Shoeperwoman’s Shoe Challenge 2010!

Shoeperwoman's shoe collection

When you write about shoes for a living, one question tends to crop up more than any other. (Well, OK, maybe slightly less than “And you actually make money from that?”, but still fairly often.) “So,” people will ask, preparing to be shocked, “How many pairs of shoes do you actually have?”

Until yesterday, I didn’t actually know the answer to that question. My house is small, you see, and my shoe collection lives in various different corners of it, so counting shoes had never been a huge priority. Last night, though, I decided it was time I was able to answer the sixty-four-thousand dollar question, so I got out my shoe collection, and…

Seventy one pairs of shoes. (Excluding purely practical shoes like slippers and running shoes and the like. They don’t count.) I have to be honest: it’s less than I thought it would be, and much, much less than the collections of some shoe lovers I know, but all the same, as I looked at the shoes – some of which I hadn’t seen for months because they’d been crammed at the back of the closet – I realised something: although I have seventy four pairs of shoes (ahem!) currently in my possession, I only actually wear a small percentage of them on anything like a regular basis.

There are lots of reasons for that, of course. The aforementioned storage issue is one of them: out of sight tends to be out of mind for me, and if a particular pair of shoes is tucked away somewhere, I’ll tend to forget all about them and just keep going back to the same old favourites, time after time. Add to that the fact that I work from home, which means I don’t need to get dressed up every day (I actually don’t need to get dressed AT ALL every day, but perhaps the less said about that, the better…), plus the fact that I live in the kind of town where people tend to dress very casually, and you end up with a very lazy Shoeperwoman, and a closet full of sadly neglected shoes.

But no more, though! Today, I’m setting myself a challenge: to wear every pair of shoes I own at least once within the next year. So, rather than sitting unloved in their boxes and on their shelves, every pair of shoes and boots you see above will be worn at least once: and just to keep myself accountable, I’m going to take a photo each time I wear a different pair. As extra motivation, I’m also going to have a forfeit and promise that any pair of shoes that remain unworn in one year’s time will go to the thrift shop if they’re still wearable, and to the giant shoe shop in the sky if they’re not. (I’m going to cheat slightly here and exlude a couple of pairs of “special” shoes I couldn’t bear to part with, although I will do my very best to wear them anyway!)

Now, 71 pairs of shoes isn’t a huge amount to get through in 365 days, but I foresee some problems, particularly with the summer (we don’t get one, basically, which makes it hard to get any use out of sandals) and “special occasion” shoes, so hopefully this will inspire me, not only to wear all of the shoes I keep on buying, but to be a little more creative about what I wear WITH them, too. And, if nothing else, it’ll help me think a little more carefully about future shoe purchases!

Want to join me in your own shoe challenge?  Here are my self-imposed rules:

1. Each pair of shoes I own must be worn at least once by January 26th 2011.

2. Photos must be taken to prove that the shoes were worn.

3. New shoes can be purchased (because, let’s face it, it’s not like I’m going to give up shoe shopping), but any new purchases must ALSO be worn by the end of the challenge.

4. Any shoes NOT worn will be donated or dumped at the end of the challenge: use ’em or lose ’em!

If you want to join in, all I ask is that you link back to this post when you do. Oh, and that you tell me: how many pairs of shoes do you actually have, anyway?

UPDATE! To see how I’m getting on with my Shoe Challenge, click here!

FLICKR GROUP: If you want to join in the challenge, but don’t have a blog, please feel free to join the new Flickr Group I’ve set up for the challenge, and post your photos there!


  • Only 25. But I did throw away more than 10 pairs a few months ago (way too old and I haven’t worn them in over two years) and am unsure about the whereabouts of another two pairs of boots (where DID I put them? ). *sigh* more needed.

  • That’s a good idea, but you should include the clause regarding “special” shoes in the rules – we all have those! Perhaps they should be documented to prove their specialness.

    It’d also be interesting to see if the total number of pairs increases or decreases after the exercise. Right, I’m off to county mine. (Now do DMs count as work boots and therefore as exceptions…?)

    • Oh dear, I missed the ones lurking in the wardrobes. How about an extra rule: if you have more than 80 you get an extra 6 months to complete the challenge?

    • Well, the “rules” were really just for my benefit, because I didn’t expect there would be many people wanting to do it, but of course anyone who wants to take part can modify them any way that suits!

  • That’s such a good idea! Some of mine were embarassingly dusty last time I pulled them out.

    I might even extend it to clothes as well.

    The photo of all the high heel shoes looks hilariously like my barbie’s wardrobe.

  • Around 400, no joke… maybe 401 yesterday, when I bought another pair… the “collection” includes all the “good” brands/designers I love… Christian Louboutin (but just one pair!), Marc Jacobs (some – I loooove him!), etc… But the rules… oh my God! I have to wear them within a year! I don’t want to lose any of them… I’d better hurry up! Anyway, I planned to wear a new one on Sunday, my birthday…!!!!!
    .-= Denise´s last blog ..How sweet is this? =-.

  • Not that many… Probably around 30 pairs, but I was very disciplined and threw out the ones I didn’t wear anymore a few months ago. It was a heartbreaking experience, but that means that this spring will be all about buying new ones! Hooray!

  • I have 103 pairs and I think I can meet the challenge, especially since we plan to buy a new house this year and that is a good excuse to clean out the closet anyway.
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Quay =-.

  • I had to put away all the shoes on the floor of my room to make the counting easier. I have 31 not counting the ‘practical shoes’ and thongs (I don’t know why I own 5 pairs of different coloured thongs). It’s divided into about half flats and half heels. I won’t have any problem wearing all the flats as I live in flats. I’ll just have to invent occassions to wear the heels at..
    It’s a good challenge because there’s no point in having shoes if you’re not gonna wear them. At least replace them with a new pair you will wear 😛

  • I have less than 10 (I don’t generally buy heels because I know I won’t wear them!) but you inspired me to wear my fave (ie- most uncomfortable!) heels tonight…. just to pop to my BFs!! Thanks Shoeperwoman!! 😀

  • I’m in the exact same situation. I have about 200 pairs of shoes (all heels and I’ve only been buying for about 10 months, can you tell I’m addicted?) but only wear about 10 of them because they’re crammed away and I can’t get to them so I end up forgetting all about them, so I am definitely going to do this challenge!

    • I dream of one day having a huge, walk-in closet with an entire wall (or maybe two) dedicated to shoes! So many of mine are tucked away in various places that when I took them all out to photograph them it was like meeting old friends. I definitely think good storage would make a huge difference 🙂

  • I had to go count, totally out to 93 (not counting gym shoes and my snowboots/wellies). I’m actually pretty good about varying the wear of my shoes, but I definitely have favorites (usually the news ones!). Since I have the benefit of some space, I’ve got cube bookshelves from Ikea along one wall of my closet where all my shoe boxes live. I went on an organizing kick when I moved out of my former (and tiny!) apartment.

    This is such a great idea! I empathize with the difficulty of it especially since I too am working from home and getting dressed in an outfit that requires heels is usually more effort than I put out on a daily basis. I’ve found that the pairs I don’t wear very much are often ones that I have stylistically, if not literally, outgrown.

    • The working from home thing has played havoc with my wardrobe! I feel silly and uncomfortable getting “dressed up” just to sit in my home office, so it means so many things go unworn. Hopefully this will force me to get out of the house a bit more as well as wearing all my shoes, though!

  • I have about 50+ pairs of shoes…but im only 19, im working on it..
    I’d try the challange but some of them I bought on a whim and in the cold light of day they are too hideous to ever see the cold light of day…

  • I completly understand with the cramming in corners situation. My mom bought me little shoe shelves (3 selves that fit proximatly 10-14 shoes, and it has a cover with a really cool design and a zipper), but it’s not enough to fit all my shoes and i don’t have space to get another shelf thingy. So 3 favorite heels, and my most wearable shoes for the season/weather, in the shelfy thingy. While the rest are in boxes in several closets around the house.
    Once exam season is over, i’m going to organize everything and maybe count how many pairs i got 😀
    .-= Ally C´s last blog ..Dress of the Day =-.

  • 54 pairs, not counting flip flops (which I adore!!). Obviously I’m falling behind and a shoe shopping trip is called for! I like to gaze at them all, so I converted a bookcase (or 3) into my shoe display case.

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve been trying to convince Shoeperman to let me convert the shelves in our office into shoe storage: they’d hold them all, and give me an entire Wall of Shoes, but somehow he’s not too keen on the idea!

  • I can only estimate how many pairs I have (cause I’m in very small student accommodation, I don’t have room for all my shoes so had to leave most of them at home) but I _think_ I’ve got 31 pairs… my shoe collection looks extremely paltry compared to everybody else!

  • I have 16 pairs in my dorm room here at school, and probably at least abother 15 or 20 back home in Fort Worth. When I go shoe shopping, I (sadly) never even look at the heels because I know I just can’t walk in them without wanting to chop off my feet by the end of the day. I direct myself to the flats, where I have found more than enough cute shoes to fill my footwear needs. I’ve never done a shoe inventory like you, but I have recently started to only do laundry once every three weeks in an attempt to show some love to my infrequently worn items.

    By the way, you have beautiful hair. 🙂

  • =( I own two pairs of shoes, both of which are falling apart.

    Um… Yay, poor university student? Haha. One day!

    Oh, and I just fell in love with those purple slingbacks towards the front <3

  • I have modified your rules to fit mine! I am not doing shoes but dresses. I’m kinda excited! But also kinda nervous about the ones I may lose. 🙁

  • You are an amazingly beautiful woman.. and you inspired me to start my own collection, thank you for that! I live in the Netherlands for 2 years now, and so far I couldn’t find a place where women here buy beautiful shoes.. if the do.. except of Germany. And of course I dream of shopping in England! And maybe one day I even dare to buy online..

  • Hmm, this is a good idea, the only problem I foresee is that I own rather a lot of “party” pumps and sandals, but living in Norway I don’t have much chance of using them (and this should really be a good reason for not buying so many of them..)
    Rule-wise, will you be counting regular winter-shoes, the boots you wear to go to the store, or just your more extravagant shoes? I’m trying to figure out if I should bother taking a picture of the pair of winter boots I wear nearly every time I need to go outside.

  • Fantastic idea…
    I currently have over 550 pairs of shoes and really need to implement a wear em’ or pass them on rule…
    Of course… some are unwearable …and I justify them as art pieces : )

  • I now own 15 (previously 40) and out of that I only wear three on a regular basis… for the office, for exercise and for walking around town. I just got rehabilitated from buying too many shoes because like your problem, I don’t have enough space and primarily because I’ve realized that a huge percentage of my salary goes to shoe shopping and that is bad considering I solely raise a child. The first step of my rehab was purging but I did it and not only that, I made my neighbors and friends happy because of my shoes. After rehab, that was November 2009 when we moved to a new house, I only bought 1… a custom-made shoe and my 15th pair.
    .-= Joannalyne´s last blog ..Valentine’s Day Gifts For Him or Her =-.

  • I have no idea how many pairs I own. I’ve always said ‘more than 100, less than 200’, but I’m sure I’m over the 200 now. That’s why I started my blog The Shoe Girl Diaries ( where I set myself the challenge to wear a different pair every day and document them all. I’m at Day 132 and still going strong!
    .-= Pink Haired Princess´s last blog ..Day One Hundred & Thirty Two – Heel Toe, Heel Toe =-.

  • I only have about 40 pairs…so this shouldn’t be too hard! Although, i work as the retail manager of a scuba shop- and i’m the only female who works here….i wonder what the guys would think if i showed up to work in my hot pink leopard stilettos….
    .-= Jesse´s last blog ..Literally. How ironic! =-.

  • Oh god ! Such a pleasure to see I’m not the unique crazy girl fond of shoes !!!!
    I might be around 75 pairs… I have to count the new purchases (7 pairs last week… hum, end of sales, you understand…)
    Last time I counted (two months ago), was to take a picture of every pair. As you say, “no see no wear”, so, I had planned to paste every picture on my closet door, to “see” them. (I did that with make-up products, and it worked !)
    I start the challenge newt week. Let’s see, does Ski boots count? then I might start on Monday 🙂
    I’ll post the pictures on my blog.
    Bye !
    .-= Maitelovesfashion´s last blog ..Le "mouton rose" est mort… =-.

  • My fiance is always joking that I have too many shoes, despite our sizeable walk-in closet. Thus, I told my fiance about this challenge and the large number of shoes that some of you have. Of course he then counted my shoes (so that I couldn’t tamper with the numbers), and came up with only 35 pairs. I LOVE shoes, but I clean out very regularly (he then took the liberty of reminding me of the dozen or so pairs I donated when we moved into our new house, back in September). This challenge should be fun for me, because I still have only a trusty few that I generally rely on for work and play.

  • WOW. I just counted and I have 841. Most of them are from thrift stores, but still…. I think I should probably extent my challenge to 2015.

  • Wow! 71 pairs of shoes, you rock. My husband need never moan at my collection again. Hmmm, I’ll have to count how many pairs I have … but I don’t think it’s anywhere near that many!
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Housewarming Gift =-.

  • Great challenge! I started one of my own back in June…365 days of 365 different shoes. It’s been a fun challenge but I still have a long way to go. I love your posts and was thrilled when I found your blog. Good luck!

  • I’m definitely going to try this out, but as I only own a paltry 6 pairs of shoes, I’m going to use dresses.
    This should be fun!

  • I’ve always had over 100 pairs of shoes at a time since I was about 19 (SHOE ADDICT). Sometimes I get rid of a few (trashing or giving them away) so I can buy new ones and not feel guilty! This year what I did is if I have not used them in a year I sell them on Ebay! The best part is after selling a few pairs I save the money to buy a new designer pair! 🙂 Definitely will join in this shoe challenge, what I don’t wear I will sell!

  • Um, wow. I have 4 pairs of shoes, and that includes winter boots, sneakers, and my steel toes. I intend to buy another pair, but my concept of ‘designer’ is New Rock. How does one amass so many shoes?

  • I have about 4, converse, millitry boots, some nice party heels and wellie boots ^^ Although I have my eye on Irregular Choices union jack shoes, although they are low in my size 🙁

    My general cheat is to make a model and it might make me want them less, really doesn’t work.. I want them even more x)

  • Lol at people with hundreds of pairs. I have 3 pairs of converse, TUK flat Mary Janes, canvas plimsoles, biker style boots, work boots and Doc Martens.
    I only wear the converse and the work boots, the plimsoles are thin and for summer wear only and all the others rub or hurt my feet. Variety is not the spice of life when you are female with size UK 9 feet and a heavy build.

  • I know I’m late in coming to this but, Oh man, I have so many “special” shoes that I only wear with that one outfit, and really only that one time, but I swear I’ll wear them again someday… 71 pairs of shoes might not seem like much of a challenge in 365 days to some people but I completely understand! I want to take your challenge, but honestly I’m scared!! haha. I really don’t want to be forced to part with any of my shoes! But I will think about it – it might be an interesting new years resolution for me to try out. Especially if the shoes go to charity. Glad I found your blog! 🙂

  • Yeah, I know this is an old post, but I’ve decided I should probably do this this year. I counted recently and I own 84 pairs- excluding flip flops and slippers. And I can’t help my habit! As we speak (write?) I am waiting for two more pairs that I bought online to arrive. Here we go!

  • 58 pairs, not including those that I generally wear around the house or when I take the dog for her walk.

  • Have liked your page on Facebook and would love to be able to start posting pics of me trying to complete this challenge.

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