Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Shoes?

A shoe fanatic and a single-pair supporter give you both sides of the story


So. Is there such a thing as having too many pairs of shoes, or too few? We let two ELLE staffers, who sit on both ends of the spectrum, battle it out. Which camp do you fall into?

Lieu Wei Ning, senior beauty writer

Shoe count: About 100 pairs

I haven’t really counted how many pairs of shoes I have, but I think 100 is a fair estimate. Contrary to what my mum thinks, I’m aware that I only have two feet, but I wear mostly black, so shoes are a hugely important part of my wardrobe.

I use them to bring a pop of colour and personality to my outfits – there’s nothing like a nice pair of shoes and a bag to jazz up an ensemble and help pull the whole look together.

Do I consider myself obsessed? Maybe just a little. For my university graduation ceremony, I had to buy two pairs of heels because the sash of my gown was baby blue and baby pink, and I couldn’t decide which colour of shoes would go better.

These days, I buy more ballet flats and sneakers because comfort is most important. I’m a fan of Pretty Ballerinas – I got my first pair (suede ones with red pompoms!) four years ago and I’ve been in love with the brand ever since. I even have a backup that’s exactly the same.

Some of my other favourites: A pair of red Vans with polka dots that I got eight years ago and wore to death because they were so cute! (Eventually I had to throw them out because they had so many holes in them, but it was a struggle to let them go.)

I also love my Chanel espadrilles, which are my travel go-tos because they’re casual and comfy, plus they give me a little extra height. And my investment piece, a pair of black Louboutin peep-toe heels. I got them when I finished my last uni exam and wore them a lot that year.

I don’t set aside any specific time or money to go shoe shopping, but I’m a sucker for the word sale. Loads of my shoes are from sales; I also like Net-A-Porter, Leftfoot and Pedder On Scotts. I wouldn’t call them cheap, but if I see something I really like and can afford, I’ll get it. Because nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy, right?

I keep my shoes lined up in double rows in a floor-to-ceiling closet in my room. The ones I use most regularly I leave by my door, but on weekends, I make it a point to wear the rest on rotation. About once a year or so, I get rid of some pairs that I haven’t worn in the past six months – I take them to the Salvation Army or give them to other people with the same-sized feet.

I guess you could say that I really believe in the adage that good shoes take you to good places. I also like the quote that’s printed on the inner soles of my Minna Parikka bunny sneakers, “May these shoes lead you to new adventures.”

How can you have lots of adventures if you don’t have enough pairs to take you there?

Gwendolyn Lee, digital writer

Shoe count: One pair

You read that right; I have a grand total of one pair of shoes.

This recently came to light when the rest of the ELLE team realised I was wearing the same white plimsolls from ASOS. Every. Single. Day. Despite them giving me blisters.

Now, I’m not a masochist who likes to torture herself with painful footwear — I just don’t have any other shoes.

Funny thing is, I’ve never noticed this was an anomaly. All my life, I’ve only owned/needed one or two pairs at a time, which I usually wear until they fall apart or become riddled with more holes than a golf course.

The plimsolls I’m wearing now? I switched to them after my two-year-old pair of Dr Martens knockoffs bought from Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market finally gave way.

I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve walked around with shoes held together with Scotch tape.

It’s not that I don’t like shopping or shoes, I just don’t like shopping for shoes. I find sitting down and trying shoes in boutiques a hassle. Removing shoes, putting on shoes, removing them again — ugh, it’s just so much work.

Plus, even when I do get shoes, it’s one of three styles: Sneakers, loafers or brogues, and because they’re fairly similar (you know, because they’re all covered) there’s never a need to buy more than one of each. Combine that with my lack of enthusiasm for shoe shopping, and you’ve got the recipe for one empty shoe closet.

So what do I wear when I’m not in this pair? Let’s just say I’m the kind of Singaporean who finds no shame in occasionally (key word, occasionally) wearing slippers to town.

It might not seem like it, but owning only one pair of kicks comes with a lot of perks. Running late for work? No worries. Getting ready in the morning is quick and easy because I don’t have to spend time picking out the perfect pair to complete my outfit.

Also, I have no need to clean and maintain my shoes or make space for a shoe cabinet. The lack of effort needed to keep up with this lifestyle makes this a lazy girl’s (and, from what I hear, parents’) dream. Try it sometime?

For more on fashion, head here. Or check out Need A Hug? Here or What To Invest In With Your First Bonus.

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