Don't get me wrong, a thrift shop is an excellent place to buy shoes. I wear a size 6 1/2 and find a bonanza of high quality footwear at my local thrift shop whenever I go there. Nine West and Bass are two of the brands I picked up recently -- current styles even! Just shine 'em up and they are ready to go, helpfully broken in by someone who updates their shoe fashions once a year.

But there, right next to these gems are the knock-offs. These shoes may look good -- in fact they probably haven't been worn much. But they come from cheap mall stores (Payless is one example) and probably cost around less than $20 new. My guess is that most of them proved so uncomfortable that the hapless buyer quickly shunted them off to the thrift shop. That's where most of the cheap mall shoes that I made the mistake of buying ended up.

I don't want to disparage Payless too much. It is a great place to buy children's shoes. My kids find their shoes comfortable and fun (there are lights and sparkles aplenty) and when they wear out I can toss them and let them buy another pair.

But shoes such as these are so cheap to buy new that there is no reason to pick them up at a thrift shop. They may be priced at $5. But look a little harder and I bet you'll find a much nicer pair that originally cost $75 or more selling for $8. Now that's a deal.

This post was written as part of a series on how to thrift shop smarter. Read more on what to buy, and not to buy, at thrift stores.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum