These days, luxury shoe brands have just as much cache in Hollywood as gowns by Versace and Vera Wang. Although few of us can afford runway-quality footwear, there are plenty shopping tricks to follow for bagging name brands for less. Here are 11 ways you can save on shoes:
1. Make a List: Go through your closet and decide what you need. Figure out which shoes are (literally) run down at the heel, and which have plenty of road left in them. Those red peep-toe pumps may be your absolute favorite, but if the patent leather is kaput, it's time to toss them.
2. Match the Rest of Your Wardrobe: Consider your clothing color palette. If you'd love purple pumps, but they won't match any of your clothes, resist the temptation. Also, consider whether you need heels, flats and boots in staple shades, like brown and black.
3. Shop Online With Coupons: Look for sites that offer free shipping both ways. That way, you can try on shoes without the pain of paying for return shipping. Also, remember to look for coupons and discounts on sites like FreeShipping.org and RetailMeNot.com.
4. Quality Check: Look for stitching, rather than glue, at the edges. Check for heels that wobble, have loose threads or are discolored. Also, opt for real leather when possible, and make sure you aren't overpaying for cheaper, plastic styles. Finally, always make sure you're getting sufficient arch support!
5. Are Those Boots Made for Walking?: Don't just check footwear out in the floor mirror; give each pair a serious test run in the store. Try crouching to see if they grip your foot or fall off. Walk at different speeds to see if the shoes will rub your feet raw. If you buy your dream pair,then realize they're too tight, bring them to a cobbler to get stretched.
6. Spend More to Save More: When it comes to the basics that you'll wear day to night, it pays to spend more. For trendy boots, heels, and sandals that may be out of style next season, opt for less expensive brands.
7. Shop Out of Season: Shop end-of-season sales for deals on quality classics. This is also a good time to pick up frivolous footwear for less. But don't wait too long if you wear a popular size, say anywhere from 6-1/2 to 8-1/2 .
8. Bid On Footwear: Some eBay auctions offer high-end, funky and traditional footwear at considerable savings. Before you bid, comparison shop to make sure the auction price is a good deal.
9. Flash Sale Sites: Ever-popular flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe and HauteLook make expensive designer brands accessible. Sites typically charge for return shipping, so pop by a local department store to find your true shoe size before ordering.
10. Maintain Your Purchase: Take care of your shoes. Clean footwear immediately when it gets dirty. Give shoes time to dry out, or sprinkle baking soda inside to absorb odors and sweat. Leather needs to be regularly polished and buffed. Treat suede shoes with a water-resistant spray at least once a year. Store off-season shoes in containers. The bags your newspaper is delivered are perfect for this.
11. DIY: You don't have to be a crafty mastermind to turn an old pair of boring black heels into dazzling duds. Pick up a few mini-jewels from a craft store and glue them to the heel or toe box. Voila! You've got a new pair of party shoes. Shoe clips are another easy way transform plain pumps.
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Andrea has traveled the country as a broadcast and print media source, working with The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, ABC News NOW, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Smart Money and many more.