I've Spent $60,000 On Shoes — & I DON'T Regret It

Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
Some people collect stamps. Others collect art. A select few, however, collect shoes — lots of them.

Blame Sex and the City, but it's safe to say that shoe closets worthy of the Kardashians are now considered a staple of aspirational living, alongside Champagne bubble baths and weekend getaways to Puerto Vallarta. And while we may not all be able to afford a Carrie Bradshaw-inspired shoe closet filled to the brim with Manolos, Louobutins, and Jimmy Choos, they're certainly pretty to look at.

So we decided to interview six real-life shoe lovers who dedicate a significant amount of time and money to fulfilling their passion. We asked them to take photos of their shoe closets, talk about their favorite pairs, and show off their pride and joys — stilettos, sneakers, and flats alike. Ahead, these shoe-obsessives get real about their lust-worthy collections and why they just can't stop.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
1 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
Janelle Langford, 35
@janellelangford
Brooklyn, NY

How did you get your start collecting shoes?

"You know, I don't think anyone ever means to collect shoes. You just end up doing it. You end up having so many that you have to have a better system to see them. I've always been a person who organizes their closet by color, so I did the same thing with my shoes. It helps you not overbuy, because you know exactly how many shoes you have. So if I see I don't have any blue shoes, I know where I need to make my next big investment."

Why shoes?
"One, because they can really make or break an outfit. Even if you have a plain black dress, if you have a gorgeous pair of shoes on, you just upped the style factor of your dress. It’s your foundation. Also, I have gained and lost a lot of weight over the years and my shoes always fit. So it’s the non-judgmental article in your wardrobe that is always going to be amazing. Yes, I buy a lot of clothes, of course. That comes with the PR work. But shoes is where I make my most investment."
Advertisement
2 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
So how many pairs of shoes have you bought in your lifetime?
"Maybe like 1,500 pairs — but maybe more than that, actually. There was a time when I didn't have as much money and I was buying shoes at, like, $30 or $40 a shoe every week or what have you."

How have your habits changed since then?
"Well, I tend to buy more expensive shoes now and I don't buy them as often. When I do buy them, though, I buy two or three at a time. I just bought a pair of Gucci sandals yesterday — and I said I wasn't going to buy any more pairs of shoes. Before that, I bought two pairs of Louboutins — a python pair and a leopard pair. That's already three pairs of shoes for the month of December that cost over $1,500. It's not very sporadic and the only thing strategic about it is that I don't buy cheap shoes anymore. I'm not buying a shoe every month, but I probably buy a pair of shoes every other month at a minimum."
3 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
So how many shoes do you have in total now?
"I actually purge quite often. I try to do an edit as much as possible; last season, I gave away 30 pairs of shoes to an organization that was giving girls shoes for prom. I currently have around 120 in my closet, but I have a wardrobe with about 50 pairs that I either want to get rid of, sell, or get fixed."

When was the first time you fell in love with a pair of shoes?
"As a kid, I remember the first time I fell in love with shoes. When I was 5 years old, my parents bought me these little plastic play shoes; they were pink and green and they had a big jewel in front of them, and I'd play dress up in them for hours and hours and hours. Plus, I would always play in my mom's high heels, so as a teenager I remember walking around in heels really well and she was like, well you used to do that as a kid."
4 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
Tell me about your first pair of adult shoes.
"A couple of years ago, I got bit by the Louboutin bug and it's been biting me ever since. My first pair of expensive shoes was a pair of Louboutin Pigalle nude pumps. I wanted the So Kate for my birthday — I was turning 32 — and no one had the nude pair in my size. But I had put aside money, because I wanted this shoe, and I was calling every single boutique and I couldn't get it. I called the Birmingham store — I live in NYC. Finally, I visited Atlanta and they didn't have the So Kate, but the manager was like, why don't you try the Pigalle? And it's actually my most comfortable pair in my wardrobe. It was the pair where it was like, I am an adult. I can spend money on shoes now."

Is there a specific style you gravitate towards?

"I'm a pump girl, so all the Louboutins I own, they're all pumps. I feel like they're classic shoes you can wear year-round. You're not just wearing them seasonally; you can wear them forever."
5 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
What's your favorite pair of shoes right now?
"My favorite pair right now is the N°21 satin green knotted mules and the python Pigalles that are about $1,500. They're white-and-gray python, but they glow in the dark. They're so gorgeous and I've wanted them for so long. They're also the most expensive pair in my closet."

Tell me about the oldest pair of shoes in your closet.
"I have a gorgeous pair of old bootie sandals with ankle straps; the front of them is leopard pony hair. They're from Steve Madden. I've had them for about five years. They're beautiful shoes and I always get compliments. Whenever the heel wears out, I take them to the cobbler and get them redone. It's so funny; I didn't realize how long I've had them or how long they've lasted.

"People give you a hard time if you have a lot of shoes, but the benefit is that you're not wearing the same shoes over and over again, so your shoes last longer and you can actually take the time to make sure you care for them properly. I can make sure I put them in a bag and spray them with suede spray. It teaches you to care about your things, so they last."
6 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Janelle Langford.
What shoes do you wear the most often?
"A pair of leopard pumps that I have. Leopard is a neutral, so I wear it quite often. I also recently got this really gorgeous pair of embellished slide-in flat slippers from ASOS and they're perfect, comfortable, and stylish."

How much money do you think you've spent on shoes in your lifetime?
"Way more than I’ve probably should have. I mean, last year alone I bought 11 pairs of Louboutins at over $600 a pair, $721 with tax, we’re talking close to $10,000 on Louboutins last year. Not even other shoes. Over the course of my life? Probably $50,000 to $60,000, which is sad, actually, to think about those numbers.

"The trade-off is I don’t shop as much for other shoes. I know that this is a type of shoe I like now. So I don’t buy other things. I’m an entrepreneur, so I do want to make sure I treat myself and allow myself to have these luxuries — but this is the only part of luxury that’s in my wardrobe. I’m not buying $800 shoes and $2,000 bags. I think another thing that’s important is I don’t have children, I'm not married. I’m not sacrificing anyone’s livelihood or any adult obligations to buy shoes. I’m a single girl who is an entrepreneur, this is what I choose to spend my money on.

"One thing about me, too, is I’ve never gone into debt for my shoes. None of my shoe purchases have been on credit card. I don’t believe in going into debt for luxury."
Advertisement
7 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
Melissa Saputra, 33
@Nokturnelle
Jakarta, Indonesia

How did you get your start collecting shoes?
"Subconsciously, it might be because of my mother. Ever since I was only 6 years old, I would watch her get ready for the office. You know, putting on her makeup and getting dressed and all. And she never wore flats back in the days — she was in her late 20s at that time. She was always in heels. So I would play with her lipsticks and try on her heels, too. I think that is why I love to dress up — and I love that clickety heels sound when they strut."
8 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
How many pairs of shoes do you have total?
"Only counting from 2004 and so on? At the moment, I have around 135 pairs of high-end brands only (Louboutins, Manolos, Viviers, Olympias, Websters, Kirkwoods, Zanottis, Choos, etc.), with three new pairs I pre-ordered coming soon from Louboutin's newest spring/summer collections. I can't display them all, though, since I'm running out of space, so I put some of the really old ones I rarely wear back in their boxes in a storage room."

How many shoes have you bought in your lifetime?
"Not including what I gave as gifts to others, close to 200 pairs, maybe. I've donated some and gave some away as hand-me-downs to people."
9 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
What was your very first pair of "grown-up" shoes? Can you tell me the story behind them?
"This is a little tricky. I think my very first grown-up pair was a pair of Nine West heels I bought when I was in high school. They didn't cost much, probably $70 to 80.

"Brand-wise, I bought my first Louboutins (in classic Pigalle) in 2004. I was 21 at that time. That overlapped with, of course, none other than when Ms. Carrie Bradshaw lost her silver Sedaraby Manolos in the baby-shower episode — and, yes, I am a SATC fan. I began hunting for them overseas (there were no Manolo Blahnik boutiques or retailers at that time in my country, Indonesia), so I guess it kinda grew from there."
10 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
How much money do you think you've spent on shoes in your adult lifetime?
"If we average $1,000 for each pair, then, go figure."

Do you have shoes you've never worn? Why?
"No. I'm a firm believer of utilizing all my things before the world really comes to an end...even if it is wearing them only once or twice."
11 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
What's your favorite pair right now? Why?
"This is a super-difficult question. I love all my babies equally — each pair is special in its own ways. However, if I had to choose it would probably something metallic, or sparkly, or pink, or all of those criteria combined."
Advertisement
12 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
What's the most expensive pair in your closet? Can you tell me the story behind those shoes?
"
It's the Louboutin's Very Mix 150mm in Potpourri. It is not a classic repeated style, so you can't find them anymore in-store. They existed from 2009 to 2011, if I'm not mistaken. I got them in Hong Kong, in 2010, and it was one of the best buys I've made. They cost around $3,500 before tax. I just thought they were very sexy, a collector's edition."
13 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
Tell me about the shoes you wear the most.
"At the moment, I wear a lot of slip-ons and sneakers in the daytime. I'm alternating between my Miu Miu pink slips, my Loubi spikes flats, and my Prada silver full-wingtip brogues. They cost about $900 to $1,200 per pair — I can't remember the exact number for all, but ballpark. They are very comfortable for me to go around doing my errands. For a night out, I just rotate between my heels. I have more heels in my collections."
14 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Saputra.
Would you say you collect more shoes than any other accessory or item of clothing?
"I think I can say yes to that. I love bags, too, but I don't buy them as often as I buy shoes. The feeling is something I can't fully describe. It's the butterflies I get when I look at beautiful shoes that I don't always get when I look at a Birkin. I am also a makeup hoarder, though."
15 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
Selma Kaci, 22
@Selmaksebbagh
Paris, France

How did you get started collecting shoes?
"I think it started with two pairs of sneakers, actually! I had the chance to have an aunt who's American, so I used to ask for pairs. But the first one that really mattered to me was a pair of sneakers that I made with NikeID. It was in 2009 or 2010. I used the Nike Dunk that I pretty much covered with the safari pattern. That pattern is one of my favorites, even now.

"I remember I waited two months from the time the shoes were made to the time she sent it to me. Damn, that was so long. I loved the pair so much — she was mine, I made it. I was 16, and I rocked it for maybe three to four years. At the end, she was such an épave [wreck].

"The second pair that marked the start of my collection was the release of the Jordan 3 Blue in June 2011. I remember waiting in front on the Foot Locker and ask for my size (I had to pick the youth size). I was so happy back then, because I had to work to be able to buy them, and I was really waiting for that release. So I was like a child waiting for Christmas."
16 of 37
How many shoes do you have in total?
"In total? Impossible to say. I split my shoes everywhere. I have some at my sister's house and my family's house, but at my own apartment, I’ll say maybe 70. I wear half of them, to be honest. So many DS [deadstock] shoes. Shame on me."

How much money do you think you've spent on shoes in your lifetime?
"In my lifetime? It's so hard to say. I don't want to know, but I'll say probably at least 8,000 euros. Damn. Don't judge me."

How many pairs of shoes have you bought in your lifetime?
"Hmm...now I'm gifted [shoes] time to time, so 50? I'm really not sure about the number. Maybe 60! I sold a lot of sneakers when I moved..."
17 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
What's your favorite pair right now?
"Right now, my favorite pair is definitely my Spiridon in white. To be honest, I slept on the release (something that I actually always do). After five months, I woke up and I was like, Damn I need those. But, of course, after five months, finding a size six wasn't that easy. I finally copped them on sale on SNS. AMEN. They're such perfection, I'm in love with the swoosh in silver."
18 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
How much of your life revolves around finding new shoes for your closet?
"Probably too much — not a day goes by without me searching for sneakers. I'm always searching online for the best deal. And I follow updates and releases with Instagram and a few websites. I'm also subscribed to a lot of websites."
19 of 37
What's the most expensive pair in your closet? Can you tell me the story behind it?
"The most expensive pair is definitely the Chanel sneakers I just bought few weeks ago. I can't say the price that I paid, but they are amazing — gold and tweed. The most luxe shoes I have, for sure."
20 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
What's the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?
"The Presto pair, which was released in 2000 that I found for 20 euros in a little shop that was closing. I was so happy about it. They're still DS with the original box."
21 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
Tell me about the shoes you wear the most.
"It's hard to say, but it's probably the Presto Triple in black. They're easy for parties. I have no fear of dancing all night in them or walking all day in the streets of Paris. In the summer, I will go for the Mayfly Woven or the Flyknit Racer — I love both, they're easy and so light. I love the fact that I'm able to put a few racers in my suitcase when I'm leaving for holiday. They don't take up a lot of space and, honestly, I never leave without four or five pairs with me when I'm traveling."
22 of 37
Why shoes, instead of purses, clothes, or something else? I would love to hear about why you love them so much.
"I used to have a thing with bags, but I focused on shoes, instead. They are like clothes for me. I start all of my outfits with shoes first, and then I see what I can wear with them. But now that I'm buying shoes more, I'm buying clothes to match them. It's an awful loop."
23 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Selma Kaci.
Why sneakers?
"Well, I used to wear heels. My mom always told me, 'Dress as you want and be happy. No matter what people say to you, just be you and you will be comfortable with yourself and the way you dress.' But you know, teen are stupid, right? So as a teenager, I used to so be so girly when I was younger. One day, I realized that I wasn't comfortable like this. It was too much; I wasn't okay with the way I dressed, with what I was wearing, like I was just pretending, you know? I was dressing how people excepted me to be: a good and nice girl. Cute dress and cute shoes.

"But, in fact, I wasn't comfortable in my shoes (awful heels at that time). So, one day, I did a reconversion. I said, 'Fuck that shit,' and gave all of my heels away. I became a real tomboy and I was wearing a lot of black clothes.

"Now that I'm more mature, I realize that you can be everything you want. You can be the girl who is wearing gold pants with sneakers if you want to do so. And it's just a freedom."
24 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Nina Susnjara.
Nina Susnjara, 32
@ninasusnjara
Ljubljana, Slovenia

How did you get started collecting shoes? Tell me about the first time you fell in love with a pair.
"I've loved shoes for all my life. When I was just a little girl I was already obsessed with them. By the time I was in high school, I was already a proud owner of at least 50 pairs — and I have small feet. My shoe size is European 35. I became almost like a professional shoe-hunter, always on the hunt for a new pair that fits me best. I sometimes think that I have a small shoe size for a reason, because otherwise, I would have them all!"
25 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Nina Susnjara.
How many shoes do you have in total? How many have you bought in your lifetime?
"Every year, I do some kind of a 'spring cleaning' of my shoe closet and I give away shoes that I rarely wear (except the archives). So now I have about 100 of them. I don’t even want to know how many I've bought in my lifetime, because I could buy or do so many more important things with that money than that. I could buy a good car with that money. I have to say that with years, however, I am more and more aware that I need shoes that I actually wear."
26 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Nina Susnjara.
What's the most expensive pair in your closet?
"That would be the pair of silver slouchy boots that I also designed for myself years ago. They were unique, handmade, pointy, leather boots with high heels. We made them for my prom and they were about $1,000."

Tell me about the oldest pair of shoes in your closet.
"The oldest pair is about 10 years old and is from a random store in New York. They are black pony-hair booties and they are the most comfortable shoes, ever."
27 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Nina Susnjara.
What's your favorite pair right now? Why?
"My favorite pair right now are over-the-knee lace-up combat boots that I designed in collaboration with an Italian shoe manufacturer. They are SNYR for L’estrosa. I love them, because they are everything that I was looking for in the fall and winter season. They are flats, with rubber soles for all the rain and snow, made from leather, and because they are over-the-knee boots, they make your legs look longer; they're also sexy, because of all the lace-up in the front. I think the reason I became a designer was the thrill that I can just create the things I want and the fashion pieces I think people need."

Why shoes, instead of purses, clothes, or something else?
"I think it's because of the chase in my younger years. When you can’t have options and every shoe you desire, as I can’t because of my small shoe size, you want them even more. And we know we always want something we 'can’t' have."
28 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
Sophia Ho, ~30s
@louboutinaholic
Hong Kong

How did you get started collecting shoes? Tell me about the first time you fell in love with a pair.
"I didn't really set out to 'collect' shoes so to speak, but I think Sex and the City was the starting point. Needless to say, the first pair I fell in love with were from Manolo Blahnik! They were a pair of strappy heels adorned with crystal-encrusted stars. I saw them on Kylie Minogue 10, or maybe even 15, years ago, and instantly fell in love. I then saw them on sale at their store in The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong when I was on holiday, but didn't get them right away. I went back a couple of days later and they were gone. I still regret not getting them! Those are definitely the ones that got away."
29 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
How many shoes do you have in total?
"I had over 140 pairs until I moved three weeks ago. I got rid of about 40 pairs, which means I have only about 100 pairs now."

How many pairs of shoes have you bought in your entire adult life?
"Oh gosh, I really don't know about this one but if I have to guess... 500 maybe? I really am not good with numbers! Sometimes, I'd get three pairs in just one week, but sometimes, I could go three months without buying any new shoes."
30 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
What's your favorite pair right now? Why?
"Oh dear, I definitely have more than one favorite pair! But I can say my favorite styles of all time are the Hangisi flats from Manolo Blahnik and the old version Pigalle 120 heels from Christian Louboutin (the brand revamped the Pigalle style in 2014). My nude Picks & Co. heels from Louboutin are also one of my favorites."
31 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
Tell me about the shoes you wear the most.
"Definitely the Hangisi flats from Manolo and also the Roger Vivier pointy-toed flats. I have the RV flats in both gold and silver and they go with everything in my wardrobe."
32 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
Do you have any shoes you have never worn? Why or why not?
"I feel really bad for saying this, but half the heels that I own have never been worn, to be honest. When I bought them, I always thought I would find an occasion to wear them. But the reality is, I wear flats most of the time. I'm definitely more sensible when I go shoe shopping now."
33 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of Sophia Ho.
What's the most expensive pair in your closet? Can you tell me the story behind it?
"I will say the Flo Strass from Christian Louboutin. They retailed for over $3,500 but I managed to get them on sale for more than 50% off."

On average, how much do normally you pay for a pair?
"These days, I prefer quality to quantity, so I would say about $600 a pair on average."

How has that changed over time?
"When I was in college and first started working, I bought a lot of my shoes from fast-fashion brands. I still have a lot of shoes from places like Zara and Topshop and I love them just as much as my more expensive ones. In my opinion, you don't really need to make any trade-offs in order to afford nice shoes. It's all about budgeting your money in a way you can still splurge on other things in life."

Why shoes, instead of purses, clothes, or something else? I would love to hear about why you love them so much.
"I have three vices: shoes, purses, and jewelry — and I have the same amount of love and passion for each one of them. The reason I love shoes is that they can really elevate an outfit and make a statement. Also, it's the only thing I can put on that will instantly make me five inches taller."
34 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of SneakerNews.com.
Wendy Lam
Nitrolicious.com
@nitro_licious

How many pairs do you have in total?
"I have about 700+ pairs of sneakers and shoes and it's growing daily, weekly, and monthly. I can remember some but I definitely can't recall the stories for each."

What was your first pair of real, grown-up shoes?
"I honestly don't remember."
35 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of @@nitro_licious.
What's your favorite pair right now? Why?
"I don't have ONE favorite pair at the moment, it depends on my outfit and how I'm feeling that day. But my current rotation includes the most of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350s, Pharrell Williams x Adidas NMDs, Fenty x Puma Creepers, and Nike SF-AF1."

What's the most expensive pair of sneakers in your closet?
"The most expensive retail pair might be the Céline high-top sneakers. They retailed for like $950? I love Céline and the sneaker is one of my faves, super-clean and chic. As for resale value, it would be the Pharrell Williams x Adidas NMD Friends & Family version that was gifted to me. At the moment, that pair is worth $7,500 and my size (five mens) is extremely hard to come by, too."
36 of 37
Photo: Courtesy of @@nitro_licious.
Tell me about the oldest pair of shoes in your closet.
"I think it would be the Nike Air Max 95s, I got almost all the colors when they first came out. I think I used my allowance money to buy them. It's been a minute, but I still have them!"

Do you have shoes you have never worn? Why?
"Yes, many. I either haven't gotten to them yet or they've just arrived."
37 of 37
How much money do you think you've spent on shoes in your lifetime?
"This I can't answer, because I really don't know. I never really kept track. I'm also lucky enough to have a lot gifted, as well. The only thing is, I'm running out of space. I give a lot to my mom (she's the same size) and friends that are my size, as well."

Why shoes?

"I have more shoes than any other accessory for no special reason, just an obsession. I also have OCD and need multiple colors of each style — it's a bad habit."

Shop your inbox!

yay! get ready for the good stuff!