It was the second time that I was supergluing the pair of sandals that I got for Christmas back together when I exclaimed in dismay, "This is why I don't buy cheap shoes!!!!"
They were a cute and actually fairly comfortable pair of red sandals, purchased for about $9 USD, and a Christmas present, so something I ought to be grateful for...but it's hard to remain grateful the second time the same pair of shoes breaks while you're walking.
Shoes break, such is life, but twice in less than two months of regular wear? That's ridiculous!
I often err too much on the side of being thrifty. After all, I read "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" when I was 8 years old, for the fun of it. But shoes have become an area where I'm more likely to spend a little more for a trustworthy brand, ever since I got married and Angel opened my eyes to the existence of brand-name shoes that are actually worth buying because they hold up over time. That was a brand-new concept to me.
And that's why my shoe rack is now populated with real Chacos and Clarks and Converse instead of sub-$10 clearance Walmart shoes. I still sometimes cringe at the prices, but thus far I've yet to spend somewhere between $50-$100 on a shoe and be disappointed.
I used to think shoes ought to cost well under $20. I've since changed my tune, and have gone for the longer-lasting, pricier shoes. (Granted, I do realize that when talking about shoes, $50-100 is definitely on the low end of pricey, but I'm talking about pricey as befits a normal small budget, not pricey in comparison to a multimillionaire, right?) I like having reliable shoes and wearing the same pairs for years before they break down. The Keens Angel bought me for our honeymoon in 2011 are nearing the end of their useful life, but I'll squeeze a few more months' worth of muddy hikes out of them, and 5 years isn't too shabby for a pair of sandals worn in rough conditions and washed countless times.
Of course, there's always moments when you hit the best of both worlds, like when I stumbled into a clearance sale of Converse and scored this pair of beauties for $20. My pink sparkly Converse were purchased 5 years ago and I'm not even close to thinking about retiring them. I expect to get just as much use out of these. The function-less zippers on the heel are what makes them so awesome.
What's your priority in shoe shopping? Functionality, look, price? What makes a shoe worth buying for you?