must-have shoes for a minimalist wardrobe

In the spirit of owning less and loving what I have a little more, I want to keep sharing some of the tips and tricks I’m learning from my no shopping challenge. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy, but it’s also made me think much more intentionally and consciously and that’s pretty cool, no? Now that it’s halfway through the year, I almost feel like I was in zombie mode before I started all of this. I was also just supremely fed up, but I digress.

Anyway, let’s talk shoes! I wouldn’t say I’m a shoe gal, so not buying them hasn’t been the worst. Full disclosure, though, in my no shopping challenge update you’ll see that at that point, two of the four things I’d bought (I’m allowing for one item per month) were shoes. I mean, what is it about shoes that makes us think we need a million pairs?! This is why in today’s post I’m taking charge and really, and I mean REALLY, narrowing it down and sharing the core pairs you should have in your closet to live that minimal life.

Must-have shoes for a minimalist wardrobe:

White converse sneakers

I’m not only saying this because I recently allowed myself to buy a pair of these. I just think having a good, stylish sneaker that’s comfortable is 100% necessary. When I was at Highpoint I walked for hours and hours every day and am so thankful I had my Converses. They can also be worn all seasons of the year with shorts, dresses or jeans. From a practicality standpoint, they check all my boxes.

Rain/winter boots

This one probably depends on where you live, but as someone who lives in the PNW, it’s a must. Here’s the thing about these kinds of boots, though. The prices are a little bit steep, so whenever I’m looking for a new pair, I always feel tempted to go the cheap route. But minimalism and owning less is teaching me that rather than going through several pairs that cost less, I should invest in quality so my things last longer and I love them more.

Basic summer sandals

I think these are important to pick out based on your lifestyle. Maybe it makes more sense for you to have a pair of Tevas. Or maybe you need a slightly nicer pair like these. Another thing to consider is color. I totally think it’s ok to have a black pair and a brown pair (again, depending on your lifestyle). The good thing about embracing a minimalist’s closet is that you probably don’t have tons of clothes with varying color palettes, which can make it easier to decide between a black pair or a brown pair if you want to choose just one.

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Neutral colored booties

If you don’t live in a climate with winter, then these may not be necessary. I find that I do need a decent winter shoe other than snow boots. That way if I ever have a meeting or an event that calls for a slightly more dressed up look I’m not left scrambling for a nice pair of shoes. I like this pair or this pair for good booties to invest in.


If you’re the kind of person who likes to break a sweat or go on hikes, you should probably have a nice pair of trainers. They last for years, which is a real plus. Just make sure you buy a pair that you absolutely love and fits your feet like a glove.

A fun pair that makes your heart happy

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t include this because of the whole minimalist thing. Especially because embracing minimalism means everything you own should make your heart happy. But sometimes we fall in love with totally impractical things and that’s ok. If you’re drooling over an orange suede pair of mules for months, buy them. Consign or donate them later so they can keep on living their best life.

Alright friends, what do you think about this? Do I sound crazy suggesting you should only have like five or six pairs of shoes? Or maybe you already live this life? If so, then I really want to hear from you!

photography by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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