I now own more than 4 pairs of shoes…

In college I owned one pair of (generic) sneakers and one pair of (Teva) hiking sandals at any point in time.  In graduate school I added (generic/bass/stonefly) brown or black loafers and (generic/stonefly) nice black sandals.  (The Stonefly were an investment in the last year when I was on the job market.)

Most of my professional adult life I’ve been content with one usable pair of brown sandals, one pair of black sandals, one pair of black maryjanes and one pair of brown semi-dress shoes.  All pretty expensive and extremely comfortable European varieties built for wide feet like my own.* Eventually I added hiking boots, for you know, hiking (though they would also get repurposed for things requiring tennis shoes).  I would justify spending $100-$200 on a pair of shoes by only buying shoes every 5 years or so.

I don’t know if it’s just my feet heading into middle-age, or the heady feeling of having two salaries, but I’ve now got more shoes.  Not like crazy Imelda Marcos shoes, but now I have a choice about whether to wear (naot vs pikolinos) maryjanes or (pikolinos) half-boots or even (super cheap target) canvas sneakers if I need a pair of black shoes.  It used to be if I was wearing something that required black shoes I’d check the temperature and pick the maryjanes or sandals.  Similarly for something that required brown shoes.  Now there’s choice.

I even got a pair of New Balance sneakers, which I think is my first name brand pair of tennis shoes ever**.

I’m losing more of my frugality/minimalist cred.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Grumpy Nation, tell us about shoes and frugality and minimalism and cred (or the opposite!).

* I also usually keep one pair of completely worn out black flats and sandals of either color just in case that I didn’t count as part of the 4 pairs because they really should have been tossed. There have been a few occasions where I was glad to have kept them when my main pair needed to dry out (or be found).

** (with the exception of the Kinney Saddle Oxfords I had to wear in kindergarten as part of the uniform.  I don’t know why I remember that; it must have been a big deal for my mom.  I remember regularly polishing the white parts with white shoe polish.  I also had a really great pair of brown sandals that year that we bought in Mexico– the first pair that ever actually fit my wide feet.)

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18 Responses to “I now own more than 4 pairs of shoes…”

  1. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I did not know naot shoes come in wide!

    I, too, buy expensive shoes, but when possible I get them on clearance (6pm, usually).

    I may have a lot of shoes relative to you. Sneakers, rain boots, work boots, sandals, a frivolous pair of orange flats, water shoes….

  2. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I have a lotta shoez.

  3. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    male, so shoes are a different phenomenon sociologically.
    I have 1 pair each of
    cheap bicycling shoes
    good running shoes
    super-cheap “dress” shoes
    Teva sandals
    sandals to wear at work
    sandals for gardening (worn out)
    rain boots (rarely worn)
    35-year-old winter boots
    fuzzy mocassin slippers

    I have some worn-out old shoes that I had planned to repurpose (putting bike shoe soles on Ecco dress shoes, for example), but should probably just discard, as the soles of the Ecco shoes crumbled to powder, so there is nothing to attach new soles to.

  4. Grace Says:

    I don’t have a lot of shoes, but I don’t buy cheap ones. I think the last cheap shoes I bought would have been at least 20 years ago. This is mainly because my feet get very unhappy very easily, and I don’t want to risk the try-fail cycle that I think would come if I just picked up a pair of $20-$60 shoes somewhere. My dress-ish shoes are Danskos, my sandals are Naots, and my sneakers are Mizunos. Even within those brands, I have to pick carefully, because they don’t all work for my feet. I don’t think of shoes as being in a category in which frugality is relevant, at least for me. It’s more of a health thing. The wrong shoes = pain.

    I admit, though, that I would totally wear high heels and all kinds of frivolous shoes if my feet would tolerate them. There are clothes that I’ve loved the looks of but haven’t bought because they don’t look right with the kinds of flats I have to wear.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think having a few expensive pairs of shoes is frugal– with the idea that you are getting value for your money. Spending more on fewer pairs is more frugal than spending less on lots of pairs. It’s the having more than you need that is less frugal, I think.

      Though I guess it’s not like I’m going to die before these particular shoes get worn out. They will all get wear eventually. So maybe it’s just that I’m owning more at once and using them less.

  5. Miser Mom Says:

    So, I have a lot of shoes compared to you . . . BECAUSE I’m cheap. For example, I have four (4!) pairs of winter boots, all at least 3 years old, and all acquired used for $1-$2. Because I tend to only get shoes in the summer at yard sales, a mid-year boot fail borders on the edge of disaster for me. So I make sure I have back-up pairs.

    Similarly, it’s hard to get running shoes in my size, so I grab them when I can find them for $2 or less. My 5-6 pairs of running shoes, acquired in the past decade, cost about $20 all together (because one “expensive” winter pair cost me about $11). My very very very favorite running shoes are a pair of hot pink sketchers with hard soles that I got for $1 at a yard sale in 2009. This summer, my buddies and I are going to celebrate their 10-year anniversary with a long run! I’m fortunate not to have knee/joint troubles that other people describe; I don’t know if that’s because I rotate constantly through which shoes I’m wearing.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    Would classify myself as mid-to-minimalist on the Shoes For Work front, but even so I have six pair. Munro ankle boots, Clarks motorcycle boots, and two different pairs of Clarks platform sandals, plus two pairs of Clarks high-heeled dressy shoes that I almost never wear to work but could if I needed to (will wear to interviews because they put me at almost 5’10” and I like being tall in interviews).

    Also have a pair of platform slides for warm-weather casual, 2 pair of Merrell sneakers, 1 pair of Merrell hiking shoes, 1 pair of amphibious sandals (I forget the brand but they’re from REI).

    And then there’s the dance shoes. Don’t get me started.

  7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I have two pairs of sneakers, three pairs of sandals (one casual, two less so), one pair of boots that are really hard to get into with this ankle and some hiking boots. I think I’m going to finally sell my Ann Taylor heels that were work shoes and haven’t been worn in 8 years.

    I suspect PiC has twice as many shoes but I have no real idea.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t know how many shoes my DH has either. I do know he has two and a half pairs of moccasins! (Zie made a pair and a half before running out of steam on that particular hobby.)

  8. Lisa Says:

    I have a fair number of shoes because I never throw them away. Of those that I wear regularly:
    black boots
    brown boots
    brown ankle boots
    navy ankle boots
    brown booties
    grey converse sneakers
    navy T-strap fancy flats (for special occasions)
    black flats (stolen by my daughter, so I think I’ll need a new pair this spring)
    running shoes
    brown sandals
    black sandals
    Plus a few pair of heels I wear for special occasions
    In the fall/winter boots and ankle boots are my go-to and work well, but I struggle a bit with footwear for work in the spring and summer. I actually wear my converse most of the time (yay academia) but when I want/need to dress up more, I don’t really have any comfortable and professional shoes that I like. Most of the women around me wear comfy euro-type shoes, but I haven’t found any that I really like the looks of. Maybe this summer? I do like ballet flats and sandals but feel like they get stinky too quickly! I’m also really picky about comfort and a lot of shoes give me nasty heel blisters.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    I have two problems with shoes. One, is that I never seem to throw out any of my old shoes. They become gardening shoes or painting shoes. I have a whole pile of crappy dirty shoes for around the house and a whole drawer of paint clothes to match.

    Two, I have trouble getting truly comfortable ones. The clarks are good and I have an outlet near me but they wear out so quickly when I find a pair I like. I’ll blow through a pair in a year.

    Other brands aren’t always comfortable for long days on my feet. I have a few pairs of ankle boots that are over 10 years old that aren’t comfortable enough to wear constantly like my Clark mules, but aren’t bad enough to get rid of. So I wear them for short things where I only use them for a few hours and they will never wear out. And I’ve switched from wearing dress pants to skirts, so now I have knee boots for winter, dress sandals for summer and the ankle boots hardly get worn anymore cuz they look dumb with skirts.

    In New England, you need a lot of footwear because we see all the weather extremes here, so you need stuff for snow, rain and heat.

    I have a shoe problem. I am not constantly buying shoes but over the last 20 years, I’ve accumulated a lot of them. I probably average 1-2 pairs a year. My hiking boots are 23 years old and I still wear them regularly. Admittedly, they are on their last leg now but I haven’t made the plunge to replace them yet because I am afraid their replacement won’t be as comfortable.

    Shoes are my dark master. My mom is a miser but never skimped on footware because she remembers her I’ll fitting shoes as a child. I can’t imagine only having 4 pairs. I have more than that number just for the different sports I do.

    I am definitely not frugal in many ways anymore. Quality footware is like spending money on a good mattress. You spend so much time on your feet. A good shoe is worth it’s weight in gold.

  10. Linda Says:

    Once I hit 45, my feet started giving me more problems, so I will $pend on shoes that meet my needs and don’t hurt my feet. I have plantar fasciitis in both feet, so all my shoes need to have cushy soles and good arch support. I use orthotic inserts that help with support, but if the shoe itself doesn’t have a cushy sole, inserts alone don’t keep my feet from aching. Since I also have weak ankles (I’ve broken both of them in the past 5 years), I need good ankle support in some circumstances, too.

    I’ve never worn heels much, and the closest thing I have to heels are a couple pairs of Munro low wedge shoes (one black, one red) I wear when I need to dress up. I’ve owned those for several years since I rarely wear them.

    Other than those, I have shoes for special activities, like my riding boots (two pairs of paddock-style boots), hiking boots (Lowas with great ankle support that I hope will continue to be good to my feet for a few more years since they were so expensive), and a pair of Chuka “wellies” that I need to move around the barn in winter since it is so muddy.

    I just bought a new pair of running/workout shoes to replace a pair that didn’t look that worn, but had crossed the “cush” threshold. I just couldn’t be on my feet in them for more than an hour without experiencing a lot of foot pain, and since I’m coaching girls for the next 10 weeks I need to be able to move around comfortably on the blacktop for a few hours. The replacement pair was $160 (gulp), but they have lots of cush and my insert gives them the extra arch support I need.

    Recently I’ve also purchased a pair of Keen Presidios so I have something comfortable to wear to work (with pants, at least). Since I have to walk just over 1/2 mile to/from the Ferry Building when I go to the office, I need comfy shoes. I don’t want to schlep another pair of shoes to change into at the office.

    For summer, I have Keen sandals and some dress sandals that I rarely wear. I do have some “dressy” boots for the winter, too, but if I do a lot of walking they aren’t very comfortable.

  11. middle_class Says:

    Ode to Shoes

    1 pair black leather heels from italy 20 years old, re -soled once, perfect.
    1 pair brown leather heels
    1 pair sam edelman brown ankle boots
    1 pair donald pliner black mid calf boots
    Elizabeth and James suede flats
    Sigerson Morrison ballet flats
    Coral orange flats
    J crew coral and brown heels
    Gray tweed and brown loafer heels
    2 pairs gray keds
    1 pair of puma ballet flats on way to dumpster
    1 pair of exercise sneakers. Not used in 8 years.
    1 pair red and purple heels, destined for postmark

    I think the best of both worlds is to buy quality shoes on sale.

    Never heard of Munro until this blog.
    And why do so many people wear teva amd clarks?

  12. What’s your shopping style? | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] My shopping style is to put off buying something until probably after I should, and then buy a whole ton of stuff that I need all at the same time.  I don’t shop for fun except for books and fancy food shoppes in the city (including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s– if we had a Trader Joe’s in town it probably wouldn’t be enough of a novelty to make it fun).  When I was in college I hung out with people who shopped for fun, so I did do some of the waiting for dresses to drop below my price point, but these days I buy clothing at whatever price it is set during my every other year outlet mall trip.  (When I do try to buy something online without my colleague-personal-shopper it usually ends up being ridiculous, except for shoes where I go to a fancy european store and let a shoe salesperson talk me into whatever type of shoe needs replacing.) […]


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