Dear Budget Fashionista:
How many pairs of shoes are considered too many? I have about 50 pairs in my closet right now and I would say that’s quite a bit. I would like to hear everyone’s thoughts on how many pairs of shoes they have in their closet as well as how many pairs are considered too many or “a lot”?
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How many shoes do you need? This question pops up now and again, along with related queries like How many pairs of shoes is too many? and How many shoes should I own?
As a quick answer, I can drop a few stats:
- A 2010 study from Gocompare.com found that the average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes.
- A 2011 study from ShopSmart found that the average woman owns 17 pairs of shoes.
- My shoe count today (in 2021) is 27 pairs.
- Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos was rumored to have 3,000 pairs of shoes, but the actual number was probably closer to 1,000.
So, thousands of shoes like Imelda? Definitely too many. Rumor has it many of Marcos’ shoes were destroyed by mold and termites for sitting in their boxes too long. Even my 27 pairs is too many. I say that because some of them I don’t wear.
Quality not quantity
Remember the key to a good shoe wardrobe (and a good wardrobe) is quality, not quantity. As women, we wear the number of shoes in our closet as a badge of honor — even if we don’t wear most of the shoes making up that count.
If you only wear 10, maybe 15, of your 50 pairs of shoes, then you have too many. The others are long forgotten, possibly disintegrating slowly or at least getting moldy. You’re better off selling the forgotten footwear and letting someone else enjoy it. You’ll raise some cash and clear some space in your closet in the process.
You probably need only 5 pairs of shoes
The number of shoes you need is relative to your lifestyle. I’m certain some women can live happy, stylish lives with only a few pairs of chic sneakers. But assuming you sometimes go out, work out, dress up, or dress down, you probably only need five pairs of shoes:
- Trainers/running shoe/walking shoe
- Black pumps
- Black or Brown boots (mid-calf to knee high that you could wear in the snow or rain and still look fabulous)
- Flats (a shoe with a slight heel if flats are uncomfortable)
Admittedly, my shoe collection goes well above those five shoe styles. My weakness is sneakers. I currently own two pairs of Converse, plus mint-green Pumas, classic Stan Smiths, grey Keds, and a few other randoms. I know this is economically inefficient, but I like to have options. I bet you do too.
In that vein, here are seven more styles you might like to add to your collection. Consider these wardrobe-stretchers. They’ll give you a good range of choice — so you should always have a shoe that matches your mood and occasion.
- Sexy shoes (e.g., stilettos, peep toe, red patent leather, whatever)
- Snow boots (because let’s face it, sometimes keeping the toes dry takes priority over being cute)
- Affordable trendy shoes (bright neon, extra pointed, jelly, you get the picture)
- Another pair of boots (especially if you live somewhere with four seasons)
- Brown heels
- Trendy sneakers (so you can look cute while you shop)
- Pair (or two) of flip-flops (they’re just so practical)
Again, your needs may be different. If you anchor the morning news and your feet are visible on TV, for example, you need at least five pairs of pumps and another handful of boots.
The 12-pair shoe collection
That’s a total of 12 pairs of shoes for a woman who lives a balanced life. Take a look at the gallery below for an idea of what that collection might look like.
That’s my answer to how many shoes a woman needs. How many shoes do you have in your closet?