Figure 1. Three shoe choices from spring/summer 2010 (left: Tsubo heels, center: Rocketdog wedges, right: Target gladiators).
If you have this same affliction you know the feeling you get when a new fashion season (i.e., spring/summer or fall/winter) is beginning: that insatiable desire for new shoes (don't even get me started on the clothes/accessories). My rule allows me to purchase three new pairs of shoes per fashion season.
Figure 2. Three shoe choices from fall/winter 2010 (left: Anthropologie boots, center: Steve Madden boots, right: Urban Outfitters heels).
For me, this means being a few months 'behind' the fashion curve while I sit back and blog-stalk my fashion inspirations to see what shoes I just can't live without. Next, I make a mental list of the general types of shoes I want to buy (e.g., tall brown boots, brown wedges, flat t-strap sandals). Then, the research begins. The majority of my purchases are done online and I search site upon site (e.g., Piperlime, 6pm, Zappos, Endless) to see the available choices and variations in style and price. I spend hours doing this. Yes, hours. I select candidates and ask others' opinions, read online comments about comfort, and try them on (look for free shipping/returns). Order your favorites, try them on, and wear them around your house. Yes, I have trotted around my house in PJ's and high heels all night to test their comfort.
Figure 3. Three shoe choices from spring/summer 2011 (top: Frye wedges, bottom: OluKai sandals). One choice remaining and I am eyeing these).
Then, carefully, select your three pairs. In the end, you have satisfied your desire for new shoes, participated in new trends, and added to your collection, all while staying in control.
(Note: Sometimes you may get shoes as gifts and these certainly don't count. And sometimes you may encounter a really fantastic pair after you have picked your three. A splurge, every now and then, is perfectly acceptable. Mom, this note is for you.)