I have been rereading The Complete Tightwad Gazette to help gear up for our new budget. I love this book! Although sometimes Dacyczyn can be a bit extreme in her frugality, I am always inspired when I read her ideas.
Last night I was reading her article on used shoes. I have always been a fan of buying everything used, but have sometimes balked at purchasing used shoes. My kids had worn hand-me-down shoes, and shoes from their older siblings, but I have hesitated purchasing shoes at thrift stores or yard sales. After reading her article and doing some internet research, I can’t find much information about wearing used shoes. Basically, if the shoes are heavily worn, they can hurt your feet, but this goes for your own shoes as well as used ones.Â
The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to start looking for used shoes. I wash my children’s sneakers frequently so what would stop me from purchasing a good pair of used sneakers and then throwing them in the washer?Â
I have purchased used snow boots before, but for some reason that seemed different…Â
Anyway, I would love to hear some reader feedback regarding used shoes. Do you buy them, if not why not? Do your kids wear hand-me-down shoes and is there a difference between those and purchased used shoes?
I am loving all the comments and feedback on this topic. Since we seem to all have different opinions I figured I would add another $0.02. My kids have all been blessed with extremely fat feet. They have all needed XXW shoes until they are 6 or 7 years old. Because of this I buy most of their shoes at Stride Rite. The exception to this is flip flops and sandals which, if they are a certain style, they are able to wear in a size wide. I agree with many of the commenters that shoes can form to a child’s feet and that wearing shoes that do not fit can cause a child problems later in life.
I also think that as consumers we put way too much faith in sales people at the shoe store. My first job was at a shoe store and I had about 10 minutes of training on how to measure feet. I did not know what I was doing at all. Because of this, for years we took our children to the same Stride Rite store and had the same salesperson. She had worked at Stride Rite for many years and it was obvious she knew what she was doing.Â
All this being said, I am not convinced that I would be doing my children lifelong damage buy letting them wear used shoes. I have been to yard sales and consignment stores that are selling Stride Rite shoes with the tags still on for a fraction of the cost. If you know your child’s size then picking up a pair of gently used church shoes in their correct size doesn’t seem to be a problem.Â
I think there are many areas where we can save money, if we can save on the church shoes, snow boots and flip flops, then perhaps we can afford to purchase them one quality pair of tennis shoes. Children do not need 15 pairs of shoes. Evaluate what your child really needs and spend wisely. Â