I have what I consider more than enough right now...after a wild burst of bootie buying this fall! I do have a number of pair I need to retire, however.

At the moment I have 24 non gear options for my 4 season climate. I think I can probably reduce that a bit with careful editing and upgrading. A change of hair colour means that some of my footwear desires have changed (for bookending purposes).

6 sandals (varying dressiness levels)
8 booties
1 short boot
2 tall boots
2 fashion sneakers
1 oxford
4 pumps

I live a casual lifestyle for the most part but I do have numerous roles and need to dress differently for those. I give presentations and need some dressier options for regular outings. So...some of these get worn all the time, some hardly at all, and I do think I can trim a bit in the bootie department especially -- but the fact is, I really enjoy my shoes and they elevate an outfit like nothing else!

I think "enough" is determined by so many highly individual factors. For years I had one pair of shoes and one pair of boots. It was not enough. I had trouble making outfits that made me happy and my feet were often sore -- I walk an enormous amount and have learned that variety keeps my feet happy.

I had very few pairs of shoes most of my life and since joining YLF, I have added quite of few. I wear at least two pair every day, one for indoors and another for outside. I think that my cost per wear for my shoes is very low and they really make a difference. I have two dressy pair, one for summer and one for winter. I have four pair of sneakers for fall and winter. I have four pairs of boots/booties for winter and four pairs of sandals. I also have one pair of loafers and two pair of oxfords. My shoes last more than one year and some are 3-4 years old. I'm not counting house, hiking, or sports shoes. I think I have "enough" but more would be nice. By the way, I got that you were joking about GM and am surprised at the reaction you got.

I'm back.

Jen, I know your heart is in the right place. Rock on. Thanks for navigating the thread with emotional intelligence.

Lisap, no need to apologize. It's all good.

Back to shoes and quantities - and there are no negative judgments either way. It's all about what works for you:

  • Smittie and Viva are like some of my clients. They prefer to wear a small selection of footwear per season ALL THE TIME. Too many pairs, and they just don't get round to wearing them, and find that it complicates matters. A small assortment keeps things simple - but wears out your shoes a lot faster, and that's what Viv is experiencing. So I suggested that she embellish her assortment.
  • Fabbers like Tanya, Staysfit and Janet have much larger footwear assortments. But they absolutely manage them, can store them, enjoy then, and WEAR them. Shoes are their thing. And I have clients who are just the same. I don't put the brakes on the shoe purchasing of these clients because I know it's not a waste. I DO put the brakes on the "Smittie" type client because I know they are overwhelmed wearing more than two to three pairs of booties in a season.
  • I'm somewhere in the middle of these two extremes with my moderately sized wardrobe. As a fashion professional - it's odd that I am NOT a shoes horse, but it's simply not my thing. I have 28 pairs of shoes at the moment which includes my new stash and workout sneakers. Bags on the other hand - ARE my thing. I have a large collection - keep it to about 28 bags. But I can store them, manage them, enjoy them, and WEAR them. Bags are not wasted on me - too many pairs of shoes are.

Echoing Suz that variety keeps feet happy. For example, I like having a few options for shoes that I wear for long walks - like dark boots for winter and both light and dark ballet flats for summer - because my feet appreciate the change. Also, that means I have a pair to wear when the other is at the shoe-repair shop for re-soling!

All told, I have about 30 pairs - including ballet flats, wedges, sandals, boots, party heels, and office pumps - that generally cover all seasons and occasions. There was a time when I had many more of lower quality and less variety, and in recent years, I've tried to be more thoughtful in having enough variety, comfort, and quality in each shoe category.

I once read that you should never own more things than you are willing to look after. That phrase stuck with me, and I think it's a good guideline for me to follow in everything, including shoes.

If shoes are tumbled together in the floor of my closet, or if I'm tripping over them as I go about my daily routine, that's too many. If I keep all my shoes and boots orderly, polished, in good shape, and in rotation, that's about right. If I can't wear certain clothes because I don't have the right footwear to complete the outfit, or if my shoes wear out too fast because of the demands I place on them (wearing delicate shoes in the rain or on rough terrain, as an example) then I probably need to fill in some holes.

I'm with the group that say the number that is enough is really up to the individual. Pre-YLF I had a tiny collection but my feet and I are much happier with more choices. I have a very casual life style but dislike athletic shoes and most sneakers. I wear loafers and even ballet flats for dog walking and walking on gravel trails. I never wear the same footwear 2 days in a row in case something might be rubbing or in some way irritating my feet. Often I wear 2 or 3 different pair a day, not counting slippers. I do not wear sandals or heels over 2 inches ever. Like others I went a bit crazy with booties this past year and have enough. I am happy with all but my leopard pair, but they are comfortable and just right for some outfits.
To figure out the minimum number of shoes needed, One could start with about how many weeks are hot weather, really cold weather, wet, and transitional; consider my outfits and needs for those times and how often a type of shoe might expect to be worn, then figure how many pair are absolutely needed.

This is the shoe lover and collector perspective. Up until about a decade ago I was a four shoe type. Sandal, loafer/oxford, house shoe and perhaps a pair of sneakers. When one wore out from daily use I replaced it by going to a particular remainder store of fancy shoes in Tel Aviv. When in my 40s I took up fashion and thrifting as serious hobbies, my inner shoe monster was unleashed. I now have 80-100 shoes in my active closet. Do I wear them all each year? No. But I have found that I can usually dig up the shoe I want to wear at any given time, wear it for a phase, put it back and it will still be there when I am in the mood next month or next year. I do occasionally purge shoes, either because they are uncomfortable after wearing or because I simply no longer like them. But as long as I like them and can wear them, they stay.

Gaylene , you are so wise .

I have more shoes than I "need", and keep a few that get minimal wear. However, it seems silly to get rid of shoes that occasionally serve a purpose if they are organized, I have space for them, they are comfortable and in good shape, and I still like them. I also have a holding zone for a few that are higher heeled than I will probably want to wear in future. Sniff, my red patent and suede peep toe sling back pair is slated for a goodbye.

That said, I have two or three styles in mind I would like to add into my collection if I find just the right thing. A pair of non black flat sandals, black lower heeled peep toe booties or strappy but clompy dress shoe, and a total comfort walking loafer or something of that sort. I actually have very few sandals for my climate because sandals get yucky at a faster rate and must be replaced more quickly.

Am I imagining it, or are the only people reporting their shoe numbers the ones with low numbers (except Staysfit and Shevia)?

Hm, I think I have a medium number of shoes? 27, not including gear. High, if you consider that I don't need to vary the colors to match my all-black outfits, so I could make do with far fewer. I do wear almost all of them, though I've also bought a number of total failures that I passed on quickly.

The real test, for me, is whether there are outfits I'd like to wear but don't have the footwear for. And in fact, I can see some holes in my collection, but they're also not things that come up often. Most notably, I don't have any truly dressy heels, nor flats that I wear often -- but maybe that means they're just not my style.

I own about thirty pairs, and I wear pretty much all of them, aside from a couple of pairs that are used only on rare occasions (but are needed for those rare occasions, because nothing else will do). I feel like my shoe collection is as large as I want it, and I'm considering purging a few pairs.

I think that part of deciding whether you have enough shoes has to do with whether you can put together the type of outfits you like. You might want to wear a pair of cropped jeans in the fall, but you lack a pair of high-shaft booties. Or maybe you want to wear some ankle pants but lack some high heels to lengthen your legs. Or maybe you have a light-colored dress but all your shoes are dark. I just kept shopping until I had enough shoes to fill my wardrobe holes, and along the way I added some extra shoes for variety and fun.

Interesting post! Considering that I live in a 4-seasons climate, here we go:

1 bootie

1 slip-on

1 pump

1 ballet flat

1 Summer moccasin

3 sandals

2 snow boots.

This has been my 2016 assortment. All of these shoes (except the snow boots - no snow this year, alas!) have been worn intensively. I prefer a moderate number of shoes because, as Angie says, a small number keeps things simple.

Just back to my post after a busy day! I guess I have about 25 pairs of shoes and sandals. Perhaps listing my thoughts will help me sort through my issues which raised my questions in the first place:

I take a relatively rare size
If I see shoes in my size I swoop
I often end up w duplicates in multiple colours so 1 tends to get worn more than others

I have fussy feet
Some of the swooped shoes end up uncomfortable so get purged
I end up spending too much on shoes to try and get my size, quality and comfort

I therefore end up with few pairs for full time in the office
Like Viv I wear through these sweeties too fast AND I notice the wear because of the duplication factor above

I end up with lots of black relatively low heel shoes and sandals because of above
I have 'branched out' and ended up with same in 'beige' shoes
This means I end up with a fairly boring look and perhaps miss opportunities to amp my style factor with interesting shoes

I end up with wardrobe holes because of above

I find some non work comfortable darlings and wear them to the ground
It takes another few years to find another pair of shoes to wear everyday out of work

I overcompensate for all of above by sometimes buying a wildcard... which ends up with no outfits to wear with them - looking at you magenta monk shoes....

So yes, I need help in this department! And a formula would help!

I may be too tired after a very long day ( recently back from holiday and needing to catch up) to reply properly, but my shoe collection had gradually built since 2009 to 50 pairs. I am trying to purge ones that are getting tired because I can't wear them all and some of my favourites get over-worn. There are sentimental ones that are difficult to purge as I have written in a previous thread like my high red rope sole ones. Minimalist kindly suggested for those that I could sit on the sofa and watch a TV show in them while calling for my hubby to make me drinks! I liked this image! May delineate types of shoes more tomorrow. Sally is correct, most NZers do not have that many, my collection is large in NZ terms and I'm afraid I am well known for it but not called out on it too often, as generally very sensible otherwise I may have managed to get down to about 45 recently.

I have 30 pairs of shoes, half of that is Fall/Winter and another half is Spring/Summer. This amount is ok for me, it gives me enough variety, while still manageable. I also don't have capacity to store more shoes, since I am living in apartment. So for shoes I need to maintain strict one in - one out policy. I have few pairs that I would like to replace this year.

I do not have enough pairs of shoes. I find it very hard to buy shoes that work for my feet. I have shoes that are comfort brands like Finn Comfort and Birks for warm weather but these are on the casual side. For cooler weather I have my Chelsea boots from El Naturalista and my Combat boots from Trippin. I can wear my Frye boots and Clarke booties on certain days but not that often because of my feet. (My footwear is the first 5 Finds)
I do have a pair of wedges from Reiker but they only go with a few outfits because of their style and colour.

All of my issues with my feet have left me with wardrobe holes. If I have a special event to go to (one coming up in about 10 days) I panic over what footwear I am going to wear.

In my dreams I would buy one of the pairs of shoes in Finds. (Freebirds, Fonda, Bonnie, Cayanne)

Gaylene nailed it for me in her second paragraph. I have adequate space for my shoe collection, and I am never at a loss for a pair of shoes to complete any outfit I dream up from my closet.

I have some I haven't worn in years, but I hesitate to purge them because they are "occasion" shoes for me. Those are pumps and dressy shoes for the most part.

I am ready to do some more editing though. I am thinking of finally passing on my metallic Rag & Bone Newburys -- they've grown uncomfortable and I didn't wear them at all this winter. I found other booties sufficed quite well in place of them. And my Okalas haven't been worn in over a year. I keep thinking I will need them someday but that day hasn't happened yet.

This is definitely math. Statistics and economics!

I thought my collection of ±30 was quite a lot, but apparently not. They all get worn one way or another, apart from a couple of orphaned pairs. I feel I have enough variety and no noticeable gaps at the moment.

I agree with Gaylene that you want no more than you can reasonably take care of. I rotate between wears for same reasons as Donna and they do seem to hold up better that way.

However, I will say that I am a shameless shoe snob. I made it a policy a few years ago to buy only two pairs a year and to make sure they were really good ones. I found it very limiting in the beginning but in the end it paid off and I'm very happy with my shoe farm right now. I've since relaxed that rule but I still keep to the spirit of it. It helped me raise standards in the rest of my wardrobe too.

So while I don't have a straight answer to your question, I'd say any pair of shoes which don't meet your personal shoe standards is a pair too many.

delurked, I think you're right - most people are reporting the lower numbers. So I'll throw my hat in. Of my non-gear shoes, I have roughly 60 pair. I lived in a four season climate and have a widely varied lifestyle. I have more than adequate space for these, and I wear most of them, either regularly or occasionally.

I am actively buying more, since I am occasionally at a loss for just the right shoe to wear. (The "wardrobe essentials" exercise was extremely helpful in identifying that I really do have significant holes in the selection.) I want to be where Janet is!

When I get to a better place with my essentials I will want to do a more serious cleanout. Like figuring out which of my heels I can still wear, it's one of my goals for the year. My feet are getting a lot fussier and I really have worn out some other pairs. The number has a whole may decrease slightly. But 45-60 pair I'm totally comfortable with. They're all visible and organized.

It's really nice reading the range of responses here.

I have about twelve pairs of around-town shoes -- not including gear but including crossover types like snow boots and Chacos, which I wear casually because it's practical for my lifestyle. I guess that puts me on the minimal end -- which is remarkable to me. My husband has about half as many shoes as I do, including his gear, and gives me a bit of grief about my "collection". He's Canadian and I'm a New Englander with a Quaker background, so maybe that informs our attitudes towards consumption. His wardrobe is a lot less varied than mine -- his pants are one length, his shorts are another; working in a technical field he rarely, if ever, has to dress up. On top of all that he has easy-to-fit feet. Aside from one pair of hiking boots, I've never seen him get rid of a pair of shoes out of discomfort.

I've become pretty picky about what I put on my feet, after dealing with sports-related iliotibial band syndrome in my twenties, which only resolved after I switched to primarily zero-drop and barefoot/minimalist shoes as often as possible. I try a lot of shoes, and keep very few of them. This winter, I've been living in a pair of wide-width Blundstones and alternating with a pair of Ahnu insulated hikers. I can't wait to wear lighter-weight, thinner-soled shoes and sandals, but it looks like it's going to be a while before the weather allows for that. I've already tried and rejected about 6 pairs of casual S/S shoes and sandals. If I don't shop ahead, I won't end up adding anything new for the season. Honestly, I have shoe style holes I've identified and would like to fill, but it takes me such a long time. Even straightforward things like casual sneakers can take a lot of misses before I find a hit, and sometimes I just get tired of shopping (first world problem!). I think I need about 3 or 4 more pairs of shoes to really hit my sweet spot, style-wise. But I think somewhere around 18 or 20 pairs would start to feel like too many.

To be clear, I don't see anything inherently bad about having a lot of shoes, or a lot of anything for that matter. I just don't think I'd feel good about it for myself. I don't have a collector personality type. Even things I'm pretty passionate about, like books or outdoor gear, I tend to buy when it's necessary and borrow when it's not. What I do have is a researcher personality type, and I'm happier to browse and test ad infinitum, collecting data without making any impulse purchases.

I can relate to a lot of what La Ped wrote. It takes me a long time to find a pair of shoes that work for me in terms of comfort and my style that I am exhausted by the hunt. I am a collector and a researcher. My husband carries on about the incredible number of shoes and clothes I have but he has no idea how little I have. Seriously. Although he does realize how bad my feet are.

The psychology of it could be a whole new thread. Much like LaP with her Quaker background, I was brought up by older parents ( Mum 40 and Dad 38 when I was born in 1961, definitely older in those days) and strict Presbyterian. So to gradually get to 50 pairs of shoes goes against what I was taught about excess and ostentation and may be part of my discomfort with how my wardrobe exploded. However it exploded after I was seriously bullied in the church and left, in 2008, and lost my sense of self for some time there. I have joked that I replaced God with shoes!
I have made peace with it because of any bad habits in this world, and given that I still care for people, try to help them, and donate to charity, I feel it's on the lower end -and wearing interesting shoes plus the research process gives me so much pleasure.

I certainly don't *need* all the shoes I have in a purely functional sense, but I wear the vast majority of them frequently and I'm pretty OK about the number I have. For me as others have said it's about being able to pull together outfits - I don't know if shoes are my 'thing' but I've always been picky about what shoes work with what outfits. So each shoe has a different set of color scheme, wearability/functionality, and style - I don't generally have more than one shoe for each niche.

If I count everything including the seasonal stuff like boots and sandals, and include gear and heels, my total is in the 40-50 range. I do have a few pairs of heels that if I were to start with them now I wouldn't choose to buy them, because I'm getting more and more fussy about foot comfort as I get older. But I do still pull them out for special occasions so it seems silly to get rid of them, since I have the space.

I also go through shoes fairly quickly, or at least it seems like it compared to how often all y'all here mention replacing shoes. Everyday flat shoes that can be worn most of the year I get 2-3 years out of them at best. Boots, maybe a bit longer since the weather's not harsh here. Sandals, I'm pleased if I get a third summer out of them. I do walk a lot and I'm overweight besides, so maybe that's why!

I don't use the term "girl math" because I know far too many women who are serious about math and science. I also am a recovering addict, which means that I have to be brutally honest: if I'm rationalizing and justifying some 'stuff' then it's not girl math, it's my disease making something ok that probably shouldn't be ok (like my shoe problem in early sobriety--well over 100 pairs, probably close to 150 pairs of shoes by the time I was 4 years sober). In early sobriety, I just swapped the booze in for shoes and clothes and it quickly became as unmanageable as the alcoholism. 3 closets and 1 dresser full of clothes and shoes was so much more than I could ever actually wear.

Now, to apply that to the discussion at hand:

I've had to really start asking myself questions like "will these shoes duplicate the function of a pair I already own?" And "am I just buying these shoes/this top because I feel sad/angry/uncomfortable in my own skin?"

I have to enforce a 1 in 1 out rule. I have to examine my closet and figure out what's working, what isn't, and what I genuinely NEED. I try and focus on the needs first and foremost, because otherwise I just wind up with a bunch of random stuff that makes it a struggle to make an outfit.

None of that means I can't just buy something frivolous because I really love it on occasion. I just have to save the frivolity for when I'm in an emotionally healthy place and have the spare cash to spend on it.

That's left me in a pretty good place headed into my seasonal work. I've got my winter boot situation squared away, and I am in good shape for summer shoes. I am also in decent shape for spring tops and pants and summer tops; I can focus on summer bottoms if I get an urge to shop.

I don't know if I'm making any sense so I'll stop babbling now

So funny this should come up today. I have a huge shoe collection but last night as I was getting ready for a casual night out I realized I have a shoe-wardrobe hole for casual non-bootie, non-sandals shoes.

This is such an interesting discussion.

I have a lot of shoes I no longer wear because my feet have gotten fussier. I've started donating some of them, but some of them are intensely sentimental for me and I haven't been able to let go. (My husband bought me a purple suede pair of Chie Mihara oxford heels years ago, and they're so very ME, and such a great gift....)

What I do wear is:

My work shoes (heavy slip-on leather shoes with grippy treads)
My hikers
1 pair of my sneakers
brown-taupe oxfords
glittery pink oxfords
glittery black smoking slippers
black oxfords
silver sandals (dressy)
black sandals (dressy)
brown sandals (casual)
Cole Haan ankle boots
My winter boots

I really ought to donate or pass on everything else, even the sentimental stuff. I used to wear really fantastic heels on the regular....

'This is such an interesting topic and discussion. Thanks for raising the question, jenanded. I've been considering a replacement pair of black booties, and in the process, I've been mulling what it is that I really want in place of the pair that I intend to purge. I want something to fill the same hole without actually being a duplication, because I want a style update as well as a functional replacement. I can envision a possible solution that would enable me to replace two pairs of booties with one. So my essential number of booties would then be reduced by one--which leads me to see that my answer to your question--what is my optimal number of shoes--really depends on the current mix at hand. It probably fluctuates quite a bit for me.

Also, I need to emblazon approprio's guideline somewhere prominent: "any pair of shoes which don't meet your personal shoe standards is a pair too many."

I kinda over bought in the shoe area because I was trying to figure out what works for me. I like comfort and style and some trendy options. I feel like nice shoes really give your outfit a kick because I tend to wear basics like jeans and a turtleneck. I need to get rid of some but having a hard time because they are new and were expensive. What I have learned is that I only like leather shoes that are comfortable. Anything not leather gives me blisters even if they are comfort brands. The ones I have settled on I wear quite often and I have a collection of formal shoes that I keep for formal occasions. My shoes vary by season. I struggle with summer because I want to buy more styles but really only wear Birks all summer. On my current list of wants are Grey fashion sneakers, Vans old school sneakers, Higher vamp booties to go with cropped jeans, Gingham check strappy flats and Black Gucci mules knockoffs. This is my current rotation going from most worn to least worn...

BP Black combat boots
Black Nikes
Brooks running shoes
Black Sketchers
Gold Combat Boots
Black Clarks Oxfords
AK Black heeled booties for date night
Merrell waterproof shoes (for the rain)
Merrell Waterproof hiking shoes
Easy Spirit slip on sneakers for gardening

Writing this out does give me insight as to what shoes to edit. Maybe I need to find a good consignment store??

La Ped: the husband thing! YES. Some of my guilt comes from DH, who loves to make fun of my "zillions of shoes" and call me Imelda. But this is from a man who, finally, after 25 years of marriage, broke down and bought two pairs of shoes for this school year so that he could rotate. Before that, he was literally a 5 pairs-of-shoes man: sneakers, hikers, snow boots, school shoes, dress shoes. And would wear each pair until it fell apart or walked away. (And the man is HARD on his shoes.)

I just got rid of five pairs of shoes and I am expecting to bring in five new pairs. I bought the new Oxfords, and I hope to buy two more pairs of work-appropriate shoes. That's 3. And I expect to buy two pairs of sandals this summer: one casual and one dressy. So I should net out at the same number, which all in (including outdoor boots and gear) is 24. But the distribution (professional vs casual) and the wearability of them all will be much, much better.

My shoe wardrobe overhaul has been a really good thing.