How Low Can the Shoes Go?

May 22, 2014

Can my shoe wardrobe go even lower than 12 pairs?

Can my shoe wardrobe go even lower than 12 pairs?

Do I own too many shoes?  An interesting question.  My current shoe wardrobe, discussed in this post, includes 20 shoes.  But one day, I would like to have a shoe wardrobe closer in size to the one Vivienne discusses here.  I have a long way to go to reduce my shoe wardrobe down to 6 shoes.  With a current shoe wardrobe of 20 shoes, I am over Vivienne’s goal of 6 shoes, by 14 shoes!  This would require me to donate 70% of my shoe wardrobe.  Yikes!

And as I found out with my fall/winter analysis, I own enough items to once again overhaul my wardrobe, this time my shoe wardrobe.  If I were to put shoes into the boutique (or holding zone), I would be able to overhaul my entire shoe wardrobe at least two times before I would be able to purchase any new shoes.  Clearly, I should not be shopping for any more new shoes for a long while.

In fact, I couldn’t even narrow down my current shoe wardrobe to 6 shoes for the hypothetical photo at the top of this post.  Instead, I tried a different tactic and selected 12 pairs.  I shifted the focus from ‘the total number of shoes overall’ to the ‘total number of shoes per season and per occasion capsule’ in my wardrobe.  For areas where I had more than 1 pair, I limited myself to 2.  And since I am trying to stay away from black footwear (inspired by this post), most of my selections are non-black options.

  • Special occasion: 1 wedge
  • Spring: 2 flat shoes
  • Summer: 2 sandals
  • Beach: 1 flip flop
  • Business: 2 (boot for fall/winter and wedge sandal for spring/summer)
  • Winter: 2 tall boots
  • Fall: 2 short boots

This brought my potential shoe wardrobe to 12 shoes.  With a current size of 20, I would need to donate only 8 shoes, or 40% of my shoes.  Still a lot, but not as bad as before.


The lowest I could go, for now.

The lowest I could go, for now.

Then I tried to reduce it even further and selected only one pair for each season/capsule (except for business where I need to cover two seasons for that capsule).

My final tally was 8 shoes.  If I donated from my original total of 20 shoes, I would have to purge 12 pairs, or 60% of my shoe wardrobe.

  • Special occasion: 1 wedge
  • Spring: 1 flat shoe
  • Summer: 1 sandal
  • Beach: 1 flip flop
  • Business: 2 (boot for fall/winter and wedge sandal for spring/summer)
  • Winter: 1 tall boot
  • Fall: 1 short boot

This has been an interesting exercise.  Many of my shoes are new and my current total of 20 shoes, is not overwhelming me right now.  But once a few pairs wear down a bit, it may be fun to try out a smaller size shoe wardrobe, either by adding them to the boutique, or by not replacing the worn out shoes.

Do you change shoes for each season?


  1. A very interesting exercise. I have 13 pairs of shoes in my autumn/winter shoes collection.
    This includes good, casual and boots. I’m not sure how low I could take it but to reduce to 6 in total you would need very good quality shoes to stand up against the constant wear and from what I see daily few people spend as much money on their shoes as they do on their clothes.
    I am trying to reduce my wardrobe size and have not bought any autumn/winter clothes or shoes. I have a wish list for replacement shoes but haven’t seen anything to suit – yet.

    1. A great point Claire! If one is going to reduce their shoe number, the shoes are going to take a lot of wear and tear and need to be of higher quality. That is wonderful that you are not purchasing any new fall/winter items while you whittle down the size of your wardrobe. It is not easy to resist the allure of something new. I’m cheering you on, it’s very inspiring, thanks for sharing!

  2. If your shoes are comfortable, in reasonable condition and not visually offensive why get rid of them? If you spread the wear between lots of pairs they will last longer- and you won’t need to buy so often. Even if you only wear a particular pair once in 3 years for a special event- it is still a pair you haven’t gone out and bought. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with the idea of a minimal ‘perfect’ wardrobe and forget that the true issue is to buy less and buy what you really need.

    1. Hi Lynn! Very helpful and very true points! If I focus on being ‘minimal’ then I may end up on just another shopping quest. For those elusive minimal, perfect, items. It would be a better use of money, and ideally more satisfaction, to hold onto shoes and truly wear them out. Then decide if I want to replace them or not. Thanks for getting me thinking.

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