Practical Shoes for a Minimal Wardrobe

The Minimal Wardrobe: Practical Shoes

Milan Pointed Flats

When it comes to buying shoes we should be looking for comfort and versatility; they need to look good and feel good. It’s essential we build a wardrobe full of useful, practical shoes that empower us instead of limiting us; strong essentials that allow style and ease to coexist.


Practical shoes are comfortable shoes regardless of what style you opt for. If a pair of shoes squeeze or pinch your feet, rub against your toes or heel, or leave you feeling sore after wear then you’ll probably resist reaching for them in the future and eventually they will go unworn and forgotten about at the back of your wardrobe. Eliminate those testy pairs and seek out comfort. Learn your true shoe size (stop squeezing them into a size too small because the size up is slightly too big) and shop around until you find brands that make your feet feel good.


Depending on the requirements of your lifestyle and the season, you might want to omit some shoe styles from your wardrobe. If, like me, you’re unlikely to need or reluctant to wear heels, restrict the amount you own to one or two classic styles or find suitable alternatives. Pointed flats or classic brogues are just as appropriate, if not more so, than the awkward discomfort of heels.


Leather is undoubtedly more hardwearing and typically provides more options when it comes to style. Yet if ethical decisions prevent you from purchasing them new there are high quality alternatives available, it just might require a bit more hunting to find the perfect fit.


Neutral colours are the cornerstone of practical shoes, opting for white, brown, or black (or a mixture of all three) will enable you to pair them with any outfit far easier than statement pairs. You can’t go wrong if you stick with black although there is something quite lovely about throwing a coloured pair into the mix.

The Minimal Wardrobe: Practical Shoes

My Shoe Wardrobe

When it comes to shoes I stick to a handful of specific styles: Chelsea boots, flats, sandals, and walking shoes. All of my shoes are comfortable; all of my shoes are worn regularly; all my shoes have a specific purpose. I also try to stick to smart styles so I don't have to worry about whether a pair are "occasion appropriate." I don’t buy new leather so I look for “preowned but new” on eBay and stick to brands who make comfortable, good quality non-leather alternatives. Some of my favourite shoe brands include: Dr Martens, Wills, Matt and Nat, and Birkenstock. I’m always on the lookout for environmentally friendly alternatives, so please do tell me if you know of any suitable brands.

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The Minimal Wardrobe: Practical Shoes