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How to buy Used Shoes: A Guide to Used Sneakers, Boots and Children’s Shoes.

18 August 2009 One Comment



The debate on whether or not it is a good idea to buy used shoes has been around for quite awhile. Here is some insight into helping you shop smart when it comes to buying used shoes.

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General Tips on buying Used Shoes

How do I pick the right pair of used shoes?
Where should I buy used shoes?
What are the different kinds of wear, and how do I fix them?
How do I clean used shoes?
Leather Shoes vs Sneakers – What is the difference when buying used?
Tips on buying rain boots and snow boots.



Tips on buying Used Shoes for your children.

What do the experts say about buying used shoes for my children?
How do I know what used shoes to buy for my children?
How often does my child’s shoe size change?
Hand Me Downs for Children.


How do I pick the right pair of used shoes?

If you have a name brand of shoes that you know fits well, stick to that brand. Different brands of shoes fit people differently, and the safest way to know that you won’t have to return that pair of used shoes you bought is to buy a brand you trust.


Where should I buy used shoes?

The best place to buy used shoes is in person at a thrift store or garage sales. You will get to try them on before you buy them, usually there is a better return policy, and you can see the wear and tear the shoes may have gone through up close. You will find a better variety buying online at ebay or craigslist, but you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what size of shoe you’re looking for. This is wher knowing what brands fit you will really comes in handy. Also, pay close attention to any photos the seller may have, this is the best way to see any wear and tear before you buy.


shoe cobbler 90x60What are the different kinds of wear, and how do I fix them?

The most obvious type of wear on sneakers is where the sole glues to the shoe. This is the weakest part of the shoe and usually goes first. I find the best way to fix this is buy applying a small amount of hot glue on the inside of this area, then letting it dry. This technique works the best on suede and canvas, but should not be used on leather.

On leather shoes especially, width is a very big concern. If there is typical wear on the buckling, this means that the wearer’s feet were too wide. The same can be said for someone wearing shoes that are too wide, irregular wear on the buckling is a sure sign of this. Make sure you take a lot of consideration into foot width, if you buy too wide, or too small, you will wear out your shoes much quicker.


How do I clean used shoes?

Invest in some disinfectant spray. A big bottle, and a couple of sprays can go a long way into lasting you throughout your used-shoe buying career. For an even cheaper alternative use rubbing alcohol. Here is a great article on this topic: How to Clean and Disinfect Used Shoes.




Leather Shoes vs Sneakers – What is the difference when buying used?

Choosing the right kind of footwear is very important. Sneakers tend to have more give and can be a better choice, whereas leather shoes with tight laces can be a lot stiffer, making it harder to find a good fit.


Tips on buying rain boots/snow boots.

These are great shoes to buy used, as they rarely get worn all the time, and they’re usually outgrown after the season. Obviously make sure the fit is exactly to your needs, or if you’re buying online, make sure you know the proper measurements. Another useful online buying tip is to use the geography of the seller to your advantage. If the person is selling snow boots, but lives in southern California, chances are these boots are a lot less used than the seller’s in Minnesota.


What do the experts say about buying used shoes for my children?

This is a highly debated topic. The argument seems to be split right down the middle. Some podiastrists say that buying used shoes for your child can harm their foot development due to the wear on the shoes.  While this is true, other podiatrists argue the point that children outgrow their shoe sizes so fast that there is hardly any time to wear them out.

Buying Used Shoes for your Children

If you are going to buy used shoes for your child, make sure they are “first generation” of use. You don’t want to buy shoes that have been handed down 3-4 times, as this will have plenty of wear and could end up harming your child’s feet.


How do I know what used shoes to buy for my children?

Make sure you check the tops of shoes you’re buying for your children, as these will receive the most wear. Be very choosy about the types of shoes you buy for your children, you want to make sure that they have as little wear as possible, this will help prevent any problems your child’s feet could have with very worn shoes.

It is not necessary to buy shoes for your baby before they are walking, this is even potentially harmful to them.If you need to keep their feet warm use either booties or socks.


How often does my child’s shoe size change?

Children go through three or four size changes in the first two years. they outgrow shoes before they outwear them.


Hand Me Downs for Children.

Keep a box full of hand me down shoes that will allow your younger children to grow into. This is a good way to know exactly how much wear these shoes have gotten, as opposed to having to trust someone else.


Remember, buying used shoes really isn’t that different than buying the brand new ones (keep in mind how many people try on shoes that are sold as “new” at department stores). In the end, the most important thing to remember is that a better fitting new shoe is much better than a used ill-fitting shoe.

Please take all of these tips at your own discretion as everyone’s feet are different, and may react¬† to many different types of shoes. Use common sense when buying used and hopefully some of these tips will help you along the way.


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