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6 Essential Shoes for the Frugal Woman

Updated on May 10, 2013

The Evolution of Shoes

Shoes are one of the few things in life that can starkly contrast and distinguish people of different classes; who are the rich, who are the middle class, and who are the poor. Especially in women, where shoes play a much more emotional role in our lives, shoes are a representation of our live and our personality. When you think about exactly what shoes means to us women, it is no surprise that the meaning is a lot deeper than we would think.

As I sifted through my shoe collection, I realized that I had way too many and was spending far too much on a simple luxury that tens of millions of people do not have shoes. In fact, according to, 4 in every 10 people do not have shoes on Earth.

So I have narrowed down my shoe list to a minimum and would like to share it with you today! This is a list of 6 shoes that I think are essential to a middle class woman. They are affordable and with the extra money, you can either donate it to people who really need shoes, or if you've already done that, treat yourself with a little special surprise :)

Thanks for reading!

Help Those in Need of Shoes

The following sites are great ways to donate shoes to people who do not have the money to buy shoes for themselves. These people also often walk many miles in a day to gather their needs to live in rocky environments which can cause infections in their feet without the protection of shoes.

Number One

The Ballet Flat

The ballet flat is one of the most versatile shoes a woman can have. It is flat (obviously), usually is closed-toed, and can come in many different varieties from being casual to quite fancy.

My recommendation for the frugal woman who is trying to limit the number of shoes she owns would be a pair of solid black ballet flats. These will go well with jeans, skirts, capris, shorts, dresses, you name it. If you go for a slightly elegant version of these black staples, you will be able to wear for an assortment of different events as well: to work, to errand-running, to special events, to run around in the park, etc.

Since the ballet flats will be one of your more used shoes, I would recommend spending a good chunk of your shoe budget to purchase a durable pair. This means that I would discourage shoes that have elastic at the back, or flats that do not have a solid grip underneath. A good test would be to run up an aisle and back down and check to make sure they feel comfortable and won't cause you to slip. Make them durable enough so that you only need to refresh them once a year or maybe every six months if you have the luxury. In addition, make sure that you realize that ballet flats will enlarge slightly over time as you wear them out; think about possibly buying a size down if they feel like they may fall off currently. I have listed some good options available on Amazon below!

Number Two

The Tennis Shoe

Every woman should have a pair of good old tennis shoes in my opinion. Even if you don't have every single other shoe in this list, I would highly recommend a pair of tennis shoes. They don't even have to be a famous brand like Nike or Adidas; any old brand will do.

Why do I recommend this above all others? Because you can wear them for a long time and it protects your feet better than any other shoe in the list. High heel can twist your ankle, ballet flats can fall off, flip flop do not provide arch support, and sandals are too strappy for heavy duty days.

Tennis shoes can be used for workout sessions, errand running trips, running around after kids, and for work (if allowed). I would recommend buying any type that suits you and this would also be another shoe I would splurge on a little. The other four shoes: sandals, flip flops, "you" shoes, and high heels are ones that you can be more frugal on. Remember, the usability of a shoe should determine the price you are willing to pay, rather than the commercial appeal.

Don't forget...

Decide how much you are willing to spend on a shoe based upon the Usability rather than the Commercial Value.

Number Three

The Flip Flop

Ahhh, the flip flop. This is one of my favorite shoes. That would be because I have so many of them!

The only flip flops I buy come from Old Navy. From anywhere from $1-$3 dollars per pair, you can own an assortment of flip flops to suit any of your moods. They are cheap, easy to replace, easy to wear, and work well in a variety of situations. Flip flops are great for those casual days, beach days, pool days, and I-am-totally-lazy-today days.

The bad part about flip flops is that they are absolutely terrible for your feet. Standard flip flops have no arch support and can cause long-term foot pain. Don't use flip flops when you walk long distances for this reason. If you want, you can invest in a pair of Nike thong sandals that function like a flip flop but provide more support. Of course these will run you a little more cash, but if you have the resources, you could invest in a pair of these instead (or in addition).

Number Four

The High Heel

The high heel is an essential if you work in a high end work site. Even though the term implies sky-high heels, kitten heels are a great substitute for women who feel like they are tottering around in standard heels. These are 1-2 inch heels that give you a little rise, but not too much.

When purchasing high heels, I would recommend sticking to a height of no greater than 5 inches. Beyond that can create severe damage to your feet, especially if you end up wearing them for a long time. In addition, they are simply painful! High heels should also fit around your heels comfortably so that your feet do not have a chance of falling off the edge. Strappy high heels tend to pose this risk which in turn can cause twisted ankles. Ouch!

Color-wise, I would recommend purchasing high heels in either a nude color or black. Nude is best as it can be paired with both a white outfit as well as a black. They also emit an elegance that black heels, to me, don't have. Nude heels also tend to make your legs look longer because of the seamless height illusion. When worn well, high heel can be a great way for a women to look and feel good. As with the flip flops, make sure that you wear them in limitation because of the stress it places on your calves and ankles. Everything in moderation!

Number Five

The Sandal or The Canvas

For shoe number five, I would choose between either a pair of sandals or a pair of canvas shoes. This decision could be based upon personal choice or by the weather of your area. If you live in a colder region, perhaps your best bet would be a pair of canvas shoes that would last you through the chilly Spring and Fall. If you re fortunately enough to live in a warmer place, perhaps your best best would be a pair of strappy sandals that you can wear around town and show off your gorgeous toes.

With either pair, don't spend too much money on them. These shoes are designed for those special days out in town rather than for heavy-duty use. If you choose to invest in the canvas shoe you have several options: Keds and Converse are great staples. You could also go for a pair of nice boat shoes or Toms if you have the resources. For sandals, you also have a great variety of choices: you could choose something strappy and summery, or something a bit more durable like a pair of gladiators. Which ever you choose, make sure you pick a nice neutral/multi-colored shoe that can be used with a variety of different outfits.

Number Six

The YOU Shoe

This is my favorite shoe: the YOU shoe. This is whatever you feel like buying. You can choose to buy a choice shoe that was mentioned in the previous five posts or you can go crazy and buy a shoe simply because it makes you feel happy.

There is only one point of this shoe: happiness. Women tend to buy shoes because it gives them pleasure and this last shoe is meant to satisfy that craving. My recommendation would be to save this shoe until you get that craving and when the craving returns, toss out the old shoe to buy another one. If you can't bear to get rid of the older YOU shoe, then it means that you are not ready to buy another one. Make sure you differentiate between what a required shoe is and what a YOU shoe is. The greatest mistake occurs when finding a shoe and thinking "OH, I need that shoe!" when in reality, your statement should be "OH, I want that shoe!"

If all fails, buy a shoe instead for a child/adult in need. You could choose to use it once with the stipulation that you donate it after one use. If nothing else, at least you get the satisfaction of having turned a selfish purchase into a great cause! Happy shopping!

An Idea...

Purchase shoes that you love for their looks, wear them once, and donate them to people in need!


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    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 

      4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      BOOTS! Preferably Texas-style. :)


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