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How Many Pairs of Shoes Does the Average Woman Own?

header about how many shoes women own

People often ask me how many pairs of shoes the average woman owns, and how many pairs I personally own. This question got me thinking of my own shoe collection and what general tips I follow.  

I like to consider myself a simple woman when it comes to shoes (personally, having too many shoes clutters my closet and stresses me out when picking outfits).  

I also reached out to my girlfriends (shoutout to my girls who put up with my surveys and endless texts!) My most fashion obsessed (corporate working) friend said at the moment that she owns about 50 pairs (although she usually donates shoes and cloth every year). It’s not uncommon for women to own 100 or 200 pairs. The most minimalistic (teacher) friend of mine said 11… Good to know I fall somewhere in-between! 

Basically, There is no right answer for how many shoes you should have. Rather, it should be based on your lifestyle, needs and budget.  

The average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes

A poll of 1,057 women by shopping magazine ShopSmart found that the average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes (Source: Reuters & Shopsmart). On average, women purchase 4 new pairs of shoes per year.

However, 19 is not the right number for how many shoes YOU should own. Here is how you can find out what is the right number for you.

Women use only 4-5 pairs regularly

How many shoes should a woman own? there are several ways to answer this question. 

woman with 20 pairs of shoes
The average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes

One is that you can own as many shoes as you want until your Significant Other becomes upset 🙂

Another way to answer the question is to look at how many different pairs of shoes women actually wear on a regular basis (and not how many they own). How many pairs of shoes women actually wear could be a good indication of the minimum number of shoes you should have. Both The ShopSmart survey and a survey from VoucherCodesPro (which polled 2,352 women in the UK) found that women only use 4 to 5 pairs of shoes regularly (Source: DailyMail & VoucherCodesPro). So 4-5 pairs of shoes could be a good starting point for a minimalist wardrobe.

I recommend looking at your individual needs and style preferences, as well as your location and work, to determine how many pairs of shoes you should own, and what types of shoes you should own.

Here are some tips and breakdown of shoe categories I follow to reduce the stress of outfit planning as well as simplify my shoe collection to just the essentials (note: I usually stick with neutral colors so that I can maximize the number of outfits I can wear my shoes with)

1. Sneakers (2 pairs)

If I have multiple pairs of any shoe, it’s sneakers.  I work out 3-4 times a week and am currently training for a half marathon so my go to shoes must be comfortable. Depending on your lifestyle and budget, I recommend having a casual pair that you can dress up as well as ones for working out or walking.

white sneakers
black sneakers

2. Boots (1 or 2 pairs)

My second favorite type of shoe (after sneakers). Once Autumn in Chicago starts, you’ll find me wearing a casual pair of ankle or riding boots.  Again, I still have basic black or brown boots so I can wear them with my mostly neutral wardrobe. 

-Ankle boots


3. Loafers (1 pair)

Third on the list is a comfy pair of loafers or flats.  My go-to work shoe must be comfortable and (again) go with many outfit options. I suggest having a pair of black loafers that you can dress up as well as your classic everyday loafers. 

4. Sandals (1 or 2 pairs depending on your location)

In Chicago, you can get away with wearing open-toe sandals 3-4 months out of the year.  I suggest investing in a pair of comfortable sandals that will support your feet and last for years. 

Everyday casual sandal (birkenstock) 

Dressy pair of sandals

Heeled sandles 

5. Boots for bad weather (1 pair if you live in an area with bad weather)

Living in Chicago it’s important to have a good pair of rain and snow boots.  Depending on where you live and the climate (Rain/Snow).

6. Comfortable Heels/Fashion heels (2 pairs)

Heels are shoes I do not wear often. I do have a few types of heels in my closet for when the occasion calls. My heel philosophy is classic chic pumps that must be comfortable enough to wear all day (did you know that 43% of women reported having been at least moderately injured by shoes, and 8% reported serious injuries like sprains or breaks due to shoes? Source: ShopMart Survey).

I recommend having one classic pump as well as a dressier pair for special occasions.

-black pumps

-strapped heels 

How many shoes you own is a personal decision and should be based on your lifestyle, needs and budget.  I hope my breakdown of general shoe rules can help you simplify the process when deciding which shoes to keep and which to throw out!

I hope my breakdown of my general shoe rules will inspire you to simplify your shoe wardrobe and life!

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