In Discussions, Shopping, Style, Wardrobe Help

Style Help: How to look for quality in heels and shoes

Whenever I thrift or look at brands of shoes I am not familiar with, I check all of these markers and then decide at the end:


Obviously if it isn’t leather and is faux leather or plastic, it is lower quality than real leather.

Real leather is easy to discern, it feels soft, smooth and can stretch to mould to your feet easily, plus letting it breathe over faux leather.

Even fake leather can feel great and be fine, but I do find that it makes my legs sweat like crazy.



Are they all leather?

Most super high quality shoes are all leather, and even though I always bring in my high quality stuff to get some Vibram soles put on them, I can understand and appreciate leather soles.

Another good alternative would be all rubber soles (pre-Vibram soled!). Some good shoes do this, but not all.

Take for instance this brand Schutz. I don’t know it at all but it is well made as a shoe, the soles are rubberized and pre-Vibramed basically, and they fit beautifully.


Really cheap ones, usually have it all in plastic.


Is it wood? Plastic? Covered in matching leather or fabric?

Plastic is a dead giveaway of how cheap they are, and if it is in wood that’s the best.

My heels are usually a metal piece covered in metal or fabric (it is hard to tell unless you buy a really good brand)…

If the heel is also NOT covered in leather when it’s a full leather pump, that’s a sign of a cheaper pair of heels, where they’ll do the shoe body in leather but the heel is uncovered or in black plastic.



You can easily see the stitching of the shoes, particularly in ballet flats, of how they have sewn the lining in, or the edging around the edge.

In my old pair of shoes you can see how the ribbon and elastic came out.

In contrast, if you look at the M. Gemi Bolla flats I have now, if they’re properly stitched, they are unlikely to come out as the leather is also doubled over with the elastic INSIDE rather than just glued on like above.

If there is straight stitching like in the M. Gemi Bollas, you also have to really be careful with keeping an even border from the edge of the shoe so that it looks nice and not messy or uneven, so it is of a higher quality and attention to detail.


Even after light wear (same time as the Vince flats), you can see that they still look very good, almost like new:


In contrast, the Vince flats I bought when desperate, clearly show how badly and sloppily stitched they are, not to mention how this is what they look like after only 7 months of wear.


I have had the M. Gemi Bollas longer than that, and they still look like new.


Also, the stitch on the Vince Ria flats are a zigzag which in and of itself is not a terrible stitch per se, but it is easier to hide flaws in the stitching when it is a zigzag because it is easy to just follow the edge but not to keep it neat and even.




That said, the Vince Ria flats are great for the playground and soft and cushy.


Made in China, Vietnam or any other Third World country?

Be wary.

That is absolutely NOT TO SAY that you only must buy shoes made in Italy, France or Canada to guarantee quality, but the cost of those shoes are much lower, and although it may be still a good deal and well done with a high level of quality, the likelihood of that is lower.

I also like Brazil, they tend to make pretty great leather shoes for a reasonable price.

The country is a decent giveaway at times.


If you wear it, do you feel immediately comfortable or uncomfortable?

VERY well made shoes, depending on your foot shape and arch, fit beautifully out of the box.

I do find only certain designer brands fit my feet well.

I love Manolo Blahniks hands down, but not Stuart Weitzman (you need narrow feet for those), and Salvatore Ferragamos are a size larger than your normal size, so if you take a US 7, you need a US 8, but I find them very comfortable as well.

I also find Jimmy Choo shoes uncomfortable and Louboutins a hit and miss.

This is true of all shoes brands, and once you find a brand that fits you well, be loyal!


If there are details on there, like sequins, or perforated leather, is it properly done?

See how even the perforations are and how neat the stitching is, and how even the rounded edges are?

These were handmade and not machine-made because the time and perforations to be properly and evenly placed on a shoe, means that they cut a piece of leather out to fit, and then they perforated it with a machine or by hand.


Is it evenly spaced? Properly painted or done?

No spillover filling on the leather or anything that would make it look messy?

The edging on the leather for the heel is perfectly filled in, no spillover, no leather staining the sole of the shoe, and it is properly filled in without looking sloppy.


If it’s fabric, does it match up properly and match with the seams if the heel is also covered?

These details matter in how well made a shoe is.

How do you look for a well made shoe?

Share Tweet Pin It +1

Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

You may also like

Previous PostIn the world of Save. Spend. Splurge: Where did they hide the Crown Jewels during WW II?
Next PostThe Parisian Essentials for Style - The Uniform

No Comments

Leave a Reply

In a nutshell…

Save. Spend. Splurge.
[ wealth. style. minimalism. ]


MOST DEBT: cleared $60K in 18 months

MONEY: Hit $1M personal net worth At 36

NEW GOAL: $1M in invested assets


HATES: being late & lazy people

SOCIAL: Instagram @saverspender

DRINKS: homemade matcha lattes

SLEEPS: on a 100% cotton U.S.-made futon

WRITES: Books (also available on Amazon).

BEAUTY: swears by Paula’s Choice


…but you can read more about me , browse my index of posts, or get in touch with me, talk to me directly on Instagram, and of course, ask me anything here.

$35 The Wealth Building Tool

Like a Boss Library (Sherry’s Books)

Referral Codes

Free Money Surveys
[ Use this link ]

[ saverspender ]

Shopping Cashback
[ Use this link ]

Clothing Resale


Private Lending
[ 7b03f0 ]

No-Fee Banking
[ 32726976S1 ]

Discount Brokerage
[ o0soehds ]

Social media scheduler
[ saverspender ]

Blog Ad Network
[ Use this link ]


Save. Spend. Splurge. uses affiliate links from Shopstyle, and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to or ShopStyle. In addition to these, any referrals on the page will result in revenue if used such as BlueHost.

In English: If you click on a link, I could get a small commission, typically a few cents. And if you use a referral code, I could get anywhere from $10 – $70 for it. Thank you for your kind support!

Also, I am not a professional investment advisor or money manager by any means.

I am just a woman who loves money, talking about money, and making money.

All opinions expressed on this blog are personal and for entertainment value. Take them with a grain of salt and always consult a professional when in doubt.