Friday, November 18, 2005

Shoes: A Bit of Sole Searching

I am obsessed with shoes. From $15 discount shoes to $100 designer shoes (reduced from $500) there are many frugal options for shoe shoppers.

Due to growth spurts, we've been buying a lot of footwear lately. Over the last 12 months, my oldest son has outgrown about five pairs of dress shoes and several sets of sneakers. Almost every six-to-eight weeks, his shoes (some in mint condition) are just too small to wear. We give away the too-small shoes and save other pairs for my younger son.

Armed with money from his Bar Mitzvah, my oldest son recently took his sneaker plight into his own hands. He set out to buy a pair of the new Dwyane Wade Converse shoes, which are hip, but pricey. Instead, he found a really cool pair of high-quality sports shoes, which were marked down — for a short period — to $50 from the original price of $120. I was impressed with his frugal sense and more importantly, his friends were very impressed with his sneakers.

As a bargain shoe shopper, my son is in good company. Bargain hunters include, Kenneth Thomas, a national banking consultant. Thomas, who lives in comfort and drives a late model Lexus, enjoys picking up high-end shoes at discount prices.

His purchases include a pair of Bruno Magli shoes from Marshall’s. Leather shoes from that Italian designer can cost as much as $500 a pair at full retail price. Thomas, however, purchased his pair for $100. (A few months ago, I bought a black pair of Bruno Magli open-back, handmade shoes for about $37 at Marshall’s. My best find: a new pair of Nine West shoes -- light blue pumps with a stacked heel -- for only $6 at Marshall's.)

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To save money and time, Thomas prefers to shop at discount outlets, where he hits the bargain rack at Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

Those outlets, along with Marshall’s are favorites because of the diversity in brands and styles. On the downside, Thomas does not always find a full range of styles for his size-12 feet. But he’s delighted with the quality of top names.

“You get expensive labels and manufacturers that you may not see at any one store,” Thomas said. “It’s not just saving money. It’s also saving time and for a business person, time is money.”

Meanwhile, I have friends who have received rave reviews for fashionable shoes picked up at Payless ShoesSource. And even the pages of glossy magazines are touting the value of fun but affordable shoes at discount stores.

For example, in Celebrity Living magazine, the editors raved about a pair of $15 daisy sandals from American Eagle Outfitters ( And in that same magazine, a pair of $17 black and silver shoes from Payless ( made the magazine's “hot” Hollywood trend list.


Julianne said...

I think it's great to be frugal. I'm trying to be frugal too. I spend less on my dinners these days.

Saving Advice said...

Just stumbled across your the premise and enjoyed reading through it. Look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

Jeffrey Strain

mbhunter said...

I really have to shop around for shoes. Shoes cost me twice as much as they do for most people because one of my feet is 2 1/2 sizes smaller than the other. That, and I usually "walk the shoes over" so that they split pretty quickly.