The Millionaire Next Door

Billions of Bucks; Two Pairs of Shoes

In a national survey of 733 millionaires representing the top 1% wealth holders in America, I found that 70% regularly have their shoes resoled/repaired (see The Millionaire Mind, p. 297).  Millionaires are generally frugal, but they are not frugal when it comes to purchasing quality shoes. Why do most wealthy people pay several hundred dollars for a pair of shoes?  As one respondent, a decamillionaire, stated, “cheap shoes wear you; you don’t wear them.”  Plus most millionaires are more sensitive to the life cycle costs of shoes than the initial purchase price.  The most favored brands of shoes among male millionaires are Allen Edmonds and Cole Haan (see Stop Acting Rich, p. 66).  Plus both of these brands are also favored among that elite group of millionaires which has annual realized  incomes of $1M or more. As I stated about such shoes, “never go out of style and can be refurbished over and over again.”

Given this background I was not surprised that Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC, a billionaire and member of the prestigious Forbes 400 club, has “been wearing the same shoes for 10 years,”  see NYPost.  According to the article, Mr. Bloomberg “owns only two pairs of work shoes. . . one day he’ll wear one, the next the other.  When they get worn down he has them resoled.”  According to a spokesperson, the shoes appear to be Allen Edmonds and Cole Haan brands.  Another expert that was interviewed for the article said, “A pair of shoes like that could go 18 to 20 years . . . .”

The only exception I take to the article is when the author states that “Mayor Bloomberg is the rare billionaire who can preach penny-pinching. . . .”  I find that the majority of millionaires, decamillionaires and billionaires are penny pinchers when it comes to their wardrobes!

6 thoughts on “Billions of Bucks; Two Pairs of Shoes”

  1. Yes, I would concur with the article that quality shoes are more important than quantity of shoes. Other great brands (that are also durable) that I also regularly resole include Johnston Murphy and Mezlan.

  2. What about the millionaire ladies? Are they as frugal with re-soling shoes? There is a difference in societal expectations for both women and men regarding wardrobe and shoes, and I wonder whether the millionaire women are also reputed to wear the same two pairs of shoes for a decade.

  3. As a woman in professional school, I can tell you that most women DEFINITELY CAN get by with only 2 pairs of work shoes, one black and one brown or camel. They do need to be very good shoes. But more than that is an indulgence. The only industry that might demand more shoes is high fashion.

  4. I bought a pair of Cole Haans 11 years ago and had them resoled twice during that time. I really loved them but it was time for them to go, so ast year I bought a new pair of Cole Haans and they sucked! Not even a year in and they were already squeaking like crazy! Cole Haans are not made like the used to anymore. When I took off the insole, they had this square “gel” type material under the heel which is what was causing the squeaking. I put talc in there and the squeaking would stop for about half a day, but then resume. Instead of getting them fixed I splurged and bought myself some Allen Edmonds. Were almost twice as expensive but I expect them to last longer than my Cole Haans.

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