Closet 101 Style

Cost Per Wear Review: Shoe Edition

I mention the term “cost per wear” sometimes on this blog – well actually quite often, so apologies if you’re all sick of hearing the term. I’ve been doing some light house cleaning lately, getting rid of a few more items, so thought I would take the opportunity to look at cost per wear in my own closet, and look back and see what items I’ve gotten the most (and least) use out of. I actually found the exercise to be quite rewarding (yes, this is what weekend fun looks like when you’re pregnant), so thought I’d do a small series for the blog, starting with shoes! And yes…I have so many pairs that I was able to do a “bow” theme.

Shoes Cost Per Wear

Lowest (best) cost per wear: Ferragamo Vara pumps. I have three pairs of these so far and love them. I have to admit they aren’t the most glamorous or sexy shoes – one of my coworkers walked by the other day and remarked, “I used to be a shoe salesperson at Nordstrom and those were very popular with the grandma set.” But, they are comfortable, very high quality, and with some visits to the cobbler, can last a lifetime. I own black leather, black patent, and nude pairs.

Medium cost per wear: Miu Miu Gingham bow pumps. These are from a few years ago, and were a lucky sale find at Bergdorf. I normally couldn’t bring myself to pay high prices for fabric pumps which have white spots on them to boot, but I loved the gingham pattern so much that I couldn’t resist at 50% off. I’ve worn them a few times each spring/summer season, and I always get compliments. Definitely a statement shoe.

Highest (worst) cost per wear: Valentino bow lace pumps. I’ve worn these something like three times, so yeah they have a pretty bad cost per wear. Granted one of those times was at my actual wedding, so I think I should be given some leeway. These are so beautiful, and I don’t regret buying them – but the bow style from Valentno themselves I’ve found, just don’t work on my feet.

After doing my little “cost” analysis, my most expensive pairs were very clear. They were typically very high heels, made of less practical material (lace, gingham fabric, super light beige suede), and quite expensive (otherwise I wouldn’t have had the high cost per wear bit). I calculated that they all had cost per wears in the $100-$200 range after quite a few years. Then I started to think about what cost per wear number would be good for even the craziest/most splurgiest of heels after 2-3 years, and I came up with $50. So that’s my new goal: a max of $50 cost per wear for super fancy shoes, and hopefully much less. My Birkenstocks for example, are now in the cents versus dollars!

What do you think of my goal? What would yours be? And I’d love to hear your best and worst cost per wear shoes as well!

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  • Alice
    June 16, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Yikes, some of my high cost per wear shoes are literally still in the $700 range because I’ve only worn them once. All very high heeled and all total impulse purchases. So bad.

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Girl you have some fabulous shoes, it comes with the territory lol!

  • Amy
    June 16, 2015 at 9:08 am

    My highest cost-per-wear shoes are my splurges: Jimmy Choo calf hair pumps, and two pairs of Louboutins — which I bought in versatile black and nude so that I could get more wear out of them. I love all three pairs, even though I know I can’t justify them, as they were bought full-price and I don’t wear heels all that much. My logic is that when I DO wear heels, I want to wear awesome ones! 😉

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentino bow pumps, and have been trying to justify a red patent pair….but those would likely get used even less than the other $$$ pairs I have, so I have held off so far!

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      I agree with your statement that high cost per wear isn’t necessarily bad…beautiful shoes can make you so happy 🙂

      • Amy
        June 17, 2015 at 9:09 am

        Absolutely! 🙂

  • DSK Steph
    June 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    You have beautiful taste in shoes. I think of shoes as art as well to make myself feel better when I don’t wear them. I also love that you wear Birkenstocks! Haha, they’re also my best value “shoe” yet! 😀

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Birkenstocks and Reefs forever 🙂

  • Yuet
    June 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I’m like you, I have three pairs of the Ferragamo varas, navy leather, navy patent and black leather. Such classics at any age. I’ve had those for at least 20 years. I haven’t worn them for a while, but Ive recently started wearing them with skinny jeans and shift dresses. Those oldies but goodies always seem to find new life, depending on how you accessorize them.

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Totally! They are forever shoes 🙂

  • sherry @ save. spend. splurge.
    June 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Birkenstocks are also my best value shoe too. Wore them for the entire year when I traveled around the world.. DEFINITELY in the pennies now.

    Another great pair are my thrifted Manolos ($60!) and my favourite pair of heels.. and my flats of course.

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Great to see another Birkenstock fan! And that is an amazing price for Birkenstocks.

  • pret a porter p
    June 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Geez some coworker. Lol!
    My Kenneth Cole flats that I have in several colors that I will wear and resole until the end of time have the lowest CPW. I’ve started a 1 in-1 out for heels, since I know I rarely wear them I can’t justify amassing them.

    • Katherine
      June 16, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      That’s a good rule for heels…I wear them less and less, especially at the 4 inch and over mark.

  • Mai @ Petite Hmong Mommy
    June 17, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Gee, I’d have to do that with my closet too….so I can make better buying choices.

  • Lygie
    June 17, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I have a pair of beautiful, high Reed Krakoff mules. I have worn them probably three times. I couldn’t resist them but they are so impractical. I am another Vara and Birkenstock lover. Both get a lot of wear in my wardrobe.

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Love hearing anecdotes of Vara + Birkenstocks being favorites!

  • Revanche
    June 17, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I have to say that even though I couldn’t wear the heels anymore (thanks, body!), all three pairs are adorable. I have a soft spot for all the things you liked about them: the wedding shoes – love ’em. the gingham? LOVE gingham. And of course, the soft and comfortable? best thing ever.

    *cough* On the other hand, I have zero shoe game. None. Zip. Zilch. You’ll know this because PiC recently made me retire my Rainbows because we’re from SoCal and unless it’s snowing, we’re probably in our flipflops. He got me out of them by buying me new Sanuk flipflops 🙂

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I LOVE flip flops too. I am a Reef fan and want to try Sanuk next. Rainbows for some reason didn’t work for me and I TRIED.

      • Revanche
        June 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

        I could see Rainbows not working for you – I loved mine but I had to get used to them. (Then spent the next decade in them!) Sanuks, though, I love this new pair. I got the classic style in brown with brown gingham on the inside of the straps and it held up after 4 hours of standing and walking. Amazing! The Sanuk Yoga (which I have 2 pairs of for a very silly reason) is super comfortable but it’s much thinner so I wouldn’t recommend it for a heavy-walking day. /novel 😉

  • Vivian
    June 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for sharing the longchamp deals from Nordstrom!!! I’m thinking whether to get the large extendable carry on travel bag, do you have any good large carry on bag recommendations?

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      That one is nice, I also use my Le Sportsac quite a bit (I assume you’re looking for softer luggage)

  • Sesy hasan
    June 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Hello Kat,

    I agree with you on Varas. I bought the black patent in Florence last year when I was in Italy. I bought them based on your recommendation and I am totally in love with it. Perfect height, shape, and very wearable. Iam eyeing the nude pairs as well 😉 . Thanks Kat!

  • Yuet
    June 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Hey Katherine, if you’re loving flip flop, especially during your pregnancy, try the havianas. They come in such a huge range of colors and the comfort can’t be beat. They’re very soft on the foot, plus you can probably score them on sale from the rack.

  • coco
    June 18, 2015 at 4:48 am

    It’s interesting that ferragamos get such great reviews but my fit couldn’t even fit into their D width! They were very hard too. Did you have to break in the shoes?

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      For me, they require a little bit of break in but not too much. Sometimes certain shoes just don’t work with our feet 🙁

  • Sarah
    June 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Takng into,accounts cost per wear my Birkenstocks would be paying me money by now…

  • Whitney Farris
    June 18, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I have had the same pairs of Ferragamo flats for about 18 years. I wore them for while, tastes changed and then put them up. I had one pair that wasn’t worn until last year After years of being in hibernation, I pulled them out and reevaluated. I started wearing them with my jeans and fell in love. I did think they were old lady ish, but now see them as very chic and quite youthful! I rarely wear heels these days, partly because when I do wear them I am taller than my husband. I am a huge fan of kitten heels. Sexy, without looking like a giant!

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      I’m another lover of kitten heels 🙂 I think people either love them or hate them.

  • Anna
    June 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Oh jeez, even my pricey and somewhat impractical Louboutins are in the single digits now… I can’t rest until I wear all my shoes down to a couple of dollars per wear, and that includes my impractical collection of rhinestones, velvet, delicate snakeskin, fragile suede, and fabric. I keep a mental CPW tally and wear shoes according to that!

    • Anna
      June 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      And considering all my shoes are in the $600+ range, I think I’m doing pretty well – almost to justify the splurges, no?

      • Katherine
        June 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm

        You’re doing AMAZING! Big props!

  • little luxury list
    June 29, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I’ve crossed high heels off my list permanently after thinking about the high CPW. I have gorgeous red Miu Miu heels that simply are too high, but so lovely. I can’t wear many of my shoes at all after becoming pregnant (not because of foot size changing, but because of heel height discomfort). So my shoe shopping list has certainly changed and I have maybe 1 pair of not too high heels left on it!
    My CPW of my Fit Flops (so ugly but the most comfortable shoes on earth) are in the cents as are my Jimmy Choo for H&M flats and some other rotating flats (I’ve been eyeing the Varinas for a while). CPW certainly depends on lifestyle and willingness to wear 😉

    little luxury list formerly Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Katherine
      June 30, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Try the Varinas! I think you’ll get a nice CPW out of those 🙂

  • ahhhsoneo
    July 19, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I love the whole cost-per-wear idea. Every time I try to calculate mine it actually just pushes me into using my items more regularly! but I didn’t recently send some shoes (Louboutins) to consignment when I realized that as much as I loved them, i was never going to wear them, making their CPW way too much for me!