5 tips on recognising high vs low quality shoes

The combination of online shopping and fast fashion brands continuously releasing new styles means that it has never been easier to buy a pair of shoes. But whilst choice and accessibility can be great, brands are often prioritising quantity over quality, which is not so great, as it has become increasingly difficult to find a good quality pair of shoes amongst the bad.

We are going to give you some tips on what to look out for when buying shoes, so you can recognise high quality vs low quality, and buy shoes that will not only feel good on your feet, but will also last. Not only will we give you these 5 easy tips, we are also going to explain why wearing good quality footwear is so important, so be sure to keep reading.

Trying to determine quality of shoes can be hard to do at first glance, however, following these tips will help you ensure you do not buy low quality shoes ever again. 

  1. Materials

This is one of the biggest things to look out for when buying shoes; the material of the uppers (any part of the shoe above the sole) is the first indicator of quality. Lower quality shoes will usually be made from synthetic materials such as plastic. Whilst some synthetic materials do have their pros, such as being more lightweight and cheaper, often they are less durable and long lasting. These materials can be great for trainers, but if it is dress shoes you are after, then you may want to look for shoes made from materials such as high-grade leathers and suede instead. Leather, whilst some disagree with its use, is often used in high-quality shoes due to it being flexible, durable, breathable, and able to come in different colours and grades.

Of course, the art of buying shoes is not black and white, some shoes made from synthetic materials can be high quality, and it depends on the purpose of the shoe. However, often, when looking for shoes which will be durable it is best to go for a material such as leather (but also keep an eye out for the other tips which follow!). Having soft, good quality materials is particularly important if you suffer from foot conditions, such as bunions, and need your shoes to be extra soft and comfortable.

leather and suede materials for high quality shoes

  1. Where and how were they made?

When trying to decipher if a shoe is good or bad quality, it is a good idea to find out where and how the shoes were produced. Shoes of very high quality tend to be handcrafted in smaller batches, compared to being mass-manufactured in overseas factories like most low-quality shoes are. Mass-produced shoes are more likely to use cheaper materials and have defects due to the lack of attention to details used in the making of them.

high quality shoe manufacturing handcrafting small factory

  1. Details

When buying a pair of shoes, looking at all the small details and features of the shoe is a helpful way to determine if they are low quality or not. Start by looking at the stitching of the shoe, and ensure that it is not wonky, and that the stitches are all neat and secure. Then look at any embellishments the shoes may have, and make sure that they are securely attached to the shoe. Any functioning zips should be checked to make sure they work properly without any tugging.

The details do not stop on the outside either. Look at the inside of the shoe and feel the insole. If you are looking for a high-quality pair of shoes that will fit comfortably and last a long time, then you should be feeling to see if the insole is cushioned, particularly where the ball of your foot would sit.  Arch support is another indicator of quality, so if the shoe has a cushioned insole with arch support, it is likely to be a good quality shoe which will feel good on your feet.

high quality insoles for shoes for bunions

  1. Smell the shoes!

Whilst this tip seems a rather strange one, smelling shoes is often a good way of identifying the quality of the shoe. Lower quality, mass-manufactured shoes often smell of chemicals, and this is an indicator to put the shoe down and walk away! Smelling the shoe is also a good way to check if the ‘leather’ shoe is made from real leather or not. Whilst it’s hard to describe, and impossible to do if you are buying online, if you have the chance to smell the shoes you want to buy then please do, and you should know straight away whether or not they are cheap and low quality, or made of high-quality materials.

  1. Price

Often, people view price as an indicator of quality, and whilst there is an element of truth in this, this is not always the case. It is most definitely true that high-quality shoes are more expensive to produce, and this, therefore, means they can have a higher retailer price; however, marketing has a big effect on perceived quality, so it is worth asking yourself when buying something ‘Am I paying for the quality or the brand name?’.

Essentially, luxury brands often have extremely high price points due to their brand image, not just the quality of their products.

Whilst not everyone wants to or has the budget to buy expensive shoes made to last, and some people prefer to buy cheaper shoes, if it is high-quality footwear you are looking for, then avoid buying shoes that are too cheap, as this often means they are mass-manufactured using low-quality materials. Similarly, when buying expensive shoes, consider, are you paying for the quality or the brand name?

Why is wearing high-quality shoes important?

1. High-quality shoes prevent foot odour

High-quality materials such as leather allow the shoe to breathe, which prevents bad odour.

2. High-quality shoes are better for your feet

Soft, quality materials and a sturdy comfortable insole together can provide great support and comfort for your feet. Not only will the insole prevent sore soles, the soft material will prevent friction and inflammation in other areas of the foot. 

3. They can help you save money in the long run

Good quality shoes are more durable and last longer than lower quality shoes. This means that whilst a good quality pair of shoes might be more expensive, they will offer much greater value for money, and you will have to replace them significantly less often.

4. Better for the environment

High-quality and well-made shoes are much easier to repair should they eventually need it. Not only is this good for your pocket, as you can repair rather than replace, it is also better for the environment! Mass-manufactured goods are not produced very sustainably, and therefore, buying shoes to last is a much more environmentally friendly way to shop.

Hello comfort

Next time you need to buy yourself a new pair of shoes, and you are overwhelmed by choice, please bear in mind our 5 easy ways to identify high vs low-quality shoes. Whilst buying good quality shoes is important, as explained above, you must also ensure that the shoes fit you well, so make sure to try them on before committing! Ill-fitting shoes can not only be extremely uncomfortable, but they may also create problems for your feet, or worsen any existing foot conditions you may have.

If you suffer from bunions, or simply are seeking a high quality, and comfortable shoe then luckily for you Calla has got you covered. All Calla shoes are carefully handcrafted out of luxuriously soft materials in small factories in Portugal, and feature many high-quality comfort elements including arch supported, cushioned insoles, wide toe boxes, and flexible uppers. Shop now.

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