To us this is nothing new - at least as far as Men's shoes are concerned! How often do you find yourselves looking along a queue of people and judging their 'status' by examining their shoes? Perhaps you don't! There is little doubt that people can identify expensive, high quality shoes on feet - or rather it is very easy to identify junk shoes on peoples feet.

Regardless of the shoe style, the next judgement is on how expensive and then how well-looked after it is, how polished and clean. A well-worn, but well-looked after shoe is a statement in itself, as is a scruffy unkempt pair.

The signs for gentlemen are fairly simple. Always conservative - he would only wear brown and blacks, and only calf. Calf leather doesn't have a hard or thick or shiny appearance, whereas cheaper and older leathers do. The cheaper leathers also leave deep creases in the bend of the foot. This often cracks in time. Harder to judge is the cheap knock-off of the expensive shoe. The clue is in the ultra-thin calf used and the poorly attached inner-lining resulting in strange bobbles and creases - like pinching the back of your hand.

A welted shoe is again usually obvious to the trained eye with a slightly wider edge of the shoe and clear stitch marks. The cemented and blake stitched shoes do not have visible stitching (from above) although they may have fake moulded plastic look-a-like stitching moulded around the top edge of the sole.

A refined shoe will have an elegant shape, made on lasts developed over long periods of time, well-known to fit many feet, but snugly. Cheaper shoes are often made on mass-produced inelegant lasts designed to fit more feet of every shape and size and consequently can make the shoe look baggy or saggy on feet.

Then of course the shoe-snob would never wear a square toe or elongated last, this would define you as modern, progressive, risqué or trendy - reserved for the advertising executive not the company chairman or CEO (or the class conscious ex-public school boy).

The Kansas study found that the most accurate ratings were for age, gender and income followed by their emotional stability and agreeableness. But as the USA is a relatively classless society, shoe snobbery takes a different form in the UK. A classy classic shoe stands out from the crowd whether you are in jeans or a suit - it says a lot about you. But not necessarily that you laden with cash but it is secret code that you are a gent or belong to a class of people. Shoes are probably the last part of one's attire that a gentleman would compromise on, and of course, only made in Northampton. It is all about appearances.

Liberal thinkers, who you may think of as sandal-wearing hippies, did not surprise. They really do wear scruffier and less expensive shoes, said the research. And yes, the stock-brokers, accountants and bankers require the classic oxford to maintain appearances - but do they wear sandals once out of the lime-light?