Minimalism fail?

I think I have the perfect shoe wardrobe now. But is it minimalistic?…well, rather not, coming from an extreme point of view, i.e., compared to folks who are content with only one pair of vibram five fingers or such.

I loathe the days when I couldn’t afford quality shoes that would remind me of that fact every time I wore them by making my feet bleed. In high school, I went through both sports education and parties alternating between a pair of Converse chucks and my mom’s old running shoes from the 70’s. Freezing and slipping in winter, wet feet in fall, sweating in sneakers in high summer, always in the wrong shoes for the occasion. Since these days i am constantly aware of my foot wear. I want to be able to wear appropriate shoes for different occasions and weather, that fit me well, have a good quality, and, yes, match my wardrobe. In fact, the Vibram shoes are made of neoprene and wearing them every day without socks, I can imagine that they develop odour after a while, so they aren’t for me anyway. I try to buy only leather shoes and take very good care of them, in this way I can afford higher quality shoes because they don’t need to be replaced that often. Another reason why shoes are important to me is that I walk to work and generally a lot. If you have only 50 steps to walk each day between your home, car and office, shoe problems might be less noticeable than if you walk in average one hour a day, or if after going out to dance in those sparkly high heels you have to walk two miles back home in them.

Living in a four season climate, and having many occasions on the plate, to date there are 20 (twenty) 19 (nineteen) pairs of them. That surely isn’t minimal, it’s even more than enough for my needs. For the above-mentioned reasons, when it comes to shoes I settle for ‘comfortably more than enough’ because the ‘enough’ line would be too close to ‘bleeding feet’, which is something I will never get close to again if it’s avoidable. However, I am aware of why I do this, so I can actively counteract that urge to get away from ‘bleeding feet’ by trying not to buy duplicates of the same category.

I believe it was a mistake to think that I need the same type of shoes in both black and brown, because I do not seem to care as much as I thought I would, so this would be something I will try to avoid in the future.

So here’s the shoe breakdown, with cost-per-wear CPW (how much I use them compared to how much they cost):

 Specialty shoes

Specialty shoes

From back left to front right:

1. Gum boots for those days when it downpours for hours in a row here. CPW: low.

2. Salomon cross trail shoes with Goretex, for running and light hiking in summer and winter. CPW: low.

3. Merrell all leather hiking boots, for longer tours and mountains. CPW: medium (they replaced my 5y old pair last summer).

4. Salomon Techamphibian water shoes, for kayaking and as sneakers (I hate sneakers. See arguments above.): CPW: low.

5 (not pictured: Sorel snow boots, worn for 3-4 months in a row daily in winter): CPW: low.

Spring, fall and winter shoes

Spring, fall, winter

From back left to front right:

1) Esprit brown tall boots. These are synthetic, but are keeping up well so far. They run a bit small (were a gift from my mom) so I will get rid of them when they have worn out. But they fit well with my wardrobe so I wear them often. CPW: low

2) Bronx leather boots. These shoes are the most ‘me’ and swear I’ll repair them until I am eighty years old. CPW: low

3) Frye leather boots. These will eventually replace the Esprit ones when  they wear out. They’re both sturdy and heavy, I’m still making up my mind about whether I like that or not. CPW: medium (I only bought them last october)

4) Bass leather brogues. These are my black everyday shoes for work in spring and fall.  CPW: high (bought in January).

4) Aigle leather oxfords. These are my brown everyday shoes for work in spring and fall.  CPW: close to zero (they’re about 10 years old now).

5) Bass ballet flats. I made a mistake and bought these on sale because they were comfortable, looked well made and my old pair had just fallen apart, only to discover later that the material is synthetic. However, they’ve been worn often already this year and I will only replace them with leather flats when they’re not good anymore. CPW: low.

EDIT: The flats hurt my feet walking to work today and are donated.

Summer shoes


Hmmm. I have a feeling that my shoe type ratios depict a wrong length of the summer here.. It seems odd that I have more summer shoes although it’s clearly more often cold than warm..

From back left to front right:

1) three pair of Tsubo leather heels. I certainly didn’t need all of them, but this brand is so amazingly comfortable and well made that I can walk on their heels all day without the slightest problems. The left one is also for summer formal wear, the middle one serves as my current dance shoes, and the right one isn’t worn yet. CPW: medium to high, needs more wears.

2) Chinese laundry faux leather pumps. Fun shoes when the weather doesn’t permit open shoes yet. Cheap but surprisingly long lived. CPW: close to nothing.

3) Tahari suede pumps. Formal shoes for chill weather. CPW: high (so far only worn on wedding).

4) Teva leather flip flops. These deserve retirement now after 6 years, but are still in great shape. Not good for walking long distances, because of missing arch support they give me a back ache. Thinking about it, I’ll recycle them now. CPW: close to zero

5) Merrell everyday summer leather sandals sans heel. I have high hopes for wearing them often this summer. CPW: high (fairly new)

6) Merrell comfy leather sandals, replacement for Teva’s, because they have a much better footbed. CPW: high (fairly new)

7) Crocs. Good for walking to work when the tropical summer storms hit that would destroy leather shoes. CPW: low.

8 ) Unnecessary Crocs wedges for being pretty in tropical summer storms. CPW: low.

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2 Responses to Minimalism fail?

  1. Happy Clam,

    How funny! Your post made me want to do my shoe post. I’ve been sitting on the idea of one for a couple of months now but somehow haven’t gotten around to it. Hey if shoes make you happy, do it up right girl! I always say minimalism is about making room in your life for what you want (in this case, awesome shoes).

    About those Merrells though. I had a couple pairs: hiking boots/a pair of sandals/and some closed sporty ones from them. I never quite got the comfort angle. They didn’t work for my foot, but my friend (same size) had a lot of fun taking all three of those pairs off my hands! She loved me having pricey shoe tastes and then going minimalist. 🙂

    I do believe, just like you, that shoes should be the best you can buy. I remember the crappy/uncomfortable things I subjected myself to in high school and those days are long gone. I can go cheap in many directions, but never when it comes to shoes.


  2. p.s. Forgot to add. It’s not a minimalism fail it’s a minimalism success!

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