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Op Shop Shoes: Should You or Shouldn't You?

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by Caitlin Pianta (subscribe)
Queensland based writer and digital nomad.
Published July 16th 2014
Snazzy Shoes on a Shoe String
Some of my absolute favourite pairs of shoes have come from op-shops. Unfortunately, decent second hand shoes are few and far between and it can sometimes take a lot of dedication to trawl through the racks of shoes that Australian op shops have (particularly the ones that chuck them in big bins so it can take several painstaking hours to find the shoes mate - I'm looking at you Lifeline, West End).

If you do see a pair of shoes that catch your eye, there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure a comfortable and quality buy.

It goes without saying, but try before you buy could never be more important in the scenario of buying second hand shoes. Make sure the shoe is the perfect fit, but bear in mind that some shoes can come from different designers and even eras, so the sizes can read differently, but the shoe may fit you just right.

Turn the shoe over and check the bottom for traction. It can cost quite a bit to get a shoe re-soled, and in this case would cost a lot more than what you even paid for the shoe.

However, if it's a pair of Louis Vuittons, it might be worth paying that extra to get them fixed up!

Check for signs of grime/dirt or holes and scuff marks. Mostly these are things that can be fixed up relatively easily, but if the scuff marks are overly evident, it might be worth a second thought.

Now, if all this has checked out and you've bought your brand new old shoes home, here are some tips for what to do next:

Sole Material:
Leather and faux leather insoles (if you are lucky enough to find these on a great pair of shoes) are keepers.

Other types of fabric insoles that have been worn down can be cleaned, but they do tend to retain smells and bacteria so if you do want to fix them up, you can either lay a new insole over the top after cleaning it or give it a really good (or several really good) scrubs.

General TLC:
Wiping the shoes over with an antibacterial wipe is beneficial for a general clean up.

If the shoe is leather, grab some polish and give the shoes a once-over, however if it's suede give them a generous spray with some waterproof spray will protect them.
Antibacterial spray like Glen20 is also handy just to doubly protect your feet from bacteria or tinnea.

With all these tips, there's no reason now to avoid the shoe section of the thrift store - you're next snazzy pair of shoes are right around the corner!
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Why? Cheap, quality shoes
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