Everybody who walks needs shoes, and everybody pretty much needs an everyday/outside pair and a church pair, and everybody needs those for warm and cold weather, and everybody's feet keep growing. So that's a minimum of three or four pairs per kid per year (boys can wear the same church shoes for warm or cold), assuming everyone does me the favor of not outgrowing of a pair mid-season which is obviously ridiculously optimistic. And also snow boots.
No one is allowed to have more than the necessary shoes in our house. It just can't happen. That's a matter not only of frugality and storage, but also circulation. In order for us to get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time, there can only be a reasonable amount of shoes to dig through since they're all jumbled in a big box by the door.
I read in Real Simple to use wine boxes to store shoes--finally, a magazine idea that actually works and is free. A pair of little shoes can fit into one bottle compartment. Bigger shoes need a compartment each or even two compartments (fold the divider up or down). Sturdier shoes go on the bottom to keep the compartments from collapsing. Then I label them by the gender and size. I check them out as we need them and return them at the end of the season.
I get empty wine boxes at the grocery store. The ones that are the full height up to the top of the bottle are better. The boxes that just come up to the shoulders work fine too but they look messy, as I have demonstrated for your benefit:
Get thee behind me, Imelda.
We have this many shoes stored (55 pairs), and our oldest kid is only seven. I am afraid.
We use boots often enough to need them but still rarely enough that I won't buy another pair just to keep a 3-yr-old boy from going out in the Strawberry Shortcakes in a pinch. Easily accessed and size-organized boot storage is harder than shoes. For now, I'm keeping the boots on the bunk bed ladders we're not using. You can see that there are some unfortunate estrangements I need to work out, but I'm not giving up until boot season is officially past:
And that's what I know about shoes. If you know something I don't, please tell me, because I find the issue rather overwhelming.