So, I sit at home, beset by insomnia and the white noise of television's talking heads in the background, wondering: what is the most effective way to throw footwear towards a static target and inflict maximum damage? Is it necessary to have appropriate equipment? Is one form of shoe more suited to throwing than another? Is it easier to throw underarm or overarm? Questions flew thick and fast, like arrows in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan. Or maybe it was B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat. I forget.
My testing materials were limited to my four pairs of footwear - leather dress shoes, tennis shoes, sandals and the trusty old hawai chappal. For a target, I used a chair. It works for a static target ten feet away. So, with all necessary implements at hand, the testing began.
I summarize my results below. Limited initiative in the middle of the night prevented me from recording all data accurately, so these results are merely indicative (though they have been verified through repetition).
I tested three styles - the overarm javelin, the underarm frisbee, and the underarm slow-pitch. The underarm throws immediately threw up a problem: in the presence of obstacles between the thrower and the target, it is impossible to use the frisbee, as the shoe would definitely hit the obstacles. The slow-pitch can avoid obstacles, but does not deliver sufficient momentum to the shoe, and the toss would be mostly harmless (to borrow a phrase from a famous dead writer). Besides, the dress shoe and sneaker are extremely difficult to throw using these techniques, though the underarm frisbee works like a charm for the chappal and sandal, both in terms of force and distance. Accuracy is always questionable with the frisbee, as is speed to the slow-pitch.
That leaves us with the javelin, which is intuitively the ideal way to throw a shoe at a target located at approximately shoulder-height, so that we can skip people standing around us and send the shoe towards the politician of our choice. Because it utilizes a good unhindered swing of the shoulder and forearm, coupled with aerodynamic orientation of the shoe, it delivers a strong throw and minimum deviation from its path or decelaration in its trajectory. The dress shoe is easiest to throw in this fashion, as it provides for a comfortable grip and has a natural taper at the toe, which minimizes air resistance. The chappal is particularly hard to throw as it isn't easy to hold, and the same holds for the sandal as well. The sneaker is not much harder to throw than the dress shoe, but doesn't go as far as the latter.
Other untested styles of shoes include moccasins, boots, Kolhapuri chappals, mojris, jootis, and all forms of women's shoes. I'll bet that the dress shoe still wins.
(Videos linked until I bother to expand the column width of this blog, after which I might embed them. But do click on through.)