How Many Shoes Do I Need?

Depending on who you are, you are either rolling your eyes at the title or you are curious to see if I have a shoe problem too. Living at home during the last four years led to the accumulation of one too many pairs of shoes. I went from having the basics to having choices. While this is not a problem when there’s plenty of space to store them at home, it became an issue when I had to move (almost every two years). To help myself (and anyone in the same situation as me), I’ve come up with a list of basics for the practical nomadic shoeaholics. For those of you who need only one or two pairs of shoes, I’m happy for you. Maybe I’ll get there one day. 🙂

  • Ballet Flats (1-2 colours) – My daily walking shoes
    • Suggestions – Foldable shoes make it easier to pack for travelling:
      • Bagllerina – 86€+. Also has a line of sandals and waterproof ballerinas. Comes with a shoe pouch.
      • Ballasox – US$60. Comes with ‘socks’ sewn in! Comes with a shoe pouch.
      • CitySlips – US$30-60. Comes with an expandable tote bag.
      • Tieks – US$175+. Features non-skid soles and cushioned instep. Comes with a nylon tote AND a shoe pouch.
    • Are they good for the rain? Maybe even the beach or park? Suggestions: Crocs Kadee (these are best for muddy destinations), Oka-b
  • Heels vs Wedges (1-2 colours) – Without a doubt, heels are more professional and formal. Wedges are generally more stable, are better on cobblestone pavements and grates. With the invention of convertible heels (and even wedges), maybe it won’t be long when all we need is a pair of ballet flats and a bag of different heel sizes.
  • Wellies vs Waterproof Boots (1 colour) – Very practical for rainy and snowy days
    • Foldable rubber wellies are much easier to pack.
    • Waterproof boots can be worn in rain or shine.
  • Trainers (1 colour) – For exercise, running races, hiking
  • Sandals (1 colour) – For summer, the beach, the park, etc.
  • Or skip sandals and get a pair of ballet flats!

Total: 4-7

Things to consider

<li>What colour matches more clothes?</li>
<li>Nude (i.e. the closest to your skin colour) work best with pastels and brightly coloured clothing. Nude heels will make legs look longer.</li>
<li>Black goes with just about everything and can be worn anything of the year for any occasion.</li>
<li>Plain vs decorative - a plain pair (i.e. no bows) will give you the option of adding clip-on&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Shoelery</a>&nbsp;for your ballerinas, heels, wedges, and even boots!</li>
<li>Need something waterproof or at least water repellent? There's waterproof leather, patent leather, and rubber or PVC.</li>
<li>Is it skid-resistant? Does it offer arch support? Will it be comfortable to walk or stand in for long hours? -&gt; If no, will there be room / is it easy to add any inserts?</li>
<li>Sandals: Would you be able to wear these to the beach? Is it easy to clean when sand gets in?</li>
<li>Sometimes 'Grandma' shoes with the ridiculously comfortable soles are the best.</li>
<li>Some suggestions for comfortable shoe brands: Aerosoles, Clarks, Cole Haan, Crocs, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, <a href="" target="_blank">Le Chateau Moda Reflex</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="Brown Shoe" href="" target="_blank" rel="homepage">LifeStride</a>, Naturalizer, Oka-B, Sam Edler</li>

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Breaking in New Shoes

You’ve bought a new pair of shoes and by shoes, I mean wedges, sandals, heels, or even ballerina flats. Now comes the painful process of having to break them in. :/

Here are some tips I’ve learned on what we can do to make the process less painful or painless!

1. Visit the Cobbler

If you have bought a fancy pair of shoes that you don’t want to ruin but need to wear as soon as possible, visit the cobbler to have him/her stretch your shoes. For instance, I took in my patent pumps because they were just a tad too narrow at the ball of my feet. Now I won’t have to worry about getting white scuff marks! (If you do get some, however, this blogger has a way of removing the scuff marks!)

2. Buy Shoe Stretcher Spray

I didn’t want to take all my new shoes to the cobbler, particularly if I felt that I could stretch some myself. The cobbler introduced me to Storey’s Shoe Stretcher spray (there are many other brands of shoe stretchers) which softens the leather to allow the shoes to mold to your feet. All you have to do is spray the areas that need stretching (inside) then wear your shoes immediately. If you don’t think that your feet will be able to last for the entire day, try using a wooden shoe stretcher after you’ve sprayed the shoes. That way, your shoes should be ready to be worn the next day.

3. Buy an Anti-Blister Stick

This is the cheapest but best product for your feet and new shoes! There are many brands available but they seem to be the same to me (I’ve tried a few now). Rub the stick wherever you are more likely to get blisters (toes, heels) then put your shoes on. I’ve found that these anti-blister sticks are only temporary solutions. You may still find that you’ll get blisters, in which case, you might want to consider sticking in heel liners to your shoes.

4. Buy Good Blister Plasters

If you find that you’re still getting blisters after trying all of the above, I suggest you buy some good blister plasters (read post here). Do not tape your feet (I’ve resorted to tape before when I’d run out of plasters). First-aid bandages won’t help either. I recommend Elastoplast or Dr Scholl’s with Hydra Gel. You really need something that will protect and heel the blisters and stay on for a longer period of time. I’ve tried some that have come off after an hour and/or increase the size of the blister. The good plasters are more expensive but comfort is worth the money.

5. Wear Pantyhose

Depending on how tight your shoes are and on what the den of your tights is, this might only help temporarily. You will, at the very least, slide into your shoes more easily.

7. Buy a pair of Insoles

Perhaps it’s not blisters you’re worried about but the ball of your feet and your heels. For instance, I recently bought a pair of Replikate wedges from Marks & Spencer which were fairly comfortable but still too hard for my feet. I bought a pair of Dr Scholl’s For Her High Heel Insoles (one size: US 6-10) and stuck them on (heel to heel). Since then, I’ve had less pressure on the ball of my feet and my arches are supported. I’m certain you can use the high heel insoles for ballerina flats too although the Sole Expressions or Open Shoe might be better for that. Depending on the shoes you have, there are many brands and types of insoles or orthotics that you can get. (Read post here)

I hope these tips are helpful! Enjoy your new shoes! 🙂


Too much of a hassle? So far, these shoes have been the most comfortable pairs of shoes I’ve worn that don’t need stretching, insoles, or anti-blister sticks:

  • Clarks Wendy Land sandals
  • Clarks suede pumps (e.g. Society Bristol or Society Ball)
  • Vince Camuto ballerina flats with padded insoles

Assuming you’ve bought the right size, that is! 😉