New Swim Shoes

General Information about Item:

  • Material Folklore – Tools
  • Conceptual Folklore – Superstition
  • Conversion Superstition
  • Contagious Magic
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: John Hall
  • Date Collected: 02-19-2018

Informant Data:

  • John Hall was born in Manhattan, New York on July 15, 1998. John lived in New York City for a couple years before moving to New Jersey. John started swimming when he turned 11, because his younger brother has started swimming and he wanted to join. He is a sophomore at Dartmouth, and he swims sprint freestyle.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: In many sports, and life in general, people will do or wear things that they think can help. Even though the superstition may do nothing, it gives the person a sense of reassurance and confidence.
  • Social Context: The data was collected in a one on one interview in Baker-Berry library. John described a superstition and tradition he did with a friend on the days of swim meets. The folklore was created to help bring good luck before the meet. He started doing his superstition in 7th grade, and has continued to do it since then.


  • John would wear the same shoes for every meet until he did bad. Once he did bad, he would go purchase new shoes to wear for meets until he did bad in the new shoes. He has done this with his friend for years.

Image of Flip Flops (Deck Shoes):


  • “Starting in 7th grade, my friend and I bought the same flip flops for a summer swim meet. We wore them to every meet until we did bad in the meet, then we would switch to wearing a different pair of shoes on the day of the meet. As soon as we did bad, we would switch to a new pair, to help bring good luck. The bad shoes would still be worn, just not during swim meets. “

Collector’s Comments:

  • I thought it would be expensive to maintain, but deck shoes are only a couple of bucks.

Collector’s Name: Matthew Luciano

Tags/Keywords: Material Folklore, Tool, Conceptual Folklore, Conversion Superstition, Contagious Magic, Swimming

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