Origins of ‘Crack Kicks’ in Urban Folklore

“Shoefiti” has many different meanings to many different people.

For years I subscribed to the idea that a pair of tennis shoes slung over a telephone wire indicated the place to buy drugs in a neighborhood. It turns out that’s not entirely true, at least according to this post over at The Shazzamity that looks at the potential origins and meanings behind shoe flinging or “shoefiti.” Abandoned shoes as indicators of where to buy crack and heroine are just two potential explanations among many. Still, the drug connotation resonates with my memories of growing up in a crumbling, economically depressed town outside of Pittsburgh: “A number of sinister explanations have been proposed as to why this is done. Some say that shoes hanging from the wires advertise a local crack house where crack cocaine is used and sold (in which case the shoes are sometimes referred to as “Crack Kicks”). It can also relate to a place where heroin is sold to symbolize the fact that once you take heroin you can never ‘leave’: a reference to the addictive nature of the drug.” TC mark


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  • Larry

    Always thought it meant someone got beat up.

  • sarah

    i always thought it marked the spot where someone died

  • asshole steve

    always thought it marked a portal to narnia

  • Erik Stinson

    free wi-fi…

  • Jerseyjoe83

    Ok, think about this- You and I have a beef at school. It's going on for a while, and each of us thinks we're a badass and is talking a lot about what we'd do to each other when we see one another. Then the day happens. We're both walking down the street and see each other, we're across the street from one another but it's obvious to see one another so words get passed. The comments and taunts grow until that's it, we're finally fighting. Now- I win, I beat you half brainless. How do I hammer it home that I'm not someone to be messed with? Take your coat? Wallet? Maybe- and I likely will. Or I also take your shoes and throw them up on the power lines. A $100 reminder to not only you, but everyone in the neighborhood of that day I kicked your ass- because no one will ever get them down. Plus now you get to explain to your mom how you lost your shoes. Good luck with that- ass kicking number 2. I don't know where people are from that come up with the other retarded reasons for this- I worked as a paramedic in all the hood areas of NY/NJ for almost 7 years- that's pretty much the reality of it. Drug sales- hah no one needs a flag to find that, and the rest of the suggestions are just beyond ridiculous.

  • NoahTourjee

    Silly, it marks the spot where shoes are sold.

  • Gerry Rice

    i always thought it meant “this is where illegal shoes are sold”

  • pfft

    hahahaha free wifi

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