Ever thought you could sell your shoes to make extra cash? If you have more stilettos, trainers or boots that you can possibly wear, snap some photos and list them on eBay.
Follow our advice for top tips to make decent money.
- Get a toe into this online marketplace
- Who buys second-hand shoes?
- What shoe brands sell well?
- Tips to sell your shoes
- Sell your shoes for the right price
- Where to find more shoes to sell
- Stay safe from scammers
You can bet your boots on this one: plenty of people buy pre-loved shoes every day. Go online, take a look. Thousands of people sell their shoes. Sure, most are women’s but there’s a market for men’s footwear too.
Ordinary flats and oxfords make up most of the shoes people list. Right now, a pair of Christian Louboutin heels is selling for $650 on eBay, despite being in a clearly pre-worn condition.
Contrary to what you might think, the bestsellers aren’t the killer 18” platform heels or collector-item sneakers worn by celebrities. Rather – and this is how we know used shoes are the new crypto-currency for ordinary people like you and me – the most consistent sellers are practical shoes. Yes, the type worn in their thousands on trains and planes. And in similar thousands, discarded as having no real value after the fact.
So, have a dig around your place. Your footwear doesn’t have to be in mint condition and even the more worn out pairs might find a buyer. Read on and sell your shoes.
Believe it or not, Baby Boomers.
Yes, the first to be born with ready access to welfare should they need it in a free NHS hospital, and the first generation to travel abroad.
Baby Boomers are now a little older. With age come – all too often – foot problems. Consequently, the demand for comfortable shoes keeps climbing. As does their price. Herein lies the opportunity as not every Boomer has an old-school, hard-currency pension paying out. They’re prepared to take a second look at shoes with a little tread.
You’ll also find yourself selling to students, vintage shoe collectors, or maybe even theatre costume departments!
If the shoe looks relatively comfortable, it’ll sell. The US-based eBay resellers suggest brands like Aetrex, Alegria, Aravon, Dr. Comfort, Drew, Finn Comfort, Rockport, SAS Tripad Sandals, Vionic as those to consider pricing a bit higher than you would otherwise have been tempted to.
If you’re prepared to do your research, you can walk the extra mile to charity shops, bazaars and second hand markets. Buy in bulk. You can flip your bag of booties on eBay or Gumtree.
Just make sure that apart from the brand, you also consider the styles and colours in fashion at the time.
If you get into the shoe selling business, you might even want to try making money selling vintage footwear.
Set the price low – but not too low. You want the Goldilocks effect of getting the starting price just right to fuel a bidding war. If you’ve got some high-quality merchandise (think shoes that a teenager has grown out of before they’ve had a chance to grind the decks), you may want to set a higher reserve price.
Keyword baiting – make sure your product description matches the most popular search phrases (eBay is particularly useful for this).
Start a new account – if you’re a fan of the free listings that come with a new account, then perhaps start one. However, bear in mind that using new accounts all the time limits how much feedback you can get: after a while, it may be better to keep the same account and see your ratings rocket!
Include lots of pictures – Show the shoes in as favourable a light as possible and include photos of any defects so that the buyer has no cause to complain. Make sure you check eBay’s rules for selling as there’s a few (here they are).
Sell near and far – Include the US in your market settings – but set the postage at a reasonable rate for international shipping (or you could end up out of pocket). Remember that return customers are very important to ensure a consistent demand if you’re going to take this seriously. Be polite and use a friendly tone.
This is where the rubber meets the road, and you’ll either auction the shoes or list them at a fixed price. If you fancy your chances of starting a bidding frenzy, go with the auction. And, while you’re at it, pay the fee to set a reserve price, so that you at least have control over the price you’ll receive for the item. If you’re not feeling confident, specify the selling price. Definitely do some market research beforehand so that you can maximise your profit.
Quick steps to research your right price:
- Search for the item you want to price
- On the search results page, scroll down on the left margin and tick ‘sold listings’ and ‘pre-owned’
- Tick any of the other filters that apply (size, colour, brand)
- Sort the results in highest to lowest to see the best price associated with the item
Completed listings are the best to look at on eBay during this process as an active listing doesn’t reflect selling price – just the asking price. This way you’ll see the factors that affected the sold item, such as if shipping was included or what time of year it was (winter shoes sell better in colder months).
Look no further than your own cupboard. Turn out your old suitcases. What’s in those boxes in the garage? What shoes do your friends not wear anymore?
The Mirror quotes a research revealing British women typically own 24 pairs of shoes. How many of those do they actually wear? You can probably spare a few and gain cash instead – before all those flats and boots lose any more resale value.
Once you’ve checked for spare shoes at home, go outside. Try your local charity shops, estate sales, garage sales, consignment stores and church rummage sales. Don’t miss the opportunity to pick up footwear you know you can sell for more online.
When looking for shoes to sell, make sure you check them properly. Have they been walked into the ground? Is the shoe holey or worn through at all? The tread is also important as you do not want anyone to slip in the shoes you’ve sold them.
Be wary of people messaging you with a price too high for the item. This should set off the alarm bells. Typically, they’ll offer to pay the larger amount on PayPal to avoid any eBay fees. If you send them your PayPal account details, you’ll get an official-looking email confirming the money has been sent but it’ll only be in the account after you ship the product. This is, of course, a lie. You’ll never see that cash.
Keep a close eye on buyers with zero feedback on their accounts. Or if the positive feedback they do have is from accounts that are barely used – that’s fake accounts the buyer has set up to simply provide praise for their active account. Either way, rather be safe than sorry.
Never share your personal contact details or address. No-one needs to pick up the shoes from you in person. Just use eBay’s messaging system. And, if you ever feel uncomfortable, remember that you can report a buyer’s behaviour to eBay. Other sellers they approach in future may not be as cautious as you are.