The Ideal Shoe Wardrobe for a Minimalist

A footwear edition of finding my enough

Words by Leslie Watson

How many pairs of shoes should a minimalist own? Aside from a modest collection of sentimental items, my goal for any category of personal possessions is to meet my needs without excess. Here’s how I applied that philosophy to my shoe wardrobe:

The main considerations for a minimalist shoe edit are activities and climate. Nearly all of my waking hours are spent at work, home, or casual events in temperatures ranging from 35 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The two pairs of shoes I wear most are fuzzy slippers at home and black lace-up ankle boots pretty much everywhere else. The ankle boots have barefoot soles and are comfortable for long distance walking year-round, plus they’re dressy enough for work.

Sometimes I hike muddy trails, visit beaches, or attend formal events, so I kept durable hiking sneakers, gray waterproof sandals, and classic skin-tone stiletto heels for occasional use. I limit the color scheme of my wardrobe so every pair of shoes coordinates with the same activity’s clothes.

Five pairs of shoes is the perfect amount for my current lifestyle because I have an appropriate choice to wear for anything on my agenda. I don’t miss having more than one pair of each style or options for activities that haven’t been on my calendar in years, like ballet class. Selling and donating surplus shoes gave me a clutter-free closet and a few extra dollars to spend on things I value more than footwear. Getting ready in the morning is effortless, and I no longer waste time considering additional shoe purchases. When a pair becomes irreparable, I replace them with a similar style.

My shoe collection wouldn’t be right for every minimalist, because we all have different environments, careers, and activity preferences. Snow shoes are essential in cold climates. Steel-toe boots or non-slip clogs are required at some workplaces. Athletes might need multiple pairs of sneakers. If you don’t attend formal events, you can get by without dress shoes.

Living with your minimum practical inventory is a step toward financial freedom, environmental conservation, and increased focus on higher personal priorities. If you’re looking to experience the benefits of simplifying, a minimalist shoe wardrobe is a rewarding way to save time and reduce clutter.

Leslie Watson

Leslie Watson is an eco-minimalist from the West Coast, USA, where she works as an elementary school teaching assistant. Her articles about voluntary simplicity and environmental sustainability have been featured on Becoming Minimalist, Minimalism Life, No Sidebar, and Zero Waste California. Leslie’s hobbies include Bible study, reading, hiking, and traveling.

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