The Shoeper Shoe Challenge 2012: A Wrapup


Christian Louboutin ‘Pigalle’: my favourite shoes!

As some of you will have seen from my New Year’s Eve post, the end of 2012 also meant the end of my 3rd Shoeper Shoe Challenge, in which I pledged to wear every single pair of shoes in my collection at least once in the space of a year – or give them away if I didn’t manage it.

With 112 pairs of shoes to get through, and a year in which the rain frequently made wellies the only sensible choice, that was actually a tougher challenge than it might sound. Nevertheless, having started in March 2012, I actually managed to finish early, wearing (and “saving”) the final pair of shoes in my collection on New Year’s Eve of the same year.

Now, technically speaking, the Shoe Challenge shouldn’t have ended there: it was really supposed to last for a year, which means that if I was playing strictly by the rules, I’d be obliged to go on until mid-March, adding any new pairs of shoes to my total and duly “saving” them. When I reached the point where I’d worn all of the pairs I owned at the time, though, I decided to bend the rules and declare myself done. Yes, it’s technically “cheating”, but after three years of back-to-back shoe challenges, I hope you’re all willing to forgive me.

You see, I had never really intended to do this challenge at all. Back in March, when I launched it, and invited other shoe lovers to take part in it, I initially said I wouldn’t be taking part myself. In retrospect, I should have stuck to that decision, but I let myself get carried away with the excitement of the new challenge, and before I knew what I was doing, I was into my 3rd challenge in a row: uh-oh!

zaar asymmetric pumps

The fabled Zara asymmetric pumps!

From the first two challenges, I learned a lot about shopping more sensibly, only buying the shoes I knew I would wear, rather than impulse buying anything that caught my eye, and not allowing the lure of a bargain to coax me into thinking I absolutely MUST HAVE a pair of shoes I’d never actually wear. There’s no doubt in my mind that these are all good lessons, which were well worth learning, but this challenge taught me something different.

From year 3 of the Shoe Challenge, I mostly learned that when you force yourself to wear 112 pairs of shoes within a certain time frame, you may be “saving” the shoes from being left on the shelf, but you’re also taking away some of the enjoyment of owning them in the first place. A much wetter than average summer, combined with a (possibly) larger-than-average collection of summer shoes, meant that I really struggled to find opportunities to wear them all: that wasn’t because I’d bought shoes I didn’t like, or because I didn’t know how to style them – it was simply because of the weather. The knowledge that I had only a very limited time in which to wear all of the peep toes and sandals meant than when we did get a rare dry day, rather than simply enjoying wearing whatever I felt like wearing, I felt obliged to “save” another pair of shoes. There were definitely some days when I found myself wearing shoes I didn’t really want to wear, or which possibly weren’t the best possible choice for my outfit, purely because I knew that if I didn’t wear them then, I might not get another chance. Pretty silly, huh?

Christian Louboutin red wedges

Christian Louboutin ‘Very Very’ wedges

Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t all bad. As with the previous two challenges, I found it forced me to dream up new ways to wear each pair of shoes, and to be a little more creative with my outfits, rather than simply reaching for the same old “favourite” things over and over again. More than anything else, I think doing this challenge has had a big impact on my personal style, and it’s also helped me to be less of an impulse shopper when it comes to shoes. For those reasons alone, I think it’s something that’s worth doing at least once – I just think that once in three years is probably enough for anyone! By the time I reached the end of this third challenge, I was more than ready to go back to simply enjoying my shoes, without having to worry about “saving” them, and for that reason, I can say for sure that I will definitely NOT be doing this particular challenge for a 4th year, although I’m more than happy to continue hosting a space on the shoe forum for anyone who wants to have a go – and, of course, for those of you who started later than I did, and who aren’t done yet.

Topshop Barley 2 boots

Topshop Barley2 boots

I may not be planning to take this particular challenge again, but I AM keen to continue with SOME kind of Shoeper Shoe Challenge for 2013 – I just need to work out what it’s going to be! So far I’m thinking of some kind of monthly shoe styling challenge, in which everyone taking part would agree on a particular colour/style/type of shoe to wear each month, and then post their photos on a designated day, but I’m totally open to suggestions, so feel free to post them either here or in the forum. Most of all, I’d really like the next challenge to be another one which my readers can participate in too, so I’d love to hear your suggestions!

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and generally being part of the Shoe Challenge: now on to the next one!

Shoeperwoman x


  • Oh, I so know what I mean about being more concerned about saving the shoes than about actually enjoying them. I even made an Excell sheet to keep count, and sometimes I made “plans” for different outfits that I could wear that week, just to keep from being overwhelmed! That said, I am still happy that I did it (again), if only because it forces me to re-evaluate the shoes in my collection. For instance, I got rid of almost all the last ten pairs I saved last year, just because they got saved because they “had to” back then, and I hadn’t worn them since. Obviously there are better shoes to be had, than shoes you never wear. That said, congratulations, and I’m very excited and curious to see what you’ll come up with next year! And for now, just try to enjoy the shoes again. 😉

    • Oh yeah, I definitely think it’s worth doing for those very reasons – in the first year in particular I know there were shoes that got worn purely because I was determined to save them all, when I should probably have just accepted they weren’t worth saving, so I’m glad I repeated it. I might do it again… at some point… I just think I got burnt-out by the end of year 2, so I need a bit of a break! In the past couple of weeks when I only had a couple of pairs left, and knew I’d wear them at Christmas and New Year, it was such a relief to be able to just wear whatever I wanted rather than feeling I HAD to wear a particular thing to get the shoes through the challenge!

  • I started saving shoes and fell off the wagon when it got cold and life got busy. I haven’t left the house in anything but snowboots since before Christmas. I am going to do the 4th challenge. I think it will be more fun to start in the spring.

    That said I would love a monthly styling challenge. Doing it monthly seems like enough time to have fun without feeling pressured.

  • I love pretty much every single one of those looks – shoes, outfits, hair – the whole thing. What a gorgeous wrap-up to a shoe-riffic year!

  • Congrats on finishing! I’m so glad I’m nearly there, I’ve started to get really excited about wearing some of the shoes I saved early on again, I’m really glad I took part as I have cleared out lots of pairs I didn’t wear much, but boy have I missed wearing some of my faves!

  • I loved reading about your first challenge, and I needed to take part in the second one to get myself to wear my shoes. And taking part in this year’s has made me feel differently about shoes completely – it’s a good thing! I would love a reader participation challenge this coming year, and basing it on monthly styles/themes would be great! You really are the Shoeperwoman!

  • I’m a big fan of your shoe collection and honestly hope to keep seeing your shoes featured on here:) As for the new shoe challenge, whatever it will be, I hope to be a part of it! (I took a pause last year in the challenge due to illness so feel rested enough to start anew:))) How bout a “would wear/did wear” scenerio (some days I wish I could wear certain shoes but due to Prague weather – which is probably as bad as yours – I just cannot) where we’d post shoes/outfits we wish we could wear and then the real deal. Just a thought. Anyways, here’s to a happy new year and new shoe challenge:)

  • I have sadly failed in my shoe challenge even though I have until March to complete it. Having said that, when I moved house two weeks ago I had a big clean out of both shoes and dresses and have reduced both collections by quite a bit. I think that will do for me this year. I could possibly do a style challenge type thing but will wait and see what you come up with! Also, I have REALLY enjoyed seeing your shoes and outfits, Amber.

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