The Internet Can't Figure Out if This Shoe Is Pink and White or Gray and Teal

It's the dress all over again.

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15 October 2017, 10:35am

Photo courtesy of Nicole Coulthard/GIRLSMOUTH

This article was originally published on VICE US

It's Friday, Donald Trump is president, and the internet is freaking out over the color of a shoe.

Remember that dress thing from 2015 that and had people everywhere fighting online and questioning the nature of their reality? Well, 2017's version of the "what color is this?" test has apparently been resurrected with the picture of a Vans Old Skool sneaker.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the photo was first posted to a Facebook group GIRLSMOUTH on Wednesday by user Nicole Coulthard. The controversy then leaked over to Twitter, where people started to share the post with friends to make sure they all saw the same color. But, like most things on the internet, the whole thing quickly devolved into a debate.

Some see the shoe as gray with teal trim, while others see the shoe as pink with white trim. Two days and way too many tweets offering opinions and analysis later, people still disagree about the colors. I see pink and white, and it drives me bonkers that 88 percent of people who took this BuzzFeed quiz see teal and gray. The idea appeals to a primal anxiety that there could be something wrong with the instruments I have to see the world.

After 2015's dress debate—where some saw a crappy photo of a dress as white and gold, and others saw it as black and blue—scientists and experts decided to weigh in to help the public out. According to University of Washington color vision researcher Dr. Jay Neitz, PhD, the whole thing was chalked up to a concept called "color constancy." The pink and white shoe, like the dress, was photographed under awful lighting, and colored lighting can affect the hue of the object you're looking at.

If anything, the shoe and the dress just confirm the anxious idea that everyone's reality might just be a little bit different. Maybe, instead of screaming on the internet, we should all just start wearing these actual color-changing shoes instead and give our strained retinas a rest.