Teacher spends over R600 000 on 500 pairs of quirky shoes

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Kari Walbert is a self-confessed shoe addict and she has collected over 500 pairs of world's quirkiest shoes worth more than R600 000. Kari Walbert / Caters News/ Magazine Features
Kari Walbert is a self-confessed shoe addict and she has collected over 500 pairs of world's quirkiest shoes worth more than R600 000. Kari Walbert / Caters News/ Magazine Features
  • Kari Walbert, is known as 'the teacher with the shoes' because of the exciting shoes she spots daily.
  • The self-confessed shoe addict has collected over 500 pairs of quirkiest shoes worth more than $40 000 (about R609 000).
  • She says she's trying to slow down her habit of acquiring about three pairs a month. However, she's very proud of her collection. 


Kari Walbert (44) has dedicated an entire room to store her exclusive shoes that she calls 'art pieces.' Her shoes are all quirky, elaborately designed in bright colours with sequins, glitter, feathers and furs.

The heels depict famous cartoon characters such as Beauty and the Beast, the famous Darth Vader character from the Star Wars franchise, Ariel from Little Mermaid and Hello Kitty. 

She also has edgy fire shaped heels and traditional Chinese inspired fiery red shoes and boots with elaborate themes in bright hues. 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

All images courtesy Kari Walbert / Caters News/ Magazine Features


READ MORE | Meet the woman who owns 110 pairs of designer shoes worth almost R1 million

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

Kari, a teacher, says, "My motto is 'life is too short to wear boring shoes.' I feel like most of these shoes are art and express who I am. I view my shoes as a sort of collection of art pieces. I like the challenge of putting together an outfit around the shoes I've picked out for the day. The quirkier, the better." 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

Kari says she always had a weakness for fun shoes, but her obsession grew in 2012 after she bought a really unique pair of shoes with gold unicorn heels. Since then, she has collected over 500 pairs of shoes. "I've always been a fan of shoes. When I was in high school, it was Dr Marten's, Converse and Vans. As I've gotten older, it has turned to heels and boots. Over the years, I just developed a tendency to gravitate toward the quirkier pairs," Kari says. 

"I have over 500 pairs of shoes in the range of $40-$600 (R600 - R9 000) a pair… maybe I have spent over $40,000 (about R609 000) on the collection.

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

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Kari has branded shoes from Dr Martens, Converse, and Jeffrey Campbell to Betsey Johnson and Fluevog to Manolo Blahnik, Dior, and Louboutin. 

"I have everything from sneakers, flip flops, sandals, boots, platforms, stilettos, wedges and more. The majority of my quirkier shoes are from Irregular Choice, a UK brand," says Kari. 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

"I like to keep all my shoes in their boxes-most of the boxes are really beautiful, and they are much easier to stack and store that way." 

READ MORE | Shoes inspired by the '70s that you'll want to add to your collection immediately

Kari says she loves shoes that draw people's attention. She is often stopped by people and asked about the shoes and where she has got them from. 

Her eccentric shoes have even made her famous and earned her the name of 'the teacher with the shoes'. 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

She says, "I like shoes that people are going to notice and comment on. I'm a teacher, and I'm known by most students as the teacher with the shoes. They even make a point to stop by my classroom to see what shoes I'm wearing for the day." 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

READ MORE | REVIEW | To everyone who’s ever loved a pair of Crocs: What was it that did it for you?

Kari says she is now trying to control her fixation as she confesses she has zero control over her obsession. 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

"I usually buy when there are new releases, so two to three pairs per month. If I see a pair I fancy, I usually just buy them on the spot. I have zero self-control when it comes to shoes," says Kari.

"I've been trying to make an effort to slow down as I am running out of room to store them, as you would imagine." 

kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti
kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti
kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti
kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti
kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti
kari walbert,real life,fashion,collections,addicti

Do you own any interesting shoes? Tell us here.

Credit: Kari Walbert / Caters News/ Magazine Features

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