How Many Shoes Are Too Many?

Joanna Douglas, Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor

280,000 pairs of shoes are a LOT of footwear. That's how many are currently on display on the "world's largest" shoe floor at Macy's in New York City. The company just spent $400 million remodeling their flagship store and dedicated 39,000 square feet to women's shoes. Macy's CEO and Chairman Terry Lundgren feels this was an appropriate setup for the accessory women crave most. "Shoes for women in particular is such an important part of the wardrobe," he told Women's Wear Daily. "She can wear the same pair of shoes on multiple occasions, but you wouldn't catch her wearing the same sportswear or dress three times a week." This is true! And thanks to fast fashion and style-obsessed shows like "Sex and the City" ladies now like to change up their shoes much more frequently than they used to.

Carrie Bradshaw on "SATC" was constantly buying expensive Manolos, Jimmy Choos, and Louboutins, and then she couldn't afford to buy her apartment. I remember she said, "I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes."

This week fashion blogger Leandra Medine aka "The Manrepeller" let WWD check out her "small" shoe closet, stacked to the brim with 100 pairs. (Note: her shoe closet is the size of my only wardrobe closet.) She has everything from $18 Havaianas flip-flops to $3,000 Christian Louboutin heels. Medine weighed in on the footwear obsession: "The thing that is great about shoes is that you don't have to be a certain size for them to look good. They always fit you," she told WWD. "There's something about expensive footwear that makes a woman feel so special in a way that an expensive dress just doesn't. My mom always said, 'Invest your money in shoes and handbags, and you can improvise the rest with meager means.'"

Investing in shoes and handbags is great fashion advice, but personally I would not consider myself a "shoe girl." I like shoes, but I always buy them on sale, and as much as Louboutin's are pretty I can't rationalize spending $800 on a pair of shoes. It seems crazy! (My hatred of treacherously high stilettos probably doesn't help.) But I am a fashion editor and I live in New York City where stores like Macy's are filled to the brim with footwear. As a result I own 50 pairs of shoes. Yes, I actually counted. Here's the breakdown:

-2 pairs of flip flops
-7 pairs of heels
-7 pairs of flat sandals
-8 pairs of boots
-12 pairs of flats
-14 pairs of sneakers (I went through a serious Nike phase in college and a decade later I still bust them out on my down time.)

I SWEAR I thought I only had half that. I regularly wear about 15 pairs of them, but when your style and shoe size have been virtually the same since your teen years it's easy to hold on to things. And since I rotate shoes frequently none of them are really worn out. But what does the average women's shoe closet look like?

Last year I wrote about a shoe study which claimed the average woman owns 17 pairs of shoes. Yikes, I guess I am above average. A few ultra-practical Shine readers copped to owning as low as 5 or maybe 20. But several readers claimed they had 300 or more and couldn't stop buying them. This is what I'm talking about! Many women are compulsive shoe shoppers who scoop up several pairs at a time!

Where do you stand on the footwear spectrum? Are shoes merely an object that protect your feet from Point A to Point B? Do you enjoy buying new shoes and have a decent variety in your closet? Or do you live and breath for collecting new heels, sandals, and boots?

Bottom line: How many shoes do you own, and how many do you actually wear? Weigh in in the comments below!

Related links:
My Desperate Plea for Normal Heels
Back to School Shoes on a Budget
Women spend nearly $25,000 on shoes