Shoe Talk

A relaxed icebreaker no prep game for large groups

How To Play Shoe Talk

Often at the start of a youth camp or youth group year there are many people who don't know each other. Even the leaders often don't know many of kids. What's needed is a good ice breaker game which doesn't put too much pressure on everyone.

I played this group game at a camp recently and it was a fantastic icebreaker idea.

1. Split the group into 2 halves.

2. Get each half of the group to line up against opposite sides of the room or hall.

3. Get each person to take of 1 shoe and make a pile of their team's shoes.

4. Get each person from one team to come a select a random shoe from the other team's pile and then find the person that shoe belongs to.

5. Once they have found their match, have a question ready so each person in the pair can ask each other a get to know each other a little bit better. Make sure you don't leave this time too long, but don't make it too short either, give both people a chance to answer.

6. Get the other team to do the same process with the first team's pile of shoes.


Added by
on 23 July 2010


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What were the questions?

Posted by Swatts 2 years ago

What were the questions?

Posted by Swatts 4 years ago

I agree with the comments that the shoes will make many students uncomfortable. But, adjust this: Have students draw a detailed pic of their shoe on an index card, place all cards in middle of room. Or, have students draw a picture of their face on the card! This seems fun.

Posted by Lisa 4 years ago

Just an FYI - I did a fun “take off your shoe” game with a bunch of kids and while it was fun - the room stunk to high-heaven when we were done.

Posted by Holly 4 years ago

I really Like the Idea :D

Posted by RealCreate 4 years ago

Great idea for breaking ice with some of the kids. If they're uncomfortable then they can sit out

Posted by Carlisle Steele 5 years ago

Obviously this game is not a one size fits all one :)

Posted by silamantis 5 years ago

This is a good one! I played this about 8 years ago with a camp group. Yeah the room was already an interesting smell but no one was embarrassed and the kids that were had friends who encouraged to play along. I'm sure none of them were scarred from it as it ended up being a huge hit and they wanted to play it again at the church several weeks later...

Posted by Dara 5 years ago

I like this idea alot ! However I do understand how kids will be uncomfortable but I'm thinking that maybe instead of a shoe, that we take an item they have like a bracelet,phone,necklace,jackets,purses, etc.

Posted by Cassandra 5 years ago

Instead of shoes, you guys can use other things to substitute. Like watches or phones, something less embarrassing.

Posted by Spymonkey 6 years ago

Sounds like a very instructing game,I should try it out but the only problem is opening up to the question you get

Posted by Michelle 7 years ago

I tried this game with seventeen teenagers, and two adults. It resulted in a two hour session of knowing each other, I modified it by allowing the group to ask five questions to the pers receiving their shoe back (the person who had the shoe was the first to ask). It was played on my first account with them and it helped a great deal in me knowing them, at times it got emotional based on the question asked but all in all we had lots of fun.

Posted by Tsaks 7 years ago

All we did was we had plastic bags. Each shoe was in a clear plastic bag, then we distributed them.

Posted by Robert Mckay 7 years ago

I've done this game a lot, and it's never created any problems with embarrassment.

Posted by LThurston 9 years ago

you may choose other stuff that every one certainly have.... like a cell phone or a wallet ... shoe is not such a good thing specially if you have to take others' with your hand!!! EEEEeee...!!!

Posted by Dorsa 9 years ago

Played this game with girls group! I just let them know ahead of time to wear their favorite pair of shoes and they all had a blast playing it!

Posted by Dee 9 years ago

This was fun so much fun! As a kid it wont matter to them how smelly or stinky they were, but the fun and excitements was totally burts out! Kids just love to enjoy games!

Posted by cheer 9 years ago

the whole idea is to get them comfortable around each other so at first they might feel uncomfortable but the getting to know part is the idea of the game.

Posted by shan shan 9 years ago

i do think its a exciting game to play and to interact with the youth

Posted by shandre 10 years ago

If people are concerned with taking off the shoes - a variation would be to find their "solemate". The children leave their shoes on and have to find someone with a similar design on the sole of their shoe. The children could then make up a secret handshake with their "solemate".

Posted by Mel 10 years ago

is a very good fun game i like it i will try to introduce with my teaam

Posted by Janki 10 years ago

I appreciate all of your comments above.

Posted by Mark C. 11 years ago

two of my shyer kids felt embarrassed about hole in sock and another had stinky feet.... it really stuck while some kids made fun of them... great idea but now I use name tags... cut first name from last name and person has to find person with the first name of the last name they hold...they get to know names and have to discuss why they think that person looked like an Ann or Bob, etc.. kids seem to like it

Posted by debi 11 years ago

We did this as an icebreaker at our youth group. The only difference was that it was only the leaders shoes that they had to guess. Which was really cool for helping them get to know us.

Posted by Tim 12 years ago

Your over thinking it. We've done this several times and it works just fine. It helps if there si more than just question, but a task they have to share.

If your really concerned about the kids feet smelling, bring some baking soda and simply ask the kid quietly to put some in his shoe.

Posted by Chuck 12 years ago

we tried it and its fun but maybe this only works if the people in the group know each other.

Posted by johann 12 years ago


Posted by 12 years ago

but when one set take off one shoe...isnt it so easy for the oppse set to figure out who the shoe belong to? bcoz they will see the other shoe on them.

Posted by 12 years ago

I've done this game before and I know that some of the girls got quite uncomfortable, the guys loved it though. They of course got competitive haha

Posted by Bek 12 years ago

I believe this game is a platform for us to apply it the best way that works for the group we are working with...that require to know our audience and encourage them to embrace it and the best way is try it, fail and adjust... thank you

Posted by Paco 12 years ago

i did play it with my group, oh boy did we enjoy ouselfs. even though some of us did not get the whole point, but it was great.

Posted by Jeanette 13 years ago

no not atall, I totally think that this game would be a great resource and I am going to use it tonight! I can see this working a treat! Thankyou!!!! :-)

Posted by Darren 13 years ago

yes that true i also agree some people will feel uncomfortable with that (shoes). Y how will it be if we use names of poeple. like right names of the other group and something like pick a name.

shoes for name same rules.

Posted by Jeanette 13 years ago

I agree - I can be unhelpful in some situations. An alternative could be to tell kids to "find their twin" in the room and can get to know them, and then "find their opposite' in the room and can answer a question with them.

Posted by Shorty 13 years ago

I think that this game will make some kids uncomfortable beacause they think some kids will make fun of their shoes or their socks. It can also be emberrasing if their feet smell or their shoes.

Posted by LINDA 13 years ago
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