Shoes...who can have enough of them? The biggest problem with shoes is their price when you buy them new -- it's kind of outrageous how much pair of footwear can cost. However, as with many other things, you can buy shoes at garage sales for excellent prices and still get a high quality product that you can wear for a year. Here are some tips for buying shoes that you won't later regret!
Always, always try the shoes on! Even if you have a pair of the same kinds in the same color and the same size...try the shoes on. This is because there are tons and tons of reasons why someone would put a pair of shoes in their garage sale pile. Maybe it's as innocent as not having anything that matches them anymore. But maybe it's not so innocent -- maybe there's a weird bump in the sole, or something jammed into the toe, or there's a weird hole you can only feel when you're wearing the shoe. Trying on the shoe ensures that you aren't paying for a faulty product.
When deciding how much to pay for a pair of shoes, determine the approximate retail value and divide by 5. That's the most you should pay for the shoes, no matter how nice they are. Otherwise, you can get a similar pair of shoes off the clearance rack for a great discount. Even the retail price divided by five may be a little high -- at most garage sales, $5 is about the cap for a pair of shoes. Practical shoes, like hiking boots or wading boots, may be more expensive; you can determine good prices on those based on how much you're willing to spend on a used pair.
Inspect the shoes carefully. Look for holes, especially in the bottom and soles. Check the sides for tears, particularly if the shoes are made of fabric or if they look like they've seen better days. See if there is any wear in the toes, where the most of the damage is done on a pair of shoes.
Here are some shoe types to avoid when buying second-hand: stilettos (unless you're sure the heel is secure; otherwise you could severely sprain your ankle), old children's shoes (if there's already a lot of wear and tear, you probably don't want to give your child old shoes), some brands of dress shoes (they're often scuffed beyond repair), and flip flops (they get grossly stained by sweat!).
Have trouble shopping for a particular item? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to write all about it!