Ron DeSantis Swears He Doesn’t Wear Lifts—Experts Say He’s Most Definitely Adding Extra Inches on the Sly | Vanity Fair

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Ron DeSantis Swears He Doesn’t Wear Lifts—Experts Say He’s Most Definitely Adding Extra Inches on the Sly | Vanity Fair

Ron DeSantis has said and done a lot of uniquely awful things over the past several years that should preclude him from ever becoming president of the United States. From championing Florida’s bigoted “Don’t Say Gay” law to signing a six-week abortion ban to declaring that he’d “start slitting throats [in the federal workforce] on day one,” the list is long, varied, and terrifying. Should appearing to wear height-enhancing lifts in his boots for a couple extra inches and refusing to cop to such measures also be on that list? Not really, no. But it’s a strange thing that definitely doesn’t help! Especially since, according to a deeply reported new story, the governor is almost certainly trying to pull a fast one re: his stature. 

Yes, due to the intense interest in DeSantis’s bizarrely shaped cowboy boots that has only grown over the last several weeks, Politico decided to investigate the situation, and spoke to a trio of footwear experts about what they think is going on here. Their professional opinions? That DeSantis is, almost without question, using hidden heels, and likely because Americans tend to prefer taller presidents (with a couple notable exceptions).

“I’ve dealt with these politicians many times,” Zephan Parker, the proprietor of Texas-based bespoke boot maker Parker Boot Company, told Politico. “I’ve helped them with their lifts. [DeSantis] is wearing lifts; there’s no doubt.” According to Parker, there are two reasons he can say with complete confidence DeSantis is getting some vertical assistance:

At a DeSantis campaign event in Tampa, a photo was taken of him from his side, showing the governor in his black cowboy boots and navy worsted suit. Traditional Western boots are typically built with an elevated heel, ranging from 1 1/2” to 1 7/8”. DeSantis’ boots have a traditional Western silhouette, but, to Parker, the heels appear shorter. When you stick inserts into cowboy boots, the combination of the height-increasing lifts and the heels can “turn them into five-inch stilettos,” Parker says. “That’s too much for the common man. So on a ready-made boot, they’ll cut down the heel about half an inch to accommodate the lifts, which looks to be what happened here.” (Shaving down the heels does negate some of the height value of having lifts in the first place.)

The other giveaway, Parker says, is the boots’ tops (what most people would recognize as the shaft). Cowboy boots are made to fit snugly; on their website, Tecovas recommends getting boots sized so that you feel a rush of air leave the boot when your heels drop into place. But such a snug fit leaves little room for a wedge-shaped lift, so people who wear lifts often have to size up in width. This increases all the other measurements in tandem, including the circumference of the tops. Looking at the photo of DeSantis at his Tampa campaign event, Parker points out how the tops are pushing against his trouser legs. “He looks like he’s wearing trousers with an eight-inch opening,” the boot maker estimates, “which is plenty of room for a Western boot on a man of his proportions.” The fact that the tops push against the trouser legs suggests to Parker “the boots are bigger than intended, probably to accommodate his lifts.”

And Parker isn’t alone. Graham Ebner, a boot maker who cut his teeth at what, per Politico, is “widely considered one of the country’s best bespoke cowboy boot makers,” concurred that something fishy is going on. “Three things stick out to me,” he told the outlet, “the instep, the toe spring and where the ball of his foot is sitting in the boots…. In the photo of him sitting on the wooden stool, you can see where the ball of his foot is protruding on the right boot. It’s a good inch behind where it should be. It should not be in that position unless the heels were being lifted dramatically.” Nicholas Templeman, a London-based shoemaker who spent nearly a decade at “the oldest continually operating bespoke shoe-making company in the world,” said all signs point to lifts clearly being used.

All three experts estimate that DeSantis is likely giving himself an extra one and a half inches.

Of course, ask the governor or his team about the matter, and they angrily deny any deceptive measures are being taken. On Monday, the governor insisted to podcast host Patrick Bet-David that he wears “standard, off-the-rack Lucchese boots.” 

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In response to a request for comment from Politico, a spokesperson for DeSantis wrote, “Considering the fact that Politico Magazine admittedly spent money to consult ‘boot experts’ to run this hit piece on DeSantis tells you all you need to know about their ‘journalism.’ The governor doesn’t pad his boots, but if he ever needed anything to line a pet cage or fold up and wedge under a table leg, that would be the highest and best use for Politico Magazine.” (Politico made it clear that it did not compensate anyone for the story. The magazine also doesn’t appear in print.)

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Ron DeSantis Swears He Doesn’t Wear Lifts—Experts Say He’s Most Definitely Adding Extra Inches on the Sly | Vanity Fair

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