Is speak with your feet similar to vote with your feet?

And should it be used in positive context? For example:

Let's vote/speak with your feet by joining the fundraising activity.


6 Answers 6


It seems to be a non-standard, figurative expression meaning to take physical action (specifically by walking/running), as opposed to, for example, signing a petition, delivering a speech, or writing a rant on the internet. Similarly, and this is a hypothetical example,

Speak with your feet against the new law by joining our protest march.

Here is a real example:


As I mentioned, it is a non-standard expression, meaning that it is not widely recognised or generally in use.

  • What makes something standard and something non-standard?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Sep 6, 2015 at 23:27

I've heard this as "vote with your feet," i.e. express your support or distaste for, say, Mr. Card's views by avoiding or going to see "Ender's Game." I've never heard "speak with your feet."

  • 1
    Agreed; in my experience with my American dialect "vote with your feet" is a phrase, "speak with your feet" is not. The implication is that people have no way to usefully voice their unhappiness of the situation, so they just leave. Like: "The company got rid of their good benefits, now employees are voting with their feet" means they are quitting. Or "The restaurant changed their menu, and customers are voting with their feet, and eating at a competitor's."
    – swbarnes2
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 21:30

"Talk with your feet" (and minor variations) means to express your opinion or feelings not by verbalizing them but through action. For example a friend has betrayed you. Rather than confront your friend in dramatic fashion, you simply walk away from them, literally and/or figuratively. It's linked to the idea that actions speak louder than words. In the context of the above example walking away is like saying: "You know what you did. We're done." In some ways it's a far more effective message than could be conveyed with words, because a discussion, with the friend, on the subject of the friend's betrayal is itself a minor act of friendship even if an argument ensues. Walking away presumes no such friendship and is a stronger -- if less dramatic -- message.


To speak with one's feet can also mean to take action without words. One speaks with their feet if they have a bad experience at a restaurant and, instead of verbalising to the staff, they simply never go back to that restaurant.

I tend to do this. It's a tangent of conflict avoidance, I'm almost sure.


I like many of the responses above and don't disagree.

However, I take a bit of a different stance on this. I was fortunate to learn early on in my career that employees support a leader and his or her initiates based on their personal interaction with that leader. This is even more apparent with Gen Z and Gen Y. Often too many leaders stay in the office, let others do their bidding, or lack the conviction to sell their initiatives themselves.

To speak with your feet means to lead by example. It is walking the halls, meeting employees, embracing the task, showing them your authentic self and selling your strategies or thoughts directly with them. It also allows you to see their reaction, take in their feedback, and learn from their interactions. To speak with your feet is vital for leadership. Without it, people will speak with their feet and dissent or not willingly pull in the same direction.

Here is a great example: http://www.forefrontmag.com/2014/02/how-to-lead-with-your-feet/


It comes from the Bible.. Proverb 6:13. It's meaning is in relation to how a person acts in moving their feet.. as a person who is sloughful or not wanting to do something will likely drag their feet in protest whereas someone that wanting to so willing, will leap with joy at the chance maybe even run if you will to complete the task... thus a form of communication displayed by your feet's actions.

  • That's a very dubious reading of that text, and it's also not something that, to my knowledge, has been brought into English idiom in that sense. The parallel with "vote with your feet" is much more likely. Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 16:47

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