How many shoes are in your closet? Go on, be honest. Being a long-term traveler, my shoe collection is rather pitiful when I’m on the road – I usually try to limit myself to one pair of flip-flops, a pair of running shoes, comfy shoes like trainers and one nice pair of sandals. That might seem crazy to some of you shoe-aholics out there but to me it has become normal after three years of living out of a backpack. But I started thinking the other day about my plans to go home for Christmas and realised how many more hoes I have at home – my whole world of footwear all be opened up just by flying home to boots, slippers and high heels. You don’t realise when you start limiting your clothing and footwear choices to fit in a backpack, quite how much you miss the luxury of choice, but I’m excited to get that back for a while.

It is often said that women have a pre-disposition that attracts them to shoes – I know some of my friends are addicted to shoe shopping and treating their feet – with many owning far more than they really need. Many women hiding large shoe collections in their closet admit to wearing only a few of the pairs that they own, while others admit that some of their shoes go completely unworn. While there is nothing wrong with appreciating shoes and indulging your passion for footwear, owning masses of shoes is certainly not necessary for most people. Much like the Hollywood starlets, we all love adorning our feet with pretty shoes and designer finds, but for most of us this just isn’t practical for day-to-day life and ornate works of art are less likely to get worn. Shoes like this are confined to the wardrobe and rarely worn and while it’s great to have a pair of really great shoes that you love and wear for special occasions, if you have several pairs like this then it might be time to choose your favourite and donate the rest.

The average woman on the go doesn’t have time to waste on rubbish footwear, she needs a shoe that can keep up with her busy lifestyle. Depending on her lifestyle, job and personal style, she will have different shoes that are “essential” to her but can also double up for different situations and help streamline her shoe collection. She might be able to combine smart shoes for work and special occasions, while a more casual shoe might be perfect for both working out and running errands. If you’re looking to clear out your shoe collection and just get back to basics, versatility is key. If a shoe can be worn for several occasions, it’s a winner but those that are too high, quirky or uncomfortable are a no-no.

If your workplace has a smart or formal dress code, your footwear choice needs to reflect this. A classic court shoe is a great option for office-based roles, keeping your look sleek and professional. That same pair of heels can also be worn for events or special occasions, but don’t worry if heels are not your thing, a pair of classic flats will keep your look smart and put-together. A pair of flat shoes or ballet pumps also makes a great choice for everyday wear, offering great versatility.When it comes to everyday footwear, the weather can be the deciding factor – especially if you live in the UK. Ankle boots offer great wearability and can be worn throughout the seasons. Pair them with jeans and knitwear on autumn days or boho style dresses at those summer festivals. For the colder months, a pair of knee high boots will keep you warm and comfortable, and most importantly, dry.

Every shoe collection needs a pair of sandals. If you are trying to be minimal, a pair of metallic sandals works for both smart and casual occasions. Think beach to bar – a pair of sandals that look just as good when relaxing on the beach as they do as part of a smart summer evening look. We might not all be gym bunnies or natural athletes but most women tend to own at least one pair of women’s trainers. Whether you wear them for your weekly Zumba class or for walking the dog, trainers are a comfortable and practical choice for active endeavours. In recent times, trainers and active wear in general have become less confined to the gym and more of a casual clothing choice, with many women choosing to wear gym gear for the school run or when running errands, rather than keeping it strictly for the sporting activities. When it comes to outdoor activities, we all need a pair of shoes or boots that can navigate snow, muddy fields and other obstacles. A practical pair of wellies offers waterproof protection, making the perfect choice for snowy days, dog walking, festivals and other field-based activities. A pair of walking boots is also useful for outdoor adventures, offering traction underfoot when navigating difficult terrain.

We are probably all guilty of owning more shoes than can be deemed necessary – I know I have way too many old pairs of sandals and heels at home that I just can’t bear to throw out – just in case! It’s nice to have a choice of footwear, but if you are considering reducing your shoe collection, the main points to keep in mind are the practicality, versatility and wearability of your chosen shoes. And just think, if you manage to sell your old shoes online, you can use the money to treat yourself to new ones!

How many shoes do you have in your closet? Do you need a footwear clear-out? What kind of shoes are your weakness?