We’ve all done it: Gazed longingly at our dream shoes online or in the window of one of our favorite shops. Then reality sets in, the price tag comes into focus, and you have to ask yourself, “Buy the shoes or pay my rent this month?” While some of us are fortunate enough to be able to smack down loads of dough on a pair of shoes, most of us will keep those shoes in that little thought bubble above our heads. So what’s a budget-conscious girl to do? For me, a trip to the thrift store has always been a good way to compensate for those break-the-bank designer shoes that I decided to pass on. And if you’re persistent enough with your thrifting expeditions, you may just find some shoes you’ll love just as much as those you daydream about on 5th avenue; And as you know, thrifted shoes won’t be donned by every gal on the block.
When we shop in a thrift store, we know that the selection varies by store and by week, so when it comes to scoring shoes, it’s always best to broaden your goal to more than one type of shoe. And, to make up for those gorgeous designer numbers, we may want to grab up a few lovelies to create a nice, round selection in our closet- the basics. I’ve narrowed the search down to the 5 hottest types of shoes that are universally found in thrift stores, and you can almost always find at least one of these types while thrifting- and find them in great condition!
From penny loafers to kilty oxfords to lace-up loafers, these shoes are a staple of any gal’s wardrobe. Comfortable and versatile, you can wear these with anything from ditsy floral dresses to professional attire.
Mod Ankle Boots
Pointy-toe Beatle boots, mod buckle-adorned ankle boots and suede western boots all fit into this category. Gives any look an edge- jeans and a t-shirt to bandage minis.
Knee High Boots
You’ll find anywhere from high heel biker boots to flat pixies in thrift stores. Always a necessity to have a couple of these tucked in your shoe closet.
The staple vintage shoe. You can find these in a rainbow of colors and in every texture imaginable. I’ve found everything from snakeskin to mesh to even cork!
From 60’s mod platform heels to 90’s flatforms, you can grab up everything from chic to wacky in just a couple of thrifting expeditions.
Wild Card: Over-the-top Shoes
Over the years, I’ve come across some wild shoes in thrift stores. Never pass these up. If they’re super colorful, have a crazy texture/print, glitter galore: they’re yours. I’ve even sacrificed my true shoe size to flaunt some of my extra-special finds. My glittery 90’s Luichiny’s are some of my most prized possessions. Trust me on this one though: One day you’ll regret not snagging those insane black disco boots with the gigantic daisies.
A few tips to thrift for shoes the smart way:
- Look for genuine leather: This is indicative of the life left in your closet’s newest addition
- Quality is everything. The outside might look night, but are they wearable (for more than just Chictopia shoots)? If all it takes is adding some new insoles, keep ‘em! Flaky and impossible to walk in? Toss ‘em.
- If you’re on the fence about them, buy them! No burning wallets here. That’s the glory of thrifting.
By Whitney S. Williams
Photos by Whitney