How to Start Your Own Collection of Vintage Shoes

While we don’t normally fumble around our closets in the morning looking for collectibles, the fact is that a lot of people choose to collect vintage shoes. Why would anyone be interested in collecting old footwear? There are actually many reasons why one would do that, starting with functionality.

All over the country, historical reenactment societies enjoy creating special occasions to get together and revive a piece of history. When such events occur, the members dress according to that decade, and that includes accessories. When it’s available, this also includes vintage shoes.

Others prefer vintage clothes and footwear as a fashion statement. Even if you only take a short walk around your neighborhood, you will see many young people who look like time travelers of some sort. Whether it’s the ‘40s, 50’s, or ‘60s they love, their look will need the appropriate shoes to match the apparel of their choice.

There are also many collectors who buy vintage shoes solely for their unique decorative appeal. For instance, vintage footwear encrusted with rhinestones is a source of ever-popular pieces with fashion-conscious collectors. Shoes with fancy buckles, embellishments or ornaments also appeal to collectors who love displaying this kind of shoes in a boudoir or shoe shop as a fashion statement.

If you are looking to start your own collection of vintage shoes, then you should know that you will have a hard time finding shoes older than those from the Victorian era. In fact, even Victorian high button shoes are pretty challenging to find in today’s antique shops. If you know exactly what you are looking for and how to recognize it, you may look for bargains at estate sales and thrift stores.

One thing to remember is that upscale designer vintage shoes are eternally popular with both collectors and those who follow the trends of the many fashion houses of today. You will find that even vintage running shoes or sneakers by famous designers are among the items collected. And although new designer shoes may mimic the style of older shoes, you should know that they are rarely exact copies of vintage footwear.

When starting your own vintage shoes collection, one of the most important factors to consider is style. Stylish footwear which clearly represents a certain era appeals to both collectors and those people buying vintage shoes to complete their look. In many cases, designer brands add extra value to vintage shoes. For example, a pair of Chanel flats from the ‘70s might sell for $200 or more, while a pair of peep-toe platform shoes with ankle straps dating from the ‘40s will sell for at least $250. Even vintage Nike running shoes can be worth a lot more than a penny today.

However, to bring such high prices to their owners, the vintage footwear you buy must be in good to excellent condition and have some life left in it. Of course, the fact that most people wear shoes until they’re rather worn out will make it harder for you to find pairs in pristine condition when compared to dresses, jewelry or other vintage items.

On the contrary, though, people who plan on wearing their vintage shoes look for reasonably priced footwear. This is also part of the appeal. Putting on a stylish vintage outfit is nearly always less expensive than buying a new, similar one. And if you manage to check the right estate sales and thrift stores, you will usually achieve this goal with fun and persistence that eventually pays off.

If you don’t like the idea of wearing a stranger’s used shoes, then there is always the option to collect vintage footwear for the sake of style. Vintage shoes make lovely decorative accents, so don’t say no to a reasonably priced pair that you like only because you are not going to wear them. For instance, if you have a vintage boudoir, you can match a cocktail dress with shoes from the same era to make a unique display.

No matter what kind of collection you are interested in, the vintage shoes for you are somewhere out there. All you need to do is start looking at thrift stores, secondhand shops, estate sales or even at online shops. You will find a great variety of vintage shoes which you can easily adapt to your needs and preferences.

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