Why Cheap Shoes Are a Bad Buy

by Debra Karplus

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When it comes to shoes for adults, it is often one of those things where buying cheap doesn’t pay. Consider these reasons why cheap shoes are a bad buy and why you feet will thank you for spending more.

You, like most Americans, probably buy at least a couple of pairs of shoes just for yourself each year in addition to shoes purchased for the other people in your family. According to statista.com, Americans are expected to spend $262.80 per person on footwear in 2023, or almost $1,100 for a family of four. That’s a lot of walking around money!

You pride yourself in being a savvy consumer who knows how to spot good value, but when it comes to purchasing shoes, you truly get what you pay for. Kids outgrow their shoes quickly, but adults typically maintain approximately the same shoe size throughout their lives.  Paying over $100 for a good pair of shoes seems counterintuitive to the concept of saving money, but it is an investment in your overall physical well-being and an area where you don’t want to skimp.

So how do you find the right shoes at an affordable price?

Buying cheap shoes can ultimately become a very costly endeavor.

It’s not hard to find stylish shoes in your size online, at a retail discount store, or at a resale shop or yard sale. The online shoe vendors are extremely generous when it comes to their return policy on shoes that you purchase from them. It’s tempting to enjoy the convenience of online shopping for shoes.

But what you save in the cost of the shoes you are likely to spend in medical bills due to the pain and discomfort that sends you to a chiropractor, rheumatologist, podiatrist, or some other medical specialist who will try to rescue your ailing body from years of wearing cheap shoes.

It is very important to wear the proper shoes for your feet in the same way that it is essential to brush your teeth daily! The wrong pair of shoes can totally throw your spine out of alignment and create havoc on your entire body, causing problems with your back, hips, and feet.

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Specialists in fitting you for proper shoes are employed at many retail shoe stores.

Pedorthist” is not just a great word to use when playing a game of Scrabble. These shoe-fitting experts have received numerous hours of special training and have earned a certificate that indicates that they know what it takes to measure you for the correct shoe size with the exact features, such as arch support, to benefit your feet and movement style. If you make a few phone calls, you may discover that at least one pedorthist is employed at a retail shoe store in your community. You can learn more about these shoe-fitting professionals from the Pedorthics Footcare Association.

You may think you wear a women’s size 7, wide shoe, but the pedorthist will take measurements and tell you exactly what your correct shoe size is. Additionally, they will know the features of the shoes they sell and the features that you might need. They will observe you walking around the store and assess and recommend the type of shoes that best suits your needs from both a functional perspective as well as style.

A good pair of shoes will not last forever.

You take good care of your house and your car and feel like you are making an investment in extending their lives. A pedorthist will tell you some things about the longevity of quality shoes that may surprise. Even if you are meticulous about keeping your shoes clean and polished and maintaining dirt-free undersides, all shoes wear out. A good quality shoe will wear out after about six months of average use. The shoe may look fine due to the excellent care you gave it, but the rubber in the sole wears out, and the insides of the shoe lose their flexibility, which compromises your comfort and health in what was originally an excellent quality shoe.

If you are like many cost-conscious consumers, you may be tempted to purchase a seemingly good quality pair of shoes at a specialty shoe retailer cheaper because they are from last year’s inventory. Who could refuse such an opportunity? Right?

Wrong! Shoe experts know that the rubber on shoes simply dries out, so a discounted good quality shoe is an inferior shoe to a brand new shoe. Thus, you should avoid the temptation of taking short cuts when buying new shoes.

You probably already know that you should shop for shoes later in the day, not first thing in the morning as feet tend to swell during the day. Additionally, always bring the socks that you would typically wear when shopping for new shoes.

You have probably heard the expression “penny wise and pound foolish.” When it comes to buying shoes for an adult, never take any short cuts. Get a custom fit from an expert who really knows shoes.

Reviewed March 2023

About the Author

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon (Kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.

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