You really do get what you pay for, my friends, especially in the world of shoes. Feet are fussy, and are one of the body parts most likely to complain if not fitted properly into their protective casings. If you’ve got foot pain or problems or difficult-to-fit feet, then cheaping out on shoes is a bad plan. For your own mental and physical health, invest in shoes that maximize your comfort. But if your feet are more tolerant, you might be interested in a few tips for tracking down great-looking shoes that won’t deplete your life savings. Am I right? I am? Fabulous.
I love shoes, and many of my shoes are $100+ jobbers. But until I became borderline obsessed with gorgeous footwear AND a salary-earning adult human, I felt that $40 was approximately the right price for a new pair of shoes. And I still rejoice when I can procure a stellar pair that fits into my old pricing scheme … or close. Here are my sources:
Most of my favorite shoe brands are spendy, but a handful of designers have proven themselves to fall firmly into the “affordable quality” category.
Nine West – This brand tops my list because they consistently churn out dozens of pairs of gorgeous, well-designed, on-trend shoes that won’t fall apart after three wearings. Most pairs are in the $60 to $80 range, which may seem a bit high, but they’re also generally made of real leather or suede. (Generally, but not always.) And construction is outstanding. Nine West also provides a selection of classic pumps, flats, and sandals every single year, which is so refreshing. A really great source for fashionable, affordable footwear. (The platform pumps shown above are by Nine West.)
DV by Dolce Vita – This brand offers the occasional classic style, but most of their designs are more trend-focused. The little sister to regular Dolce Vita, DV offers equally covetable shoes for less cash. My pairs are durable, comfortable, and crafted from quality materials. Shoes and boots may top out at $150, but sandals are generally under $60 and when these shoes go on sale, nab ’em.
Madden Girl – Another sister brand, Madden Girl is a less expensive line from Steve Madden. Much like DV, this brand focuses on hot styles and fun trends, but also sells the occasional timeless pump or flat. I’ve been surprised and pleased by my pairs: They’re just a hair below the quality of my Nine Wests and DVs, with a bit of heel shredding here and there, but overall I’ll vouch for solid materials, good construction, and adorable designs. And this line is the most bargainous of the three I’m highlighting, with most pairs costing $30 to $50, a bit more for tall boots.
I know I sing the praises of these sources quite often, but that’s because all of them are stellar for bargain shoe shopping!
6pm.com – With daily sale specials on brands or styles of shoes (tall boots, classic pumps, etc.), this deliciously dangerous website has brought untold numbers of bargain pairs into my collection. Most reputable brands – including the three listed above – are available on 6pm.
eBay – Even if the thought of used shoes ooks you out, don’t discount eBay as a possible source for shoe bargains. Past season styles and slightly damaged new pairs are often on sale for rock bottom prices. (Intimidated by eBaying? Here’s my post on how to shop eBay effectively.)
Amazon – I haven’t run the numbers, but my guess is that 50% of my shoe collection hails from Amazon. I would NEVER have guessed that this website-for-everything would prove to be such an amazing resource for footwear! But pair amazing selection with competitive pricing, and Amazon has become my go-to.
Marshalls and TJ Maxx – If you fear shoe shopping online, both of these bargain houses offer amazing deals on brand name shoes. I’ve seen Nine West and Madden Girl at my local outlets, though not DV. You never know, though! Both Marshalls and TJ Maxx vary in stock by region, and you may be able to snag even fancier brands for pennies on the dollar, depending on the recent local haul.
Nordstrom Rack – I can’t recommend this bargain-packed chain to those seeking specific shoes. The offerings are a total hodgepodge, and very loosely organized so going with an ideal pair in mind will likely leave you frustrated. In fact, the place often gives me migraines with it’s packed aisles and mounds of products. But when you score at The Rack, you score big. Some pairs are marked down due to flaws, but many more are in great condition and the prices are mind-blowing.
I have never done well at DSW myself, and have only ever visited one Loehmann’s. Never been impressed with Payless or Famous Footwear for quality or selection, and all of my Target shoes fall apart after a few wearings. I nab the occasional vintage or handmade pair from Etsy, or while trolling the local thrift, vintage, or consignment shops, but those routes require considerably more time, effort, and expertise to bear fruit.
Image courtesy 6pm – a pair of Nine West pumps that cost $47.99 at time of writing!
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