shoes%21.jpg Amber McNaught writes...

I know some of you would no more buy second-hand shoes than you'd wear one of our Ugly Shoe of the Week picks, but I have no such compunction. When it comes to shoe shopping I have absolutely no shame: or, to be more accurate, I usually have absolutely no money, which means that my search for new footwear will sometimes drive me to the charity shops or to eBay.

In fact, two of my favourite pairs of shoes came from charity shops. One, a pair of genuine, vintage Ginas were £2 at our local Cancer Research shop. They're cream and pink, and totally retro in style, but I love them - and can only assume that the old ladies working the counter in there had no idea that "Gina" was an expensive shoe brand, because they were - or at least they looked - absolutely brand new. (The shoes, I mean, not the old ladies.)

This is my number one rule when buying second hand footwear. I may be cheap, you see, but I'm not crazy, and I've never been a big fan of other people's feet. I know there's a big market on eBay for "well worn shoes", but I prefer not to even think about that. No, if I'm buying shoes from a thrift store, I won't even pick them up unless they look brand spanking new. When I do, I'll carefully check the soles for signs of wear before I'll think about buying. Well, you never know where other people's feet have been...

Luckily for me, it's amazing how many people send unworn shoes to charity shops. My second favourite pair are silver leather stilettos with a delicate heel and a peep toe. The brand name isn't one I recognise, but the leather is good quality, as is the workmanship. Once again, these shoes had no sign of wear whatsoever, and since buying them I've worn them on countless occasions, because they're so versatile. And the price? £2.50. Now, you can't say better than that.

Such is the joy of charity shoe-shopping. Where I live, there are lots of charity shops, but they're all staffed by elderly volunteers who have no idea about fashion. They'll mark a pair of acid-washed, tapered-leg Calvin Klein "mom" jeans up to £20 (which is expensive for a thrift shop, trust me) just because they recognise the label, but sell Gina stilettos for £2 because they don't. God bless 'em!

So, tell me: have you ever bought shoes from a thrift store? Would you?

Amber McNaught is the editor of Shoewawa. She loves a good bargain almost as much as she loves a good pair of shoes.

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