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by SixFigureStart | April 13, 2009


The last time we looked, a new pair of Manolos cost about $650 and Tod’s loafers ran at least $400. Maybe last year we could afford to splurge on the newest and nicest, but for many of us, this season the shoe budget is now the rent payment. So how to make do with the shoes you have or at least find new styles that won’t put you in the red? Check out these seven ways to get the most out of your kicks this spring—without getting kicked out of your apartment.

1. Repair and Reshape
Make your local cobbler your new best friend. Virtually anything can be done to an old pair of shoes to make them work again. Heel heights can be altered, platforms built, scratches erased, widths stretched and soles repaired. Secret tip: Some smaller shoe repair shops will give you a discount if you pay cash. Not using a credit card saves them money on processing fees, so next time ask for 10% off if you pay cash.

2. Bedazzle
Think beyond the infomercial and get past the images of sweatshirts plastered with crappy jewels. You can change up the look of your shoes by adding edgier embellishments like grommets and studs to simple shoes—pumps, ballet flats, canvas sneakers and even moccasins can all be taken up a notch.

3. Don’t Forget the Kids
Turn their summer sandals and flats into a craft project by adding glitter, decals and beads to worn out shoes. All you need is some spray adhesive and your imagination to create fun new kicks for their summertime romps.

4. Focus on the Web
Lookalikes and discount versions of your designer favorites abound, so get online, not in line, to find great deals for both men and women. Zappos, DSW and Piperlime have low or no shipping fees, and excellent return policies. Plus, you might not be as tempted by the other goodies offered in traditional department stores.

5. Consider Consignment
The idea of wearing someone else’s shoes can be a bit off-putting, but you’d be surprised at what you can find in consignment shops these days—namely, gently worn or never worn designer shoes at super low prices. Don’t forget, many second hand stores work on trade, so you can walk in with last year’s Pradas and walk out with new-to-you strappy sandals or the coolest Nike high-tops.

6. Reinvent
A little creativity in combining your clothes can go a long way. Consider wearing your Converse with slouchy dress pants and layered tank tops, or peep toe pumps with short shorts and a boyfriend cardigan. Guys, the wingtips that you normally wear with a suit can look great with distressed jeans and tees.

7. Swap
Before you buy a pair of pink stain pumps just to wear with that awful bridesmaid’s dress, ask around to if your friends have anything that might work. If you share the same shoe size there’s no reason you can’t do a trade, even for a weekend. Maybe you’ve been eyeing her snakeskin sandals for months and she’s been drooling over your Frye boots.

We all know that shoes can make the man (and the woman), but keeping your soles in check this spring doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Be good to your feet and your wallet, without sparing your style.

--Posted by Julie Greene,

Julie Greene is an independent fashion stylist, wardrobe consultant and writer. She lives in New York City.

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