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Can’t a girl get a quality shoe without the hefty bill?

July 29, 2010

What woman doesn’t love her shoes? We coordinate them with our outfits, show them off to friends — and yes, we walk around in them.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to have blisters on my feet. And I prefer not to wobble around because the simple act of walking is painful.

I’ve decided I need to stop buying cheap shoes (especially when it comes to heels), and invest more in quality. Higher price does not always mean better quality and vice versa, but quality shoes are not going to be given away freely.

The majority of us can’t afford to buy Louboutins from a boutique. So where can the average woman find affordable, quality shoes? It takes some work, but it can be done!

Goodwill (and other thrift stores)

If you can get past the ick factor, you can make some great finds by thrifting. People get rid of all kinds of good stuff — I’ve seen lots of name brands in like new condition! In fact, I picked up two pairs of Ann Taylor shoes the other day (pictured above).

I know many people are squeamish about used shoes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while thrifting:

  • Look over all the shoes and only decide to try them on if you could seriously see yourself buying them.
  • Do a thorough visual inspection. A quick sniff doesn’t hurt either.
  • Try them on for feel and quality. Make sure you can walk around comfortably.

Thrift stores are your best bet if don’t have much spare cash, but they do tend to take the most time and effort.

Consignment Shops

These are a step up (pun not intended – OK, maybe a little) from thrift stores because they don’t accept just everything. You might find some really cool, vintage shoes, but with a slightly higher price tag.

I haven’t done a lot of consignment shopping but, like thrift stores, you never know what you’ll stumble upon!

Discount Stores (such as Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls)

These stores have a wide range of brands and prices. From my experience, Ross seems to be on the lower price end, with TJ Maxx and Marshalls on about the same level – slightly pricier.

I recommend first browsing the clearance rack. It has a thrift store feel without the pre-worn shoes. It’s a rush to find a pair of BCBGs marked down to $20! (Even if you still pass on them like I did last week.)

Pay Attention to Sales

Keep yourself informed about when sales are happening at your local department stores. Many are announced on social media, and you can find great bargains if you’re in the know!

Good luck and happy hunting!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    August 21, 2010 12:18 pm

    Are you kidding me? The “ick factor”? Like no one’s worn that pair of cute vintage flats you found?

    I cannot believe that attitude. There’s nothing ‘icky’ or gross about thrift store, consignment stores, yard sales, or anywhere you pick up second-hand clothing. I was really enjoying reading this blog until I found this entry — I can’t believe the attitude you have about thrift stores. It makes me sick.

    • Melanie permalink*
      August 21, 2010 7:15 pm

      I think you misunderstood me. I LOVE thrift stores and second-hand clothes. Those shoes pictured in this post are ones I got from Goodwill.

      By “ick factor,” I’m only referring to the potential for shoes (particularly those worn without socks) to be slightly less than clean, since there’s no real way to clean them.

      However, that doesn’t really stop me. Just today, I picked up two more pairs of shoes at Plato’s Closet.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope this clarification clears up my stance on thrift stores and other second-hand stores – this is my main form of clothes shopping.


  1. Stylish and comfortable heels: An urban shoe myth? « Thrifty Threads

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