I may have mentioned I have a boot problem? More specifically, a Frye boot problem. I own a number of Frye boots that when added together cost more than my mortgage. But this is okay (I am very good at justifying these types of things) because many pairs in my closet have been there for more than a decade. Cost per wear is miniscule.
But it’s not just Frye boots that are in my closet, there are a fair number of thrifted no-name and vintage boots as well, that I picked up for next to nothing. Thrift stores are great resources for beautiful boots – you just have to know what to look for.
1. LOOK FOR HIGH QUALITY LEATHER
This is the rule of thumb for any thrifting, really, but you want to look for the highest quality leather you can find. Sturdy leather that stands up by itself are a great quality to look for in thrift store boots (think Frye campus boots, or classic riding boots), as well as buttery soft leather that has been well-conditioned. Obviously you can bring neglected high quality leather back to life with leather conditioner, but it really does need to be nice quality leather to be worth the effort.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO HEELS
There are a lot of terrible boots from the ‘80s and ‘90s at thrift stores, and they’re terrible for leather quality as well as heel construction. I generally favor the ‘70s look, but this tip is probably good to follow for any era: look for heavier heel weight, particularly stacked wood (chunkier if you’re me and can’t walk in stilettos). The heavier the heel weight, the sturdier the boot, and the less cheap it looks as well.
3. SOME GOOD (VINTAGE) BRANDS
Obviously the holy grail of thrifted, vintage boots are Frye boots (have I mentioned I love Fryes yet? No? I love Frye boots.). But there are a number of great vintage and non-vintage brands to look out for when you’re hunting for high quality boots: Justin, Zodiac, Dexter, Stuart Weitzman, Via Spiga, 1990s Nine West are all excellent finds. Of course you don’t have to go name brand for great boots; I’ve found plenty of great boots with no label that were made in Brazil and Italy (just look for the origin mark).
4. GO CRAZY
I would say that one of the best things about thrifting is that you can try a crazy/trendy look for pennies and then discard it, guilt-free, if it doesn’t work. This is true for boots as well. Take the opportunity to go outside your comfort zone, you never know what will make for a great look! Cowboy boots in crazy colors, fringe, calf hair, suede embellishments – all good choices if you want to really shake up your look.
You can click above for some great boots now in the Etsy shop.