Save on Back To School Shoe Shopping

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Pinching pennies doesn’t have to pinch your toes!

With high gas prices tightening back-to-school budgets, even feet are feeling the effects of frugality. Almost half of respondents to a recent Deloitte survey say they’ll spend less on shoes this year.

"Conserving on shoe spending is kind of tricky because a lot of [kids] go through crazy growth spurts," says shoe expert Meghan Cleary, of MissMeghan.com. "Know you’re in a challenging spot to begin with, so cut yourself some slack."

Cleary advises setting up a yearlong budget for all of your kids’ footwear needs, including shoes for day-to-day wear, sneakers for P.E. class, heels or dress shoes for school dances and winter boots.

Be wary of cheaply-made shoes that’ll fall apart after a few skips under a jump rope. "You always want to look for value and sometimes value costs more," Cleary says. "It’s not always about the cheapest pair possible."

Instead, make an investment in one all-purpose shoe that can be worn everyday that’s more expensive, and shop "cheap" for shoes kids will wear less often. Cleary suggests leather ballet flats for girls—nude colors are big this year—and sneakers for boys.

"Online shopping is a great way to get a bargain," Cleary advises. She recommends alloy.com for teen girls (most shoes and boots are between $30 -$50) and endless.com (AMZN) for boys and girls of all ages (most shoes are between $25 and $70).

However, if your tots’ toes aren’t too pinched, hang on to shoes from last year. Protecting kids’ shoes from the elements will help them last longer, and upkeep on their existing footwear is less expensive than a shopping spree.

"Salt is the number one killer for shoes," warns Cleary. To protect against winter salt and year-round dirt, she suggests polishing shoes with Kimberly Clark Shine To Go (KMB) shoe polisher ($7.99 at drugstore.com) or Kiwi polish ($6.49 at acehardware.com), which is just for leather. Both polishes can be purchased inexpensively at drug stores such as CVS (CVS) or Walgreens (WAG).

If you do end up purchasing a lower quality shoe, Cleary recommends adding Dr. Scholl’s (SGP) in-soles for extra arch support ($11.99 at drugstore.com). That way you can potentially cross-off podiatry visits from your back-to-school budget, too!

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