Op Shop Shoes | The Rules

Second hand shoes?  Ewwwww!  How gross!

I know.  Shoes are one of those things that creep people out.  Because they go on feet.  And many feet are vile.



But, by dismissing op shop shoes out of hand, you might be missing out on the bargain of the century!  Some of my favourite shoes have been op shopped.  Many shoes have been donated because they’re just a little bit too tight or too big, not because they’re worn out.  I frequently find brand new shoes in their boxes in op shops.



I’m the proud owner of Leona Edmiston, Camper, Mimco, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rockport, Kate Spade NY, ECCO, Country Road and Nude shoes, to name but a few, which I’ve thrifted over the years from garage sales, op shops and markets.

Leona Edmiston thrifted for $50




I’ve got a few tips and tricks on how to choose second hand shoes, and how to deal with them.

Make sure they’re the right size

There is no point buying shoes that almost fit – you will just wind up donating them back to the op shop for another lucky girl with feet half a size smaller than yours to buy.


Diana Ferrari suede ballet flats thrifted for $10


Check for wear

If you’re really lucky, you will find box fresh shoes with the stickers still on.  This is the Holy Grail of op shopping!  Check for signs of wear, holes, scuffs and the like.  If they are dirty or mucky or just plain pong, do not even pick them up off the shelf.  Ewwwww.  You need to shop at a better class of op shop if this is what’s on offer!

However, don’t discount really fabulous shoes that need a little bit of love.  I am the proud owner of the most perfect vintage ladylike heels by Salvatore Ferragamo that needed the heel plates replaced.  $10 for the shoes and $17 for the shoe repair and Bob’s your auntie’s live in lover.


Op shopped outfit $60 – Jane Lamerton bolero, Country Road dress and shoes (new), Florence Broadhurst fabric pouch


Go for quality

Choose quality brands.  There’s no point buying second hand shoes from, say, Big W, when they’re so cheap in the first place.  Take the opportunity to try a new brand you’ve not worn before.  I’ve gone on to purchase shoes from a retail store after being impressed by a brand I’ve thrifted.


My beloved 1980s Ferragamos


Clean Queen

OK, so now you’ve purchased your op shop shoes, here is my quick guide to dealing with them.

  • Put some antibacterial hand gel on a baby wipe or two and wipe them thoroughly inside and out.  The alcohol in both products will mean they dry quite quickly and will not damage them.
  • I sometimes put new inner soles in second hand shoes.
  • Polish leather shoes, brush suede shoes, and waterproof both fabric and suede shoes.  Just because they were a bargain, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after them.
  • Give them a good blast with anti-tinea spray – just in case!

A few of my favourite girls

Queen Elizabeth gets one of her Ladies of Waiting to wear her shoes in for her.

If second hand shoes are good enough for the Queen of England, then they’re good enough for me!

Are you an op shopper extraordinaire like me?  Do you love shoes, and even better, a bargain?

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