vintage-shoes.JPGimage: rice and beans vintage

Vintage shopping is hard unless you've got a real eye for quality and extensive knowledge on where to find the good stuff. But when it's vintage shoes you're after, it gets even more complicated than that. Shoes don't always age well, and if they've been lovingly worn for years, begin to take on the shape of the wearer's foot, creating a tricky 'cinderalla' situation for the vintage hunter. Add to this the fact that shoe sizes are more generous nowadays than they were even a generation ago, and you're starting to get an idea how hard it can be.

But quality vintage footwear is out there if you know how to find it, and once you've got an idea how to translate your size (I find going one to one and a half sizes up works fine for any shoes made before the nineties works fine), and is very rewarding if you know where to get it.

Follow the jump for some suggestions!

UK site Candy Says sells vintage footwear of all kinds at very reasonable prices. What I like best about this site is its user-friendly browsing options: you can even search by shoe size, which prevents any disappointments when you realise the shoe you've fallen in love with is a size so small it no longer exists.

Almighty Vintage on Ebay often has great deals on vintage shoes, normally 'dead stock' (i.e. hasn't been worn) which reduces the shape distortion you might see elsewhere. Most of the items are from the 80s, which makes them hugely fashionable right now. I recently marveled at this lovely pair of cream bow pumps from the store and will be eagerly awaiting new shipments.

Bang Bang, which has two stores in London is a fantastic place for buying second-hand designer clothing, all hand-picked so that it holds seasonal appeal and is of great quality. The shoes are equally worth checking out if you're in the area and have recently included a nearly-new pair of See by Chloe wedges, some adorable Miu Miu sandals and a pair of Terry de Havilland's outrageous 'Bene' wedges - all at slashed prices. The great thing about this being a physical store is, of course, that you get to try the shoes out first. If you get lucky with sizing, it's a real Godsend! Find it here.

Rice and Beans Vintage is another online store selling designer gear, and prides itself on its footwear selection. There's a huge range of second-hand shoes here from top names to highstreet brands, including the incredible red vintage YSL booties pictured above. (sold!) Definitely one to add to your bookmarks.

If you want your old shoes to be brought up to date, Miss Bunny's your woman: this talented crafter works wonders with shoes - turning boring old Primark and Peacocks pumps into showstopping shoes that are fit for the red carpet!