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High-fashion for high street prices: How to spend less on shoes

Can you keep your feet well dressed without spending a small fortune? With some designer shoes selling for hundreds – or even thousands - of pounds, you can really spend as much as you like on your feet. surveyed 3,000 people and found that they were spending an average of £244.93 on footwear a year. Over a lifetime, that means they could be spending more than £16,000. On shoes!

So how can you keep the cost down?

Buy the best quality you can

You can save money on shoes by buying the cheapest available but you’ll probably end up spending less.

For example, a supermarket near me sells trainers for £7 and strappy sandals for a fiver. But they are obviously not going to last very long – in fact, the sandals look frayed already.

If you can save up and buy a quality pair of shoes from an established brand then you’ll pay less in the long run. You’ll also get to wear a smarter pair of shoes.

When you’re in the market for an expensive pair of shoes, it’s worth reading some online reviews first, just to check they’re a good buy.

Take care of your shoes

Looking after your clothes can make them last longer and it’s the same with shoes.
So, always wash mud and other dirt off them straight away, and regularly polish leather shoes. That’s essential to preserve moisture, maintain shine and keep the colour.

A quick brush with soft bristles keeps suede shoes looking smart, while boots should always be stuffed with stretchers or rolled-up newspapers, to keep their shape.

If your shoes are rubbing you then you are rubbing them too, which will wear them out faster. A thicker pair of socks will protect your shoes and your feet!

Finally, the most important way to prolong the life of your shoes is to take them regularly to a cobbler for re-soling and re-heeling. Don’t wait until it’s all worn away, that means the shoe itself has been damaged.

Test them carefully

A money-wasting confession now: I have shoes in my wardrobe that I’ve never worn out of the house. They’ve looked beautiful in the shop where I’ve only walked as far as the mirror but walking any distance cuts my feet.

Don’t get caught out like this. March up and down the shop floor in your new footwear to make sure that they aren’t pinching or rubbing. Some shoes need breaking in, but if they hurt so much you’ll never wear them then they are a waste of money.

And if you get them home and then discover they’re horrendously uncomfortable then return them. As long as you haven’t worn them outdoors and scuffed the sole, most retailers will accept returns.

Buying online

Do you tend to fall in love with shoes when you’re out shopping? Try not to snap them up straight away and instead search for them online. You may find another retailer offering them for less or even a discount voucher that can bring down the price.

Shoppers with smartphones can take just a few moments to run a quick search while they’re in the shop.

If you want to buy unusual or designer footwear then online auction sites like eBay or classifieds sites like Preloved are good places to look. If someone has bought an expensive pair of shoes for a one-off special occasion then they often want to sell them afterwards to recoup some of the cost.

Buying second-hand doesn’t mean buying scuffed, abused footwear; just make sure you read the description carefully.

Rent your party shoes

Shoes choices can be rather complicated – matching outfits, seasons, for going out, for staying in, for formal occasions outside, that you can dance in…
No wonder we’re always complaining that we don’t have enough shoes, despite the 30-odd pairs already in the wardrobe.

If you’re addicted to designer shoes then you could be spending £300 or more each time. But you could potentially save money by renting out designer shoes for one-off events, instead of buying them.

There are many companies that rent shoes by Jimmy Choos, Dior, Alexander McQueen and other designers. Cinderella Me is a great place to look - the shoes are extensively cleaned between uses and only sent out eight times before being sold off. You can even rent bags and dresses, read our article ‘When renting beats buying’ to learn more.

Usually you’ll pay a monthly fee plus the shoe hire, which varies depending on the shoe. For example, a pair of pink Dior court shoes with an extreme heel cost £44.95 a week to hire. It’s less than the recommended retail price of £705, but it’s hardly cheap as chips.

[Related feature - 7 things to always rent]

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