2011-10-15

Thrift Debate: Shoes

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Brown boots (l to r): some Dutch brand?, Charles David and Cole Haan, all thrifted

I find it hard to thrift shoes. I mean, I have had some luck over the years, especially in the brown boot category, but it's a day worth celebrating when I find a good pair of shoes second hand. I blame the lack of thrifted shoes on my genetic superiority, which requires the weight of my huge brain (and ego?) to be evenly distributed across the expanse of my size 10 feet. I always do seem to find the best shoes and boots in tiny size 7's though... And while the discrepancy between my foot and a size 7 is great, I'm still tempted to buy them because it's hard to leave good stuff behind at a thrift store. I imagine I'll go around to all my friends and try to Cinderella a perfect match between them and the thrifted shoes.
I know some people have an aversion to thrifting shoes... and I can understand that... especially as I am not a huge fan of other people's bare feet myself. I get over it pretty fast when I see a pair of Cole Haan boots though. Besides, most of the shoes I have thrifted have had very little wear...

shoethrift2

Do you have good luck thrifting shoes? Or do you think thrifted footwear is the equivalent of stealing the last seat from both the old lady AND the pregnant lady on the bus?... it's just so wrong?... Also, most importantly, are you one of those special people with size 7 feet?

60 comments :

briannelee said...

I haven't had luck with thrifting shoes lately. I feel like they are always smelly and too worn out.

Linda said...

I don't have a problem with thrifted shoes....some of my best shoes are from the thrift store. If they are in like new condition and fit, they come home with me. My first pair of Birkenstocks came from the 2nd hand store and now I am addicted to them. :-)

rebecca said...

I used to be uber grossed out by it but I have definitely gotten over it. I'm a 7.5 and a majority of my shoes these days are thrifted!

RebeccawithanR

The Daily Fashionista said...

Hehe..yeah I'm one of those lucky ones who has the 7 size foot. Although lately I haven't found too many spectacular options of shoes in my local thrifts. Well, I take that back. I found a great pair of heeled Aldo boots for $4 never worn:)

Kate said...

I have serious luck/addiction to resale shop shoes, but my thrifting luck has been zero lately. And please send any other 7.5 Cole Haan boots down to me in Texas. I'm only half kidding.

Steph said...

i am SO with you on this. i wear a size 9 (used to be a 10 before i lost some weight) and if i ever do find any shoes they're always about a size 6 or 7. or hideous.

we have one goodwill in the area that is AMAZING for shoes that i recently discovered. but all the other women who thrift around here know about it too and they seriously line up and wait for the shoes to be stocked. so even if there is something good, you've gotta be fast and ready.

i've only been seriously thrifting for a little less than a year now. and so far i've found one pair of shoes. but i'm not giving up hope! i've seen some great ones out there in smaller sizes so i know it has to be possible! i just need to remember the words of master po, "patience, young grasshopper."

Rachel said...

As an avid thrifter and the owner of size-10 feet, I feel your pain. It is definitely a treasure hunt to find shoes in our size (and so sad when you find an awesome pair that don't fit!). Some of my favorite pairs are thrifted, but I've learned to be very discerning. Those super-high heels are most likely at the thrift store because someone realized that they kill her feet, so I mainly stick to shoes and boots that I'm sure I can walk in.

Jill said...

Some of my favourite and most complimented shoes have been vintage ones from the thrift store! They've always looked like they had only been worn once or twice. And I have size 7 feet, but I feel the same way towards the size 5 and 6 shoes. (I did a Cinderella match once with a pair of size 5 Manolos that I could NOT leave behind!)

olygirl said...

I have a couple of great shoe finds, but boots are hard to come by here. I'd love some brown boot luck! Its funny because I find darling shoes here but they are always size 9-10. I wear a 6. :)

Cynthia said...

I know the pain of being size-challenged in thrifting as I am a size 12 in clothing. My feet, however, are a quite average size 8.5. The problem is they're dainty and they like a high-quality, supportive shoe. The shoes I find on thrift are always the outrageous pairs of high heels or arch-support free ballet flats that other people buy, never wear, and eventually get rid of. If I want a nice practical shoe I've got to wait until the Clarks store has a sale and pay their bargain price.

Eboni Ife' said...

I have never been able to find a good pair of thifted shoes. Like ever! I have bought shoes from consignment shops and vintage boutiques. No aversion to thrifted shoes...just have a hard finding any that I like. I am always jealous of people who find fabulous dolce & gabanna pumps at thrift stores. NO FAIR! LOL

xoxo
Eboni Ife'

newpetite said...

And I thought I was the only one who could not find any shoes! I wear 5.5-6.. so you imagine my frustration coz most of the stores run out of these sizes in a jiffy n thrift stores never carry any good shoes. I always find Cole Hans n Pradas in 8-10 but never in the smaller sizes :-( How much did you get those Gorgeous Cole Han's for?

Katie Aman said...

I also have size 10 feet. I can NEVER find shoes in my size at a thrift store. Although, I did thrift a pair of mens' oxfords for myself today...I guess I'll have to resort to looking in the mens' dept. for shoes from now on! haha

melody-mae said...

I am almost afraid to say I am a size 7. :) I have lately had some AMAZING finds with shoes lately! I went to salvation army yesterday and found some amazing oxfords...for 2.99 and I about cried! LOL I use to have an aversion to thrifting shoes, but heck most times they look they haven't been worn at all!!!! :)

Wren said...

I wish I was one of those with size 7. As an 8, all the good ones are usually gone. My trick is to go with a friend who has smaller feet and then live vicariously through her great thrifty shoe finds.

http://houseofwren.blogspot.com/

Rachel Kaylynn said...

Not quite a size 7 (8) but I've had a little bit of luck with thrifted shoes. My recent favorites are a pair of Jeffery Campbell's for $6 and some fake snake skin flats I got via a frock swap.

Anonymous said...

I notice the serenity prayer behind your boots. This is the point where I ask if you are a friend of Bill W. which is really none of my business, so I won't. As far as thrifted shoes go, why not. We spread more ick just passing money between ourselves. Now to gush for a moment: I enjoy your blog very much; your style (no cat hairs visible), and engaging sense of humor. -- Denise

Anastasia from Natbeesfashion said...

Yes, I'm proudly one of those people with size 7 feet AND that is the reason why I can never find a nice pair of shoes at my size to thrift!
How can you find them? Lucky you!
xxx

Sorcha said...

I'm not really a big thrifer so I think it would take quite a lot of me to start with shoes!

Then again, most stores where people are buying shoes from out on displays have had a million odd feet in them, so they're not much better!

Sorcha x
Bonfire Brunette

eek said...

Used shoes just give me the heebie jeebies for some reason. I have bought a pair of used shoes from a blogger I was familiar with because they looked virtually new and she looked relatively clean :) but otherwise I have a hard time with it.

I do wear a size 7-7.5 so if you find some good ones I don't mind if you send them my way!

Brenna said...

Being one of the "lucky" 7-7.5 shoe size ladies I do find a few good ones every so often....but they have to be REALLY great for me to get over the whole 'someone elses foot sweat thing!'

shefoundstyle said...

Uh, yes. You tell me the cost and I'll send you the money. Ship those size seven awesome shoes right on over. :) Love your site!!

TONI said...

I've tried, but I can't bring myself to pull the trigger after I see any trace of foot sweat marks.

- T

Kate said...

I can't stop thrifting shoes...it's a sickness. I'm size 8.5 - 9, but I seem to do well. Totally agree with what someone said above about all those cute heels being at thrifts because they are mega uncomfortable! Now I head to shoes first and wear my finds as I shop the rest of the store...if they're uncomfortable in the store, they go back on the rack!

LK said...

I have wide 7.5 feet. Its impossible to find shoes in a regular store let alone a thrift store. But i did get hiking/riding books once.

Meg said...

I have size ten feet and no qualms about buying thrift-store shoes. I've never found any nice ballet flats at the thrift store, but I've scored heels, boots, and wedges with ease. The Sally Ann near my house gets a lot of conations from people who wear nice shoes like Clarks and Naturaliser, and I take full advantage. :)

Bethany said...

I'm a size six. *long pause and smirk* haha I crack myself up, I'm just joking around. My feet are actually really ugly, that's not a joke.
I have found a total of zero shoes at thrift stores - the places near me only carry shoes that smell like the bowling ally and look like my grandma donated them (not in a granny chic way, in a 1.5" thick support sole and velcro kinda way).

Jill said...

It's so funny that you wrote this last night because I just posted about all the great shoes I've found at the thrift store! My favorites at the purple suede high heel moccasins!

Favor the Brave: Omg, Let's Get Some Shoes

Lisa - Archives Vintage said...

so CANADA is where all the boots are?! ive been having a really hard time finding good boots at the thrifts these last few years.

is much of what you find vintage?? i'd be happy to broker some kind of international deal...? :)

Aria said...

As long as the shoes are something I would wear (I have a thing for buying cute shoes I never wear), and in decent shape I'm totally down for thrifting shoes. I have a Special shoe cleaning bath I've perfected over the years to get them sanitary and sparkling. I don't have as hard a time finding shoes at size 9, but I'm still envious of 5 1/2. What gives people with itty bitty feet the right to have cuter shoes!!

Stella said...

My mom, my dear, tiny little mom, has 7-7.5 size feet. So whenever we go thrifting, she always finds shoes. Some awesome things, too. Brand new, not yet broken in leather shoes. I'm happy for mom, but I weep for my size 10, 10.5, 11 shoes. (Yep, I range through all those sizes. Usually end up square in 10.5)

Mom makes me feel like the lovechild of bigfoot and a dinosaur.

myedit said...

Denise/Anon- Sooo... I knew it was a well known prayer but I had no idea it was an AA thing:). Now I know, thanks google and Denise... I just found it at a thrift store and figured it was sound advice for myself.

Eleanor said...

I have found some great shoes at the thrift store...YSL pumps in pristine condition...brand new JCrew heels...but a lot of the shoes at the thrift store leave much to be desired.
Especially the pairs with the cheesy chunks left inside.
You know, that wasn't really necessary to add...but so very true.

Katherine said...

Size 7 here! I love all the pairs of boots you showed - were they all found through thrifting? You are one talented lady!

leFiligree said...

i was grossed out by the idea of secondhand shoes, but then last year i found some stuart weitzmans that didnt look worn...then a string of nine wests...and lastly a perfect pair of cydwoqs. now i am a convert, size 8.

Shug in Boots said...

This is EXACTLY how I feel about delicious vintage cowboy boots. They are always at 6.5 or a 5 ... I'm a size 8 or 8.5. NEVER FAILS. Absolutely magical Luccheses. Makes me almost feel pain to have to leave them knowing I'd never in a million years get my foot in there.

Genny said...

Shoes are actually something I find disgusting to thrift but always seem to find a good pair when I'm in a thrift store. I have a really hard time buying used shoes, though, so while I find awesome pairs in my size, I've only thrifted one pair of boots ... which I wear all the time. Maybe I just need to get over it??

Juanette said...

I bought one pair of shoes from the thrift store but they are only for decor purposes, pretty but I don't have much luck in finding shoes I like in my size (9).

Kerri said...

Tall vintage Frye boots for $4, on half-price day. Probably one of my best! And a pair of dead-stock never worn clogs for less than $5. I am hooked!

BESOS LYNN said...

I pass right by the shoe dept. at my local thrift store. My sister on the other hand has scored Gucci pumps, Rachel Roy wedges, and countless other great deals barely worn or new! I wear a 7 1/2 and even when I humor her and browse the shoe dept, I come up empty handed! Not sure if I have an aversion to thrifted shoes or not, but it's certainly not as bad as making an old lady stand on the bus in my book it is a lesser offense...
besos,lynn

Anonymous said...

getting a pair of like-new dansko clogs (size 41) for $11 seemed pretty awesome to me... last year's find was an $8 pair of new men's bass shoes that became my to-go footwear. for those who are curious but squicked-out by the idea of thrifted shoes, the goodwill i go to gets a lot of target leftovers, too, so there are frequently new shoes for sale.

Anonymous said...

to-go? i meant go-to.

kelsey williams said...

i have size 9.5 feet so i share your burden. those are some awesome boots though so i don't feel bad for you one bit. :)

Please may I? said...

I have size 6 (uk) feet and have found some real gems. My friends always turn their nosey up at thrifted shoes but I have never had an issue.

X x

Natasha said...

I actually just bought two pairs of shoes thrifting last week. The first shoes I've ever thrifted. It's funny because everytime I go to the shoe section at the thrift store I alway see the amazing shoes in the size 9-10 section.
If you ever need someone to send some fantastic size 7s to I'm totally in!!

Natasha ~ Required2BeInspired

K said...

Ive had some luck in my days, but not much. But...I do have some size 10s I'm looking to get rid of. Jus sayin :)

Leah said...

I am definitely one of the fortunate people with a size 7 foot, and always find TOO many shoes that I want from thrift stores. I tend to buy all my heels from thrift stores since they are so expense to buy new and don't get worn very often. I have way too many thrifted heels at this point...I can't give up a good thrifted shoe either.

xo L.

Gracey said...

I also wear size 10 and have only found a couple of pairs of shoes and nothing near as lovely as Cole Haans.

Oddly enough though, my sister wears a size 12 and I've found more luck thrifting shoes for her than for myself.

Lynda D'Souza said...

Another size 10 blogger here, and have had some luck with boots in my size as well as a cute pair of sandals. I have no problem with wearing shoes from thrift stores - just spray them with 'that' stuff and give them a good wipe. Oooh this has got me in the mood for a good hunt now....! love your blog Jentine!

Amber said...

I'm right there with you - except my boats are a tad larger. I rarely find a size 11 at the thrift store; but sometimes, when I find one pair, there are several in waiting! That is a good day indeed.

Erica said...

I wear a 7 but never ever find any great shoes. Boo! I have found amazing Italian leather shoes (many pairs) in teeny tiny 5s and 6s though.

Alsoanon said...

I have never thrifted shoes but I buy a ton off of eBay. I've become a meticulous eBay shoe shopper and have scored about a dozen high end designer shoes (Jimmy Choo & Manolo primarily) in excellent condition. The key is to know your size (as this doesn't fluctuate to much with *most* designers) and ask for lots of pictures. The shoes are still expensive but I never pay more than $150 max (~1/3 - 1/2 retail) and they'll last me a long time. I also think they feel much better than less expensive shoes (my old Nine West favorites pale in comfort and sturdiness compared to my JC's). I usually narrow my searches to my size but I have noticed that for very small sizes or for larger sizes, the prices can be lower -- I guess because the seller thinks there is less of a market (or, as it's eBay, there is less of a market and fewer people are bidding on the shoes).

Nastassja said...

thrifted shoes freak me out a little, because someone else's FEET were in them!? Hence, I've never thrifted shoes.

sigh.

www.mrsrogero.blogspot.com

Charmaine said...

I'd love to find some good thrifted shoes, but I'm always suspicious of shoes people give away. I figure there's the ugly ones, they're an obvious reason people get rid of those ones... then there are the pretty one, I can't help but think they MUST be uncomfortable otherwise why would someone get rid of such nice shoes.

Hannah said...

6.5, but give me a thick pair of socks or some cotton balls and I'll happily make it work ;)

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS said...

hahaha im size 7 and i have the best luck ever...everything is always in great condition and super cute.

AL MacD said...

I hit the shoe thrifting JACKPOT today (at Value Village...unfortunately)
I found a practically brand new (can only barely see toe-indents) pair of Birkenstocks. IN MY SIZE. For 20 bucks.
Heaven.

Rin said...

You think size seven is tiny? Try size five. I have a hard time finding my size are regular stores, let alone thrift store. Sevens are huge to me.

Anonymous said...

I wear a 6.5-7, and I have had such good luck that I don't like to buy my shoes anywhere else (it's an adjustment even paying $20 at Target after you've spent $5 at Goodwill). I thrift all my kids' shoes, too, because people pass over dirty Converse and Keens ... throw 'em in the wash, and they look brand new! :)

Erin said...

I'm a size 7! Feel free to pick some up for me when you just can't resist. I'm sure we could work out a wine for shoes arrangement... :)