I began to notice the ramifications of my penchant for cheap high-heeled shoes around the age of 30. Pumps and lofty boots had been daily wear for me since my teenage years, except during jogs and trips to the gym.
About three years ago, my steadily expanding bunions and frequent dorsal tendonitis flare-ups prompted me to revise my shoe-buying practices. Pumps constructed of manmade materials with narrow toe boxes and bought for $20 were no longer a good fit for me. Instead, I opted for orthopedic brands. So far, I haven’t had to surrender high heels altogether. I just had to revise my practice. Instead of wearing them every day, I try not to wear them two days in a row. Instead of bargains that cost me tenfold later in pain, I now opt for more expensive brands known for comfort, support and, I’m happy to say, style. One of my favorites is Sofft. This Massachusetts-based brand offers not only comfort and style, but height. The shoes typically cost around $100 a pair on the company’s website. Similar prices are at stores such as Macy’s at the Rogue Valley Mall.
However, knowing where to look and how to shop can reward you with a significant discount. I recently found a pair of black, vintage, 1920s-style Sofft high heels with ankle ties for $34.99 at Ross Dress for Less in Medford. The same shoes were tagged at $79.99 at Macy’s at the Rogue Valley Mall. T.J. Maxx also carries orthopedic brands at prices as low as ballet flats.The drawback of this type of outlet store is that merchandise is as varied and unreliable as a second-hand store. You can score some treasures after meticulous hunting, or you might leave with nothing.
Sallie Johnson, the principal of Medford’s Howard Elementary School, suggested an alternative for trapping a deal.
This bubbly, wily shopper recently found a pair of Jambu loafers (the brand was formerly called J-41) for $30 at Famous Footwear in the Rogue Valley Mall. The price was a fluke, as the shoes were a return from an online order, but in addition to her lucky bargain, Sallie gained some priceless insight. Famous Footwear offers customers the ability order online items from the store and bypass the $11 cost of shipping and handling. Moreover, there is no cost associated with returns. Even better, the prices for brands such as Jambu on Famous Footwear’s website are lower than most of what you’ll find in department stores such as Macy’s. The shoes she bought for $30 were priced at $119 at Macy’s. They were $89.99 on the Famous Footwear website.
“They carry brands on the website that they don’t carry in the store,” Sallie said. “So you can pick out the shoes online, try them on at Macy’s and then, order them at Famous Footwear.”
“I paid $120 for my first pair (of Jambu), and my dog ate them,” she said. Iris, a chocolate standard poodle, “almost didn’t live that week,” Sallie said. “She has good taste,” she said. “She doesn’t eat cheap shoes.”