The Random Writings of Rachel: Why I Don't Buy Cheap Shoes

Why I Don't Buy Cheap Shoes





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?

38 comments:

  1. I have admittedly always been a cheap shoe person, but I am starting to get to the age where my feet kill me if I don't wear nice shoes. I seem to have a knack for finding cheap shoes that last forever, but my feet certainly don't thank me. I haven't decided what my requirements for shoes are yet, but once we aren't paying for my grad school fees...I'm going to need to start figuring out that journey!!

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  2. Definitely agree. I'm super prone to cheaping on shoes, and granted spending 2.99 on a pair of flats at Goodwill every season isn't that bad if I just expect them to fall apart. But considering how much of a beating shoes have to take, it makes total sense to buy new and buy quality.

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  3. I agree that shoes can be worth spending some cash on. When my feet aren't happy I'm miserable. I usually like Clarks and have found that normally they are quite nice to my feet.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  4. I always spend most cash on my shoes. Besides, that's what you're walking on all day--your feet! And clothes seem to go in and out of style so quick, but shoes are kind of forever. I've had some of the same pairs since high school! Leather is forever.

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  5. PS) You go down the hill! Climb up the mountain, go down the hill... it's a big, 35-mile loop, and the mountain is smack dab in the middle. The steep side is dang steep, but it's fun, and easy to go down when you've got a large amount of people in neon and blinking lights. :)

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  6. I am such a sucker for brand names - two things I completely splurge on are bags and shoes. If I see a brand name on sale, chances are, I will buy it! I agree that buying cheap shoes is a big no no! "A wise woman once said, don't skimp on what separates you from the ground: your shoes, and your sheets." ;)

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  7. Shoes are really worth spending money on - that way you do your feet a huge favour. I can't wear cheap shoes and rather spend more on a good pair of shoes that will last for at least 2-3 years than having to buy a new pair every few weeks because they fall apart.

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  8. Those are the most adorable pair of converse, I love the zipper. Very cute.

    I probably fall somewhere in the mid-price range for shoes. Nothing cheap but nothing too pricey. I'm on my feet a lot, and my feet need to be comfortable and supportive but I'm not paying hundreds of dollars for a pair.

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  9. I've definitely had a lesson in quality with high heels before. Trying to save money didn't work out in the long run when I had to keep replacing them!

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  10. TOTALLY. I never buy cheap shoes. Ill never forget the sandals I bought at Charlotte Russe for traveling our East. We took a road trip and I wanted cheap, fashionable shoes. They literally broke in two days and I had to improvise while we were walking around Washington DC...NOT fun.

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  11. I definitely always keep functionality and affordability in mind when purchasing shoes. I hate it when I don't get a lot of uses in my shoes though.

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

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  12. So true! I have been investing in better pieces and I feel like they last longer.

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  13. I'm so with you! I'm a shoe horse. I have way too many pairs of shoes (is there such a thing?!). Many are cheap and I'm still okay with that because I don't wear them super often. I scored when Charlotte Russe had a big boot sale and each pair was only $20. On the flip side, when we traveled to Europe with a school trip last year, I knew I'd need something I didn't have...a comfortable pair of walking boots (it was winter). I searched far and wide because I'm cheap and they're all expensive. I finally settled on a pair that was $120 but on sale for $60. Sixty was a big stretch for me, but I'll tell you that I wore them all through Paris and Rome with TONS of walking and never had a foot or back pain. So maybe cheap is okay in the short run (pun intended) if you'll be wearing the shoes for few occasions. But if you need the shoes to support your feet and back and they need to be cute AND lasting, save your pennies and buy quality. I love the denim looking Cons you're wearing!

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  14. I'm with you. Shoes are something I spend more on. I have several pairs of converse and I love them so much. I used to wear Target sandals all the time, but they would fall apart after one summer and were never comfortable. I can wear my Rainbow sandals for years and they're so comfortable. Now I just need to find a pair of boots that won't fall apart.

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  15. Justin is very hard on his shoes, but he doesn't mean to be...he just has flat feet and puts pressure on odd spots. Whereas, I love spending less than $30 on shoes and I still have quite a few pairs from years ago.

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  16. After years of retail and cheap shoes my feet were in such bad shape and killed me! I tried doing in-soles for a while but they didn't help either. So spending money on good shoes is my newest splurge! I get one pair per season and a lot of the shoes I bought three years ago still look great!

    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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  17. I'm right there with you girl! In the long run, a classic pair of nice shoes that won't go out of style will be less spendy than constantly replacing cheap shoes.

    I feel the same way about jeans... because they are something I wear every day I don't want to constantly be replacing them so I invest.

    Karin | truncationblog.com

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  18. I have flat, wide but tiny feet. I wear flip flops year round. I love me some chucks though. And my sneakers are a pair I was fitted with at the New Balance store. They were not cheap...at all!

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  19. <3 your converse shoes!!! I totally am the same way--I always cringe when a pair of shoes I love isn't on sale and the sticker price hovers in the $50+ range... but there are some shoes I've paid full retail price for YEARS ago and they've definitely served me well over the years. And having to glue back soles? No thanks (though I did just do that with a pair of shoes until I decided it wasn't worth it anymore!).

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  20. First off those shoes are too cute! And yes! I'm too old for my feet to hurt so I buy quality shoes and get gel inserts!

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  21. I am definitely a tightwad when it comes to a lot of things, but I've slowly started to see the importance of spending money on shoes. When I was in high school, we were required to wear nicer shoes (like Oxfords) as part of our uniform. Welp, I think I went through 3 pairs of shoes in 4 years! There's nothing like walking in the lunchline and having the lunchroom supervisor tell you that the entire sole of your shoe fell off about a yard back. I don't really wear shoes that often, though, so I basically rotate between 2 pairs of sandals (one for church on Sundays, the other for everyday wear). I used to be the "whatever, just buy the cheapest flip flops at Wal Mart" kind of person, but that doesn't work well haha. My 2 current pairs of sandals I bought secondhand, but they are holding up well (the "everyday" pair was $2, and so far it's lasted about 2 years!!!). When my sandals break down eventually, though, I'm thinking I'll probably invest in a good brand like Birkenstocks!

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  22. I have to agree - the quality of a good pair of shoes takes me so much further than the inexpensive pairs I have purchased. We have always been very particular about buying quality shoes (which tend to be pricey) for my oldest son as well since he was born with clubfoot, we value those little feet! :)

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  23. I wear tennis shoes / sneakers every day. Last year was the first time I didn't buy Nike or New Balance and went with a cheaper brand from Walmart. Nike and New Balance, for me at least, last year before they get to the point I have to think about replacing them. It hasn't been a year and the two cheaper pairs I bought are in rough shape, and I've had feet and leg pain that I've never had before. Agreed, shoes are one place you shouldn't skimp on.

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  24. I spend a ton of money on shoes (not designer shoes though like chanel) because you gotta be comfy!! Clarks are one of my favourite brands

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  25. Now that I'm older, I'm starting to realize that it's worth it to pay more for well-made clothes and accessories versus the cheap stuff. It hurts to spend so much, but when I compare my bags and shoes it's VERY obvious which ones were expensive and which ones were cheap. I have a pair of Air Force 1's that I stole from my sister in high school and they're still very much wearable now 11+ years later. That kind of quality pays for itself.

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  26. I buy both. For shoes that I'll wear every day, I spend more. I have a pair of Asics sneakers that I wear every day to the gym as well as when we travel and I know I'll be on my feet all day. And I have a pair of Chacos (that I got on sale for $40, but would totally pay full price for them now) that I wear all the time as well. For less frequent wear, I'll totally buy a pair of shoes on the cheap. I have two pairs of strappy sandals from Target that I bought for less than $20 several years ago and I've worn them every summer since. Granted, if I'm going to be walking a lot, I wear my Chacos. But for cute sandals, I wear these. :)

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  27. This is such an awesome post :)

    I totally agree with you :)

    I have never had a lot of shoes but when I do buy them I buy several different pairs at the same time. I'm a big fan of Nordstrom rack, 15 years ago I purchased a pair of Stuart Weitzman flat shoes for $40.00 they were my go to shoes for the longest time, over 12 years, I wouldn't be able to afford a pair of his shoes anymore but I doubt if they would make it to the rack anymore either :(

    Happy Wednesday, cheers, T. :)

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  28. I don't think I've ever been happy with a pair of truly cheap shoes, they always hurt my feet, give me blisters, and are just all around awful. If you need to walk around in something you better make them comfortable!

    Laura | Laura Aime Vous

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  29. That's why I buy expensive purses! I tend to overfill them and the $20 purses from Target fall apart.

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  30. Shoes and bags are two things I definitely don't like to skimp on. I believe in quality over quantity so I would much rather have a few that I love that are reliable than an bunch that are cheap.

    Best Wishes,
    Allison | www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

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  31. Shoes and my bras. I don't go cheap on my bras or I will be sorry each day!

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  32. Shoes are something I splurge on as well! That and make up!

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  33. haha, I've always been on the I'm-not-spending-more-than-$20-for-shoes camp, but...after receiving a pair of Earth Brands boots from a giveaway, I hella want to get another pair (or maybe a pair of flats)! *-* Comfort and price are my main priorities these days!

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  34. Shoes are my guilty pleasure, I mean my guilty pleasure!

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  35. After living in Asia I can confidently say that cheap shoes are not worth it! I think a great pair of shoes goes a long way and makes a huge difference.

    Also, if you buy 5 pair of cheap shoes they break so fast and really it just equals one nice pair. =)

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