When I was a graduate student at Columbia University in the City of New York, my friend and mentor Howard Stein said this to me: “David, you don’t have any money; you can’t afford cheap shoes.”

He was right and I have abided that sage advice ever since.

It is better to buy quality once at a higher price than to keep paying a cheaper price more often for a product of lesser quality because, in the end, cheap shoes are more expensive.


  1. Hi Wendy!
    I love your Avatar! What a great smile!
    It is a hard lesson to learn — and one especially hard to teach if you’re in a relationship with a born cheapskate — but repetition and lost money are powerful teachers.
    How did you finally learn this lesson?

  2. Dear Dave —
    I would say you were buying the wrong expensive shoes for the job!
    I would never wear leather soles in the kind of harsh chemical environment you were describing.
    I’m also sure you understand the lesson here travels beyond shoes.

  3. That’s it, Anne!
    Cheap comes in many forms and shapes and consistencies. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but cheap always means less than best in the universal human context of the phrase.

  4. A good quality pair of shoes can last almost forever, if you can find an excellent shoe repair shop. Often, initial expense and maintenance is less than buying lots of pairs of “cheap” shoes.

  5. Yes, Chris, that’s the idea of the advice.
    We also cannot afford “cheap writing” or “cheap policing” or “cheap lawyering” or “cheap blogging” and so on…

  6. Wow a 6 1/2 shoe! A small and poweful package! How long were you together?
    Oh, and yes, the sound you make massaging her bare nekkids is a cheep feetish.

  7. In this case, I have found that there is a way to ‘have your cake and eat it too’. There is a plethora of thrift and used clothing stores in Berkeley, CA where I live. Invariably, one can find slightly used (basically new) high quality shoes for $5 to $10. I havent bought a new pair of shoes in the past two years because of this. I do agree with the statement that cheap shoes are more expensive in the long run, buying multiple pairs of cheap shoes is not only hard on the wallet, but it is hard on the feet. My toes are noticeably distorted from wearing cheap shoes as a kid.

  8. Jonathan!
    Cheap does not always translate to low price and I believe it is entirely possible to buy a pair of “cheap shoes” for $1,000 a shoe! Your “high quality shoes” at $5 precisely proves the point of the advice.

  9. That’s true to a point. I’ve had plenty of decent cheap shoes, my favorite pair cost $10 and have, so far, lasted 6 years and they’re still kicking.

  10. Well, I have paid moderate prices for well-made shoes, and it’s been worth it. However, I have recently had to switch brands of jeans. I’m a jeans kind of girl. I have some dress pants I wear maybe once a week, but jeans are just more relaxing for me, especially the kind with that little bit of lycra in them for that stretch fit! 😀
    For the past ten years probably I’ve always bought jeans from this one clothing store, and they usually ran me about $30 bucks a pair. Not bad, but the selling point was that they lasted a LONG time.
    Seriously, I’ve still got a pair that I had in college. Not that I can fit into them anymore, but that’s another story.
    Well, this store did some changing up in their denim line, and the started carrying this new fit that was very comfortable, so I splurged and bought four pairs because they were going to last me a while. Imagine my disappointment when they started wearing thin on the inside of the leg LESS THAN A YEAR after I bought them.
    So, no more of those jeans for me. I went to Kohl’s and bought two pairs of jeans for just slightly more than one of the old pairs would have cost me. It’s been about four months in these, and so far I’m loving the fit and they seem to be holding up well. *knocks on wood*

  11. Ha David – I had to change the avatar because it was all stretchy and weird looking but thanks for the compliment!
    I used to buy things on the cheap and watch them fall apart and I would buy and buy and buy and realized I was just running circles buying things that were guaranteed not to last – Now, it takes more patience to wait until I can afford the right things but they last longer and the quality speaks for itself..

  12. But we liked you stretchy, Wendy!
    Right! Quality over all. Sometimes it costs a lot and sometimes it doesn’t. Recognizing the difference is the key.

  13. So let’s talk about pedicures??? Those aren’t cheap 🙂 at least where I live.
    But on a more serious note… I just loved this thread !

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