Shopping for shoes is a serious struggle for me. I’m not just saying that to be cute, I’m saying that because I’m a lady who wears a size 11 shoe, meaning I can’t just shop anywhere to find shoes that will fit me! That, on top of the fact that I’m picky AF, live on a budget, and love shoes so much that I would love to have as many pairs as physically possible (hey, I can make room in my closet), means that shoe shopping holds a special–and mournful–place in my heart. But what gets me more than anything else is the fact that it seems harder and harder to find retailers that sell shoes that aren’t ridiculously expensive and aren’t so cheap that just looking at them gives me blisters. Not to mention, shoes that won’t fall apart after walking around in them for a few weeks! I live in New York City, my shoes are my mode of transportation, and I can’t deal with a flat tire (so to speak) every month.
It’s hard to find that balance, that place that provides high quality without sacrificing cuteness, and dishes up cuteness without forcing you to fork over an entire paycheck. Luckily, hope is not lost. Check out these nine stores to buy cute, good quality shoes without spending too much money. Don’t rely on Forever 21 for your shoes again.
ASOS is the GOAT right now when it comes to clothes shopping these days, and their shoes are no exception. You can easily find a cute pair of ASOS brand boots for $50, and the quality is actually really good. You can find ASOS brand heels for as low as $30! But they also sell plenty of name brand shoes, from Reebok to Vagabond and more. If you’re looking for variety, reasonable prices, and shoes that don’t just end at a size 10, ASOS is going to be your ultimate shopping destination.
Oh, and if you’re wary of online shopping–especially for shoes–don’t sweat it: ASOS has the easiest return process on the planet. Each package comes with tape and doubles as a return parcel, and it comes with a free, pre-paid shipping sticker. So you just plop your unwanted shoes in the bag, tape it up, slap the sticker on, throw it in the mailbox, and get your money back a week or so later. Simple!
2. Dr. Martens
Listen, if you’re trying to buy a pair of sturdy combat boots or Oxfords, you need to buy some Dr. Martens. They’re a classic for a reason: They last for years. I bought my first pair of Dr. Martens boots nearly 10 years ago and they’re still going strong, even after wearing the hell out of them. I also wear their Oxfords all the time; they look so cute with some colorful socks and ankle pants or a mini skirt. Plus, their shoes come in a ton of different colors and prints, from black, to pastel pink, to floral. If you ask me, everyone needs a pair of docs. They’re an investment piece!
If your taste in shoes skews funky, over the top, and ’90s AF, you’re going to want to check out UNIF. Sure, their shoes aren’t cheap–you won’t find any for less than $50–but their sales are usually generous, and the quality is great. I’ve gotten a pair of chunky platform boots that I’ve had for nearly a year and survived a NYC winter handily. They’re still going strong with no wear or tear, which I can’t say for the many pairs of chunky Steve Madden platform shoes I’ve bought over the years.
4. Nordstrom Rack
Nordstrom Rack is the best when it comes to killer shoes at killer prices. You’ll find designer shoes here for a fraction of the cost that you’ll find in other fancy department stores. Plus, their size range rules. I’ve regularly seen shoes up to a women’s 12 and 13 up in there, so if you have big feet, welcome to your new haven.
5. Urban Outfitters
I’m actually happy to report that Urban Outfitters has a pretty respectable shoe selection. It’s so good that I find myself browsing their shoe options more than most of their other clothes these days. They have plenty of name brand shoes that you recognize–Adidas, Jeffery Campbell, etc–but their in house brand also makes some great shoes, usually for less than $100. Make sure to check out their mules and ankle boots, you’ll fall in love.
If you’re looking for refined and trendy, Aldo is a good bet. You can usually cop shoes from there for less than $100 (unless they’re tall boots, but they’re usually less than $150), and they always have sales. Yeah, mailing lists are annoying, but you’re guaranteed to find out about some 30 percent off sale or a buy one get one half off sale if you sign up for theirs. So if you’re looking into buying a new pair of Chelsea boots or a killer pair of heels, I’d check out Aldo.
Okay, so Zappos isn’t the sexiest retailer on this list, but they always have great brands, countless styles, and discount prices. Whether you need to stock up on some seasonal essentials or need a cute pair of heels for an event, they’ve got you covered with loads of options to choose from.
Everlane’s shoes aren’t cheap, but they’re great quality and are a fraction of the cost of comparable shoes by comparable brands. Why? Because they simply don’t mark their prices up so much. What’s awesome about Everlane is that they’re super transparent. They opt for the most ethical factories and break down how much money went into the cost of their items. For example, their Modern Loafer costs $54 to make. Everlane sells it for $168. Most designer retailers would sell the same shoe for $300. So if you want to buy clothes that you feel good about where they came from and you’re willing to spend a little more on clothes that were built to last, check ’em out.
Okay, I know that our generation is supposed to be busy killing department stores, but let me tell you…I’ve bought my last three pairs of designer shoes from Macy’s, and I managed to cop all but one of them on sale. Seriously, it’s like their shoe department is giving their inventory away. It’s not rare to catch a 25 percent off sale, so don’t sleep on them.
It’s kind of annoying that one of the biggest compliments I have for Madewell is that their clothes are literally made well. Truly, you’re getting some pretty top notch quality for not-so-crazy prices. Sure, a pair of their jeans might set you back $100, but they’ll last a lot longer than whatever you bought at Primark, I assure you. And when it comes to their shoes, you can expect a similar price range for really high quality shoes. I’m talking real, durable leather. Plus, if you’re not super into trendy shoes, you’ll love that you can buy a pair of shoes from here and wear them for years without them looking played out or getting worn out.
I always think of Topshop as “the expensive H&M.” In a lot of ways, yeah, their items can be pretty damn pricey. That’s why I’m always surprised that their shoes often tend to be super affordable. If you’re looking for trendy shoes, this is going to be a perfect destination for you. You can find a huge variety of ankle boots for under $60, which is impressive considering the fact that a single blouse there might set you back $90.
12. Running Warehouse
If you’re an athlete or you’re looking into starting an exercise routine and you want solid, name-brand shoes without spending a lot of money, check out Running Warehouse. They provide loads of running shoes from brands like Puma, Nike and more for a fraction of the cost that you would spend elsewhere. Seriously, let this be the site you search before you go to a sneaker store.
Birkenstocks are the ultimate glow up company; they used to be associated with hippies and that’s about it. Now they’re like the ultimate glamor sandal. They’re not as cheap as a pair of sandals you might buy from Target, but these babies are built to last. These high quality sandals can be dressed up or down depending on the style you buy–and trust, there are loads of styles to choose from–and you’ll wear them for summer, after summer, after summer.
From standard heels to eye catching sneakers, Shoeaholics is a great source for people who like a wide variety of shoe styles and don’t want to spend a ton of money for ’em. Sorry to sound hokey, but this is truly a site for people who are obsessed with shoes and want their closets filled to the brim with everything from heels with wild bobbles on ’em to minimalist sandals. And at this site, you can easily find a pair of sneakers, boots, sandals, etc for under $50.
Where do you usually shop for shoes? Tell us in the comments!