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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Why I own 80 pairs of shoes
Claire Grinham and her shoes
There's still room for more
Last week the Magazine published an article on why most women can never have enough shoes. It's all about the way they make you feel, says Claire Grinham, 22, in our Readers' Column.

I know 80 pairs of shoes sounds a lot. But when you sit back and look at them all sitting there in your wardrobe, you do often wonder: "Do I really have any shoes to match this outfit?"

Buying shoes can be tricky. It's very difficult to choose between ones that match and others which are pure works of art. Some people go for comfort, others for practicality. I often choose ridiculously high heels - but walking in heels makes you feel taller, more confident and sexy.

There are so many different types of shoe to buy, its no wonder some women have vast collections. I have around 10 pairs each of boots, flats and flip-flops, a couple of pairs of wedges and the rest are all heels.

'Shoe cupboard'

I bought my first pair of "fashionable" shoes aged 14. They were wedges with a denim piece across embroidered with pink. I think they were about four inches high - which was a lot for a 14 year old. I'm now 22 and unfortunately no longer own them.

I've had some of my shoes for five years or so, they're all very well looked after. I own one pair of trainers and they're for the gym - I would never wear trainers elsewhere unless absolutely necessary.

Claire Grinham and her favourite shoes
Those green-mesh favourites
I keep my shoes in my wardrobe, mostly in their boxes. I also have a special "shoe cupboard" for ones without a box. I stuff them all with tissue paper - to keep their shape - and wrap them in tissue to protect them.

Any shoes which I no longer want or don't use I usually sell on eBay to a good home.

My favourite pair would have to be some jade-green mesh heels which I bought three years ago. They're really unusual - see-through mesh with diamante detail. I only wear them for very special occasions. I also have a couple of replica Manolo Blahnik heels which look similar to the real thing.

I do have a few pairs which I use regularly, work shoes for example, but I like to mix and match different shoes for different occasions. I buy new shoes whenever I see some which catch my eye.

I love wearing a new pair and getting comments about them. I look at shoes as part of my personality and individuality, something that makes me feel special.

Guilt

My ultimate shoe dream would be to own a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels. As a Sex and the City fan, I'd always wanted to visit New York, go shopping and visit the Manolo Blahnik boutique. My boyfriend and I went to New York last November and I saved enough money to buy a pair.

I was so excited - I remember walking in and seeing all the shoes lined up so beautifully - it was so hard to know which ones to buy. But when it all came down to it, I looked at them all on their display stands and asked myself if I could really justify spending 400 on a pair of shoes?

I would be so worried something would happen to them and I'd feel guilty for spending that amount of money on myself. So I walked out without them. I would still love to own a pair in my collection though, maybe one day - if I won the lottery.


Hi there! I find this very interesting, I too am a shoe addict and Sex in the City fan, waiting for the day to buy my first beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks! However, to me 80 sounds minimal Claire! I am currently at the total of 269 pairs (much to my mother's horror), the higher the heel the better! Shoes just have to be a girl's best friend!
Princess Katie, Croxley Green

Wow, that sounds like my sister
Nathanael, Fort William

I wish I owned 80 pairs of shoes, that would be heaven!
Sue

What's all the fuss about Manolo Blahnik shoes?
John Henry, London, UK

I was wondering if Claire has her collection inshoed at all?
Al Scott, Cardiff

How vapid and trivial is this? All the suffering going on in the world and this girl is obsessing about shoes of all things. The money she spent on all the unnecessary pairs she has bought could have been put to much better use, I know someone will point out that here in the West it is about freedom of choice but I think we should be responsible about those choices, especially in light of what is going on in other countries where people do not have enough clothing or food or even anywhere to live. This kind of thing fuels the poor view other countries have about us.
Stephanie Eaton, London

I think it is about personal choice. As long as Claire can afford to support her shopping then why not? People collect all sorts of things they never use - at least she can wear them!
becks, sheffield

Now, here's a radical thought: why not just buy outfits to match the shoes you already have instead of buying a new outfit AND then having to buy new shoes? Oh, and how's Claire's pension fund going?
ND, London

I think if we earn an honest living we should be able to spend our money on what we like if it makes us happy. Some are happy to donate to charity, some would rather spend it on themselves. Whether it's CD's, cars or shoes, it souldn't matter.
Amanda, Sheffield

I've just returned from volunteering in Africa for nine months. The ladies there have a great sense of style and love to get dressed up, with fancy handbags and shoes. If they could afford it, they'd probably have eighty pairs of shoes too! If you want to add an ethical element to your shoe collection, try to find out where and how your next shoe desire is made, and avoid those companies using sweatshops.
Jacqueline, Winchester, England

I can never decide what shoes to buy and always leave the shop with nothing! My impulse buys get worn once or twice then just sit in the box under my bed. It's nice to re-discover a pair of shoes i forgot i had.
Aileen Judge, Iford, Essex

80 pairs of shoes - what a waste of money! Like most blokes I imagine, I own a pair of shoes for work, a pair of trainers, my slippers, sandals for when its hot and a pair of 'going out' shoes. Each lasts about 2 years and I'll get new ones when I need them, not just when "I see some I like!!"
Jack, Bristol, UK

The best and most fashionable pair of shoes you can get are your bare feet. In the winter, it`s Birkenstock sandals for me....
ina Gilchrist, Wetzlar, Germany

I agree with Stephanie Eaton on this one, I feel it is completely self absorbed to be so materialistic on shoes when over half the people in this world do not even have shoes. Once you have everything, you take everything forgranted, that it the saddest thing about the Western World.
Gen, London

It is amazing how many of you bothered to click on this "vapid and trivial" story, let alone continue reading, and sending in comments to criticise someone else. There are myriad of 'sensible', sad stories for you to read if you chose too. Leave the fun stuff to those of us who are happy to read some lightheated articles as well!
Jane, london

You need to get out more Stephanie! It's because of all the terrible things going on in the world that we need some frivolity and fun in our life!
Milly Molly

Vapid and trivial? yes, probably. but so what? spending your own hard-earned cash on shoes is entirely up to the individual. not everything has to be about serious 'world issues'. everyone is entitled to spend their own money on something that brings them some pleasure in this sometimes unpleasant world, and my own collection of nearly 80 pairs of shoes is testament to that!
Helen, Cheshire

In the society we live in you can choose to spend your money on what you see fit. I know you said we have freedom of choice and thats more than true but you have no proof that Claire doesn't give money to charities aswell. Really gets up my nose when people say we dont do enough. We do enough as it is. And to be honest if some people choose not give to charity any way thats their business.
Chris Wayman, Newcastle

Personally I found getting married as the perfect excuse to actually buy the Manolos. Sometimes I get them out of my wardrobe just to look at them... There are three types of women out there - shoe women, nice underwear women and bath products... I heart shoes...
Clare, St Albans

People (some men in particular!) may...well DO scoff at the shallow nature of shoe obsession, but everyone has a guilty pleasure, be it a playstation 2, watching every possible game of televised football or simply drinking beer. I may be trying to make a point to someone here but shoes will always fit and if im having a bad day i just look at my feet and smile at the beauty encasing them!
Suzy, Gloucestershire

Instead of asking "do I really have any shoes to match this outfit", shouldn't she be asking "don't I have anything better to spend time and money on?". Typical example of freedom of choice being twisted into Western greed, excess and overcomsumption.
Kris, Glasgow

Here's my two penn'orth. Will being mean and hateful to Claire solve the multitudinous problems of this world? In case you don't realise it the answer is no. Please grow up and take your proselytizing elsewhere. This was obviously meant to be a frivolous but fun human interest piece which is being spoiled by your venom. And as for Claire, U Go Girl!
Nick Long, Withernsea, England

"How vapid and trivial is this?" Unbeleivable comment..... Let's not judge someone just because they like shoes. If we were to extend this logic we should criticise smokers, drinkers, drivers and well anyone with a hobby really! Go buy more shoes and be happy!
Ian, London

I have one pair of shoes, one pair of trainers, one pair of sandals, one pair of walking shoes, one pair of boots and one pair of wellies. I guess that makes me male.
Dave, Wolverhampton, UK

Everyone needs to have an interest to give them a sense of purpose in life.Claire has as much right to do her thing as a young animal rights or political activist has to do their own thing(peacefully of course).At 22 I don't think she has to take the weight of the world on her shoulders just yet.
Stuart MUswell, London, uk

It's a sad day reading an article like this. What has happened to our civilisation? We bury our heads in the sand and do what we are told, become good comsumers buying all these products we don't really need at the expense of the poor workers in a far away place who get paid a pittance to make them. But hey why do we care our lives are great in the western world?. Isn't it about time we educated ourselves into the sort of damage we are all doing to the planet by being so greedy? You know what happened to Rome when it became corrupt, selfish and self indulgent? ignorance is bliss
anon, exeter

I absolutely love shoes and I have over 150 pairs from all range,high street to Manolo Blanik.I am also a sucker for hangbag and I mean big hand bags and clutch bags.It just make you feel sexy and confident when you dressed well. And even as high as almost having an orgasm when someone gives you a compliment on them.
Carmen Banks, London

Weird, I never have a problem with matching my shoes to my outfit. I own four pairs.
Lucy Parkinson, London, UK

I have over a hundred pairs of shoes myself so I can completely emphasise with Claire. As for Stephanie Eaton, this article is a bit of fun written about someone's hobby (that's what it is when you have so many pairs!)...are you saying you don't have any hobbies?? Stop criticising, shoes are not exactly going to end third world hunger.
Bex, Basingstoke

What a sad existence Claire and others like her lead. I'm getting fed up with the media trying to say that women today are so shallow that all they care about is expensive shoes and designer clothes. Some of us do actually have a life!
Kate D, London, UK

I am a long suffering shoe abuse victim, my wife has over 100 pairs of shoes (don't even get me started on handbags). Whilst I find it a little perplexing, I see it no different from anyone else who has a tendancy to indulge in things they enjoy. Some people spend on gadgets, some on music others on holidays or motor cars. Personally I'm an underwater videographer so I spend on my equipment. Stephanie Eaton, please you can't honestly expect us to believe you don't indulge or enjoy anything? I'm sure somone could say the same about something you enjoy. Let's not trivialise someone else's interests, that would be discrimination. The world could end tomorrow would you like us all to obsess about that instead! Lifes to short, if you can you should enjoy it.
Phil, London

I have been collecting shoes since I was 12 years old, I am now 64. I built special shelving for them and I keep them all in boxes. Enzio is my favorite and Espridillos' are a hot favourite right now. At least I dont' harm anyone by buying and loving shoes.
Sandra Landsman, Toronto, Canada

"What a sad existence" - how do you know? Just becuase someone likes shoes doesn't make them shallow and it also doesn't mean its all they have in their life. I assume that all the people criticising Claire give all of their spare money to third world charities?? Thought not...glass houses and all that
Helen, London

With reference to previous the "vapid and trivial" comment, yes it is on the face of it, but if all we do is immerse ourselves in the misery of others and never allow ourselves the time and opportunity for enjoyment of whatever makes us happy, what is the point of living at all. As long as we are thankful for the ability to do what we please, and don't take it for granted and totally ignore the plight of others, I see no harm in trivial and vapid pleasures.
Greg Mortimer, UK

Congrats to Stephanie Eaton for an excellent point to put accross. Why i own 80 pairs of shoes, on a news website, its hardly breaking news or anything of any worth. It just amplifies the complete vanity that goes on in todays world, im not saying dress like your homeless, far from it, but 80 pairs of shoes is absolutely ridiculous. I mean does it really matter whether the stranger walking in the opposite direction likes your shoes or not? Image is only skin deep, clothes and shoes are material things, is this the kind of thing you want others to like you for rather than your true personality? I know id rather have someone like me for who i am not what labels i wear, or how many shoes i have.
Adam, Sheffield

And I own over 200 pairs of sneakers. Storage is an issue, choosing which pair to wear in the morning is an issue, choosing which pair to wear at night is an issue... But there is absolutely no way I would ever give it up.
Dan, London

I've seen the hungry look that women get in their eyes when they pass a shoe shop. I recognise it because it's precisely the same look that my friends get when we pass a pub.
Oliver Longden, Cambridge, UK

What a sheer waste of money, there are people in world who walk bare footed for miles to collect a bucket of water. Please spare a moments thought for those less fortunate than ourselves. Imagine how many people could be fed and clothed with the amount of money this young lady has spent on shoes. I accept the notion of freedom and choice, but please let's be responisible. Mother Teresa a lady whom we all admire left only two sarees when she passed away.
Archie, Preston, England

"All the suffering, blah, blah." So if Claire stops buying shoes, it'll end poverty and bring about world peace? Despite our government's best efforts, everything not compulsory is not yet forbidden.
maximus otter, Isle of Skye

I'm so glad I'm a man.
Edward, London, UK

You need help. And some more shoes.
Imelda, Philippines

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