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How many pairs of shoes does one person need?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Okay, the 'zen monk' answer would be one, but I'm talking in the modern world

For quite a while I would just own two pairs of shoes- summer shoes and winter boots. Something that could fill multiple functions, but never all of them. I would wear them out hard and fast, then get a new pair.

Now though I take a different approach, as I've learned that footwear really does work best when used for the purpose it's intended for. I try to have multiple pairs, each for a certain purpose, and therefore I can longer in between buying new pairs of each type but obviously have to buy more to begin with.

I'm just not sure- how many pairs are really necessary? are you the first type of shoe person (wear one pair for everything until worn out) or the second (multiple pairs for different things)? If you are the first type, which kind of shoe do you wear as your main shoe- running shoes, sandals, boots? If you're the second type, how many pairs of shoes do you own, and what are they for? And how does this relate to frugality/finances? Well, I'm also wondering- what do you think is the more frugal approach? Obviously it seems it must be option #1 but then you are wearing them out faster, too.

When I was the first type, I would wear clogs in the spring/summer/fall and boots in the winter. Now I have many pairs of shoes (dare I list them??)- clogs for in the garden, running shoes for running and walking, waterproof sandals for the beach, birk sandals for casual wear, one pair of dressy shoes, a pair of cheap flip flops for just throwing on sometimes when I'm lazy, a pair of ugg type boots for cold weather plus another pair of waterproof boots for winter hikes*. Wow, that's eight pairs! And I am going to have to get another pair of CSA approved boots for working on construction projects.

My dp doesn't have nearly as many but he does have one pair casual shoes, one pair dress shoes, running shoes, biking shoes and sandals.


*please note some of these shoes are from the thrift store!
post #2 of 53
I've got two pairs of practical boots (winter and rain) and two pairs of dressier boots (brown and black). Two pairs of heels (pink and black), runners, sandals, maryjanes, and clogs. Wow, that's more than I thought!
post #3 of 53
Here's my tally:

One pair of somewhat stylish everyday shoes
One pair of sandals (Chacos, can get wet, wear them much of the summer)
One pair of RUNNING shoes
One pair of mucky shoes (my old running shoes)
One pair of hiking boots
One pair of nice dress sandals (I don't do heels)

Then there's the cross-country ski boots, downhill ski boots, telemark ski boots, climbing shoes, and the like.

That gets me through the whole year, and I replace the running shoes based upon miles, the sandals I've had for at least 6 years now (and they still look/feel GREAT!), the hiking boots I've had for 5 years (look/feel GREAT), the dressy sandals I've had for at least 5 years (again, still look/feel GREAT), and I replace the everyday shoes each fall.
post #4 of 53
i wear thongs until they die for everything but work. well, sometimes i even wear them to work.

i do have:

running shoes (10 years old not used very often )
crocs for the garden
snow boots (used maybe five times each winter- these are also 10 years old)
one pair merrill shoes my mom gave me
two pairs dress shoes for teaching

i think that's it...
post #5 of 53
I'm probably no help, because I have around 20-30 pairs of shoes. I have casual shoes, sandals/flip flops, heels, running shoes, etc.

I think you need:
Light, summer shoes
Shoes for bad weather
A pair of boots
Sandals or shoes for the beach
A pair of shoes for working out. If you are a runner, a pair specifically for running and another pair of workout shoes for other things.
post #6 of 53


Hi there,
I am shy to even mention how many I have, but I have the approach of having a lot for different purposes. I know it is not frugal, but I have bought the majority at a thrift store and they have been new or gently used.
I am thinking about 5 if I had to cut down.
Take care shoe mama.
post #7 of 53
dress shoes
winter boots
running shoes
everyday shoes

So 5.
post #8 of 53
I have one pair of sneakers, and only bought them because my other sneakers I'd worn for 8 years had holes in them. All three pairs of sandals are now broken, so unfortunately I'll be forced to buy new sandals, or deal w/only being able to wear my sneakers. My daughters otoh, have about 6 pairs of shoes, and getting more for back to school.
post #9 of 53
I have lots of shoes. Some I only wear with a few things so they don't get much use. Some I wear daily.
post #10 of 53
I have
one pair of running shoes
knock off crocs
winter boots

For all I use dress shoes I borrow from my Mom or sister.
post #11 of 53
I wear one pair of shoes at a time. I buy a pair of cheap croc knock offs inthe summer, and a pair of winter boots in the winter....repeat, yearly.
post #12 of 53
I have lots and lots of shoes.

The reality, though, is that I wear very few.

I use a pair of Birks, a pair of sketchers (sort of MJ style), a pair of slip on black leather loafers, a pair of sneakers/walking shoes, and my winter boots.

In the spring and summer you'll see me in the Birks, sketchers, or sneakers.

In the autumn the leather loafers start to be seen.

And in the dead of winter pretty much all you'll see on me outside the house is my boots!

I also wear some pumps when I have fancier events and wear dresses, etc.

So for me I've determined that about 6 pairs would be what I need/use.
post #13 of 53
You should see our shoe closet, way too many shoes for two adults and most of them are his.

These are mine:
Running shoes
Two pairs of Chuck Taylor's (black and blue)
Birk clogs for work
Sneakers for work
Two different styles of Chacos
Two pair of Doc Martins (the boots I wear the MJ I don't but I can't give them away because they were a gift from my husband)
Bean boots
LL Bean Storm chasers
Three pairs of heels (black strappy, black peep toe and red)
Black flats
Brown sandals
post #14 of 53
-pair of walking shoes for work
-2 pair of clogs brown/black
-pair of slip on sandals for summer
-pair of flip flops
-2 pair of dressy flats

I didn't even realize I had this many! My kids only have one pair each. I didn't buy them sandals this summer because they complained they didn't like them.
post #15 of 53
I think it really depends upon what your needs are:
Do you work in a business/corporate environment?
Are you a SAHM?
Do you work outside?
Do you have to dress up a lot?

For me: I work SAH/WOH so I have shoes for work and shoes for "play"
My shoe wardrobe consists of:
1 pair tennis shoes
2-3 pair sandals
1 pair Birkies
1 pair winter boots
2 pair work shoes (dansko clogs)
1 pair Birkie clogs
a couple of pairs of heels
2 pairs of dress boots

Ok that's 13 pairs but I've found that my shoes don't wear out as quickly because I rotate wearing them and they last longer.
I also have had the same shoes for upwards of 5 years.
post #16 of 53
Well, you should never wear the same pair two days in a row... just like a bra, they need time to rest in order to retain their elasticity, dry out, etc. Overall they'll just last longer.

So my answer would be 2 pairs for summer (casual/everyday wear), 2 pairs for winter (casual/everyday wear), a walking/running shoe and a dress shoe. But if you're in a professional setting then you'll need more dress and less casual.

Personally I have 1 pair of sandals that I can wear right now (edema), but non pregnant I have - a pair of birkenstocks that are my "round the house / garbage can / mailbox / laundry" pair, a pair of slip ons for when I do yard work, a pair of walking shoes, 2 pairs of sandals, a pair of danskos that can go casual or professional, and a couple pairs of dress shoes that I never wear. Of course, the worst weather we have to worry about here is rain, so I don't have any winter type shoes.
post #17 of 53
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Well, you should never wear the same pair two days in a row... just like a bra, they need time to rest in order to retain their elasticity, dry out, etc. Overall they'll just last longer.
Really? I did not know that.
post #18 of 53
Well, if I went bare minimum, I would need a pair of heels for work, a pair of sneakers, a pair of sandels, and a pair of dressier everyday shoes. I have a lot more than that though. I like shoes.
post #19 of 53
I am not a stylish shoe person. So I tend to stick with the minimum.

What I have:

Yucky old sneakers for yard work
Nicer Sneaker for most everyday wear
Running sneakers for running
Sport Sandals
High heeled boots in brown & black - I wear this with slacks in the winter whenever I need something nicer than sneakers
I have a couple pairs of strappy heals which I mostly hate because they are uncomfortable

That's pretty much what I wear. I really need to buy something nicer for everyday wear, something that is better than sneakers, but isn't as formal as high heeled boots. Probably a clog, but I hate clogs. I tend to have nothing appropriate to wear in the summer with shorts when I need to dress nicer (I hate flip flops, so most sandals on the market today don't work for me).

I'm very particular about wearing comfortable shoes, so I limit my options severely.

ETA - whoops, forgot snow boots!
post #20 of 53

I have over 15 pairs of shoes... probably more than that and mostly all I wear are flip flops and gym shoes.
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