Ron DeSantis accused of wearing lifts in his cowboy boots to appear taller

Shoe experts and social media users point to Republican presidential hopeful's gait and boots' appearance

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. AP
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been walking tall, lately – the Republican presidential candidate's polling numbers might have slipped but he still has a certain spring in his step.

But experts say this may be because he is wearing lifts in his cowboy boots.

Three expert shoemakers told Politico this week that Mr DeSantis is probably wearing height-boosting supports in his shoes, pointing to their shape and his gait while wearing them.

“I’ve dealt with these politicians many times,” said Zephan Parker, the boot maker behind Houston’s popular Parker Boot Company. “I’ve helped them with their lifts. [Mr DeSantis] is wearing lifts, there’s no doubt.”

The other experts pointed to distinctive wrinkling in the leather and the shape of Mr DeSantis's foot while wearing the boots.

Social media users have also been quick to accuse Mr DeSantis of trying to appear taller.

“Ron DeSantis is wearing height increasing insoles in his Larp boots, which is wild because they already add like an inch,” one user wrote on Instagram.

The user posted a side-by-side photo of Mr DeSantis that features a sketch of where his foot is believed to be in the boot.

“This theory only came about because of how weird this man walks and because of how his boots look when worn,” a TikTok user said.

“First and foremost, why do the front of his boots look empty? And why are they curling?”

Others have posted photos and videos of the presidential candidate using hashtags such as #slayqueen and #mallgothfashion.

Mr DeSantis denied the rumours in a podcast interview on Monday, calling his much-maligned footwear “just standard, off-the-rack Lucchese boots”.

But why is Mr DeSantis, who is 5'11, or 1.8 metres tall, worried about his height?

In a study analysing presidential results going back to 1789, researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that taller candidates received more votes than shorter ones about two thirds of the time.

His current rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is 6'3, or 1.9 metres tall.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 9:44 PM