Are used shoes a good idea?

Placed this in CS because I’m under the impression that fashion/clothing related questions go here. If it would be better in, say, GQ, fee free to move.

As part of my ongoing project to transform myself into a fairly stylish, well-dressed man, I’ve discovered that I need shoes. Not just a ratty pair of sneakers and maybe some sandals, but *nice *shoes. Several pairs of them, in different styles and colours. Nice shoes are kind of expensive, at least on my current budget. A trip to ebay, though, finds several auctions for good shoes at reasonable prices. The hitch is that they’re mostly used.

I’ve never bought shoes used. My first reaction is that it probably isn’t a good thing; shoes, I understand, stretch and mold themselves to the wearer’s foot to some extent, meaning (at the very least) that the size indicated may no longer be true–an especially serious problem when I can’t try the shoes on before buying. There are also hygiene issues, of course–I don’t want the previous owner’s foot fungus included free of charge. On the other hand, if people are listing the used shoes on ebay, presumably someone’s buying them, so maybe my fears are unfounded.

Has anyone had any personal experience, then, with used shoes? Or any insights to share? Your help, as always, is appreciated. :slight_smile:

I’ve been known to cruise Value Village for clothes, and they also sell shoes there. However, the idea of buying used shoes squicks me. For one, in the summer, I won’t wear hose or socks. For two, unlike clothes, I can’t put the shoes through the laundry cycle as I can with thrift-shop clothes.

My shoes definitely seem to mould themselves to my feet, as you’ve mentioned. But that’s not the part that dissuades me. It’s the ick factor, plain and simple. (They also sell used bras and stuff at Value Village–again, with the ick.)

If I were you, upgrading my wardrobe and image, I would start by buying one nice pair of versatile shoes, the best you can afford, and then slowly add more pairs as money permits. Buy good, buy well-made, buy classic. It’s better to have fewer of better, timeless items, than a bunch of faddish junk.

Why don’t you just buy the unworn shoes? It’s pretty obvious whether or not shoes have been worn – even one wearing shows up on the soles.

I’ve bought shoes at thrift stores, but only new-in-box ones or vintage ones.

Yeah, I only buy new shoes at thrift stores. Check the soles for wear.

It’s not a germaphobe thing, it’s a back pain thing. People wear out the soles of shoes differently - some on the outer edge, some on the inner. Wearing shoes which are already unbalanced in the opposite direction of *my *wear patterns leads to back strain and soreness.

I suppose if I found something I really loved that was used, I’d buy it and have it resoled. But I’m not into shoes enough to have fallen in love with anything at the thrift store.

I buy used shoes on ebay. I like very expensive, hard to get designer shoes and sometimes used is the only way to find certain pairs. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper. I look for shoes that have been lightly worn: the soles aren’t worn down and the shoes haven’t deformed. People who buy very expensive shoes often have so many pairs, they may only wear a certain pair once a month or so.

Well, it’s a better idea than used paint.

I buy shoes from Ebay/consignment shops for the same reasons **tremorviolet **does. I too look for shoes that are not too worn. Make sure the Ebay seller has a picture and measurements. If no measurements, e-mail the seller and ask. You will need to measure your foot–the length and width. Shoes can be the same “size” but have different measurements depending on the designer or country of origin. I have no squickability, but if you do, buy the stuff bowling alleys spray into their rental shoes to disinfect.

Or save up to buy new, well-made, classic shoes and buy one pair as you can afford.

My boyfriend cleans UP on shoes at Goodwill. I’m not sure he’s ever bought a new pair of shoes that weren’t motorcycle boots. He loves them. (Goodwill has this phenomenon for men’s shoes where somebody will die and the wife brings in the whole wardrobe, so if they have one pair in your size they probably have ten.) Also, he gets great suits there. He’s a real bargain hound, though, very good at it.

I’ve bought a pair of tie-on birkenstocks off of ebay for about $10 that I figured if they didn’t fit right, it was cheaper than driving down to the birkenstock store 30 miles away or buying them online at the regular price to find out they didn’t fit and having to send them back. My feet are a little farked up and Birks are the only thing I can really wear daily that don’t cause cramps.

Not only did they fit perfect, but they are the most comfortable work shoe I’ve ever had. I really need to replace them and I cannot find the style anywhere. ARGHHHHHH!

If you are squicked out by pre-owned shoes, just lysol them. After 10 minutes with that on it, no germ is going to get you. No one has ever died from athlete’s foot, anyways.
And this is coming from a big ass germophobe. The world is a petri dish waiting to infect you!!!11111!!!eleventy1

The best score I’ve ever had has been for a pair of brand new birk’s that some lady just didn’t like and put them in her garage sale for $2. two bucks for this. Schweeeeet!

Thanks for all the replies. Based on what you all have told me, I think I’ll have to shy away from the ebay used shoe market–there are too many variables to risk my money with no return policy or satisfaction guarantee, no matter how tempting the thought of $300+ shoes for $100 might be. On the other hand, I’ll keep my eyes open in the B&M stores; it sounds like there’s always at least a possibility of making a real score there, though it’ll take a bit of luck. :slight_smile:

I once went jogging with a friend and borrowed his shoes because I didn’t have a decent pair of my own. We had the same size, so what’s the problem? It hurt from the first tenth of a mile, but being a powerful, resilient man, I of course kept going. We jogged less than a mile that day.

My feet hurt for two weeks, and the pain moved to my knees and back. I’ll never even wear another person’s shoes again.

I’m guessing by your username you’re in law school? If so, you might consider busting out the plastic in anticipation of your future - a wardrobe in this case is a bit of an investment. My husband had to transform himself from a heavy metal guitarist to a well-dressed law clerk over the summer. We shelled out $1100 in plastic for 1 really good pair of shoes, three suits, a few shirts and ties and a mess of socks at Men’s Wearhouse. We figured the payoff would be worth it (crosses fingers interviews next month). The nice thing about MW is for every $500, (I think it’s that much) you spend they give you a $50 gift certificate. Anyways there is some benchmark amount you reach and they give you a gc for 10% of it. The man now has almost as many ties as he does Metallica tshirts. :wink:

Of course if I am assuming wrong, or you feel like I gave bad advice, then leave it. :slight_smile:

ETA: the shoes! Duh. The shoes were $100, and he loves them. He says they’re the most comfortable shoes he owns.

This probably should have gone in GQ, since it’s more about footwear in general than about fashion per se. I also think you might get more factual answers about fungus etc in GQ, hence I’m taking the (relatively) unprecedented notion of giving you permission to post twice: we’ll leave this one here, and you can post it again in GQ.

Be sure to say that I gave such permission in your opening statement in GQ, so that some other moderator doesn’t reverse me. Well, I guess they could anyway, but at least they know that it’s me, not you.

You can buy new shoes on ebay. Find your size in well known brands by trying them on in the shops, then buy them cheaper on ebay.

Actually I’m gonna overrule Dex here and just move this thread to GQ; as to what other moderators may do, YMMV.

I have bought many a pair of shoes at the thrift store with no problem, including two pairs of knee high boots. My best buy was a new pair of lavendar suede workbooks for $7. They are the most bizarre thing I have ever seen, and it took me six months to get up the nerve to wear them. When I do wear them, people literally stop in the street and gawk at them.

I never would, but that’s more a factor of my crummy shoe size (12-wide women’s) and I’ve got miscellaneous foot problems; Birkenstocks and Munro shoes are the only ones I can buy sight unseen comfort-wise. Plus my size is so rare that thrift stores are NOT likely to have my size, so it’s not worth the effort.

I might be a bit squicked by the concept, but as long as it was a shoe (vs a sandal, that would be worn barefoot) I could get over it.

I can’t sell my old pairs, because (again due to the difficulty of finding the size), I wear shoes until they’re falling apart. Hmmmm… I’ve heard of a fetish involving purchasing really worn-out women’s shoes on eBay…

I’d be concerned over the wear patterns, for anything that you were going to wear daily. That said: if you need something dressy for the occasional use (even job interviewing, for example), used / thrift stores might be a great way to go. You won’t be on your feet enough to do much in the way of damage, and that would cover your toeses long enough to actually get the great job and be able to afford to buy new :slight_smile:

Question: if you’re repelled by the thought of used shoes, how do you manage at a bowling alley? Or do you own your own bowling shoes?

Very insightful, and it’ll have to happen before I hit summer; I’ve got the summer associate position ready, now it’s just a matter of looking the part. At the same time, it’s a general project as well–I’ve dressed very casually indeed for the last 29 years or so, and I’ve decided its time to transform my personal appearance. I’m shooting for stylish and sophisticated, not a slave to fashion; the likes of Cary Grant are the guiding lights. :wink: Just at this moment I was aiming for something on the more personal side of the line–a nice set of brown dress-type shoes that could work to dress up jeans (while hopefully being versatile enough for other roles, of course!).

I’d love to own some bowling-alley shoes. Did I mention that part of what I’m trying to shake is a bit of affection for deliberately ugly fashion? :smiley: But it’s not like I’m -repelled- by the idea, just slightly put off by it on the squick-value side. I know that they keep the bowling alley shoes in more or less sanitary shape and don’t worry too much about it.
Thanks again for all the help, guys. :slight_smile:

I bought some black and white Dexter bowling shoes for $25. I was going bowling with friends weekly where games were $1, and shoe rental was $4. Saved lots of money and got to wear cute, heavily padded/comfortable shoes that no one else’s feet had been in. Worth the money. Do feel dorky bringing them in because I suck at bowling, but it saves money.

And I’d likely never buy used shoes. Used clothes, heck yeah, but used shoes seems odd. And wearing a women’s size 10, I’ve never seen any cute shoes in my size at resale shops anyway.

Just shop around and find the most versatile pair of shoes you can and add on as you can. Maybe one brown one black.