coming to work in our house, wearing these sneakers. My mother forbade them to do so, but I sneaked up to the attic to see if there were some All-Stars there. My parents gave me a strict upbringing, so it was out of the question I would ever get to buy sport shoes for myself. When at sixteen I got clothing allowance and could decide for myself what to buy, I immediately got me some Converses. I had to suffer for four years. Because of my flat feet, I always wore special shoes, while the boys in my class were walking around in sport shoes. I found them real exciting and very much wanted to have some myself. I didn't lust after the boys then just yet. It was all about the type of shoe and I wasn't yet into guys .


Via Internet I find people with the same interest. There are lots of websites which have something with Nike. For sport shoes, masters and slaves, with s/m, in combination with Australian or Cavello, the jogging suits which were popular with blokes. There's a chatroom for gay sneakers with a lot of Germans and English, all gay. There are boys there of 16 till late in their 40-s. Further there are sneaker nights in a number of German and English bars. Holland is a bit behind the times. The guy of sport sex club Score FC complains there's not one venue in Amsterdam. The official dress code in many bars still says 'no sneakers' and that's a pity, since the're's little separation between s/m and sneakers. These days there are many skins without boots but in sneakers; they're so close. I myself haven't organized anything yet, but maybe I will.

There are lots of people who like rubber and now finally somebody of Black Body came forward to organize rubber nights in the Eagle. It all takes a long time. When I meet sneaker boys in person, we mainly look at each other's shoes. I always find someone else wearing sneakers more exciting than me wearing them myself and that goes for most of the guys. They all have a big sport shoes' collection, I myself have dozens. They look at it, sniff 'em, lick 'em. Then the shoes go off and it turns into sock sex and next the socks come off and they start licking the feet. Some want to lick the entire shoe. I haven't done that, I did lick my own shoes and those of my friend. Licking new sneakers I find especially horny, but there are also guys who like very old sneakers. Dirty sweaty feet I don't like, but Score FC also organizes dirty socks competitions. Contacts run mainly via the web. Lots of chatting and little dating. For me it's mainly looking, most of the time at pictures which we exchange. Chatting on the web about new Nikes I find exciting and horny. I don't have the urge to cum on them right away. New sneakers, the smell of leather, the newness turn me on. Tossing off only starts after you have told each other horny stories and have exchanged pictures. I do not cum in those shoes, but on them while sitting at my computer with the camera aimed at the event.


As the submissive in an s/m event it's fun to serve somebody and lick his Nikes or see the print of his shoes on your feet. A dominant once had me tie his sneakers by the laces to my cock. That was exciting, but a weight or a couple of sneakers don't matter much to me. Those Nikes make for complicated knots. Others like their master to piss or shoot in shoes, in which they then have to walk around. What I do find exciting is the master threatening to tear up your new Nikes. That he puts them under an electric drill, when you don't carry out an order well, drilling a hole in them or using them for an ashtray. For a sneaker fetishist that is terror. He will do anything to prevent that.

It's exciting when Nike has a new release and all those school kids, Maroccans, ex-blokes, Surinamese walk around in them the next day. Such hetero boys know nothing of the sexual interest of gays for sneakers. When they catch me looking in the tram, all they think is you haven't got them yet". They also look at my shoes. Now Puma is a real hype. It started with Converse and Nike, then it was Adidas and now it is Puma. The trendsetters go for them, but most of them are not sexually interested. For me those sneakers are linked mainly with looking and being looked at. I always look at the feet first and after that at the face. Those sneakers are essential and the rest of course has to be a juicy bite. Further I like the combination of sneakers and s/m. I don't have much with sport sex. I have nothing with a football outfit, though I have a Cavello track suit, but that has little to do with football. It's real fun, that so many people feel the same about Nikes and s/m. That is something of recent years, especially among youngsters. The s/m scene should be more allowing, now the leather scene is very dogmatic with lots of old farts and all those outmoded dress codes, the scene should be more liberated and offer more varietry. That's possible abroad, why not in Amsterdam?"

William A. Rossi, The Sex Life of the Foot & Shoe, LondonRoutledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, reprinted 1989.

Next time: cleaning sex.





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