Blogger Confession: Why I Don’t Own Expensive Shoes

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I don’t own fancy shoes.
Not until the past couple of years did I even consider a pair of shoes over $75, and you’ll never see me in boots over $250 or other shoes over $125.
Even if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t wear Loubies.

A few other DC bloggers (Rosa Loves, High Fashion for Less, Apolinnas, The You Finder) have a Blogger Confessions series and it inspired me to do the same today.

I confess that I don’t own expensive shoes and probably will never own expensive shoes for these reasons:

1. My feet smell. My feet have always stunk. I tried cotton socks, shoe liners, deodorizers, natural products to no avail. My mother said her feet smelled until she had children and I hoped and prayed that the same would happen to me. It did… until I stopped nursing. Gosh knows why, but the feet started kicking again a few weeks after I weaned Emerson.

I use Footpetals in most of my shoes to not only make them more comfortable, but to absorb sweat. I then can replace them when they get funky, leaving the shoes in relatively decent condition. However they still end up being a bit funky after 1-3 years and have to be removed from the wardrobe.

2. My feet sweat. I can put on a pair of shoes for an hour, sit the entire time, and stand up to squishy, slipping shoes. Again, Footpetals help immensely but this causes many of my shoes to stretch out over time.

3. I walk hard. I try to be a lady, but I walked on my toes all my life, which means I either bounce around, or a clomp around. I have my heel caps replaced several times a season and break at least one heel a year.

4. I am a klutz. I break heels, I break off heel caps, my heel gets caught in a grate or in the crack of a sidewalk. I trip, scuffing off the front of my shoe, or slip out of my shoe, stretching the toebox. Again, I try to be careful and ladylike but fail miserably 75% of the time.

5. I believe shoes should be worn. I am not the type to have commuter shoes, I want to actually wear the shoes I buy. For me, there’s no point in wearing a pair of beater shoes to walk from the Metro to the office, then put on fancy shoes which are hidden behind my desk all day long. The shoes I buy need to be workhorses, ones that look good, feel good, and can survive a morning commute.

6. My accessory tastes change faster than my clothing tastes. Five years ago, I felt the most classic shoe was a peeptoe pump with a slender heel. I had the same BCBGirls “Aria” pump in black snakeskin, brown snakeskin, and leopard suede and felt they were the types of shoes I would wear for eternity. After I had Emerson they no longer fit so I got rid of the stinky black and brown ones and gave the newly replaced leopard ones to my best friend and went on an eBay search for replacements (the style was no longer available at retailers). I found a pair in black patent, won the auction, had them delivered, put them on… and they just looked wrong. Not me. They went back on eBay the very next day.

I can wear a simple black dress for a decade without tiring of it, but a black pump I like to switch up with the trends. I have a pointed toe in my closet and have had a variation of it for years, but right now I am really liking a slight platform and a rounded toe. Next winter I may want a thicker heel, or a different texture to the leather.

7. I prioritize. People often ask how I afford my wardrobe. I don’t go on fancy vacations, I don’t drive a fancy car, I live in a very small home, I bargain shop, I love me some Freecycle and Craigslist (and eBay, obviously!), and I don’t buy expensive shoes. I choose to spend my money on what I care about, and for me, I prefer a wardrobe full of flattering versatile pieces than a wardrobe full of fabulous shoes. While I adore shoes, I get more pleasure from a dress or even a new necklace.

While I love me some Louboutins, think Manolos are pretty major, and celebrate the beauty of a pair of Jimmy Choos, I won’t have any in my closet any time soon.

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  1. Hi Allie, my feet used to be stinky as well, especially as I am wearing pantyhose throughtout the year at work and was terrified of havign to take my shoes off anywhere except my house!! I got a prescription from my family doctor for Hypercare. It looks like saline water and put it on the sole of my feet every other day and had no problems since. Hope this helps for you and everyone else out there with this issue. Love your blog!!

  2. My main reason (beside the fact that I’m midwestern and “thrifty” by birth) for not owning super expensive shoes is that my shoe collection is already a bone of contention – Loubies would probably land me in divorce court. 

  3. You know just last night I was thinking that whenever I have been to NY when walking the streets or in the subway I NEVER SEE people in heels. So when I look at the blogs I can imagine people putting on the heels and posing. Then, taking them off and wearing flip flops to walk. 
    Like you I think shoes SHOULD BE WORN, you should get every penny out of your shoes.
    My most expensive shoes were about 100.00 USD …. i still need to get A LOT of wear from them.

  4. I have CertainDri and swear by it for the underarms but while I have tried regular antiperspirants on the feet, never this stuff. Thank you for this suggestion – I put my bottle on the nightstand last night and put it on before bed. We’ll see how it does!

  5. This post made me feel better about my life. I suffer from 1, 2, and 3 and realized that while I’m trying put together a minimalist re-mixable wardrobe that I have to have more shoes than I prefer so that I can them time to rest. DC sidewalk eats heels andI used to have grave yard of broken heels under my desk.

    p.s. you told me not to be a stranger and i’ve been here everyday since and subscribed!

  6. I feel the same. I’m ROUGH on my shoes and I also have a dog who likes to eat my shoes so if I were to spend $700 on a pair of Loubies or Choos, I’d probably get pissed if I caught her chewing on them.  Plus, I keep a pretty classic, typical wardrobe that I like to dress up with shoes, so less expensive shoes are my way of being trendy without breaking the bank.  

    I own a few pairs of $100 pumps and boots, and that’s about it- because they are good brands that will last.  But I can’t justify spending crazy money on a pair of heels- I’d rather spend my money on vacations and stuff! 

  7. Great post. I think that $100-$125 IS an expensive pair of shoes. So when I am buying a basic pair of shoes that I expect to last, e.g., black pumps or boots, I will spend that much. Otherwise, I don’t like to spend more than $50 on trendy shoes, and that’s a stretch.

    I can’t speak to the problem of stinky feet because I generally (okay, almost always) wear knee highs or tights/hose or socks with my shoes unless I’m wearing sandals. My feet (and ankles/calves) just get too dang cold and I am not comfortable going without those things unless it’s above 75 degrees. Of course, then the feet swell and that’s not comfy either. Even when I go without socks, etc., my feet don’t stink too bad, but I will definitely try the certain dri  technique this summer.

    Lastly, no way would I spend money on Leboutins(sp?) because I don’t care how much they cost, shoes with that high of a heel cannot possibly be comfortable! My bunions are screaming at the very idea…  

  8. Girl, you are awesome. I don’t think a lot of people would confess to stinky feet. 
    I share a similar view with you. I love shoes and while I have a couple on fancy ones, I do not wear them often. Here’s the thing, I am always walking around the city and I need comfort. That’s my priority. I wear a lot of flats and maybe I should wear higher heels since I am super short, but I am kind of happy wearing my flats so I can run up and down the steps in the metro station. 

  9. It’s strange but my feet never have any odor except when I wear synthetic shoes.  My husband bought me a pair of wool slippers for Christmas and they smell terrible like a wet dog.  It took me a while to figure out the smell wasn’t coming from our dog.  We all have something that bothers us but I would still love to own a pair of Loubies. I don’t have a lot of shoes but I would like to have a few pairs of nice shoes.  Of course I wouldn’t wear them often. So I don’t need many shoes anyway. 

  10. I too have stinky foot odor and am so self-conscious when wearing shoes without hosiery. It’s good to know others suffer that I am not alone.

  11. I used to have the stinky shoe problem. Hated it. I had also tried the special insoles, baby powder, and so forth, to no avail. Finally I figured out that if I put antiperspirant on my feet before slipping on my shoes, I had cooler, dry feet through the day and no more ruined shoes.

    I never tried putting it on at night before bed, as the other commenter suggested. That makes a lot of sense, though, as so many people go barefoot in shoes these days and it might–I don’t know– be uncomfortable or messy to put feet with just-applied antiperspirant straight into shoes.

    My foot antiperspirant needs diminished over time and ended roughly with menopause, so it has been a long time since I used this trick–we were still wearing pantyhose, knee-his, and socks with shoes back in the day, and I just slicked on the antiperspirant right before putting on my hosiery, and it worked great. i always thought it was the best hint or trick I ever came across, and was both proud to have thought of it (I never heard of anyone else doing this before now), and amazed that it took me so many years of frustration, embarrassment, and ruined shoes to think of it. 

  12. I think this is a really awesome thing to “confess”. I won’t ever own any b/c I wear a size 13 shoe and no one cares about me ;(  

    Also, spending that kind of money on shoes? It just seems beyond my ability to legitimize. I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to – but I can’t fathom it.

  13. Try Certain Dri roll on antiperspirant rolled on the soles of your feet at night. At first you may need to apply daily and then you can taper off to a couple of times per week.  I keep mine in my bedside table.  It dries quickly.  It is odorless and colorless. It will change your life I promise. 

    Alison R

  14. I don’t know if this will help or not, but my Mom  (who was a nurse) always suggested a zinc supplement for foot ordor.  She would say, “take zinc for stink”…..!  I am not sure of the dosage, but  maybe you can try 1 a day.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on shoes. 

  15. Good post! I don’t commute to DC often, but when I do (Metro + escalator/stairs + 3-4 blocks of city walking), I wear an all-day shoe. No shoe changes for me either! 🙂

  16. Having rather fussy feet I have to pay in the $100-125 price range usually for well made sturdy (but cute!) shoes, but like you I see little reason to pay more than that.  I just can’t see that the price per wear will ever get down to a reasonable level before the shoes wear out on me.  I am much more likely to splurge on a handbag I can carry for years.

  17. Well said, Allie. I am mostly a #6. I might pay a lot for boots, but my shoe tastes change, and I feel bad about abandoning expensive pairs. I do love Ross and Marshalls!

  18. The DC area is notorious for 5 o’clock cloud bursts. 

     If you aren’t a commuter shoe girl it means your shoes are getting wet fairly often.  I think the sweet spot is shoes that are comfortable enough, and well-enough made that they don’t fall apart with the first drenching.  Beyond that why pay a bunch of money so you can ruin them?

    I’ll pay up to $100-125 if I know the brand and am certain I’ll get my moneys worth out of them.  Otherwise I like to hover in the $40-70 range.

  19. I wish I could wear more cheap shoes. Fake leather shoes never give for me and I end up with awful pain. I need support or orthopedic styles. So I buy danskos. They have been a lifesaver.

    I have a couple pairs of super expensive shoes. Like $400-$700 but I didn’t spend more than $100 on any of them! I wait until end of season sales. But not like louboutians. They are all Marc Jacobs. They are comfy, soft and I’ve had awhile.

    But like you said its all priorities. I can’t imagine spending $100 on a skirt or pair of seasonal pants. But I will spend that on shoes. I DESTROY my clothes. I am clumsy and get caught in things, sweat, rip, ugh. I go through elbows on all my blazers. I don’t understand how I’m so rough!
    I have a pair of nice jeans that were a gift in December and I just went through them! So embarrassing!

    That all said I realize I’m like you and won’t spend more than $125. That’s my max and they better last me a long time at that price point. Like wood heeled danskos.

  20. I have to own expensive shoes due to foot issues.  High instep, high arch, wide feet.  Means I can’t buy shoes under $75.  I go to TJ Maxx and get lucky but I only have a couple brands I can get.  Sofft and murrell are the main two.  Luckily, they last a really long time!

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