Throwing Shoes On Power Lines Mean [Read to Avoid Jail]

Throwing shoes on power lines is known as Shoe tossing or shoefiti. Still, no one knows for sure what it means to throw shoes at power lines. Shoe tossing or shoefiti happens in North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, both in rural and urban areas. Sneakers are worn most of the time. Definitions vary from country to country and region to region. 

Now let’s look at what throwing shoes on power lines actually means.

throwing shoes on power lines mean

Meaning of Throwing Shoes Over Power Lines?

I looked at a few Reddit threads, read a few articles, and even watched a documentary about shoe tossing to try to figure out what was going on. So many ideas exist about why do people throw shoes on power lines?

You might hear some of the following theories: 

  • Indicate Drugs And Gang Territory.
  • Remembering A Loved One Who Has Died.
  • Milestones in Life, Including Graduation And Basic Military Training.
  • When A Bet is Lost Or Others.

Indicate Drugs And Gang Territory

People often think that shoes over a power line or shoe tossing is a way to let people know where a crack house or good place to sell drugs is. Shoes hanging from power lines or phone wires at an intersection can also be a sign of a gang claiming territory. In fact, the city of Los Angeles got rid of a lot of shoes in 2003 because people were worried that the shoes pointed to “places where drugs are sold or, even worse, gang turf.” 

Remembering A Loved One Who Has Died

It’s not clear where or why this tradition started, but when a young person dies in a community, friends, family, and loved ones sometimes throw shoes over power lines, tree branches, and around other public places. Some gang members also follow this tradition, putting up a makeshift memorial where a close friend or family member died.

Milestones in Life, Including Graduation And Basic Military Training

Some high school seniors celebrate their big moment by throwing shoes over power lines. People say that they do it to leave a part of themselves behind, like when you carve your name into a tree or wet cement. Some young boys, on the other hand, throw their shoes over power lines to show that they are no longer virgins.

The shoe-throwing tradition is also used to mark the end of basic training for people who join the military. Some, but not all, military people paint their boots in fun colors and then throw them on power lines as a way to remember the special day. 

When A Bet is Lost Or Others

Another idea is that when someone loses a bet, they throw their shoes over a power line.

My friend told me that he had been hurt. When he lost, his friends took his shoes and threw them at a power line. Several articles I’ve read say that people’s friends throw their shoes after losing a bet, which seems to back up this idea.

Another idea is that kids tease their friends by throwing their shoes over power lines. The shoes sometimes get caught on the power lines by accident. We all know that kids can be silly, so this makes a lot of sense. They would do whatever interests them at the moment.

You might have guessed that some shoes are old and that their owners throw them over power lines to get rid of them. 


People sometimes hang shoes from a tree to make a “shoe tree.” Sometimes, the same thing will be done to a power line pole or another wooden object.

Shoe trees are usually near the main roads in a town or city, and they may have a theme (such as high-heeled shoes). 

My Friend James Allan Explains The Meanings Of Shoes Over Power line.

Throwing Shoes On Power Lines – FAQs

Why Throwing Shoes On Power Lines is Dangerous?

Throwing shoes on power lines or Shoe tossing is a big no-no. This dangerous practice can cause serious injuries and even death. In 2015, a man in Florida was electrocuted after throwing shoes on power lines. And in 2016, a woman in Michigan was killed by electricity when she threw shoes on power lines. Always be sure to keep your distance from power lines and never throw anything at them, including shoes!

Last Words

A lot of people try to explain why throwing shoes are on power lines with different theories.

But I like to think it’s a story about young people coming of age. Every area has its own quirks, and violence, gangs, and drugs may or may not be mixed together.

The shoes hanging from power lines are still a mystery, but it’s a mystery that’s getting easier to solve. In a few years, it’s likely that we won’t see any more shoes hanging from power lines.

Thomas Benefield
Thomas Benefield

Thomas Benefield enjoys the outdoors and loves sharing his knowledge of outdoor gadgets. His whole life has been spent in the outdoor! Thomas is always eager to share his love of the outdoors with others who wish to learn more about these important tools.

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