There’s a heated debate happening on the Internet today, and you’re going to want to get in on it.
This here photo of a Vans skate shoe is causing all sorts of arguments because of its perceived colour(s). Some people are seeing this shoe as grey and teal while others are see it as white and pink.
What colour is this (idk what happened my iconic tweet deleted out of nowhere) pic.twitter.com/iVVzgNJIab
— Julia (@JuliaCharlottte) October 12, 2017
It’s like that dress from 2015 where some people saw it as white and gold while others saw blue and black, or these flip flops with the same colour combos. What colour do you see in each situation? OK, good, now just tell that to your colleagues or family or friends and prepare for a good ol’ fashion go-nowhere back-and-forth.
Nicole Coulthard, who is responsible for first uploading this image to a Facebook group called Girlsmouth, told Metro UK that she texted this photo of her friend’s new shoes to her mom and they got in a “big argument” about the colours of the sneaker. So, Coulthard did what any young person would do to settle a debate: she took to the internet.
the shoe picture is actually hurting my brain now because it was teal & grey and i blinked and it was pink & white and then i blinked again
— misha (@YEETMlSHA) October 11, 2017
y’all this is the actual shoe, the grey and teal shoes don’t excist. it’s the lighting. end of story! pic.twitter.com/U38zf2s9ER
— lianne / pinned !! (@amenjmo) October 11, 2017
It doesn’t matter if you see grey & teal or pink & white. We all see two of the most hideous colourways for a shoe. pic.twitter.com/Zzr2JPasuV
— Johnny Novak (@JohnnyNovak) October 12, 2017
Allow us to settle your bets: the shoe is in fact pink and white. Vans officially calls the hue “blush” and you can get it here on DSW.
What is happening??!!!!
Luckily, science. It’s all about how the human brain works to identify colours in varying degrees of sunlight; because we’ve evolved to see in the daytime, our brain automatically varies its perception of colours based on how much sunlight there is, a phenomenon known as colour constancy. Essentially, our eyes and brain work together to keep colours consistent even when the light that’s hitting them isn’t.
Photos like the dress, the sandals and now these shoes exist on some sort of perceptual threshold and play all sorts of tricks on this system. In this case, it’s the bad lighting and flash of the photo that’s sending mixed singles—if you look at the person’s hand you can see a bit of unnatural blue.
Knowing the science may not change the colours you see, but maybe it’ll help with the argument next time one of these photos comes along.