In Money, Style

How many pairs of shoes do you own, need, or use?

I was thinking about my shoe wardrobe the other day and realized…

I CONSIDER ALMOST EVERY PAIR OF SHOE / BOOT I OWN TO BE ESSENTIAL

I really do. I wear them all, they all serve a purpose and each season lets me wear certain shoes more often than others.

What I don’t really need is the same of each shoe in different colours, even though I like variety, I find shoes to take up a lot of space and to be very underused if I have too much variety.

MY ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL SHOE / BOOT LIST

Taking into account I live in Canada and we truly get 4 seasons in a year, this is what I consider to be essential:

1. WATERPROOF, INSULATED WINTER BOOTS

$30 Boy’s hunting boots from Canadian Tire by Kamik (made in Canada) fit this bill.

Canadian-Tire-Kamik-Winter-Boots

Rated for -40C  (-40F), they keep my feet dry, warm, and stable in icy, slippery conditions. I made my mother buy a pair and she loves them. She can’t believe she went for so long without having a proper pair of waterproof, winter boots.

2. SUMMER / SPRING / FALL RAIN BOOTS

In the summer I could technically wear those hunting boots and just remove the insulated lining but then they become too large and bulky to walk around in, so I have a pair of Aigle Miss Juliette Satin Rainboots.

3 &4. TWO PAIRS OF MID-HEEL PUMPS FOR WORK 

In black and brown; both are thrifted Manolo Blahniks.


manolo-blahnik-dark-brown-pumps-mid-heel-work

Manolo-Blahnik-Newcio-Black-Pump

5. 1 PAIR OF MID-HEEL BOOTS FOR WORK

This is to wear under pants for when the weather becomes chillier but not cold enough to have to wear winter boots and change into pumps at work.

Manolo-Blahnik-Ankle-Boots

6. KNEE HIGH BOOTS

An essential for me! I bought the Frye Melissa Back Button boots.

Frye Boots_Melissa Button Back Zip_Dark Brown

7. FLIP FLOPS

The only pair you need to bring to a beach, otherwise sand gets everywhere.

Reef-Leather-Uptown-Metallic-Gold-Flip-Flop-Sandals-Champagne-Front

8. LONG-DISTANCE / TRAVELING SANDALS

Birkenstocks win, hands down.

birkenstock-arizona-sandals-taupe

9. BALLET FLATS

At least one pair in a neutral colour, which in my case is metallic silver.

Joe_Fresh_Scalloped-Silver-Flats-Ballet-Wardrobe

10. SNEAKERS

Casual, Converse slimline sneakers.

converse-slimline-white-sneakers-slim-ox-trainers-2

11. DRESSY SANDALS

You need at least one pair! Or at least, I do. These are Miss Sixty Flowered sandals.

Sandals_miss-sixty

MY SEMI NON-ESSENTIAL SHOES THAT I OWN

12. UGGS — MADE IN AUSTRALIA

Bought in Sydney, they are UGG AUSTRALIAN MADE, and not sold anywhere outside of Australia as far as I know.

UGG-Australian-Made-Not-Australia-Boots-Tall-Sand

All the UGGs you buy in North America (UGG Australia and Emu) are made in China by American companies. They’re not Australian-made.

13 & 14. TWO EXTRA PAIRS OF BALLET FLATS

Can never really have enough, if I am to be honest. I have two pairs aside from my silver shoes, one in a citron yellow and another in a blue and yellow weave.

Chocolate-Schubar-Yellow-Rosettes

Singapore-Shoes-Blue-Yellow-Woven-Ballerina-Flats

SHOES I STILL THINK ARE MISSING FROM MY WARDROBE

15. TRUE DARK NEUTRAL PAIR OF BALLET FLATS

Still hunting for the perfect pair in a black, dark brown or navy blue.

Lanvin might fit the bill if they weren’t so damn expensive at $500 a pop.

O_o

lanvin-ballet-flats

16. SHORT, FLAT MID-CALF CASUAL LEATHER BOOTS

Eying these Frye boots probably in an Engineer 12 so they’re slouchy and a bit more casual.

http://www.thefryecompany.com/womens-boots/bestsellers/77400/engineer-12r?color=SMK

17. SUMMER SANDAL THAT ISN’T SO DRESSY (LOW WEDGE)

I want it to have ankle straps and to be in a neutral like dark brown or taupe. Something like this:

Vic-Matie-T-Strap-Sandals

THE AVERAGE WOMAN OWNS 20 PAIRS OF SHOES BUT ONLY WEARS 7

Personally, 20 sounds normal to me as a woman. I’ve ended up with about 17 shoes as necessary / essential without being repeats.

In fact, I could probably get it down to 16 total if I removed one pair of ballet flats (the citron yellow ones).

You will notice that I don’t collect high heels or anything that is beautiful but impractical to wear or walk in (not to mention PRICEY!)

HOW MANY PAIRS DO YOU OWN AND DO YOU WEAR THEM ALL?

WHICH ONES DO YOU CONSIDER ESSENTIAL?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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20 Comments

  1. raluca

    huh, I just finished my shoe clean-up for the year. I have about 15 pairs all together, but that includes the mountain climbing boots, the dog walking boots and sneakers, the gym sneakers and the gym flip-flops and the gardening boots. At least my shoes and my life are alligned.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      My shoes get aligned every season when I start cleaning and tossing.

      Reply
  2. Linda

    I think it really depends. The more versatile your life is, the more types of shoes you need. Work, play, nightlife, sports: all need different shoes. Now that I’m semi-retired and have a foot injury that means no heels, I can winnow down my collection. All are vegan. What I wear most by far: flip flops, New Balance running shoes, and Ahimsa black Chelsea booties.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      You know that’s a good point. I’m starting to wear more heels just because I can and I want to before I stop work.

      Reply
  3. Jess

    I keep trying to cull my shoe collection too and facing the same issue of so many different ‘essentials’. My essentials would be:
    Thongs for gym showers, beach, etc
    Birkenstocks for everyday wear
    Birkenstocks for indoor wear (because I need constant feet support)
    Sandals for everyday wear
    Sandals for formal wear
    Supportive flats that take orthotics for work
    Short boots
    Tall boots
    Comfortable heels
    Casual sneakers
    Sports sneakers
    Indoor ugg boots
    Outdoor ugg boots (yep, I wear them out in winter)
    Gumboots
    Motorcycle boots

    The indoor/outdoor adds to the number of shoes because we don’t wear shoes indoors.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I wear Birks indoors too!!! 🙂 They’re great and very comfortable.

      I like your list. I go through phases of culling and then refusing to do so…

      Reply
  4. SarahN

    Nah i need a few pair of heels – with thick heels. I have a pair that are closed in (I call them the cloud shoes cause they are so soft) and a pair of heeled thick strapped sandals. And I have lower heels from Camper for daily wear to work.

    I also (just recently) bought the low line converse slip ons, but I need to make them not hurt my feet. I also have a black and then a white pair of slip on canvas runners (no laces) from KMart. The white pair have badly discoloured from the glue and can probably go now I have the converse.

    In place of our boots for winter, i wear my ‘work’ boots when in the US and it’s cold. It’s not stylish but I don’t care! I have other boots – flat and with a little heel for work.

    I have two pairs of identical black ballet flats that were work shoes pre-driving to work a year ago.

    Of course, leather flip flops (two pairs, one to get wet, one for more ‘dressy), slippers (not any of those Ugg brands, just from Target but real sheepskin)..

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      You’re so practical it hurts. I’m becoming LESS practical as I age. I am getting more into heels now, perhaps to counteract this Mommy image

      Reply
      1. SarahN

        Ha! Me – practical – remember that first line re: heels! And totally more into them as I age, to help keep me feeling cute/sexy/pulled together.

        I didn’t mention I own a pair of ‘cage’ heels that I can’t walk in. Art comes in many forms right? (They are my size, as are a pair of pointe shoes…)

        Reply
  5. Michelle...

    I’ve just had my ankle fused after years of pain. No more heels for me so it’s time for a clear out and some spending to fill the holes

    Cos I work in a lab, I need closed toe, closed heel so I’m thinking three pairs of solid ballet flats for over the summer then a couple of pairs of knee high boots and a couple of pairs of ankle boots for autumn/winter/spring.
    Then I’m thinking a really nice pair of pointy-toe flats for when I need to dress up (not often!), a pair of sandals in a neutral colour, a pair of Birkenstocks and something like Converses for casual pootling around.

    Too many? Not enough? We don’t have 4 genuine seasons (i.e. I definitely don’t need snow or rain boots!) here.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      From heels? Your ankle FUSED? *eyes widen*

      I don’t wear heels for long periods of time nor every day… but I do like to wear them for short stints. Makes me feel totally different.

      Reply
  6. Anne

    I too live in a country with 4 seasons. Last couple of years we have had quite mild winters, so my shearling lined leather boots have barely been used. I am hoping it is not the climate change but a temporary warmer period, and keep my winter boots. I have used my unlined leather boots and rubber Dr Martens a lot more than before. Together with woollen insoles (and a pair of black leather sneakers and ballet flats), they get me through 3 seasons.
    When it is warm and not raining, I mostly wear patent leather ballet flats: silver (for office and other parties), pink and aqua. I also have a pair of canvas sneakers and leather sandals for summer.
    I don’t like wearing heels, but I have a pair of really cool and quite comfortable high heeled booties for special occasions. I also keep a pair of nude and black heels at the office just in case I need to look businesslike.
    Those are the shoes that I actually wear. I also have 2 pairs of pretty heels that I basically never use since I found the silver ballet flats. I have kept them just in case, but no one ever frowned at me for not wearing heels at the office parties or weddings, so I probably should get rid of them. It is a lot more fun to party when your feet are not hurting 🙂

    Reply
    1. Anne

      Oh, forgot the rubber ballet flats. They are perfect for traveling as I can wear them both at the beach and for dressier occasions.

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        That’s a good idea. I just wear flip flops.. I find flats tend to collect sand and water.. then they get all grimy and squishy

        Reply
    2. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I’m realizing that bright colours for shoes are not a great idea unless they’re flats or very high heels. At least, not for me. Otherwise I won’t wear them to work (too dressy)

      Reply
  7. NZ Muse

    Timely. I have just done a much needed cull of no longer wearable shoes and find myself at a bit of a shortage. I really only have 2 regular go to pairs for work and another 1, maybe 2 to join the rotatino sometimes. Definitely need at least 1 more go to. Will need new boots for the winter. I also need something work appropriate with a heel as I now only have 1 pair of heels and they are formal/super dressy!

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I only really wear 2 pairs of heels to work (black and brown).. and am SUPER PICKY about them because I have to be in them for 8+ hours a day, so…

      Reply
  8. Revanche

    I have some special occasion / weather gear shoes stashed but I only regularly wear: red flats, brown flip flops, blue sneakers, black Mary Janes. But you know me, I tend not to see or be seen ;D

    Reply

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