They have been the focus of millions of Twitter views, caused a stir on TikTok and prompted amateur sleuths to investigate.
They are the cowboy boots of 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
The Florida governor has been accused of adding risers to pairs of brown and black boots to convert them into heels, giving him an increase in height as an American traditionally like larger candidates.
Appearing on the PBD podcast on Monday, DeSantis told host Patrick Bet-David that he wasn’t aware that people online were theorizing that he was wearing heels, saying his boots were “just standard Lucchese from the Rod” and he is 1.75 meters tall ”.
But a trio of experienced shoemakers have come forward to say they use elevators to look taller.
A trio of veteran shoemakers believe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wears heels, even though the 2024 candidate denies there are attachments in his cowboy boots. DeSantis wore these boots to a Heritage Foundation event on Friday
TikTok user Spamellina sketched the shape of a high heel over the photo of DeSantis in his boots and then shared an image of a pair of women’s wedge boots for comparison. The experts described a similar, but shorter, way in which elevators could be configured
Shoemaker Zephan Parker looked at photos of DeSantis’ boots from that campaign rally in Tampa and said it appeared the 2024 candidate was wearing heels
Politico Magazine on Tuesday gave some legitimacy to the purely online speculation, with all three boot and shoemakers pointing out that the odd fit of the candidate’s boots likely meant he was getting a boost.
Bootmaker Zephan Parker of Houston-based Parker Boot Company didn’t buy DeSantis’ denial Monday.
“I have dealt with these politicians many times,” Parker told Politico Magazine. “I helped them lift. [DeSantis] carries elevators; there is no doubt.’
Parker looked at photos of DeSantis at a recent campaign rally in Tampa and noted that while the boots have a traditional Western silhouette, the heels appear shorter.
He explained that if you include heeled cowboy boots, the lift-heel combination can “turn them into 5-inch stilettos.”
“This is too much for the common man,” Parker said. “So on a finished boot they shorten the heel by about half an inch to accommodate the risers, and that seems to be the case here.”
Parker also said that the top of the boots appear to stick out further than a traditional cowboy boot.
While cowboy boots are meant to fit snugly, a tight boot is not adjustable in height. Therefore, men who want to gain a little more height often have to choose a size larger.
“He looks like he’s wearing pants with a 20-inch opening,” Parker noted, “which is plenty of room for a western boot on a man his size.”
However, since the tops of his boots pressed against the pant legs, Parker suggested that “the boots are larger than intended, probably to accommodate his lifting.”
Austin-based shoemaker Graham Ebner looked at what DeSantis wore at the Iowa State Fair and pointed out the unusually high instep, suggesting he may have inserted a wedge in the heel to make it appear taller
Another picture of the boots DeSantis (right) often wears, which he wore to the Iowa State Fair in August
Austin-based shoemaker Graham Ebner told Politico Magazine that he also suspected DeSantis was wearing shoes.
“I notice three things,” Ebner said, “the instep, the toe spring and where the ball of his foot sits in his boots.”
When making shoes, the laces usually sit on the back of the foot.
In the case of DeSantis, Ebner pointed out that he had an unusually high margin.
“Instead of the leather hugging the inner arch of his foot as it should, it looks like his foot is being lifted and the leather is stretched out,” Ebner said.
As for the toe spring — how the toes curl up in a boot — Ebner told DeSantis it looked too pronounced, suggesting his toes are stuck too far back in the boot.
The candidate’s ball of his foot also appeared to be strangely placed, the shoemaker said.
“In the photo of him sitting on the wooden stool, you can see where the ball of his foot is sticking out on his right boot,” Ebner said, describing DeSantis’ shoes at the Iowa State Fair. “It’s a good inch behind where it should be. “It shouldn’t be in that position unless the heels were raised dramatically.”
A TikTok user named Spamellina created a video showing DeSantis’ bootsHe commented, “Tell me he doesn’t wear hidden heels.”
As part of the video, Spamellina sketched the top of DeSantis’ boot, showing the foot in the manner described by Ebner. A wedge boot for women was then shown on the screen as a comparison.
A third shoemaking expert, London-based Nicholas Templeman, noted that DeSantis’ boots had an unusual crease at the top of the shaft – suggesting an internal wedge was elevating his foot.
“If you put your foot in a regular pair of western cowboy boots, that’s just your shin not bending,” Templeman said.
DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin did not welcome Politico Magazine’s investigation.
“Considering that Politico Magazine admittedly spent money consulting ‘boot experts’ to publish this hit piece on DeSantis, you know everything you need to know about their ‘journalism,'” Griffin said. “The governor doesn’t pad his boots, but if he ever needed something to line a pet’s cage or fold and wedge under a table leg, this would be the highest and best use for Politico Magazine.”
Politico Magazine does not appear in print, nor did the news organization pay shoe experts to assess whether the 2024 hopeful wore hidden heels.
Gregg Murray, a political science professor at Augusta University who has studied physical components and their connection to political preferences, told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that “there is an instinctive preference for physically impressive leaders” that comes with a desire for strong ones allies during a conflict.
So DeSantis’ behavior — and Senator Marco Rubio’s before him — isn’t really surprising.
“There is a long history of American politicians trying to look more physically impressive, for example by wearing high-heeled shoes or standing on a box behind a debate podium, or at least trying to look physically healthier,” Murray said.