Why Do People Hang Pairs of Shoes From Power Lines?

The practice of throwing shoes on power lines dates back as far as the power lines themselves, but no one knows how or why the tradition started according to an article on the New York Times website. The mysterious origin of shoe tossing has spawned numerous theories and rumors; one of the most common being that the shoes are a gang marker or a sign of a drug territory.

In some neighborhoods, shoes are thrown over power lines at the end of a school year, while some say shoes are thrown when someone in the area leaves and moves on to better things. Another theory is that the tradition began when enlisted men would throw their boots over wires after they completed basic training or when they left the service.