The other night I was on a downsizing rampage and scrutinizing the number of pairs of shoes I own.
I felt like my number was too high so I texted 10 friends asking how many they have. As the results began to come in, I was more and more curious, and continued to add members to my unofficial focus group. I added another ten friends, and another ten friends.
Here’s the original text I sent to 30 female friends.
How many pairs of shoes do you have? All in. Flops sneaks heels sandals boots everything…
I got some confused texts back and here is the follow-up text I sent clarifying why I was asking:
I’m getting rid of stuff. Down to shoes I can’t get rid of and I’m just under 50. That is insane. I wear the same 2 pairs each season. That should be 8. 10 tops.
22 have since responded with a number. Several friends responded with ‘not too many’ or ‘a lot’ and since there was not a number attached I am only including the 22 who provided me with an actual number – be it ballpark, or exact.
What can I tell you about the ladies who gave me an actual number?
They live in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. They live in suburbs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. They are single, married and they co-habitate. They are teachers, salespeople, marketers, bankers, editors, executive assistants, recruiters, personal shoppers, accountants and stay-at-home moms. They are 29 – 37 years old. They are my friends.
Out of 23 replies, including myself, here are my observations from my extremely unscientific poll:
- Friends who started their text back to me with ‘I’m not the best person to ask’ were respondents on either the high-end or low-end with their number of pairs of shoes
- We, as a whole, seem to wear the same few pairs over and over and openly acknowledge it
- Two friends with the same name responded with exactly the same number: 50
- A friend who said she had 20 pairs, said she had no idea I was such a ‘shoe whore’
- Another friend with 20 pairs, replied that her 3-year-old daughter had more shoes than she did
- My friend with the highest number of pairs topped the chart at 75 and my friend with the least said she owned a mere 15
- Some of us (myself included) own a lot of flip-flops, somewhere between 10 and 20 pairs
What’s interesting is that I found no correlation with the number of shoes owned and whether you live in the city or the burbs. I found no correlation with married women versus single women, nor ladies with children.
If I take away the highest and lowest numbers which are 75 and 15, the average number for 21 people is 34.4 pairs of shoes. If I put the 75 and 15 pairs back in, and include those two friends for a 23 respondents, the average number rises to 35.3 pairs of shoes. This still puts me about 15 pairs more than average in my unscientific poll.
Note: I am no mathematician but I’m sure there are other ways to sort these numbers if you find math fun. I just wanted to know if I had too many shoes, and after seeing these results, I think yes. I am also comforted by my friends who own more pairs than me.
What’s your number? Does it make you want to donate a few pairs of shoes, or go shopping for a few more?
December 5th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I have more shoes than my wife. Party because I love to be prepared for anything (long hikes, short hikes, volleyball shoes, rock climbing shoes, water shoes, sandals, boots, work boots, dress shoes). i mean there are a lot of activities and you need the right footwear. with regards to dress shoes i have about 5.
LOVE the research!
December 8th, 2011 at 11:26 am
Thanks! You totally get it! Having the right footwear for the right activity is crucial. Even if the right footwear happen to be brown, black, navy and grey flip flops 🙂
December 18th, 2011 at 11:56 am
This was so funny, fashion junkie.
December 31st, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Im assuming I’m the friend with the 3 yr old daughter. Haha.