One of the easiest, fastest ways to make some extra cash is to sell stuff online – and selling shoes online can be a lucrative side hustle.
When it comes to online reselling, learning to sell used shoes is one way to create a profitable income stream.
Why Try Selling Shoes Online?
One of the main reasons I like selling shoes online is that it’s easy to do because shoes are everywhere! You’re not looking for rare antiques here – every person has multiple pairs of shoes in their closet. Every thrift store is lined with shelf after shelf of shoes. And every garage sale has at least a few pairs for sale. If you keep your eyes open when looking for new or used shoes to sell, you’ll easily find inventory you can flip for profit.
Not only are shoes plentiful but they’re also profitable. Many good shoe brands retail for $50+. Online buyers are often willing to buy shoes with a little wear if they can get a significant discount over the cost of retail. If you source shoes at a low enough price, great profit margins exist even if the shoes are used.
Another reason shoes are a moneymaking seller is because with just a few tools and a little know how, you can easily rehabilitate worn looking shoes. With a small bit of effort, you can increase the selling price of every pair of shoes you find to sell.
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Finding Used Shoes to Sell Online
#1 – Choose shoe brands that sell for $25 or more USED. While I’m in a thrift store, I use Ebay to check how much new-to-me shoe brands are going for. Try this to check whether it’s worth selling shoes online:
- Open the Ebay app on your phone.
- Type the shoe brand into the Search bar.
- Go to Filter and select Used under Condition.
- Select Sold /Completed listings.
This process will let you evaluate the actual sold price of used shoes (rather than the listed price).
#2 – Choose shoe brands with high demand. Using the Ebay Solds listings, look for how many pairs of that brand have sold recently. You don’t necessarily want to pick up a pair of shoes that sold once in the last 4 months because you’ll be sitting on it a while before turning a profit.
#3 – Don’t overlook vintage shoes. Some iconic shoe brands still sell well decades later. I’ve had good luck selling Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals from the 80s and 90s Steve Madden womens slides, and vintage Sorel boots made in Canada. Vintage cowboy boots made in the USA are often profitable choices when selling shoes online, too.
#4 – Make your way to the Mens section. Men buy shoes less often than women, but they often spend more when they do. High quality mens’ dress shoes often command the best profits when selling used shoes. The downside is that men often wear their shoes for much longer, so finding mens dress shoes in lightly used or wearable condition is not easy.
#5 – Look for European, Scandinavian, and Brazilian brands. Cheap Walmart shoes aren’t going to bring much profit, but shoes made in Europe or Scandinavia are usually created with quality materials and command a higher price point.
#6 – Pick up orthopedic and “comfort” shoes. Even newer diabetic orthopedic shoes can be fast and profitable sellers. These shoes may not be the most fashionable. But for a person without insurance, finding a lightly used pair of these shoes at a lower price than retail is necessary.
#7 – Go beyond loafers and heels. Specialty exercise shoes, hiking boots, marching band shoes, minimalist running shoes, and higher end flip flops can all bring significant profit online, depending on the brand and condition.
#8 – Look for shoes made with natural materials – wool, leather, snakeskin, calfskin.
#9 – Build a brand list. Using info you get from the Ebay solds and your own research, build a brand list (keep it on your phone) that you can refer to when you’re sourcing used shoes.
Checking Shoes in the Store
#10 – Check every pair for sole dry rot. Over time, the rubber or leather in the soles of shoes can break down and crumble. Take a moment to gently twist the soles of shoes in the store to make sure that the soles don’t crack (and leave your customer upset). Not checking for dry rot will net you some bad feedback from your customers when selling shoes online.
#11 – Check every pair for sole separation. This is another common condition issue with shoes, and it can be easy to overlook until you get home and it’s too late. Make sure the sole is securely connected to the upper at all points along the side of the shoe.
#12 – Look for separated seams, extremely worn heels, or lost heel caps. If the brand is high end enough, you could take the shoes to be fixed (check with a local shoe repair place).
#13 – Ensure you can read the listed size. Shoes with a lot of wear may have the size worn away – and guessing at the size can make them difficult to sell (and you would need to disclose this to your buyer).
#14 – Make sure the sizes on both shoes match when selling shoes online. I have purchased a pair of shoes, only to find out the shoes were different sizes when I got home.
Cleaning and Photographing Shoes to Sell
#15 – Oil dry or scuffed leather. Taking a moment to condition the leather on any boots or shoes can minimize scuffs and marks that will detract from your profit margin. Use a soft cloth to rub in the conditioner and then another one to buff it off once it’s soaked in for a few minutes.
#16 – Invest in shoe cleaning tools and products. I keep a toolkit of shoe cleaning and care items handy every time I list used shoes to sell. It includes: extra shoelaces, leather and suede shoe cleaner (I like this one), Goo Gone (for removing sticker and sharpie residue), shoe polish set in black, brown, and neutral, and leather conditioner.
#17 – Wipe off dirty soles. Enough said. No one wants to buy obviously dirty shoes, even if they’re a deal. If soles have a lot of dirt, you can use a vegetable scrubber to clean the cracks in the soles before selling shoes online. For the white sidewalls of sneakers, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work well to whiten things up.
#18 – Choose a neutral backdrop for photos. Ebay recommends taking photos with a white background (this helps in Google rankings). But you could also use any neutral background, such as a wood floor. Just make sure there’s plenty of light so your customers can fully see the details of the shoes you’re selling.
#19 – Take photos from all angles. I usually shoot the shoes straight on and from the sides. I take photos of the heels, the size, any inside wear or flaws, the soles, and the brand name.
Shipping Shoes After Selling
#20 – Bag shoes to protect from dust. If you’re planning to sell a lot of used shoes online, make sure you have the proper supplies to ship and protect them. Before I ship any shoes or boots, I first wrap them in a clear polybag (I use these) and secure the edge with tape (so water can’t get in).
#21 – For lightweight shoes like flip flops or slippers, I use a padded mailer to ship first class when selling shoes online.
#22 – For heels or delicate shoes that require a box for protection, I might wrap in large bubble wrap (like this kind) prior to bagging to prevent bumps from damaging them.
#23 – The best box for shipping most pairs of shoes I’ve found is the USPS Shoe box that measures 15x8x6”. You can order them for free from the USPS (they’ll even deliver them to your house). These boxes fit most sneakers, heels, and smaller boots (you may need a large mailing box for larger boots).
Learn More about Selling Shoes Online
If you want to get started flipping shoes and other stuff as a side hustle and don’t know how to get started, I recommend you check out Flea Market Flipper University by Rob and Melissa Stephenson. It is created just for people like us, who need to be given bite-sized tips & lessons on getting started flipping stuff, how to make sure the stuff you’re flipping is profitable, and where to find stuff to flip! (Because you probably just want to go straight to the side hustle and moneymaking without all the hoopla!)
This is the perfect course for you if:
- You want to earn an extra $500, $100, or even $5,000 a month.
- You have some debt you want to pay off or a vacation you want to take.
- You want to control your own hours or do something part-time.
- You want to start a business from home but don’t know how to get started.
- You want to make sure you turn a profit IMMEDIATELY.
As a pro flipper what I love about this course is that it’s a true shortcut to the info you need. I’m not going to lie, you will need to WORK because you’ll be running a business – but these guys teach all about the details that can trip newbies up when they’re starting a reselling business.
If you need someone to TEACH you how to sell stuff for cash, check out Rob & Melissa's course Flipper University by clicking here.
These tips should give you a headstart on selling shoes for profit. Do you have any tips for selling used shoes online? Leave us a note in the comments!