The Height Debate: Speculation Surrounding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Boots and the Importance of Image in Politics

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been at the center of controversy recently, as rumors circulate that he is wearing concealed lifts inside his cowboy boots to appear taller.[0] While DeSantis vehemently denies these claims, three expert shoemakers have come forward to support the allegations, stating that the governor is indeed wearing lifts in his boots.[1]

The speculation surrounding DeSantis’s height began earlier this year when he debuted a new slate of ill-fitting western footwear on the campaign trail.[2] Social media users quickly took notice of the unusual shape of his boots and started questioning whether he was using lifts to increase his height.[3] The rumors gained further traction when a viral TikTok video compared DeSantis’s boots to a pair of women’s wedged boots, suggesting that he may be wearing hidden heels.

Zephan Parker, the owner of a Houston-based bespoke boot maker, confirmed to Politico that he has helped politicians with their lifts in the past and believes that DeSantis is indeed wearing lifts in his boots. He points to various aspects of the boots, such as the shaved heels, wide shafts, and the positioning of DeSantis’s feet, as evidence of concealed lifts. Another expert bootmaker, Nicholas Templeman, also believes that DeSantis’s boots indicate the presence of lifts, noting the unusually high wrinkle in the boot and the shorter heels.

Graham Ebner, a cowboy boot-maker, adds that the toe spring, which refers to how the toes curl up, is much more pronounced in DeSantis’s boots than normal.[4] This suggests that his toes are positioned too far back in the boot, potentially to accommodate lifts.[4] Ebner also points out that the ball of DeSantis’s foot appears to be protruding, indicating that the heels are being lifted dramatically.[2]

DeSantis, however, denies these allegations and insists that he does not wear lifts in his boots.[5] During a podcast interview, he addressed the claims and stated that his boots are just standard, off-the-rack Lucchese boots. He further dismissed the rumors by stating that he wears tennis shoes when he works out.

The controversy surrounding DeSantis’s footwear extends beyond the speculation of hidden lifts.[6] Many have criticized the fit of his boots, noting that they are ill-fitting and do not flatter his proportions. Menswear expert Derek Guy spoke with three bootmaking-industry veterans who agreed that DeSantis’s boots are too wide around his calves, with low heels and abnormally high toe curls.[7] They describe the overall effect as clown-like and suggest that the governor should opt for better-fitting boots.

Height has long been a topic of conversation in politics, with taller candidates often having an advantage. Only six presidential candidates who were shorter than their opponents won their elections between 1916 and 2012.[8] DeSantis, who is vying for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, may be concerned about the impact his height could have on his candidacy. Additionally, there is the ever-present threat of getting mocked by former President Donald Trump, who has a history of teasing opponents for their appearance.[9]

While the debate over DeSantis’s boots and height may seem trivial, it highlights the scrutiny and image-conscious nature of politics. Candidates often face pressure to appear taller or more physically imposing, as height can be perceived as a sign of strength and leadership. As the 2024 presidential race heats up, it will be interesting to see how candidates navigate these perceptions and whether DeSantis’s choice of footwear will continue to be a topic of discussion.

0. “EXCLUSIVE Trump group ridicules Ron DeSantis with early Christmas present of Puerto Rican flag boots – complet” Daily Mail, 1 Nov. 2023,

1. “Ron DeSantis denies claims he wears lifts in his boots, sparks meme fest online” Hindustan Times, 31 Oct. 2023,

2. “Is DeSantis Wearing Lifts? Shoe Experts Say Probably—But He Denies Rumors Boosted By Trump” Forbes, 31 Oct. 2023,

3. “DeSantis rumors about wearing raised boots to make himself taller” Business Insider, 1 Nov. 2023,

4. “3 Expert Shoemakers Say Ron DeSantis Is Probably Wearing Height Boosters” POLITICO, 31 Oct. 2023,

5. “The Low Spark Of Ron DeSantis’ High-Heeled Boots” Colorado Pols, 31 Oct. 2023,

6. “Ron DeSantis Turns Down Chance To Squash Lifted Shoe Speculation” Yahoo! Voices, 31 Oct. 2023,

7. “Ron DeSantis Can’t “Shoe” Away Latest Humiliating Revelation” Yahoo News, 31 Oct. 2023,

8. “How tall does a presidential candidate need to be to win the elections?”, 2 Nov. 2023,

9. “Jimmy Kimmel uncovers the Ron DeSantis boot lift mystery” Last Night On, 1 Nov. 2023,

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