Prince hoarded 2,000 pairs of shoes—that we know of

A renaissance man.
A renaissance man.
Image: Reuters/Peter Jones
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It was one year ago that Prince died in his Paisley Park, Minnesota home. In that time, the team responsible for maintaining the mansion has cataloged 7,000 of the late musician’s belongings—and 2,000 of those are shoes.

“Every outfit [tagged so far] had a matching pair of shoes,” Paisley Park’s archival director Angie Marchese, told the New York Times (paywall). “Most of them are ankle boots and have three-inch heels on them… Even his flip-flops were wedges. Even his tennis shoes are wedges.”

Marchese described opening entire closets stuffed with footwear, and finding special pairs of shoes such as the teal set he wore at the 2007 Super Bowl, to match the uniform color of the Miami Dolphins, whose stadium the game was played at. And there are thousands of shoes because Prince rarely wore the same outfit twice. The team found 35 jackets and 35 pairs of pants from his 1984 “Purple Rain” tour alone.

So far, archivists have also documented and preserved 120 of Prince’s zany, custom-designed guitars—for which which the musician was fondly known—but the most common items found are shoes, shoes, and shoes. Prince’s commitment to heels, specifically, seems to harken back to older, waning principles of Western culture associating heeled footwear with enlightenment and empowerment; they’re also one of the many ways the artist thumbed his nose at modern gender stereotypes and social conventions.

Prince’s commitment to unique shoes is matched only by his determined shunning of loungewear. While the mansion is strewn with glittering, custom-designed outfits for the stage, “Prince didn’t seem to have any at-home wear,” Marchese said. “Prince was always Prince…he was already who he was.”

We’re far from fully grasping the depths of Prince’s meticulous fashion obsessions; Paisley Park’s archival team estimates that the 7,000-odd items that have been cataloged so far comprise only 5% of the building’s holdings.