The internet is abuzz with speculation about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ choice of footwear while on the campaign trail. DeSantis has been frequently spotted wearing cowboy boots, leading to viral TikTok videos and social media posts claiming the boots have hidden lifts or heels to make him appear taller.
Experts seem to agree the boots look suspicious. Three veteran bootmakers analyzed photos of DeSantis’ boots for Politico and unanimously concluded he is likely wearing subtle lifts, estimating they boost his height by 1.5 inches.
“I’ve helped [politicians] with their lifts many times. [DeSantis] is wearing lifts; there’s no doubt,” said Houston bootmaker Zephan Parke.
The experts point to the unnatural curvature and wrinkling of the leather, as well as the position of DeSantis’ feet within the boots, as telltale signs of inserts. His awkward gait while wearing the boots also suggests they are not standard cowboy boots.
While DeSantis staunchly denies the allegations, insisting his Lucchese boots are “off-the-rack”, the conspicuous boots have become a campaign controversy ripe for mockery by critics. The hashtag #SlayQueen pokes fun at the governor strutting in heightened heels.
Some posit DeSantis wears subtle lifts because studies show taller political candidates tend to fare better in elections. The average height of U.S. presidents is around 5’11”, while DeSantis claims to stand 5’11”.
The footwear flap also plays into criticism of DeSantis as an inauthentic cowboy boot-wearing poser. “We’ll see if he can run in them,” quipped Republican primary opponent Nikki Haley.
While the issue may seem trivial, DeSantis’ reluctance to definitively put the rumor to rest has resulted in embarrassing exchanges and additional scrutiny. The governor awkwardly sidestepped trying on a pair of boots offered by a podcast host to prove he has nothing to hide.
As DeSantis continues his presidential bid, the enduring mystery surrounding his footwear choices serves as a metaphor for larger doubts about his transparency and authenticity. DeSantis may wish to come clean about what exactly is going on inside those Lucchese boots.