The sole sisters: women and their shoe habit

A survey has found the average woman spends £31,000 on shoes in her lifetime. Ed Caesar asks three addicts what makes footwear such a female fetish
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The Independent Online

Cat Callender

I've no idea how many pairs I've got. I had my wardrobe specially designed so that there would be enough room for all my shoes, and there still isn't. They're under my bed. I think £31,000 is really conservative. If you're looking on the high street, a pair of shoes costs £80, and if you're looking at a designer pair, then they're £200 or more. Before I went freelance, I was buying at least eight or nine top designer pairs a year. My maths isn't great but that's a lot of money. I could blitz £31,000 easily.

A beautiful pair of shoes can transform you. Different styles of shoe will bring out a totally different side of your character. A sexy pair of killer heels will transform your posture - even worn with jeans - making you a bit more spiky, while a flat pair of Roman sandals will make you feel lofty. You choose your shoes accordingly, depending on what types of meeting you are having.

There are some that make you more chirpy, some that make you feel more fun. At the moment I've got some high black Gucci shoes with an ankle strap that are a bit bondagey. They're really sexy. I'm also waiting for a pair that are being fed-exed from Malta. They're a beautiful flat pair of thonged sandals with an antique diamanté strap and a satin ribbon.

Tracey Emin

I'm not a shoe person, although I've got around 200 pairs. I thought £31,000 sounded like a lot, until I realised that I spend about £3,000 a year on shoes, which adds up to £90,000 in a lifetime. Then again, I'm not the average woman. If I see a pair of shoes I like, I buy them.

I get irritated with shoes. I can't walk in high heels or stilettos. But it doesn't stop me from buying them. I really love Valentinos. They're beautiful, but mine are mostly kept in boxes. I've got some blue velvet YSL platforms, which are exquisite. I was the first person to buy them. I wear them with tiny breeches and a velvet tuxedo. I can't wear Manolo whatshisname. I've got some Sonia Rykiel shoes - they're my air hostess shoes. They're so sexy. I put them on if I can't decide what to wear. If I want to wear something low they look good.

These diamante fish shoes were given to me by my friend in Paris. They have silk soles and are by Vicini. They're gorgeous and I love them because they are so ornate.

I've got this spectacular pair of red shoes which I've only worn once. I wore them in Rome, fell down the steps, and tore the ligaments in the back of my knee. But then again some shoes aren't designed to walk in, they're designed to have sex in.

Joan Smith

I think I was about eight when I got into shoes. I would have been dressing up - putting on mother's high heels and that kind of thing. I've never counted how many pairs I have. I'd say I've got in the region of 40 to 50 pairs.

Does a woman really spend £31,000 in a lifetime on shoes? I mean, I spend a lot of money on shoes but I tend to find them in sales and second-hand places. There's a wonderful second-hand place near where I live in west London where you can get terrific designer shoes. I got some fantastic Yves Saint Laurent shoes from there. They get a lot of Sergio Rossi shoes there, too. Usually, I pay £60 or £70 for shoes that would have been £300.

At the moment I'm eyeing up a pair of black suede kitten-heels in Pied a Terre. They have a little band of suede over the toe and then a huge black suede flower with tiny green stamens in the middle.

I have made my share of shoe mistakes. There was a pair of very high ankle boots that I had had my eye on for a while. They were £200 but they came down to £150, then to £100. I held my nerve until they came down to £70, then I bought them. But they crippled me - they were way too high and I couldn't wear them. At least I didn't buy them at full price.