Reversed Footprints: The Odd Inverted Shoes

Footwear with heel and toe positions reversed

On November 20, 1973, Cecil Slemp filed a patent for his invention — a footwear with heels and toe positions reversed — and he got the patent on July 16, 1976. The reversed soles of the shoes enable the wearer to leave inverted footprints. 

Over the years, several designs of heels and soles aimed at helping the military to confuse their enemies appeared such as shoes that left footprints that resembled an animal’s footprint. However, shoes with inverted soles was a new thing at the time.

Slemp stated that this would help soldiers to fool their enemies by leaving false trails. This would be suitable in snowy, sandy, and muddy terrains. Standard military shoes and boots leave noticeable footprints on those terrains which the enemies could take advantage of. Using the “backward shoes”, the odds of the enemies tracking down the ground troops would be reduced.

This can be useful during secret missions, combat situations, and ground patrols. Even if the enemies find out the existence of the shoes, they would still be effective since the enemies would now have doubts about the authenticity of the footprints. The psychological implications of the mere existence of the “backward shoes” can be significant.

Now, a bloody footprint won’t lead a Sherlock Holmes wannabe to the evidence, it will lead him to the murder scene!

So, what do you think? Do you think that this is really useful?


J. Angel Menéndez Díaz, Patentes Increíbles, 2016

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

45 thoughts on “Reversed Footprints: The Odd Inverted Shoes

  1. looks like he has the foot pretty. they should work. he put some thought into it and the inside makes the foot level or the heel actually a little higher. Just the oustide looks a bit weird. of course with forensic science, doubt they would work for crime as probably there is a different in weight for toe versus heel in imprints but could be wrong. cool idea actually.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t know anything about tracking though I suspect as much. I know of several stories of people discovering fake footprints and fake animal footprints through tracking techniques.

      Thanks for the recommendation. I just checked local library’s site and I found and reserved two of his books (The Tracker, and Field Guide to Natural Observation and Tracking). I see what I could learn from them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Why not just wear non- reversed, but odd footwear and walk forward? A set of dog paws, for example, and you could be the Hound of the Baskervilles, the sandals worn in southern california, with rubber tires for soles, slide your feet amd roll with each step, and you are a car. Or a truck. Add small skis to them, and you are a snow mobile. Put on rubber dishwashing gloves, and walk on your hands…Or one man on stilts, and a second on his shoulders, two men in a glider dragging a dead pig on a rope, a man inside a giant mechanical robot rabbit, hmm. Time for a cup of tea for me. Will let you know when I get to the end of the pondering list. Thanks for setting me off.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I spent a lot of time as a kid, walking backwards, I just thought it was fun.
    If the army adopted this practice, when they have to retreat, it doesn’t look so bad.
    The Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze” (the dog that didn’t bark in the night) mentions horseshoes that were made to look like cow hooves, to throw off trackers.

    Liked by 3 people

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