I'm chuckling a little bit at the comments from husbands. My husband fully endorsed the "shoe wall" in our closet because he actually likes most of the shoes I buy and wear. He knows they are a big part of what makes me happy when I get dressed.

But he has more shoes himself than many of you do.

cindysmith - you are awesome, and thank you for sharing that. I have slightly different issues, but very similar manifestations. I am nothing but honest with anyone I know and am close to about my history, and perhaps this has hit a nerve with me...this post....and explains why I am so adamant about getting rid of stuff and going the minimalist route. It's part of a wholesale change.

Re: the husband opinions ? Mine hates it, thinks it's completely wasteful and selfish, and I can't argue with him. It is a touchy, touchy subject in our house.

I hear you Lisa, but am trying very hard not to swing too far to minimal, as this requires more waste via purging and possibly panic buying when I feel enough is just not enough.

I have 15 pairs.
That includes running shoes.

But quite a number of these are kind of on their last legs. One pair of sandals is probably one wear away from breaking. I still have flat sandals from 5 years ago because I can wear them to the beach and not ruin my current ones. My old running shoes may come in useful if I am doing something really dirty. Others are at the point where I have decided they aren't worth mending any more but I can't bring myself to throw out shoes until they are absolutely worn out in case I might need them.. *

As someone said above there are also the mistakes - ones I wouldn't buy again, but might as well keep since I have them. I like the look of them - but they have high heels which mean they are less versatile and need to be kept to sitting.

From the point of view of fashion, I'd like more a few more shoes.However I have budgetary restraints because I have expensive shoe requirements as I wear orthotics. Last year I bought 3 pairs (2 running shoes and one mary jane) and that took up nearly half my annual clothing budget. I also can't wear many styles because of my shallow heels.

* and that is because I actually don't have any other better shoes in categories like "flat knee boots" or "leather flat shoes".

I believe that I could very easily become a shoe collector, especially these days with shoes that are like works of art! That said, my fussy feet (which have become even more fussy in the past year) do impose some limits on where I spend my shoe dollars.

There are certain shapes or styles that work better for my foot comfort, and I Tend to replicate those shapes in different colours and fabrications sufficient to work with my wardrobe. I probably own 18-20 pair street wear footwear from knee high boots to pointy toe flats, sandals to non-gear sneakers. I probably own half again as many pairs of gear related footwear! I'm sure I have 4 pairs of running shoes on the go and 3 pair of cycling shoes (you don't even walk around in them!) -one just for indoor cycle fit, one for regular cycling, and one for triathlon races that are 'quick release' so you can get out of them fast. Then there are special shoes for weight training in the gym, snow board boots, cross country ski boots...I could go on!

Wow this thread has become much more intense than I would have thought. Cindysmith thank you for posting. I have to say that channeling my addictive tendencies toward shoes and fashion works for me. The great majority of my shoes are second hand and cost me $1-$10, which is how I am able to have so many. I am more of an all or nothing type than a moderate as it turns out.

I have 13 pairs of non-gear footwear, including duplicate "daily drivers" and two pairs I've never worn.

3 low-shaft boots: 2 low-heel (1 zip, 1 lace), 1 high-heel zip
3 knee-high boots: 1 low-heel, 1 high, 1 high-heel rain
4 sandals: 2 normcore duplicates; 1 low heel, 1 high heel
1 sneaker (Converse hi)
1 pumps: metallic pointy (not yet worn; love)
1 low-heel casual slip-on (not yet worn; uncertain)

I'd rather have fewer, but don't feel like putting in the shopping time to streamline.

Mr Max is no help on the (re)minimizing front. "But I like ALL your shoes!"

Where I'm NOT minimal around footwear is in preventive care and maintenance. Sole guards, inserts, conditioning, refurbishing, my shoecare professional loves me! I haven't yet worn the pumps because I don't have suitable shoe trees for them.

In an earlier life-phase, I had a, ahem, a *lot* of shoes. All good quality, all comfortable, all brought joy. It didn't feel excessive at the time, and doesn't look it to me in retrospect. Shoes I loved and well-fitting, high-end undergarments were my main ways of feeling feminine in a conservative, very male field. Too, they were means of finding balance after having been raised ascetically by well-meaning do-gooder bleeding-heart-liberal parents who felt they'd been damaged by over-pampering. They wanted our experience to match those of locals where they'd moved to do development work, so having one pair of shoes was the usual, and replacement, for growth or for weather, didn't happen in any hurry. Maybe, at the community level, that really was the best way for young idealists to further their cause; it didn't feel great for me as an individual at the time.

In any case, I like the feeling of knowing exactly, "THIS is how much I'm spending on shoes." Women who truly have to cover up or minimise what they spend on themselves certainly aren't in an amusing situation. So for those of us who have the option of clarity, it seems at best insensitive to use jokey terms about justifying purchases. This is real life, not a Lucy and Ethel sketch.

Personally, I think that it depends on your lifestyle for the "need". But even if you don't "need" them but enjoy the variety and wear them, then determining a limit that is comfortable for you.

I am a SAHM and don't volunteer at my children's school as much because they are older. I just don't don't have reason to go out as much for appointments either. My town is a small one. So my shoe core shoe needs and wants have drastically changed over the past two years. I LOVE shoes and I love looking at them but that is about it right now. I have also settled more and more into what is comfortable and works. I have a couple of pairs of high winter boots and winter booties...including a red pair that I just bought this year. I have 3 pairs of sneakers for various things and a pair of hiking boots. 1 pair of heavy ( more for fall/winter ) loafers which work for chilly Spring. I have some flats black and gunmetal and mustard. A pair of oregano perforated boots.

I have way too many for summer, considering it is the shortest season. So I need to cut back. I think that a couple of pairs of sandals and one of two summer flats are more than enough.

When I worked outside of the home or was at home but had lots of appointments , I had much more.

I am the type of person that if I just "have" stuff and don't wear it, it causes me some anxiety.

If it's one thing I can confirm since I have been occupied by a number of house projects in the last month or so (and more to be continued), I am a collector. I am the child of a collector. So it's going to be a hard thing to break, should I ever choose to do so. But I'm cleaning out various spaces in my house during new window installation and painting, I have rediscovered my old collections -- everything from coins to old buttons/pins (the kind we collected in the 80s, with rock band logos or political slogans), to artwork to matchbooks to shoes.

The difference with shoes is that they are actually a collection I can wear and use. The others are sentimental or silly, but my shoe collection is in sight every day, and I enjoy it every day.

That said, my collecting habits are changing. I am more able to appreciate pretty things without feeling I need to own them. My wardrobe size has stabilized and will probably go down a bit, as I slow my purchasing this year and continue to edit what no longer works for me. This has been an interesting discussion!