There’s no way around this: I am a shoe collector. I love and covet any and all shoes, but designer shoes are my kryptonite. Since I don’t yet have a money tree, I’ve instead come up with an assortment of tips that make it possible to buy designer shoes for less. All of my shoe-buying secrets are below.
I’m a bit of a shoe nut. (Or a lot of a shoe nut.) There is nothing else in the fashion world that holds my fascination so much as a good pair of shoes, and some (my husband) might say my own shoe collection is a bit much. The thing is though, shoes never really go out of style and even if they do the style will eventually come back into fashion. I’ve been wearing a size 8.5 since I hit the 7th grade, so I’ve actually had some of the shoes in my closet since I was in high school.
While I favor designer/high-end footwear because of the quality, there’s no reason one needs to pay full price for such shoes. With few exceptions, I rarely do. If you want to start building your own designer shoe collection, here are a few ways you can find designer shoes for less:
How to Buy Designer Shoes for Less
Shop Store Closing Sales
Admittedly it’s not that often that stores close, but you better believe that when they do I head right to the shoe section! Back when I first started this site I was a little obsessive about checking the Plaza Too website, a New York City shoe store that always had amazing sales. When they went out of business I stocked up on Frye pumps that cost $48 and Cole Haan wedges that cost $45!
I also stopped by Filene’s Basement when they shuttered their doors and scored some amazing deals, and would have stopped by Loehmann’s if there was one closer to my house. Bottom line: If you see a store that sells shoes going out of business, scour the shoe section for deals!
Buy Last Season’s Shoes
New shoes come out constantly and while I admit to always wanting something new, there’s hardly a difference between the shoes that were out last summer and what will come out this summer. Stores hold sales at the end of every season to clear out their stock, and these can be an excellent way to get designer shoes for less!
In particular, I tend to check out Macy’s because their prices are right and they always have additional coupons (I once walked out of there with six pairs…) and the Nordstrom Shoe Clearance (the most recent of which just ended). Another great place to look is the 70% off section of the Shopbop Sale.
Visit Outlet Stores
I RARELY allow myself to go to the outlet mall because I cannot contain my shoe obsession when they’re marked down so much! Currently, my favorite outlet stores where I find designer shoes for less are Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Bloomingale’s The Outlet Store, and Nordstrom Rack.
I’ve spotted brands like Cole Haan, Sam Edelman, Prada, and Gucci at Last Call, while I was REALLY tempted by the Frye boots and UGGs I spotted at Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store earlier this year. Nordstrom Rack is my go-to for sneakers and sandals for less.
Even though it’s online, did you know that 6pm.com is the “outlet” for Zappos.com? If you prefer to do your shopping online this store is definitely worth bookmarking! (And, if you’re ever near Louisville, be sure to stop by the 6pm Outlet Store. It’s amazing!)
Frequent (or Bookmark) Off-Price Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls & Ross
Until a trip to New York City a couple of years ago, I’d always assumed that TJ Maxx and Marshalls were pretty much the same store. While I still believe that to an extent, I did learn that Marshalls is where one goes when they want to go shoe shopping! All Marshalls locations contain extended shoe areas where you can frequently score designer shoes for less, from brands like Coach and Kate Spade for way below retail! The shoe section at TJ Maxx is nice too and there are great deals to be found, the selection just isn’t as large as the selection at Marshalls.
Ross is also an excellent place to shop for designer shoes for less. While I haven’t seen super high-end brands, I have picked up both GUESS and Tommy Hilfiger shoes from Ross for less than $20 a pair!
While online shopping isn’t yet available for all stores, it’s worth bookmarking all of the off-price stores you can shop online. Like their brick and mortar counterparts, these online stores feature frequently changing merchandise that makes them worth checking out regularly because you never know when you’ll find an amazing pair of designer shoes for less online.
Keep an Eye on Sample Sale Sites
While sample sale sites are no longer as popular as they once were, the sites that remain can be great places to find cheap designer shoes. I continue to purchase shoes from Gilt, Rue La La, Zulily, and The RealReal.
Sample sales may not be the best option if you’re between sizes or frequently need to try on multiple pairs to get the best fit, but I’ve never had a problem.
Of course, if you’re in New York City or Los Angeles then you can stop by sample sales in-person!
Set Aside Time to Visit Thrift Stores/ Consignment Stores/ Garage Sales
I have not been as lucky with finding designer shoes at thrift stores, consignment stores, or garage sales but I know many people who have had much better luck than me! Recently, I was talking to someone who had found a pair of barely worn Prada shoes for less than $20 at a Goodwill here in Chicago! Crazy, right?! Personally, I don’t have the patience to search, but if you do, thrift, consignment and garage sales may prove to be fruitful ways to score designer shoes for less!
Don’t Forget About eBay
I obviously couldn’t end this list without mentioning eBay, which is where I once scored a pair of brand new Christian Louboutin pumps for $400 (about $350 below retail). I can almost always go on eBay and find something I “need.” It may take some time to watch the auctions, but the price savings can be worth it!
Cash Back Shopping is Your Friend
I know I frequently mention cash back shopping, but placing your orders through sites like Ebates or Mr. Rebates can be great ways to earn cash back on your purchases! And, cash back shopping doesn’t need to be a stand-alone thing. For instance, you can use Ebates to earn cash back on purchases from eBay!
While I have a shoe obsession, I’ve greatly been able to reduce the amount that I’ve spent over the years by using the sources listed above! Also, the thrill of finding a good deal adds to the excitement for me!
Do Tell: What other tips do you have for scoring designer shoes for less?