I read "A Guide to Living With Less" and I agree with everything they say, except for the 'just one' principle. Having just one of something does work for certain things. I have just one winter coat and one pair of sunglasses, but not shoes. First, I love shoes and they are my one indulgence. I rarely buy new clothes, heck I rarely buy new underwear until the ones I have disintegrate in the wash. Shoes though make me happy.
I do have multiple pairs of shoes and there are a couple of reasons. One: you shouldn't wear the same pair of shoes every day. Those suckers need time to breath. Second: you need different shoes for different occasions. I have every day work shoes and I have the 'I need to go to an important meeting' dress shoes. The floors in my office are concrete and it's a huge building so I need to make sure I'm wearing super comfy shoes.
While I do have multiple shoes I only buy one to two pairs of shoes a year depending on what I need and whether or not I am replacing a pair that have worn out.
Here is my guide to buying shoes-
- Buy good shoes. Yeah, a pair of boots will set you back $200-$400, but they will last for ten years or more. The trick is to take them in every year to get polished and change the soles when they wear down. I get my soles reshoed about every 2 years. Keep in mind that I'm hard on shoes and I wear out the heels pretty quick. I've had a pair of boots for six years and these things have travelled the world and they are still going strong. Get to know your cobbler.
- Buy shoes that allow you to switch out the insole. The reality is that summer shoes get kind of, well, gross. The shoe and the sole of the shoe may be in great shape, but the insole may wear out first. There are certain brands that let you keep the life of your shoe going. For example, Alegria sells insoles that fit all of their shoes that can be swapped out. Finn Comfort shoes also let you replace the insole. Zappos has a tutorial on how to replace insoles.
- Buy vintage. I love my cowboy boots and I wear them all the time. What was great about buying vintage cowboy boots was they were already broken in. I just slipped them on and I was good to go.
While I do believe in being green, I also don't want to feel guilty if I indulge in shoes. So, feel free to buy new shoes, but think twice about buying that cheap pair of throw aways.
Photo Credit Limarie Cabrera
Originally published 6/20/14