Five Pairs of Shoes I Couldn’t Live Without

five pairs of shoes I couldn't live without

I have a lot of shoes. You know that, right? My collection may not be nearly as extensive as some, but it’s fair to say that I have way more shoes than I actually “need”.

Now, I enjoy having a lot of shoes. It’s nice to have plenty of choice, and as something of a shoe collector, there’s always another pair to catch my eye. If I had to, though, I’m fairly sure I could get by with just a few pairs of shoes/boots: in fact, my very first Shoe Challenge was born from the realisation that I was doing exactly that – just endlessly rotating through the same pairs of shoes, even although I had plenty more to choose from.  I’ve been asked a few times now which shoes I consider to be my absolute “essentials”, so today I thought it would be fun to take a look at the shoes I absolutely couldn’t live without – or wouldn’t WANT to live without, more accurately. I’ve limited myself to five pairs, and before I tell you what they are, I have to make the following caveats:

01. This is a purely personal list : as I said in my capsule wardrobe post, everyone has different tastes/lifestyles/comfort levels, so I definitely don’t intend this to be some kind of “shoes every woman should own” kind of of thing: your list will probably be completely different from mine (and I’d love to hear what’s on it!).

02. I’m talking here about STYLES of shoes rather than specific pairs. I’ve chosen some photos of my own shoes to illustrate my selections, but any similar style would do.

03. I’ve excluded the purely practical shoes. I know I couldn’t live without my running shoes or wellies, for instance, but as they have very specific purposes (i,e. I wouldn’t actively CHOOSE to wear Wellington boots, but sometimes I don’t have a choice!) I’ve excluded them from the list.

04. I put this list together off the top of my head… therefore I reserve the right to change my mind about any/all of these!

And with all of that said, here are the five pairs of shoes I couldn’t live without!

nude pumps by Christian Louboutin

1. Nude pumps

I think if I had to choose just one pair of shoes to wear forever, nude pumps would be my top choice. (I might go for a slightly lower heel than the ones shown in the photo if I had to wear them ALL the time, though: this particular pair wasn’t really made for long walks!). These shoes really do go with absolutely everything: they look good with the most casual pair of jeans to the fanciest frock, and if I’m not sure which shoes to wear with a particular outfit, nude pumps are what I’ll always end up reaching for.

2. Gold flats

gold flats

Not even ShoeperWoman can live in heels ALL the time, so I had to include at least one pair of flats! I was torn between red and gold, both of which I find really versatile: in an ideal world I’d have a pair of each, but I went for gold in the end, purely because flats are generally an “emergency” or last-resort option for me. I’ll quite often tuck a pair into my handbag when I go out, just in case I need them, so they have to be able to work with whatever I happen to be wearing at the time. Of course, I also like them to look good, which is why gold is my colour of choice: it goes with everything, but feels “special”, even on a simple flat.

3. Red peep toes

red peep toes

Peep toes are probably my favourite style of shoe. They’re such a fun style, and I love the way they look with brightly painted toenails peeking out of the toe. As I’ve already chosen a neutral pair of heels for this list, I decided to go for a bright colour for these: red is my favourite shoe colour, and works well with enough of my clothes for it to be a fairly versatile choice for me, so it was the obvious colour to go for!

4. Canvas/cork wedges

nautical wedges

I’ve written loads about my love of canvas or cork wedges, so I won’t repeat myself too much, other than to say that this is my go-to style for summer, and particularly for vacations. I find wedges much more comfortable than flats, but unlike many other “comfortable” shoes, they also look cute into the bargain. I generally go for some variation on the nautical theme, but I also love gold wedges, for the same reason I chose gold flats: they’re dressy AND they go with everything!

5. Over-the-knee boots

over-the-knee boots

As I live in a cold climate, I had to include a pair of boots. I’m not much of a fan of boots, which is why there IS only one pair on this list, and the one pair I’ve picked is none other than the over-the-knee boot. This is a style that gets a bit of a bad rap from some people (I rarely see the words “over-the-knee boots” written without the words “Pretty Woman” coming pretty soon after them), but while I do think they require careful styling, I also think they can be far more stylish than regular knee boots, because they create a much more streamlined shape under dresses and skirts. I have quite a few pairs now, and they all get plenty of use each winter, which is why they make it onto my list of essentials!

So that’s my list of the shoes I couldn’t live without – for now, at least. I think this is the kind of thing that will change depending on your lifestyle and taste, so if I were to try doing this again in a few years, I’d possibly select completely different shoes.

What about you, though? What are the shoes YOU couldn’t live without?


  • OOOOOH this is a fun challenge.
    1-Olive-gray over-the-knee flat suede boots. Work with skirts and skinnies alike.
    2-Black pointy wedges by Dior (re-soled 2 times and with tank-like durability)
    3-Beige suede peep-toe flats by Zara (actually they ‘died’ and I have been scouring eBay for a replacement pair)
    4-Embellished, pewter strappy stilettos by Prada (or other fun metallic sandal for a night out)
    5-Black patent almond-toe pumps with laser cut-outs, by Calvin Klein. The ultimate universal corporate shoe with a bit of interesting detail.

  • I’m so surprised you didn’t have any Melissas on your list, I would have thought (particularly the cherry) Lady Dragons would be on here for sure 🙂

    My list would be:
    Mel bowed ballet flats (I actually only wear them to run errands or to walk the pig but they are actually the shoes I wear most often so they deserve their spot here)
    Slouchy boots from Stradivarius (I no longer have these as I wore them to death but I miss them so much and they were one of my all-time favorite pair of boots. I’m looking for a replacement for next winter) – and if it has to be shoes that I currently have well then instead I’d pick my Topshop Galaxy ankle boots.
    Zara Woman sequined ballet flats (I love that these shoes are totally unique and special and yet still very wearable and they just feel great when I have them on, they make me feel great)
    Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragons red with gold heart (they were the first I bought so that holds a special memory of when I was on vacation in London)
    Topshop Webster wedges – I love a studded shoe and am a huge fan of wedges 🙂

    • Oh I did it like actual pairs of shoes (ops) not types of shoes but it still would be the same pairs actually even as types of shoes:)

      Melissa flats (for everyday casual use)
      Flat boots (I like below the knee because I’m tall and over-the-knee boots rarely go over my knee and I think that just looks weird – any tips for this??)
      Interesting flats (with sequins or studs or embellishments etc)
      Melissa heels/wedges (bright colors, fun details, perfect for both day and night)
      Studded shoes/wedges

  • Tough to pick, but I’m game. Not the most interesting list, but alas, if I must pick only 5 I have to go with the basics.
    1. Black pointed flats (Short points though. Hate long toes)
    2. Brightly colored flats. My current favorites are a pretty fuchsia suede.
    3. Black heels (I don’t like nude shoes, so black goes best w/the rich colors I wear)
    4. Brown slouchy knee boots (but covering the knee cap, not right under)
    5. Pewter/silver flat sandals. I wear them with everything I used to wear with flip-flops, but they are more professional and attractive.

  • I think my list would be very similar to yours, Amber, although I’d go for knee high boots rather than over the knee boots as I’m quite tall and they just don’t suit me one bit.

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