Losing a Shoe in the Struggle

Just be glad you didn't lose your life also!

Sometimes, as a result of the danger they are in, a character can take Clothing Damage. But Clothing Damage is often associated with Fanservice (even if that's not always the case) and often isn't family-friendly, so what can be done to show a visual reminder of the danger a character is in without resorting to showing Clothing Damage or blood? How about, losing a shoe in the struggle?

It doesn't have to be a shoe. It could be a hat, a pair of glasses or any kind of small article of clothing. Even getting hair mussed up for a character whose hair is normally well-kept is a visual reminder of danger. Anything that's G-rated, but noticeable. A missing shoe is certainly noticeable, and even a missing hat on a character who's known for always wearing one gets the point across visually.

Sometimes losing a shoe is done in comedic situations, such as having one fly out of a Big Ball of Violence. Bonus points if it clocks an innocent bystander.

This trope is often Truth in Television - in periods of high activity or drastic changes in motion, including when a person is thrown off their feet, light and loose articles of clothing (including shoes) are likely to fly off.

In more serious situations, the character's now-bare foot is shown to be a vulnerability which can become a Broken Heel (not literally. Probably.) if the writer needs to hamper his/her ability to run. This can lead to or be accompanied by Agony of the Feet (for instance, if a person steps into a bear trap or onto a sharp object with an unprotected foot).

Compare Hat Damage, which is when an unimportant article of clothing takes damage but remains with the person. Also compare Giving Them the Strip, which is when a piece of clothing (usually something like a jacket) gets removed in order to escape. In some cases, may lead to The Girl Who Fits This Slipper, when a character uses the missing clothing article to try to identify whoever lost it. Also compare Close-Call Haircut for when the superficial injury happens to the person, rather than their clothes.

Related to Spit Out a Shoe were someone or something eats a character whole and spits out their footwear or other article of clothing.


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  • A Little Debbie commercial has a man on a camping trip receive a reminder from his inner child that he neglected to pack Oatmeal Creme Pies. The man endures various obstacles on his way from the campsite to the store, and loses his right shoe while scaling some rocks. After he purchases the pies, the child suggests he retrieve his missing shoe, but he decides to enjoy a pie instead.
  • In the Segata Sanshiro commercial for Sonic R; one of the baseball players that Segata Sanshiro attacks for not playing Sega Saturn loses one of his cleats in the aftermath of his attack.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Garzey's Wing, the ferario (fairy) is grabbed by two soldiers who attempt to rip her legs off and kill her, but they only succeed in ripping her boots off, as she escapes by Giving Them the Strip.
  • In Monster Rancher, Genki arrives in the monster world barefoot (as he was playing the game in his room at the time) and apparently his shoes weren't sucked into the world with him save for only his roller blades. Course he finds they're not very useful when having to climb hills. Luckily though a kindly couple give him some boots in the next episode.
  • Happens too many times in Fairy Tail to count, especially to Lucy. In both the Edolas and Grand Magic Games arcs she loses her shoes twice, going barefoot for the rest of the battle each time.
  • One Piece
    • Luffy tends to lose his sandals in a lot of fights, whether from them slipping off due to using Gear Third, or from them getting destroyed. Averted in the case of his hat, though.
    • As Vivi is frantically running through the city of Alubarna, trying to find the bomb set to destroy the plaza, her sandals snap, leaving her barefoot.
  • In To Love-Ru, Run is turned into a little kid after being sprayed by the Skunk of Youth. As she attempts to catch said skunk, she slips off the school roof, losing her shoes in the fall (though thankfully Lala catches her).
  • The comedic variant appears in Digimon Adventure when the Digidestined return to the digital world, with Mimi tripping and losing her boot on the beach.
    • This phenomenon is subverted and lampshaded in an episode of the dub of Digimon Xros Wars by Shoutmon: "Wow, Mikey, you almost lost your sweet sneakers! ...And your feet."
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, a crook is lamenting his fate while using a urinal, only for Batou to unexpectedly open a window right in front of him. After a beat Batou flashes a huge Cheshire Cat Grin and drags the guy kicking and screaming outside where he's knocked out, dropping a shoe in the process.
  • In the Gold and Silver arc of Pokemon Special, Lt. Surge fishes one of Gold's shoes and Silver's boots from the Lake of Rage; along with Gold's hat and bag. This makes him realize the two were kidnapped by the Masked Man. It also hinders Gold's ability to run when he and Silver are forced to fight some Sandslash without them. Once he finds them; he gives their shoes and belongings back.
  • In the film adaptation of AKIRA; a would-be revolutionary loses one of his shoes when he tries to set off a grenade in the police station. When the grenade is a dud; he's dogpiled by cops and loses the other shoe as he's pummeled offscreen.
  • In one episode of Gatchaman, Jun the Swan loses a shoe to a monster attack and she has to go into the latest Galactor base to get it back - that shoe's part of her costume and she can't transform without it.

    Comic Books 
  • Actually plays a plot-critical role in one flashback story in Tom Strong. Tom is investigating a slum where his current love-interest, Intrepid Reporter and perennial Damsel in Distress Greta Gabriel has gone missing. He finds her discarded high heels, evidently lost in some off-panel confrontation. This pays off as, being a Gadgeteer Genius, Tom has an ultraviolet flashlight which is able to track the heat signatures left by Greta's bare feet as the Mooks dragged her off. Pummeling ensues.
  • In Peculia the title character originally wore shoes, but was forced to leave them behind in order to escape from a house when a monster was after her (she had taken her shoes off to go to bed). She seems to have decided that she prefers going without them, since all issues after this have her barefoot. She is wealthy enough to have her own butler, so she could definitely afford to buy a new pair if she wanted to.
  • In the penultimate book of Bone, Thorn's shoes fly off as she is captured by Tarsil's soldiers.
  • Asterix the Gaul - Roman soldiers thumped by Asterix or Obelisk often fly up into the stratosphere, while their shoes remain in their original position.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Big Happy has the occasional fight where someone's shoe flies off.
  • Peanuts
    • Sometimes happens comedically to Charlie Brown when he's hit by a baseball or misses trying to kick the football.
    • It also happened to Royanne, the girl who claimed to be Roy Hobbs' great-granddaughter, when her baseball team played against Charlie Brown's team. When Charlie Brown slid toward home plate, he knocked her shoes off. In the next strip, Snoopy found only one of her shoes.
  • On Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin often loses his shoes when Hobbes pounces him. Sometimes it's even all his clothes down to his underwear, which makes his mother very confused at why she found him half-dressed at the front door.

    Films — Animated 
  • In An American Tail, Fievel loses his hat while helping release the Mouse of Minsk. Finding it is how the Mousekewitzes learn he's still alive.
  • A certain Disney princess, of course.
  • Tarzan: During the attack by baboons where Tarzan first meets Jane, she loses a boot after whacking off a baboon who was chomping at her leg. Funnily enough, it shows up later: the baby baboon is wearing it as a hat.
  • In Disney's The Little Mermaid, Eric's boots come off in the ocean while Ariel is trying to save him from drowning. They also come off after Eric defeats Ursula, and before he makes it to shore.
  • In Tangled, Flynn loses a boot when attacked by a very persistent horse, though fortunately Rapunzel, being a Friend to All Living Things, is able to convince it to give it back. In the trailer for Tangled, he loses a boot in a fight with Rapunzel's seemingly sentient hair, a scene not in the final movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used more seriously in The Little Dragons, where the kidnap victim loses a sandal in the struggle.
  • Tremors
    • Earl and Valentine are attacked by the Graboids while they're crossing the desert on horseback. After they lose the horses, Earl's hat flies off his head and is left behind as he flees on foot.
    • Rhonda is attacked by the Graboids and gets her legs wrapped up in barbed wire. Combined with Giving Them the Strip, as Valentine helps her escape by removing her shoes and trousers (for a little Fanservice), and they run to "safety" inside the general store.
  • Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has Burt getting intentionally swallowed whole by a rare albino Graboid in order to plant a homing device inside it. When his assistant hauls him out via the tether he's attached to, he's naked from the waist down except for his underwear and one of his boots.
  • This happens twice in Pacific Rim.
    • In Mako's flashback to her childhood, she remembers being a little girl alone in the ruins of Tokyo. One of her shoes isn't being worn; young Mako is carrying it instead. Either it's too crushed to be worn or Mako had hurt her foot too badly to wear it.
    • In the present, Hannibal Chau leaves only a shoe behind when he's eaten by a Kaiju. In the mid-credits scene, he cuts his way out of its dead body. His first words when out are "Where is my goddamn shoe?!"
  • Happens in the 1989 Batman film to Damsel in Distress Vicki Vale. While being forced to climb the the bell tower of Gotham Cathedral by her captor the Joker, Vicki falls and loses one of her high heels. The Joker then throws away the offending shoe, seemingly to taunt the pursuing Batman and/or make Vicki move faster. Her other shoe is later seen discarded further up the stairs.
  • In Without A Clue, Sherlock Holmes has a fight with some of Moriarty's Mooks. One of said Mooks loses a shoe when Holmes grabs him by the ankle and refuses to let go. The bad guy gets away and Holmes is left holding the empty shoe. Fortunately, it ends up providing a clue to Moriarty's whereabouts.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, German actress-turned-Allied-spy Bridget von Hammersmark loses her shoe during a sudden shootout in the cafe she met with other spies at. Colonel Hans Landa investigates the scene, and finds her lost shoe, allowing him to discover she was there.
  • In the film Malice, teacher Andy goes to his student's home when she misses an appointment with him. The first hint of troubles is when he finds one of her shoes in the backyard. Sure enough, she's become the latest victim of the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.
  • In Cloud Atlas, Luisa Rey, played by Halle Berry, winds up getting her car pushed off a bridge by her arc's villain. When she escapes from the car after its windshield caves in, she's shown to be barefoot, having lost her heels from the onrush of water.
  • In Ghostbusters II during the trial after the group are arrested for illegally continuing their paranormal investigation. The courtroom is attacked by the ghosts of two murderers sentenced to death row. They wind up targeting the prosecutor who loses a shoe as she being hauled away upside down.
  • In Animal House in a blink or you'll miss it deal. When the fraternity do their rampage at the parade and ram into the stand holding the dean, the mayor and their wives. The women clearly aren't wearing any shoes as the group is sent flying note 
  • Part of the climax in the first Die Hard movie. John manages to shoot Hans with his remaining bullets left. But Holly's watch gets caught on Hans' sleeve as he falls out a window, nearly taking Holly with him. John has to quickly unfasten the watch to save her (unaware a not quite dead Hans tries to shoot him. He's foiled when the watch is freed, sending him falling to his doom).
  • Aliens: The Queen Alien tries to pull Ripley into the space with her by grabbing onto her leg after the airlock is opened. Ripley shakes it free by slipping loose from her boot.
  • King Kong (2005): Ann Darrow is kidnapped by natives while she was getting ready for bed. Consequently her shoes get left behind, and she spends the entire time in the jungle barefoot.
  • In the movie Speed, in the elevator scene early in the film, the last woman they help escape the elevator before it falls loses a shoe.
  • As Above, So Below: The lead character gets dragged into a corpse-infested pool of blood and has her boots pulled off as she escapes.
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, an unconscious female bystander is dragged away without one of her shoes during the Winter Soldier's attack on the DC Parkway; having lost it when the bus she was on collided with another bus following a grenade chain reaction. Cap also lampshades the phenomenon when he and Black Widow are incognito and on the run: "If I run in these shoes, they're gonna fall off."
  • Mad Max: Fury Road has its title character lose a boot while kicking Slit off of Nux's car. Slit grips said boot with his teeth before he falls, pulling it off of Max's foot. After a sandstorm, Max steals a boot from the unconscious Nux for a replacement.

  • A classic, well-known example that kicks off part of the plot, in Cinderella. Cinderella has to leave the royal ball before the spell wears off and her fancy clothes change back to normal, but accidentally leaves a glass slipper behind while running. This then changes the plot to The Girl Who Fits This Slipper.
  • In Mostly Harmless (the fifth The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Ford Prefect has to sacrifice one of his shoes to throw off the guided missile that's been fired at him. He spends most of the rest of the book with only one shoe, only getting a replacement pair near the very end.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The first thing the Baudelaires see of Kit Snicket in the 13th book is her bare foot sticking out of the raft she built. According to her, it's because a heavy machine was dropped on her foot and she took her shoe off to ease the pain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superman: In "The Human Bomb", Lois loses a shoe when Butler drags her further out on the ledge.
  • On Sisters, as Cat, the daughter of second sister Teddy jogs around a track, she stops to tie her sneaker laces. Suddenly, she's viciously attacked and dragged off into the shadows. Minutes later, her mother arrives. Initially confused to not find her daughter, she quickly becomes alarmed when she finds her discarded sneaker and realizes she must have met with foul play.
  • In 999 (the Transatlantic Equivalent of Rescue 911) a young boy who'd been rescued from neck-deep mud by the fire brigade recalled being afraid his mother would be upset, because one of his new shoes was lost.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "Desperate Measures", Jesse loses his shoes when enemy forces breach their base of operations.
    Jesse: (Pulling a piece of glass out of his foot) You don't realize how much broken glass there is in the street until you've taken a walk through Panama City barefoot.
  • In the Bones episode "The Beginning in the End", Hodgins leaves behind a shoe in the maw of one of the two Angry Guard Dogs chasing him.
  • In I Love Lucy, one ep dealt with Lucy trying to peddle a vacuum cleaner she was conned into buying by using the same sales pitch. Her endeavor is less then successful and she loses a shoe when trying to stop a door from closing on her.
    • In The Tour, Lucy and Ethel abandon a bus tour to see Richard Widmark's backyard. Lucy climbs the wall to get one of the tangerines growing from a tree and falls over where she's promptly attacked by Richard's dog and loses a shoe in the process.
    • One of the country episodes had this happen to Ricky when Lucy closes the door him and he tries to stop it with his foot. Turns out it's a trick though, he slipped out his shoe and came around the backdoor as Lucy was trying explain she accidentally brought expensive furniture.
  • In the opening credits of the first series of the British sitcom, Man About The House, Chrissy loses one of her shoes while trying to make the bus to get to work. She only notices once the bus starts moving and she sees it lying there, but can't get off again to retrieve it.
  • In the Power Rangers Samurai episode "The Bull Zord", a boy loses his shoe inside the rampaging Bull Zord and is seen without it till near the end of the episode.
  • Mythbusters once tested the idiom "knock your socks off", but found even a very fatal impact would barely cause socks to slip a few inches in the most ideal circumstances.

    Music Videos 
  • Radiohead's "There There" video climaxes as crows pursue and peck at frontman Thom Yorke, who has stolen and put on an enchanted coat and some Sprint Shoes they were guarding. Thom uses Super Speed to outrun the crows, but the shoes fall off after becoming entangled in vines. His bare feet become tree roots upon striking the ground, as the beginning of a Painful Transflormation that changes Thom into an immobile tree.

  • In the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, the main character gets mugged right after coming to New York City, and loses her hat, scarf, and shoe.

     Video Games 
  • In Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles at the end of Ada's chapter. Ada escapes Raccoon City by launching her grappling hook on a passing helicopter. A hunter tries to jump and grab her but only winds up catching one of her heels in its claw.
  • The comedic variant appears as one of Sakura's win animations in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and 3; with Sakura bouncing her shoe off her head.
  • In Laura Bow in the Dagger of Amon Ra, you find a shoe surrounded by signs of a struggle. It's Steve's, and you have to give it back to him when you find him, or he'll hurt his foot and the killer will catch up to you.
  • In episode 2 of Tales from the Borderlands, Rhys loses one of his shoes in a chase scene near the beginning. Depending on the player's choices, either he gets it back from Fiona at Old Haven, or he has to wait until episode 3 to get it back.
  • In Yandere Simulator, when Yandere-chan pushes someone off the roof, she'll yank their shoes off as they fall, trying to make it look like a Barefoot Suicide.

    Web Comics 
  • In Modern Day Treasure Seekers, Sam loses a sandal when falling down a rockslide as the result of a booby trap, and can't get it back. Its disappearance is permanent. That, along with unkempt hair and dirt on their clothes, serves as a reminder of the danger the kids remain in. Once Sam realizes it is futile to look for it, she takes off the other sandal and throws it away because she has no use for an incomplete pair. With both of them lost, she has to go barefoot on uninviting terrain.
  • In Homestuck, Dad Egbert loses a single shoe and his hat while fighting monsters on the Land of Wind and Shade. He uses a nearby Parcel Pyxis to request spares.
  • Reds Planet, Red loses one of her shoes when she's first abducted and the other one to a Jerkass alien after she temporarily knocked out. Leaving her stuck in her socks.

    Western Animation 
  • Played comedically in The Simpsons.
    • When Sideshow Bob threatens to blow up an air show the family is attending, everyone (including them) quickly exits the scene.
      Marge: (panicking) Kids! Everything's gonna be OK! Don't panic! Just don't panic!
      Lisa: Mom. Mom! You're stepping on my heels and knocking my shoes off!
      Marge: We can always get more shoes! Move! Move! Move!
    • When the family is walking across a rickety bridge, Marge slips and her shoe comes off. As Marge dangles, Homer shouts, "Oh no, your shoe!"
  • This is a clue in the Geronimo Stilton episode "Barry the Moustache" when the titular gangster kidnaps reporter Sally Rasmaussen. Since the show takes place in a world of Barefoot Cartoon Animals, it's lucky for Geronimo and company that Sally is The One Who Wears Shoes.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Hooky", Patrick mentions that there was a kid playing around in the "carnival", which is actually a bunch of fishing hooks. As he says it, he and SpongeBob pass a pair of sneakers left on the ground.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Fort Night", the kids narrowly escape their fort before it gets crushed under a truck, and Andy loses one of his shoes. He throws the other one back to keep it company.
  • An episode of Beavis And Butthead has Todd pummeling Beavis offscreen after one of their antics made him spill a drop of beer on his pants. As Butt-Head laughs at the situation, one of Beavis' shoes bounces into frame.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: One episode deals with Chutullu doing phone pranks and turning Endsville into monsters. Billy and Erwin and later Grim and Mandy venture into the netherworld to try and stop him via the telephones. However shoes can't be transmitted through for some reason and always slip off as it's sucking them through, leaving Billy, Erwin and Mandy barefoot.
  • A Running Gag in Kim Possible is that Ron has a habit of losing his shorts in some fashion or another. Kim also loses a rollerskate when dueling Shego in one episode.
  • In Regular Show Terror Tales from The Park IV third story. Mordecai, CJ, Eileen and Rigby wind up trapped in haunted VHS horror movie. They reach the credits but are suddenly attacked by a lighting ball whose first strike hits CJ's boots and knocks her out of them. She's forced to leave them behind as the group run for it.
  • In one episode of Samurai Jack, Jack enters a dragon's digestive tract. While in the stomach, he encounters some strange birds that split into more of themselves when cut. After he's created a huge swarm of them, one of them pulls off his sandal just before another pops the bubble he's on, and he spends most of the rest of the episode with one bare foot.
  • In the Code Lyoko episode "End of Take" (parodying in the Aliens example in live-action film above); Ulrich loses his sneaker when he's grabbed by the XANA-controlled alien costume and is seen without it for most of the rest of the episode.
  • In an episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Gaia loses her powers and is stranded in a ghetto mistaken for a homeless person. While taking shelter from the rain, one of her sandals breaks and she leaves it behind. The Planeteers later find it while searching for her.
    • In the episode "Domes of Doom," Wheeler gets stuck in a manner similar to Alejandro below; and cuts through his shoelaces with his ring's powers to free himself. Thankfully, the villagers have a replacement pair of shoes not long after for him.
  • In the Total Drama All-Stars episode "Zeek and Ye Shall Find", Alejandro gets his foot stuck between two rocks while trying to get to the mine Chris is imprisoned in. He leaves one of his shoes behind to get unstuck.
  • In one Scooby-Doo episode, Shaggy foolishly steps in a bucket of fritter batter and finds his feet stuck. The only way to get them out ends up being to slip them out of his shoes and go barefoot the rest of the episode.
  • Despite both wearing boots instead of Combat Stilettos both Raven and Starfire from Teen Titans are the only female superheroes in a DC show to lose a boot. Starfire has her boot stolen by an alien dog in the episode 'Every Dog Has His Day' and and Raven loses her boot when she is vomited out of Beast Boy's whale form in 'Wavelength'.
  • In the premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Marco loses one of his shoes in the family cactus garden when Star accidentally forces him out the window. He spends the rest of the episode without it; despite having the opportunity to retrieve it before he and Star fight off some monsters.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Time Traveler's Pig", Dipper loses one of his shoes when he chases Mabel through the events of past episodes; and leaves it behind in a past timeline. When Lolph and Dundgren make Blendin Blandin go back and correct all the time paradoxes; he's seen collecting Dipper's shoe as evidence.

     Real Life 
  • This happened to at least one of Ted Bundy's victims, Georgeann Hawkins, whom he abducted as she walked down the alleyway between her boyfriend's dormitory and her own. When he went back to the site to collect any evidence that might have been left, he found one of her shoes that had come off as he dragged her to his car.
  • Also happened to Evelyn Hartley, a 16-year old girl abducted while babysitting and never found. Her father became concerned when she didn't answer his phone calls and went to the house to check on her. Upon finding her left shoe and broken glasses in the living room and her right shoe discarded in the basement, he immediately realized something terrible had happened.