Reader Angela wrote in asking about a post on basics of a minimalist shoe wardrobe:
My first thought was:
My second thought was:
I don’t have an insane amount of shoes.
No fetish here. I know women with 100+ pairs.
20-ish for all the seasons isn’t bad at all.
Let’s start with the guys first.
Then we’ll tackle the women
Minimalist’s Shoe Wardrobe for Men
BF owns something similar to the following:
WINTER / HIKING / WALKING BOOTS / DRESS SHOES
- Winter Boots (not when there’s a LOT of snow and ice)
- Hiking / Heavy Walking — he says they’re amazing for long treks
- He wears them as dress shoes and no one notices, or they just don’t say anything
- Pictured: Asolo Power Matic Hiking Boots – $275 (He is enabling me to buy a pair for the Tour of Asia)
CANADIAN WINTER BOOTS
- For when it is too damn cold, like – 30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit)
- Or when there’s too much snow or ice
- Pictured: Sorel Caribous – $150
- Not professional biking shoes
- They are still good “around town” casual shoes
- Pictured: Onitsuka Tiger Shoes – $80
That is seriously it, folks.
He hates flip flops, sandals and he doesn’t wear running shoes (says they hurt his back).
I do recommend that guys add a pair of dress shoes and a pair of sandals to the above but that’s just my opinion.
Guys don’t need a lot of shoe options.
On to the women!
Minimalist’s Shoe Wardrobe for Women
Note: I am assuming 4 seasons. I am talking full out rainy Spring, hot Summer, cool Autumn and very cold, slushy Winters.
I am also keeping in mind a sense of style and trying to cover a range of events.
Not everyone is going to need winter boots or flip flops, so it’s really up to your lifestyle.
THE OVERVIEW OF SHOES IN A WOMAN’s MINIMALIST WARDROBE
Note: I do not only own these numbers of shoes below but I do have around 20 pairs in total.
I have a couple of options in some categories, and I have every shoe for whatever I could wear in my wardrobe.
I never buy new shoes unless my old ones are worn out, ripped, stained or otherwise unwearable, and I never get new shoes just for events. I try to re-wear what I have in my closet instead.
I also don’t like wearing very high heels, so 1″ – 2″ is the most I can stomach, which is great for keeping my shoe count down.
- For the beach or for other places you don’t mind ruining your shoes in
- Cheap flip flops are what I gravitate towards ($1 – $7)
- Pictured: OluKai Hulali Flip Flops – $84 (NOT cheap)
- For when it’s a slightly dressier event in the summer & you can’t wear flip flops
- …or closed toe shoes.
- Also good for summer weddings
- Pictured: Clark’s Revel Hop – $65.50 (I own these and LOVE THEM.)
- For out and about on casual days
- Can also be filed under Flip Flops
- Pictured: Birkenstock Gizeh Sandals – $80 (I own similar Birkenstocks)
- Ballet flats
- A pair of Converse sneakers
- Anything flat and closed-toed
- Pictured: Elie Tahari lace Ballet Flats – $198 (OUCH!)
- For those days when you need protection against wet feet
- Pictured: Sorel Apha Trac – $180
HEELS IN A NEUTRAL COLOUR
- To wear to events or to work
- Pictured: Fitzwell Yana Black Kid – $69
- For play or special events when regular heels or sandals won’t make it
- Pictured: Nine West Playtag – $78.95
- They look good with dresses or with skinny jeans tucked in
- Great for when it’s too cold for shoes, like in Autumn
- I like them 1″ or flat
- Pictured: Ecco Hobart – $220 (I own a pair of Hobart Riding Boots)
For everything you do in life — varies!
- Serious Walking Shoes
- Hiking Boots
- Biking Shoes
- Vibram 5-fingers
- Rain Boots
- Running Shoes / Sneakers / Trainers
Yes, it is really all a woman needs*… *cough*
*The problem arises when you consider:
- different lengths of pants means different heights of heels
- we may not want to just wear flat or 1″ heels
- can’t wear certain shoes with certain outfits
- if we have different coloured clothes, sometimes basics don’t work
Example of how something may not work
This was a dress I wore to a wedding.
Can you imagine that dress and then you look down to see a pair of black heels that just don’t go with the outfit?
It throws the whole balance off.
Sure, I could just wear a black dress instead, but this is real life for me.
I don’t like only wearing neutrals and I don’t really like wearing black.
The bronze heels pictured above, were a pair I already had and ended up being perfect (no need to buy another pair of shoes), but unless your wardrobe consists of only neutrals:
…you are in wardrobe disaster territory when it comes to things that don’t fit that colour palette.
So sometimes, yeah.. we need different shoes in different styles and heights, but there’s no need to go nuts and own 100 pairs of 5″ heels just because they’re pretty.
Know your colour palette!
That said, I do notice I only wear a certain range of colours like in the jewel or metal tones.
I tend to avoid orange, yellow, taupes, beiges and anything that is an odd, or off colour.
Therefore, if I only wear certain shades and intensities of colours, the shoes that I currently have, will go with everything and anything I buy.
Certainly, I could have less if I just wore all black and grey all the time, but I’m afraid that is something I am not willing to give up.
Life is too short to wear neutrals.
For things like winter boots, flip flops or boots in general, I don’t have many varieties because I don’t need a variety.
Who cares if you have different coloured winter boots for your outfits?
They’re ugly anyway. Buy the warmest, most comfortable and safest pair you can and stick to them.
Ditto with regular flat boots.
There’s no need to have 7 different colours, shapes, sizes or heel heights when you (and when I say ‘you’ I mean, ‘I’) wear only flat boots with a slight heel, in either dark brown or black.
Be choosy with your shoe wardrobe, but don’t buy shoes without knowing where it will fit into your current wardrobe. They may be the cutest pair of silver heels, but they’re kind of useless if they don’t match anything.
And that does it for me.
UPDATE: I took some pictures of my shoes but forgot to post.
I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes or boots since about a year or two ago (my dark brown, flat Ecco boots).
These are ALL shoes from my shopaholic days and years, and I’ve gone from 50 pairs to what you see now.
I think what I own is pretty good, considering I’m looking at the shoes and thinking I can probably get rid of another 2-3 pairs, some look kind of worn out and scratched (hard to see in pictures).
That said, I never claimed to be a minimalist in shoes, but I can fit everything I own into 3 suitcases and 2 carry-ons.
I also have shoes for every occasion and for everything in my wardrobe.
I’m not one of those types of women who are okay with just wearing one pair of shoes with everything they own, or owning only 3 pairs of shoes. It’s too restrictive and not at all fun.
What’s the point of restricting yourself based on some arbitrary rules of only owning 5 pairs of shoes, just to prove a point of being “as minimalist as possible”, but not really wholeheartedly embracing or enjoying it?
Missing from the photo: 4 pairs of shoes
- 2 more pairs of heels (brown and bronze — bronze pair seen above with dress)
- 2 pairs of ballet flats (silver and brown)
I’ll do a repost some time later of everything.