How Many Shoes Do You Need?

Manolo says, two of the Manolo’s internet friends Thom Wong and Linda Grant are both having the separate discussions about the requisite number of shoes that each person should own.

The brilliant and witty Linda Grant gives the almost definitive answer to the question, How many shoes for the woman?

The Manolo says “almost” because she has neglected the important categories of “beautiful shoes you have briefly glimpsed on other peoples feets, but cannot find in the stores,” and “beautiful shoes you have dreamed about, but cannot find in the waking world.” The Manolo includes these unusual categories because, for the Manolo, such shoes occupy much more space in his psychic closet than do shoes the Manolo actually owns. Thus, he considers them necessary.

Although, on closer reflection, perhaps, this sort of thing is peculiar to the Manolo.

In any event, you must go read the Linda’s entire list, as it is both amusing and totally correct.

Not coincidentally, the second conversation, being led by the Manolo’s internet friend Thom Wong, is about the minimum number of shoes required by the man. It is the firm rebutting of the ridiculous notion that the average man should own no more than three pairs of the shoes. (And here the Manolo openly scoffs at such sad and artificial limitations.)Salvatore Ferragamo Cap-Toe Oxford.

In this age of doing more with less, global energy crises, and the Ugg viral outbreak, it is the perfect time to contemplate how many shoes a man should own. The Thoughtful Dresser states a rule, unfamiliar to this writer, that a man tends to believe he doesn’t need more than three. The esteemed Manolo places that number closer to ten. The simple answer is – as many as he wears.

Most men treat footwear as an afterthought, which naturally risks derailing even the most carefully considered outfit. Before even thinking about tie and shirt combinations a man should take stock of what is going on his feet.

The Truth!

In regards to the Manolo’s declaration of ten as the magic number, the Manolo would simply note that this is the absolute minimum below which the well-dressed man dare not venture. Naturally, the Manolo would counsel that one acquire as many beautiful shoes as one’s budget and taste allow.

Perhaps tomorrow, or the next day, the Manolo will give you his practical list of the ten necessary shoes for the man.

10 Responses to “How Many Shoes Do You Need?”

  1. Thom January 8, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    I didn’t even know I was the Manolo’s internet friend (although I secretly wished it was true.) Huzzah!

  2. Cat January 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    Q: How many shoes do you need?

    A: All of them.

  3. lady coveted January 8, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    how many shoes do i NEED?

    two.. one for my right, one for my left.

    i could survive with no shoes, like those kids in africa who run around on the hot dirt.

    i suppose i wouldn’t die, i may even be happier with no shoes.

    but in this world, the one i personaly live in, 125 pairs… any more and i’d be swimming in shoes.

    not so nice for home decor.

  4. bunyud January 8, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Need? Desire? Obsess over? Actually own?

    I adore lady coveted’s response to need–I concur. I need many more than I actually own as (sigh) I have the almost impossible feet to fit–very short (size 5), yet very wide (4 EW, although I am petite in size) combined with the highest of arches and insteps–so trying to get these tootsies into any shoe is nigh to impossible. My selections are oh so limited. But I dream on that at some point in the future designers will take note of the rest of us–we would love to own so many more shoes–stylish ones, at that, but our money goes unspent on them…..

    And so I own (sadly) but 5 pair of shoes (sniff, sniff)–and only one is dressy, so it is in black–I do love it, but I long for more.

    Ahh, well.

  5. Laura V January 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    I own…really, I need to weed out my collection of shoes.

    For example, my hiking boots need to be replaced, and I have a pair of mules that I love but which fundamentally don’t fit and which I should take to the thrift store. I have a couple other nice pairs that I should also thrift-store as I never wear them.

    And I have two pairs of shoes that need to be repaired, and one that needs to be stretched.

    I do not own any black shoes. (I own almost no black clothing, and about 90% of the black clothing I own is athletic gear.)

  6. Tk January 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    How many do I need to survive? Probably two pair, taking extreme variegations in local weather into account. How many do I need to be appropriately dressed in my day to day life? Maybe 15, bare minimum? How many do I need to be satiated? I have no idea.

  7. buttercup January 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    I pity the poor man who is buying Cat’s shoes!

    With encouragement from my family I am implementing a new shoe buying strategy for the new year. It is not enough to like a pair of shoes to bring it home: I will run out of closet space, ala the Manolo in his magnum opus, The Consolation of the Shoes.

    To avoid that issue, the pair of shoes must be truly incredible! That is why I am one of the Manolo’s readers: his superfantastic taste in shoes is an excellent guide to what is “closet worthy” and what isn’t.

  8. Toby Wollin January 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    Manolo, I have very warm memories of my father(who was born in 1917), who was definitely a fairly formal dresser (did not own a dress shirt that was NOT white) and who definitely owned more than three pairs of shoes, both dress and casual. He suffered terribly from subterranean arches, but that did not make any difference – he insisted that having good shoes and keeping them shining and in good repair was a necessity. When I was small, I remember his lining up all of our shoes and taking out the various colors of shoe polish (and I recall black, brown, cordovan, navy blue and red among them), the brushes, applicators and polishing cloth and having at it. We never owned a pair of shoes that you could not take to the shoemaker to be resoled and heeled(we were lucky enough to have Mr. Calabro right around the corner) and we never had a pair of shoes that I can recall before I was out of high school that did not have the dreaded “steel shank”. My father was definitely someone who believed that “clothes might make the man, the the shoes make the clothes.”

  9. Jenifer January 10, 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    You can never have enough shoes – I repeat NEVER have enough shoes. End of story.

  10. Dain January 12, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    I posted this on Ms. Linda Grant’s blog as well, I hope no one minds the repetition.

    I think “need” has a very basic definition, dependent on actual use, practical and social, and many people tend to confuse it with “want”.

    My very short list:
    (1) perfect pair of pumps that’ll do service for most things, preferably in black so it goes with everything
    (2) a pair of fancier flats, for when you don’t want to bother with heels, ballet flats, etc.
    (3) a pair of boots, with a sturdy heel, for mucky weather
    (4) a pair of athletic shoes
    (5) flat sandals, for the beach
    (6) a flirty summery heel, like espadrilles, for pairing with frocks
    (7) evening shoes, fanciful and dramatic
    (8) and maybe a pair of cashmere slippers, for lounging about the house

    In my very humble opinion, you can live on these eight alone, and the list is open enough to accommodate all tastes, so long as they are carefully chosen, the very best and most beautiful. Everything else strikes me as consumer vanity… Which takes many forms, good and bad, just, the question is, “How many shoes does a girl need?”