How Many Pairs of Shoes Should a Man Own?

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of purchasing a new pair of shoes each time your old pair wears out. To break the cycle, remember the items you already have. With that being said, you might be wondering, ‘how many pairs of shoes should a man own?’ The answer to this commonly asked question largely depends on your lifestyle and how you earn a living.

For instance, do you require seven pairs of shoes if you’re a chef? Probably not! However, if you make the effort to be well-dressed outside of work, those seven pairs might come in handy after all.

The last thing you need is to find yourself in a scenario where you don’t have the shoes you need. The situation typically presents itself a few just before you leave your house. For that reason, we’ll delve into the number of shoes a man should have in addition to the types he should always have in his closet.

How Many Pairs Does a Man Need?

Every man needs anywhere between 10 and 20 pairs depending on the weather, needs, and lifestyle, and can be broken down as follows.

  • Outdoor shoes: 2 pairs
  • Boots: 3 pairs
  • Formal shoes: 2 pairs
  • Gym sneakers: 3 pairs
  • Sandals: 2 pairs
  • Slippers/ flip-flops: 2 pairs
  • Casual Shoes: 3 pairs
  • Casual Sneakers: 3 pairs

How to Determine the Number of Shoes a Man Needs

To answer the question, ‘how many pairs of shoes should a man own?’ there are various variables to factor in, ranging from the weather, your lifestyle, the number of shoes you currently own, and your hobbies, to your profession. Let’s discuss a few.


It largely affects the number of pairs of shoes you should own in various designs. For instance, if you have a white-collar job, you might require more formal shoes. Contrarily, if you have a sporty lifestyle, you’ll need more outdoor, gym-appropriate, sporty footwear. If you reside near a beach, boat shoes, sandals, or flip-flops are a better fit. Lifestyle impacts the number of shoes a man should have.

The Weather

The climate conditions impact the number of shoes that men should have. For instance, if you reside in a cold region, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll need more winter shoes and boots. On the other hand, humid weather calls for open shoes such as sandals. So always factor in the climate conditions in your area.


Rather than blind shoe purchases or opting for those that catch your eye at first glance, consider the following questions. After all, the endgame is to get the most value out of the shoes you buy.

  • Do they pair well with multiple outfits (versatile)?
  • Do you have a similar pair in tiptop condition?
  • What will you pair the shoes with?
  • Are they suitable for various occasions?

As a rule of thumb, decide whether you need shoes that are aesthetically pleasing or practical which means they are appropriate for several scenarios. After all, the last thing you need is a closet littered with shoes that serve the same purpose.

The Styles of Shoes Every Man Needs

All men should have the following designs of shoes in their shoe collection.

1. Formal Shoe

Formal Shoe

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All men should have at least one pair of brown and two pairs of black dress shoe options as they elevate an outfit. Regardless of whether you wear a suit to work or you’re looking to stand out like a sore thumb at that black-tie event, a black or brown dress shoe is your best bet. This men’s dress shoe comes in different designs, such as Monks, Oxfords, Brogues, and Loafers.

2. Casual Shoe

Casual Shoes

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Having several pairs of casual shoe options is the perfect way to infuse variety into your day-to-day and match your outfits. As a result, you won’t wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit. Casual shoes range from loafers, moccasins, and Chukkas to Chelsea boots.

Less formal footwear compared to formal shoes, a casual shoe is perfect for meeting with friends, business trips or vacations, and holidays. This men’s shoe option provides a dapper look without being formal.

3. Running Sneaker

Running Sneaker

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Although every man should have at least one pair of running sneakers for running or walking, if you’re a proper runner, having two to three pairs to alternate with is ideal. If a pop of color tickles your fancy, you can buy a running shoe in your favorite colors.

It’s best to run in shoes that provide extra cushioning for your feet which comes in handy during high-impact workouts. While you might be tempted to wear the wrong shoes, especially if it’s a quick run, you may not realize that doing so can trigger a boatload of adverse injuries and long-term health problems.

A great running shoe has a supportive and sturdy midsole, top-grade cushioning at the heel with immense Gel or EVA, breathable upper construction, and a thin outsole that’s firm enough to ensure intense training and flexible enough for your feet to move naturally.

4. Gym Sneaker

Gym Sneaker

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Every man should own at least two to three pairs of gym sneakers to interchange. These are ideal for weight lifting gear, running small distances on the treadmill, and cross-training. In addition, gym footwear allows you to try out various types of workouts and sports compared to regular sneakers.

Consider where you spend the most time at the gym. After all, having excellent gym shoes is pointless if you hardly go to the gym. If you split your days between lifting weights and cardio, you can invest in a pair of shoes for each type of exercise.

5. Casual Sneaker

Every man should own three to five casual sneakers in different designs to go well with their casual outfit selections. This essential shoe comes in handy for shopping, lunch with friends, or walking your dog. Sneakers are an all-time favorite since they come in several colors and styles, such as high-tops, canvas, Velcro, and Plimsolls.

Casual sneakers can be made from nylon, leather, mesh, canvas, or suede. You want to have at least two pairs of canvas sneakers and select other causal designs as per your needs. You can buy a white pair for summer and other colors such as red, grey, black, or green.

6. Boots

Men should have two to three pairs of boots such as hiking boots, formal boots, and casual boots. These are perfect for more than just rainy days. Boots spruce up any outfit and offer unmatched versatility as you can pair them with various outfits for different occasions such as business meetings, weddings, shopping, and a casual day out with friends or family.

If you reside in an area with harsh winters, go for neutral colors such as black and brown because they pair well with any outfit. For work (depending on your profession), you might need up to 5 pairs to interchange with.

7. Outdoor Boots or Shoes

Men who engage in outdoor adventures such as boating, hiking, hunting, mountaineering, and fishing should have a few pairs of appropriate footwear. Typically, these boots can withstand the elements (rain, snow, heat, mud, and dirt) without compromising comfort or style.

Granted, there’s no worse feeling than sloppy feet. Therefore, shoes that accommodate motion perfectly are a lifesaver for active men.

8. Sandals

Men should own two to three pairs of sporty and casual sandals that come in handy for boat trips and the summer days. Nonetheless, if you don’t reside in a sunny place or boating doesn’t tickle your fancy, you may only need one or two pairs when you go on holiday.

While sporty sandals are best suited for the beach, casual sandals pair well with shorts and a shirt.

9. Flip-Flops

Men should own a few pairs of flip-flops for when summer rolls around. The footwear is ideal when walking around the house, taking a stroll on the beach, and traveling to tropical destinations.

For optimum comfort, remember to buy flip-flops with adequate cushioning or padding to prevent your feet from sustaining injuries walking on the sand or becoming soggy.


Most men should own 10 to 20 pairs of footwear to add to their shoe collection. Although these may seem like many in hindsight, there’s a wealth of reasons why you need to have options as part of a solid men’s wardrobe. From the weather to different occasions, you’ll need to switch up your look without the inconvenience of whipping out your credit card every time you need a new pair of shoes. And let’s face it, do you really want to go shoe shopping multiple times a year?

Nonetheless, the ball is ultimately in your court when it comes to the number of shoes you choose to own.


  1. How many shoes should a minimalist man own?

A man should invest in at least five pairs for all seasons ranging from formal footwear, casual sneakers, formal events, sandals, flip-flops, and running shoes to sandals.

  1. Are 20 pairs of shoes too many?

No! That’s because you’ll need different styles of shoes for various occasions and outfits. For instance, if you have 20 pairs of formal footwear in blue, black, and brown, that might be on the extreme. Contrarily, if you have 20 pairs in various styles for different seasons and occasions, then you’re good to go.

  1. How Do You Know If You Have Too Many Shoes?

Analyze the shoes you wear and the frequency. If you can’t recall the last time you wore a particular pair, then that’s how you know your shoes are cluttering up your closet. When shoe shopping, invest in a good pair of shoes for each occasion.

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