Boys have no shoes... (or do they) (2/21/06)

Recently it has come to my attention that girls have lots of shoes regardless of their apparent need. Not every girl, but some yes... and while I am rather thrifty with most of my purchases, I am starting to realize why there is such a contrast between girl - guy shoe quantities.

Let's start with this. I did a quick survey of people on IM. I asked them how many shoes they have. Here's the results, all anonymous of course and observing stereotypical color schemes.

Boys: 43 Girls: 169
alot. I have a thing for shoes but.... I'm not gay
probably 15-20 pair not your average guy. You should've asked me about 7 years ago I had 2 then, sneakers and a pair of dress shoes.
Alright from what I can think of I have 8 pairs of closed toed heels, 11 slide on heels 3 pairs of boots 12 pairs of flats (dress shoes, sneakers, running shoes, Doc Martin's), at least 20 flip flops, I buy a pair on every warm day between Jan and the summer. But think about the fact that you can get them at Old Navy for $3.50.
* Note: approximately 10 new pair were discovered
10-12... I bought a bunch recently for 10 bucks. My wife on the other hand. I don't know how she keeps track of them. I think she has a database. um you shouldn't ask me that... I have a lot when I moved I had 3 boxes but now that I'm older I just donated a bunch... now I would say I prolly am down to like In the last 2 years I have only bought, new running shoes, and 2 dress shoes for work. I never pay over 30 for shoes
uhhh.... (long pause) 5 that I wear regular. Two of them are the same shoes, running shoes, so that I don't have to bring them into workout. To show you how much I don't care about shoes, I have two pair of used shoes.

Well, ones that I actually wear or own?
Oh probably about 50. I actually wear about 1/2 depending on the season.. Now I have to go home at lunch and count my shoes. I have some shoes that I bought and then they ended up being uncomfortable so I don't wear them but I haven't gotten rid of them yet.
I would say my husband has maybe 10 pair and that includes his golf shoes.

Sandals included? 6, I think. Black dress, brown dress, sneakers, 2 sandals, cleats

About 20-25 including boots and about 5 pairs I don't wear at all...but i've been good and have downsized to get rid of those. I'm not really a shoeaholic.... catch me in the summer all of this will change!

What about me?

Me? Back in high school (all of high school), I had 2 pair of shoes, 1 for band concerts, 1 for everything else. The second pair, as best as I can tell, made my mom rather discouraged. They were black, sort of high tops, and worn out beyond belief. At one point I decided to get them resoled instead of get new shoes. I distinctly remember mentioning to my mom that I wanted to get new shoes (when in college) she sounded very excited.

Slowly I moved toward new shoes. 2 of them were Doc Martin's that were worn until they died. New dress shoes arrived 2 or 3 years after the old ones became too tight. Even running shoes were bought (I still have those). I think I had a pair or two for stomping around in the mud and snow when I had to cross the drill field on campus. Never more than 4 pair at any given time.

Present count...

Now I have a few under my belt.

  • 2 pairs of dress shoes (one brown, one black)
  • 1 tan suede pair that look like clown shoes they are so big
  • 1 brown leather pair for when I don't want to mess up my fancy ones
  • 2 pairs of sneakers (one is for yard work)
  • 1 pair of Burkenstocks (sandals)
  • 2 pair of blue pumas (one is for painting or shop work so they are as much white as blue)
  • 1 pair of gray pumas.
  • 2 two pair of snowboard boots (not sure if that counts or not)

2 shoes are the same. I bought a suede version first because they didn't have the brown in my size. Recently I found the brown ones and got them. The next day, Josh and Emet showed me that they in fact had the same shoes. Emet also had them in Black, Josh had the suede ones. Just goes to show that there aren't many good options in the general area.

Size is always a pain in the butt. I have ordered shoes twice online because I can't find anything in my size at stores. I guess it's not really that I don't want more shoes, more like I can't ever find more shoes that I want. In the case of several, I settle for something that is close enough. In other words, I have donated a lot of shoes to the the YMCA thrift shop.

The gray ones suck since they make the heel of my sock slide under the arch of my foot every time I wear them. I wear them when I know I wont walk anywhere. The second pair of snowboard boots is only around because I have a complete second set of gear with the exception of goggles. That way if anyone wants to go ride with me they can borrow my stuff. Assuming they are the same size as me.

Are we different?

Well, you could say that boys and girls really aren't different in their shoe purchases and such. We both buy them based on our needs. It's the definition of need that really comes into play here. This, in my opinion is why I boys have less shoes.

  • Do I need something to match an outfit? Yeah
  • Do I think that black and brown match everything? Yeah
  • Do I need more than one of any type? Only in the sense that I keep old ones for dirty chores
  • Do I have cute shoes? Nope
  • Do I get rid of old stuff? Yeah
  • Are shoes often available in my size? No

Sure I am biased, my case is quite extreme. I don't think that was ever under debate. Several of the guys I asked would disagree with my answers to those questions. We all have our reason for buying shoes. Most likely only a boy will buy 4 pair of the same sneaker in different colors. Most likely only a girl will buy zebra patterned boots with 4 inch heels (or was it 5?). There is probably some middle ground in there that is better for us all. In the interim, I will help to hold down the minimalist side of things and keep the average down.

In closing...

It's almost as though in this dichotomy in general... a boy will buy shoes because the shoe fits an previously identified need. There is rarely a new shoe need. Only old ones that need to be refilled. A girl will still buy shoes based on a need, but, the needs are dynamic. Additionally, she is more likely to buy shoes simply because they are shoes. Very Zen in a way. This dynamic need for most seems to be something more society driven. To the point that those who have lots of shoes see it as something to be embarrassed about in a way. I blame society. They're usually to blame for making people embarrassed.

Here's another point of view from Tabitha:
"Here's my opinion...Guy's styles are very classic. They basically stay the same year after year with just a little tweaking. And let's face it, most guys don't wear boots or sandals. On the other hand, women's styles change from season to season - Boots, sandals, flats, heels, wedges, pumps, sneakers, mules, on and on. That's why we have more shoes."

Lastly, h ere's a quote from Odessa that sums it up in my mind "Most of my girl friends do have a ton of's weird the way we collected them when we were in college.. I think it was fed a lot by Sex and the City... Well at least that was my excuse... Carrie was a bad influence!"

Man I hate that show..


(Go home and donate some shoes)