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Minimalist Wardrobe: Shoes


How many pairs of shoes do you own?

The actual number is less important than your experience of this piece of your home and life. Do you stand in front of rows upon rows of shoes feeling overwhelmed every day? Do you have pairs that aren’t comfortable? That no longer meet your needs? That don’t reflect your preferences? Do you suffer from decision fatigue before you even step out to meet the world?

The average woman owns 27 pairs. I own 6.

And that is the exact right number for me. They serve me so well based on the 5 pillars from my Minimalist Wardrobe class: climate, lifestyle, comfort, fit, and style.

1. Vivobarefoot Boots

These high quality minimalist boots mimic barefoot walking while insulating from the cold, which makes them perfect to fill my Urban Cold spot. These boots are my go to for everyday city life in the colder months of the year: Hackschool event at a museum or out to dinner with my family.

2. Birkenstock Sandals

These classic hippie staples are my everyday go-to in the warmer months, filling my Urban Warm spot. You’ll catch me in these taking a kid to a dentist appointment or attending a support group meeting.

3. Sorel Boots

These tough all weather boots pair perfectly with my wool socks to fill my Nature Cold spot. These work horses shine while hiking through the temperate rainforest or stomping down a snowy trail.

4. Keen Sandals

These light-weight, versatile, amphibious hiking sandals cheerily answer the call of adventure, filling my Nature Warm spot. They splash across rivers and scurry over rocks while offering just enough support for ache-prone feet. Because of their ideal balance of durable lightweight support, I also wear these places where I’ll be active and on my feet all day like an amusement park.

5. Sketchers Sneakers

These memory foam, breathable sneakers are the shoes that pair with the clothes in my activewear drawer, stepping into my Athletic spot. Running, Krav Maga-ing (ya, I made it a verb) . . . if the intent is exercise then the footwear is usually sneakers.

6. Lana Birkenstocks

These black strappy wedges are for gettin’ professional or fancy, filling my Dressy spot. I can pair them with jeans, tee, and a blazer to class up the look for a professional event or wear them with my Free People lace dress at a wedding. 

These are the 6 pairs of shoes that meet every need for me – all weather and every occasion. Of course, your 5 pillars will be different (and the Minimalist Wardrobe class can help you clarify them), so your shoe needs will look different. But hopefully in sharing mine, you are feeling inspired to let go of the clutter that doesn’t serve you well to make space for the quality pieces that are a perfect fit for you (figuratively and literally).

  1. Larisa says:

    I have very similar shoes that I wear and also only 6 pairs for our mountain life living. I would suggest The Root Collective for a new pair of flats. They are ethically made and a small fair trade company. I invested in the brown leather flats and wear them for all dressy occasions.

  2. Kristen says:

    This is super inspiring! I just pared down my shoe collection but one day I hope to edit even further. To 10 pairs or less. I am a big fan of my Tieks flats for “fancy” shoes. They are indeed pricy, but extremely comfy and versatile. They are also handmade I believe in the US. Anyway, I thought I’d offer that suggestion since you are looking for a new pair. Excited to have found you through Meg McElwee!

    • I’m so glad to know you felt inspired by this post Kristen! 10 pairs or less – that is a great boundary. What’s stopping you? Ooh, thanks for the tip. I’ll look those shoes up now.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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