Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Is it Okay to Buy Shoes from a Resale Shop?

The simple answer, of course, is no.  I often get asked a similar question about children wearing hand me down shoes.  Shoes can contain infectious organisms including fungus and even the viruses that cause warts.  Shoes that have uneven wear on the heels can negatively impact your balance and the way you walk.  Shoes that are “well worn” may have adapted to foot deformities that the other person had and may cause problems for you.


With “thrifting” a new trend and the popularity of wearing vintage clothes (and shoes even though the thought of that is gross to many of us), it is harder and harder to resist the buys you might find at a resale shop or vintage store!  How can anyone resist these gorgeous Kenneth Cole boots that were in near perfect condition that were only $3.50 at the local thrift store?

So, instead of telling you NO, I would rather tell you how to spot a shoe that may be in near perfect condition!
First, of course, look at the material of the shoe itself (other than the sole).  This is called the upper.  It will be easy for you to decide if it is in good condition – look for scuffs, scratches, tears, etc.  Those are the things you would already be looking at.  Next,  look at the sole.   The sole should be not worn or thinned.  However, if you do find a pair of shoes that you MUST have and the sole is worn down, it can be taken to a shoe maker and re-soled.  Finally, look at the heel.  There should be minimal wear on the heel and they should not be worn if the wear is uneven, with a thin side of the heel present and a thicker side present on the other side of the heel same heel.  Again, a shoe maker can re-heel the shoes but make sure it’s just the heel that is affected and it is repaired before you wear them.

So once you have decided that the shoes are too cute to pass up and you get over the gross-ness of wearing someone else’s shoes, you do need to concern yourself with infectious agents lurking inside the shoe.  There are products out there that can be used to disinfect the inside of the shoe.   We do sell one such product in our office.  We generally use it when someone has athlete’s feet, fungal nails or sweaty feet.  Odor and moisture can mean bacteria and fungus, even in your own shoes!

No matter how cute the shoes you have found may be, fit is as important with thrift finds as much as it is with new shoes.  Shoes should be tried on at the end of the day when your feet have most of their natural swelling, tried on with proper hosiery and shoes should be of the right style and height for your foot type. 

Many of our patients come in for a shoe evaluation which includes a full foot evaluation including foot type, evaluating possible or current deformities and discussing progression of foot problems.  Most foot problems are progressive due to our bearing weight and walking on them all day long!
And yes, those gorgeous $3.50 Kenneth Cole boots are mine!