Leela Cyd, Getty Images // Leela Cyd, Getty Images (Leela Cyd, Getty Images)

The average woman will spend more than $20,000 in her lifetime on shoes, according to a recent poll of 2,000 American and British women.

Among the findings, a typical female will own about 268 pairs of shoes during her adult life, but more than $3,900 will be blown on shoes which either don't fit properly, have only been worn once, or not at all.

The in-depth study, which involved 1,000 British women between the ages of 18 and 60, and 1,000 American women in a similar age range from across the country, highlighted the strange attachment many women have to shoes.

"The size of a typical woman’s shoe collection can be baffling, but as we know when shopping, there is always a way of justifying a new pair,” said a spokeswoman for market researchers OnePoll.com, which ran the joint US and UK poll. "The number of unworn or painful pairs of shoes is especially interesting, when we consider that the intended purpose of shoes is to walk in them.

About 20 percent of the women in the study admitted buying a pair of shoes that “left them in agony, but looked great,” and 52 percent said they had shoes in their closet they had never worn, indicating they had  “no occasion to wear them” and “I can’t walk in them” as their main reasons for allowing their shoes to gather dust.

Some women reported their love affair with shoes has even intruded into their real-life relationships - one in eight women say they have lied about buying shoes to get out of an argument. Top excuses include “I’ve had these for ages,” “I bought them in the sale” or claims that they didn’t cost as much as they did.
Shockingly, of those who have argued about shoe buying with their partners, over a fifth ended up breaking up over it, and many admitted walking in a painful pair of heels purely to make a point. The poll found that women typically purchase four pairs of shoes each year, spending a little more than $60 each time, but more than one fifth said they are addicted to shoes and purchase a brand new pair at least once a month.

"As far as money spent, the results speak for themselves. Though those new floral wedges may be too good to pass up, the costs can really add up over the years,” said the spokesperson.

According to the results, most of the money spent goes towards plain black work shoes, black ballerina pumps, comfortable ankle boots and stiletto heels. One in ten women say they will most often put on a new pair of stiletto heels they can’t resist, whether there’s a reason to wear them or not. But the most common type of shoe purchased is a summer sandal.

Almost 70 percent said black was their first choice color for shoes. Other top colors were brown, blue and nude.

Women say flip-flops catch their eye the most, and almost a fifth admit they purchase a pair without a second thought. Boots also ranked highly, indicating that many women purchase a pair even before they are in season.