How Many Shoes Do You Really Need?

Why It's Important to Rotate Your Shoes

By: Kim Keller, Tom James Clothier in Dallas, TX
March 22, 2023

Compare your shoe collection to that of your mother, significant other, or even your children. Compared to yours, it might seem as if they have too many shoes while you keep your shoe selection to the basics. Do you have your favorite pair of shoes that are basically incorporated into your everyday outfit, either in black or brown and then another pair for certain occasions in an alternative color? If this sounds like you, your shoes may be crying for help! Wearing the same pair of shoes every day is not exactly the best decision you can make, here’s why.


Why is it important to rotate your shoes? 

Experts and Doctors believe people should always own multiple pairs of shoes so that they are able to rotate them. There are a variety of explanations why, but here are a few of the key reasons to rotate your shoes, which will extend their life and protect the investment you make in quality footwear.


There are more than 250,000 sweat glands in the feet... so everyone's feet will sweat a little. It's estimated that a person will produce roughly 4 oz. of foot sweat a day (which is equal to about a 1/2 a can of soda!). As you wear your shoes, the leather soaks up the perspiration your feet give off. That sounds kind of gross, but it's totally normal as long as you give the shoe ample time to dry.


If you don't give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out, the sweat-soaked leather will warp, and your shoes will start to lose their shape not to mention get musty and start to stink. Furthermore, damp leather is more susceptible to stretching, scuffing, creasing, and staining. 


It’s also important to use natural cedar wood shoe trees as they pull the excess moisture from the leather and help prevent the shoes from creasing. The critical part is WHEN to use a shoe tree, and that’s within an hour after removing your shoes. You can extend the life of your shoes dramatically by just using cedar shoe trees. Just insert a wooden shoe tree into the shoes once you take them off, it’s that simple. Raw cedar is porous as well as antimicrobial. The raw wood absorbs moisture and prevents any fungus from growing. That keeps the sweat and moisture from accumulating as well as deodorizing your shoes.


It is estimated that an average adult walks about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day just through our incidental movements like commuting, being at work, and doing errands. With every footstep, you are putting 1.5-3 times your body weight on your shoes. When you give your shoes a day to rest you are allowing the foam cells that make up the midsole of your shoe to decompress and bounce back to their original state which can prolong the life of the cushioning in your shoes.   


Lastly, from a style perspective, it is useful to have a good footwear rotation to give you more options to choose from when you are dressing for your day, and it will also allow you to wear those same pairs for years to come. Rotating which pair of shoes you wear regularly will help slow down the rate at which an individual pair wears down. Consider owning a variety of colors and styles, or stick to a few classic choices if that’s more your style.


What type of shoes should you have in your shoe rotation?

A solid rotation would consist of black, dark brown, and medium brown lace-up dress shoes for suits and the same colors in a loafer for sport coat outfits. A leather lace-up shoe with a rubber or foam sole (for example, the Holden plain toe by Johnston & Murphy) and leather lace-up sneakers (for example, To Boot New York sneakers) are versatile, comfortable, and stylish shoe choices to elevate your jean ensembles (including jeans & a sport coat). 


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