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Buying Shoes at Thrift Stores

While thrifty stores have lots of shoes, some in very good condition, for a reasonable price, shoppers often hesitate to buy used shoes. This is a guide about buying shoes at thrift stores.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
January 7, 2012 Flag

I have started going to thrift stores to shop because of less work. I see people buying really nice looking shoes there, good name brands. How do you try on used shoes and not have to worry about foot fungus and catching it?

By Nancy

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January 8, 20120 found this helpful

The way I look at it is anytime you buy something in the line of clothing, shoes, hats, etc. that is used you run the risk of maybe picking something up that you don't want. The point when you are trying to economize is when you go shopping, do you do it because you absolutely need something new, or because you want it. You also don't need the fancy name things.

There are stores something like Family Dollar, etc. that have clothing, etc. for very little. Myself, living off a total of $700 a month, I shop exclusively at WalMart. I would rather have new clothes, shoes, etc. than buy used stuff, even if it isn't as good quality. When you buy used, the items are partially worn out, so do you actually get as much wear out of it, as if you bought a new item at a discount store.

I am a quit large person and have to order my clothes out of catalogs, which is expensive, but how many clothes does a person need, so I make do with less than I probably would like to have.

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January 9, 20121 found this helpful

Always carry a pair of nylon footsies (or the cut-off feet from an old pair of nylons) in your purse along with a small can of foot powder (or spray) and use when trying on shoes. Even if you already have stockings on use the footsies over them to keep your stockings from coming in contact with the shoes. Don't forget to wash your footsies when you get home so they are ready for the next shopping trip.

This is also good to do even in a 'new' shoe store. You never know who might have tried on those new shoes before you.

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January 9, 20121 found this helpful

If you decide to buy the shoes I think spraying the inside with Lysol will kill the fungus if there is any in there. My advice though is that if you buy a fairly new pair of what were expensive shoes, the former owner would have taken care of her feet and not had a fungus.

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January 9, 20120 found this helpful

What do you call used clothes anyway? Most new clothes in the department stores have been tried on and sometimes multiple times and days on end. So in my mind most all clothes are used. If that makes any sense. I don't know why anyone would be a subscriber to ThriftyFun is he/she is so opposed to buying used clothing. And just recently someone posted about the dangers of buying used furniture. Always someone, like politicians, trying to put the fear in our minds of the dangers out there that are, in most cases, unjustified.

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Anonymous Flag
January 9, 20120 found this helpful

The nylon footies already mentioned (like the ones shoe stores have you put on) is a good idea but, if it wouldn't embarrass you to use, you could also carry a couple of plastic produce bags and slip your feet into them.

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January 9, 20120 found this helpful

Some answers were a bit "overzelous" but basically nothing can live without food. In other words, any nasties in shoes, couches, or clothing has to have something to keep it going.

I googled the question and found this lovely site to help.

http://ca.answe  612190104AAFXaQK

I once had a thrift store owner walk up to me and assure me that she washed all here clothes so no one would get AIDS...yes, this was in 1984.

Most people wear their own socks when they try on shoes as they came in with them on...except sandals of course. Then yes, the 3/1.00 Walmart footsies in the little plastic bubbles are a good thing to have with you anyway.

And a good point was made that the clothes you buy new aren't new really, and even if they were, they are used the first time you try them on or wear them too.

I would and do buy anything that saves me money, and once cleaned stop worrying about it. You are more likely to get germs from the shopping cart you put things in than the clothes or shoes you try on.

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0 found this helpful
December 22, 2008 Flag

Is it safe to wear thrift store shoes? Some people have athletic feet and foot fungus. Just curious before I buy.


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December 22, 20080 found this helpful

Have been wearing thrift shop shoes for years - I once did have a problem years ago with a pair of plastic boots in the winter - my feet were so cold that I caught something without knowing it, as the fungi didn't act up until my tootsies were warmed up.

Nowadays I put medicated shoepowder (making sure you coat the top of the inside, too) in all such items, and you can even spray them with spray disinfectant, as a friend of mine does.

If you do find there is something there (rarely in my experience) you can use regular anti-fungal cream/spray or even vick's to kill it off. (Leather was skin once, you know...)

I would avoid dubious plastic shoes and take care with athletic shoes and boots, tho...If they are sneakers & you can wash them, DO.

But really, I don't think you have a greater chance of catching something than on a gym flloor or someplace like that...

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January 4, 20090 found this helpful

A squirt of lysol will do the trick(in the shoes) before you wear them.

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January 4, 20090 found this helpful

I have not had any problems wearing them. I am picky what I purchase. Any leather sneakers I buy get washed in the machine with an old towel, warm water, a little bleach and laundry detergent (air dry). I don't buy all-fabric sneakers because they yellow if you launder them. I also only buy if they are as close to new as possible, very little wear inside or out, and leather, usually a well known brand. I agree with pamphyila in terms of plastic shoes-you can usually buy synthetic shoes new for only a little more than used, sometimes even less if you catch a sale. I wipe any unwashable shoes inside and out with baby wipes, then spray them with antifungal foot spray, let dry; THEN spray them inside with Lysol, let dry. Seems like a lot, but takes only minutes, way less time than treating a fungus on your feet!

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January 4, 20090 found this helpful

I am all for buying in thrift shops, but draw the line at any footwear. My reason is that all feet are not created equal. Different feet, different sizes and shapes.

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January 13, 20120 found this helpful

Anything and everything that you wear is used! Unless you make it yourself, someone has tried it on. I have bought used clothing and footwear for years and have never had a problem. I wash shoes in the washing machine just like everything else. As for the comment by the lady who only buys from catalogs; there are lots of nice larger size clothes in thrift stores, some hardly worn. Save your money and don't buy from Walmart.

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