Buying secondhand shoes is risky business if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Shoes can look immaculate on the outside but the inside is absolutely rooted. But no one ever looks in the inside!
That’s why in this guide I am going to help you buy second hand shoes without getting ripped off.
It’s okay to buy second hand shoes if you know what you’re looking for and they aren’t well-worn.
Without this valuable information, you could be setting yourself up for a big waste of money.
So without further ado, lets get right into the article.
Buying Used Shoes Online
Buying used shoes online is probably the most riskiest thing to do because you can’t see the real condition of the shoe.
It’s easy to take better angles of the good side and leave out the bad side.
People can lie and they can reject your proposal to view more pictures.
When buying used shoes online, it is absolutely vital that you see the bottom of the shoe (outsole) and the insides of the shoe (insole and midsole).
Ask them lots of questions such as:
- How old is the shoe?
- Have they been in storage?
- Where were they stored?
- What was the price brand new?
- Have they been worn?
- Can I see closeups of every part of the shoe? (it’s harder to notice bad quality from far away)
These are ALL vital questions that need to be answered.
And if the seller refuses to provide all the necessary information, find another seller.
The reason you need to know how old the shoe is is because the midsole is the first thing that rots and disintegrates, and you can’t even see it because it’s under the insole and above the outsole.
If they say 3-5 years old, you should probably skip and move onto another shoe.
At this point the midsole is on the downturn and will likely disintegrate as soon as it’s worn.
Buying In Person
The same rules apply when buying shoes in person.
You still need to know the same questions, but this time, you can see what you are dealing with.
Feel the leather, feel the midsole, feel the quality of the footwear.
Does it feel low quality and on its last legs or does it have a couple years out of them?
What do you want the shoe for, to collect or to wear?
If you’re thinking of buying a 3+ years old shoe to wear, you’re dreaming.
That thing is going to disintegrate the minute you put it on.
But if you’re buying a collectors shoe or designer shoe that you also want to store for viewing purposes, there is a little more leeway.
Buying a 3-year old designer shoe that’s been in storage all its life is better than buying a 3-year old shoe that’s been worn or stored in places that speed up the dry-rotting process (How to store shoes for longevity).
And that’s why it’s important to ask all the questions above.
If they don’t know how to store their shoes properly, chances are you’re buying something that’s rotting on the inside and it’s only a matter of time before it starts eating the outside.
Questions are your best friend when it comes to purchasing second hand shoes.
You need to question everything because you’re only cutting yourself short otherwise.
The seller is going to get a bargain and you’re going to get ripped off.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions as sellers are usually open to them. Plus if you seem like a genuine buyer, they don’t really care about answering questions.
And remember, shoes older than 3 years should raise alarm bells.
Now you need to know how much has it been worn, where was it stored and what the inside feels like.
Because like I said, the midsole is the first to rot and you can never see it. An easy way to know is if the shoe’s older than 3 years.
I explain in this article how shoes dry-rot from the inside before it’s even visible.
Is Wearing Second Hand Shoes Bad?
When it’s okay
If you’re buying the shoe just to collect it and keep it in storage because you’re a sneakerhead and like having cool looking shoes, it’s completely okay to buy second hand shoes.
As long as they have not been worn.
Even if they are barely worn, that’s a great buy and you’ll probably get a bargain.
Most people buy shoes, wear them once or twice and realize they don’t fit or they’re uncomfortable.
So they put them on sale.
When it’s not okay
The problem arises when people buy second hand shoes that have clearly been worn numerous times and have already been broken in.
Wearing well-worn shoes is actually gross and a bad idea, in my opinion.
The shoe has already molded to the previous owners foot and will probably not fit you correctly.
Plus the shoe would have been filled with sweat and who knows what sort of fungi has been growing inside.
And if you’ve got a break in the skin or toenail…fungus, mold and yeast can occur and you can develop Athletes foot.
Always stay away from shoes that show signs of breakdown.
That’s both online and in person.
There is just too much to lose if you risk buying a shoe that has clearly had its days.
And don’t be ignorant about it.
Trust your gut, ask lots of questions, don’t ignore the red flags, and don’t buy well-worn shoes (ever!).
So I hope you have learnt a lot from this article, and you know how to properly buy second hand shoes that aren’t gross or going to disintegrate within the first few months.
Thanks for reading this article and I hope you have a great day!
Please let me know in the comments below what you think about second hand shoes and whether or not you’ve bought some yourself.