These Boots Were Made for Marketing: The Celebrities Influencing Our Shoe Choices


The modern catwalk show is as much a pool of celebrities and journalists as it has always been, but in 2020 there’s a new breed of fashionista to contend with―the influencer. Their authority in the fashion world is growing, with their choices dictating which style fits the day, and which brand has seen its last.

Influencers achieve this authority through a large following on social media, usually on Instagram, which focuses on image sharing.

Of course, what these people influence and how much change they can affect depends on how many followers they have. You need slightly more than just a few thousand likes to arouse any real attention or change―many influencers achieve millions.

Esteemed influencers are paid by leading fashion brands to simply wear their products and share their photos. Kylie Jenner, former star of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, was reported to earn around £915k per social media post in 2019.

Focusing on shoes, we can evaluate how the social media market affects our fashion buying habits in the UK. Our research aims to find the best ‘shoe-fluencer’ in the country. By scouting the biggest influencers and celebrities on Instagram, we compared Google Search trends by searching for celebrity names accompanied by footwear terms including shoes, trainers, and boots.

These were the results…

The magic influence of Emma Watson

Did you know that this former Harry Potter star and women’s rights activist was the most followed British woman on Instagram? Emma Watson has a heavy hand in the fashion industry, first appearing in Teen Vogue at just 15-years old in 2005. Further to this, she was awarded the British Elle by Vivienne Westwood in 2011.

On Google, the term ‘Emma Watson boots’ is searched on average 210 every month.

There are a plethora of photos of Emma rocking black boots―a mix of knee-high and ankle boots, Emma is a statement of fashion.

Emma Watson’s followers: 57.6 million

Bend (and wear) it like Beckham

It may be unsurprising to hear that the most followed Brit on Instagram is ex-Manchester United Footballer David Beckham. Since retiring in 2013, he maintains his fashion authority with sleek looks a plenty on his social media.

Beckham is arguably the UK’s biggest shoe influencers with search terms including ‘David Beckham boots’, ‘David Beckham trainers’, and ‘David Beckham shoes’ achieving 590, 210, 110 searches on average every month respectively.

As football’s most prominent fashion star, David Beckham has maintained an iconic status among men. The trainer days of Beckham’s youth have passed; today you’re more likely to see Becks sporting a pair of Chelsea boots—as much as we’re sure he’d hate to be associated with the Blues in any way.

David Beckham’s followers: 63.9 million

The high fashion of Sam Smith

The four-time Grammy-winning artist, Sam Smith is the tenth most followed UK star on Instagram. Their fashion choices often turn heads on the red carpet.

Sam’s shoe choices often cause a sensation, one time standing tall in 2.5-inch heeled boots at the GQ Magazine Awards.

In our analysis, the term ‘Sam Smith trainers’ achieved the second most searches, with an average of 320 every month―beating ‘Rita Ora boots’ and ‘Alexa Chung shoes’. However, confusion between the singer and Adidas ‘Stan Smith’ trainers may influence this result. While you may not measure Sam Smith as a shoe influencer, Google certainly does!

Sam Smith’s followers: 15.1 million

So, there you have it―an insight into some of the most influential celebrities within the footwear industry in the UK!

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