Budget Chic Shoe Brand Rating / Reviews


These are the shoes brands that I either have experience with as a buyer, examined in the stores or have a consistent public reputation for being of good quality. I have added a short description to each brand and my rating on quality. The star rating is something that everyone is familiar with so I used that (1 to 3 stars with 3 being of the good quality). I have not included the high-end designer shoes because everyone knows those shoes are made with excellent craftmanship which is why their price tags is so high. Those shoes would be rated 5 stars. Since this blog focuses on those who are restricted to a tight budget. I have rated only selected shoe brands that are considered affordable ($200 and under). This review does not include shoes sold by Department store House brands or Apparel retailer.

 

AldosAldo Shoes makes a pretty good quality leather shoe. Some style are man-made material but the majority of their offering are leather. Craftmanship is good and styles are always very edgy. This is a decent shoe to purchase and they have gotten better with their sales and mark-downs. No major issues with construction that I have seen or experienced. The only issue I have is that these shoes are European sizing so they run 1/2 to a whole size small and they do not carry half sizes, may be marked with Euro sizing (i.e. 37 instead of 7). Each style is sized differently so good idea to go into their retail store and try the shoe on first. Update: Look out for a shoe collaboration between JC Penney and Aldo.
Betsey Johnson – Betseyville by Betsey Johnson. Funky, funky, funky, all the time. Whimsical shoes with a signature pink floral sole. Craftmanship and materials are excellent. Styles are always over-the-top and every girl should own (at the very least) two of her shoes. Only complaint is she should pull back on all the “pink”. Runs true to size.
BCBGirls (BCBGeneration) - BCBGirls renamed BCBGeneration is a good quality shoe. I believe they revamped the quality of this shoe from its predecessor, the leather is a lot nicer in quality then their defuncked BCBGirls line. I think they got it right this time. Runs true to size.
Chinese Laundry – Chinese Laundry uses average leather goods to construct their shoes, some of their shoes are also contructed with man-made material. Sizing is not consistent nor is quality or construction. Decent shoe for the most part, but need to examine each style for quality of material, construction and fit. Inconsistent with sizing. Note: Kristin Cavallari teamed up with CL and did an cute line of Pointy Toe Ankle Straps and platform-less Sandals that are currently on sale @ dillards.com.
Calvin Klein – Makes a excellent shoe for the money, you can find this brand at discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross for Less. Most of their shoes are 4 inches and under and all of construction from fine quality leather. I’ve seldomly seen any fabrication issues with this brand. Sizing is generous and you will probably have to size down a 1/2 to a whole size depending on the style of the shoes.
DV by Dolce Vita – Well made leather shoe that averages under $130. This is Dolce Vita’s affordable line. I have not found any problems with the workmanship of these shoes. Good quality leather in the latest trends. You can find these shoes at Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Macy’s. Runs true to size.
Enzo Angiolini – Enzo is a sub-brand to Nine West which I don’t see around as much as I use to, not sure it they are still producing this line. You will find the same quality workmanship and materials as Nine West. This brand is excellent for office “sensible” shoes. Heel height ranges from 1 to 3.5 inches. Runs 1/2 big.
Guess Marciano (G by Guess) - Guess is a good quality shoe and like their competitor Nine West they use good quality leather, minimal issues with workmanship (you will find some minor flaws here and there) and they bring you the latest trend in shoe designs. They are consistent with the construction of their shoes and I’ve rarely seen any major issues with visible glue, top stitching, alignment of shoe to sole or puckering under leather. Some of their shoes have leather soles which always lends to better construction of the entire shoe. Runs true to size.
Jessica Simpson – Jessica Simpson launched her own shoe line in ’05 or ’06 I believe and the workmanship I’ve seen so far has been average to good depending on the style of the shoe. (I do love her shoes and I feel she has improved somewhat in workmanship over the last 2 years.) Not a bad shoe to purchase because of her use of leather goods instead of man-made material. But you do have to watch her product closely because some styles do have fabrication issues. Should view each style at the store before purchase on-line to make sure that there are no major problems with workmanship in terms of visible glue, gaps, sole to shoe placement and tap to heel alignment. Runs true to size.
Michael by Michael Kors – This is a very well-made shoe with good craftmanship and leather. Excellent shoe for the money. Sizing is generous. I’ve gotten into a 1/2 to a whole size smaller in his shoes depending on the design and cut. I have seen some of his shoes in Ross for Less where the fabrication was a bit stretchy, but overall I think it’s a great shoe for the price if you can get it for under $125. Highly recommend so far.
Max Studio – Their shoes boast excellent workmanship and leather materials. Well worth the money. They tend to run closer to the $150-$200 price point depending on the style. If you can catch a sale even better. Runs true to size. Highly recommend.
Michael Shannon(Off-Broadway Shoes -offbroadwayshoes.com) This is a house brand for Off-Broadway Shoes but the leather and construction of their shoes is equal to Nine West. They make an excellent shoe for the money. Good quality leather, always feels soft in my opinion. Padded foot bed. Minimal to no issues with construction of shoes. Consistent with their quality and well worth the $60 and up price tag. One of my favorites, only issue is sizing! Runs small by 1/2 to whole size at times. Need to try each style on. Highly recommend
Nine WestNine West is a budget fashionista’s savior. Their selection follows the latest in shoe trends and they push the buttons to bring it to us from the runway to the store. Their shoes are constructed from good-quality leather with excellent craftmanship. Minimal showing of glue, rarely see uneven placement or bad top stitching, no puckering under leather. No problem with bottom heel tap not being aligned with the heel on shoe. Overall always satisfied with workmanship and material used. Boutique 9 is a little step up from Nine West and is also rated 3 stars. Runs true to size, consistent with padded shoe bed.
Rachel by Rachel Roy – This is one line I’m going to be working on adding to my shoes collection. Rachel has launch an affordable line of shoes. Keep an eye on this shoe line because I really like what I see so far. I love the very unique and fashion forward designs of this line, she gives you the latest trends in different heel heights. She uses a leather upper with a man-made sole. You can purchase these shoes from Macy’s and on-line from rachelroy.com. Price range is from $180 to $50. This review will be more comprehensive once I purchase a pair of her shoes so stay tuned.
Report SignatureFabulous shoes, very unique designs. They are in the same quality range as Max Studio. Good quality leather, excellent workmanship. The price range is from $120 to $200. Runs 1/2 to whole size small due to European sizing so make sure you try these on before purchasing on-line if you’ve never bought their shoes before. Try to catch them on sale because they tend to be a little pricey.
Sam Edelman (formerly Sam & Libby) - The previous owners of Sam & Libby have stepped up their game and starting doing more fashion forward footwear. You can even find them doing some designer dupes. Good quality leather shoe, good workmanship. The MSRP price range is from $99 to $200. You can catch these at a good price point at Marshalls, T.J. Maxx or hsn.com. Runs true to size.
Steve MaddenSteve Madden is hit or miss. They use an average grade of leather. Some styles are constructed nicely and other are not. Again, it depends on the style of the shoe. I have seen issues with hard “toe-hurting” leather, shoe to sole placement, gaps, tap to heel alignment, stress marks in leather and no padded foot bed. They are very inconsistent in my book.  On the plus side however, they do make an effort to bring you the latest styles in footwear. They also give their customers replica versions of designer shoes. Runs 1/2 small to whole size small.
StevenSteven is the higher-end to the Steve Madden line. The construction and quality of the leather is a better grade and some of the Steven line has leather soles, which in my opinion gives you a better made shoe from top to bottom. Have not experience any issues with workmanship but usually have to wait for sales/clearance to catch these shoes under $60 dollars. Runs true to size.
Vince Camuto – The best of the best. I absolutely love this brand. This high-quality shoe is made with designer execution at an affordable price. I own like 3 pairs of these shoes and looking to buy more. One of my favorite brands. Consistent in excellent workmanship and good quality leather. Nice addition to any girl’s shoe collection. You can purchase these shoes at Macy’s, Dillards and hsn.com. Runs 1/2 small due to narrowness of shoe. If you have semi-narrow feet they will run true to size.
Payless.   If you are a vegan or choose to buy non-leather shoes under $40 dollars. Payless is a great place to start. They have improved their offering and follow the latest shoe trends. They are now featuring guest designers such as Patricia Fields, Alice + Olivia, Lela Rose and Christian Siriano. Payless makes good casual canvas shoes under the American Eagle line and also offers other well-known brands under the Payless umbrella. Their construction is very good to average and they are making a conscious effort to improve the craftmanship and style of their shoe lines, as well as giving their customers more brand selection. They definitely get an “A” for effort in my book.
Bamboo – Bamboo has good to average construction. Good style offering and keeps up with the latest trends. Not a whole lot of fabrication problems. I have seen several of their shoes and they look really good. Another PVC brand that seems to be able to work with this kind of material and make it look good. Minimal issues with showing glue, gaps in sole to upper shoe area, puckering or stress marks in the material. I would recommend this brand. They do however run a 1/2 size to a whole size small.
Breckelle – Breckelle has good to average construction. They’re not the best of the PVC bunch, I think I like their boots better than their shoes but they are again a pretty decent PVC manufacturer. I did not notice a lot of fabrication problem with these shoes. Minimal issues with showing glue, gaps in sole to upper shoe area, puckering or stress marks in the material. I would recommend this brand. They do however run a 1/2 size to a whole size small depending on the style. They offer current trends but in my opinion, are not as innovative and tight with their shoe design as Qupid.
DbDk FashionsI just recently started seeing this brand in the stores. Not sure if it an imported Asian brand, based on the graphics on the shoebox I assume this to be true. I brought 2 pairs of shoes and a pair of low-heel boots from this line. I like what I’ve seen so far. I would say they have good to average construction. The two shoes I bought were on-point.  Comfortable, true-to-size and nice construction. However, I did try on a pair of velvet/suede knee high boot and found the sizing to be small and the construction was not good. So you do have try on and examine each shoe very carefully because sizing and quality is inconsistent. I have to keep them at two stars until I can evaluate more styles from them.
DollhouseThe majority of Dollhouse shoes are made of man-made material; hence why I have placed them in this category. The fabrication of their shoes is pretty good for the material they have to work with. I think they do an excellent job compared to the competition. They pay a little bit more attention to detail vs. the other shoe manufacturers in this category. They offer the latest in shoe trends and should be reasonably priced for what you are getting. You can find this brand online at dollhouse.com or at Ross Dress for Less stores. Runs true to size.
LilianaThey offer very unique and fun shoes. I own two pairs and I found construction to be very good. I did not find any issues with excessive glue showing, lumps, uneven placement of materials or wobbly shoes. It’s a pretty decent shoes for under $35. Sizing is inconsistent. Some shoes run very, very small and other may run true to size. You will definitely need to try on each style to determine the right fit.
Michael AntonioMichael Antonio use man-made material for their shoe line. They offer the latest in shoes style and stay current with trends. Average to poor construction. Poor quality of stimulate (faux) textures (i.e. snakeskin, suede). Inconsistent sizing in width and length. Poor sizing and fit. Update: I don’t own any of these shoe but they might be manufacturing a better shoe now. I believe shoedazzle.com is selling some of their shoes.
MixxTheir shoe inventory is pretty small, but what I’ve seen so far (style wise) I like. Good to average construction depending on the style. Sizing of the shoe seems true to size, however the width of the shoe is a bit wide, in my opinion. These shoes tend to sell for a little bit more than Qupid or the other PVC brands and I really don’t know why because the construction is about the same.
Anne MichelleAnne Michelle makes an good to average shoe. They offer the latest in shoe trends. They use to have issues with puckering, small lumps, stitching, and stress marks, but I’ve seen their fabrication get better over the last two years. I don’t think they are too bad with the visible glue or alignment of shoe to sole. You still need to examine each shoe closely and pick the one with the least amount of imperfections, some will look better than others, but overall they are doing a better job with their shoes.  Runs a 1/2 big if you have narrow feet.
RougeRouge makes a good quality man-made material shoe. The thing that plague shoe manufacturers using non-animal skin is the ability to mold and bend the material to shape the shoe properly or maybe because the shoe is priced so cheaply they just don’t care. Rouge however, does a pretty good job at working with this type of non-porous material. However, it is best to examine each style; but for the most part they do a good job compared to their competition. Not many issues with excess glue showing, shoe to sole placement, tap to heel placement, gaps, uneven or wobbly shoes. Puckering and stress is an issue, need to look good at each shoe and pick the one with the least amount of imperfections. Runs true to size.
Steve Madden GirlSteve Madden Girl is the PVC line to Steve Madden priced for the Junior market. Fabrication is good to average for usage of all man-made material. Great styles and runs true to size.
QupidQupid is a brand that I now highly recommend and I do own a few pairs of their shoes. They are definitely stepping up their A-game!  They have very excelllent to average construction depending on the style. There is a better chance with this brand of not finding too many issues with lumps in sole and upper shoe area, uneven or rough placement of shoe to sole, glue showing, etc. They are using a better grade of material for their faux suede that definitely looks more realistic and they have improved the construction of quite a bit of their PVC shoes. They offer the latest designer dupes. Sizing is very good and they run true to size the majority of time, but good idea to try on each style. They also offer a luxe line with better quality materials and fabrication. Highly Recommend
Wild DivaWild Diva has average construction. Good style offering a few issues with rough placing of upper shoe area to sole. Canvas shoes are better than leather-like material. They have gotten better with their fabrication, so I will probably upgrade them to 3 stars soon. Runs 1/2 big if you have narrow feet.
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17 Responses to Budget Chic Shoe Brand Rating / Reviews

  1. Psyche says:

    What a thorough review! I always love Nine West shoes. And, I am glad to see your review of Carlos Santana’s shoes. I am usually attracted to the styles, but the fit is often not quite right for me.

  2. mica says:

    Great idea for a post! I loved the review, very detailed :)

  3. Lola says:

    New to your blog, first visit was yesterday, and I love it! I found this article interesting because just Sunday, in the shopping section of my local paper, was an article on shoes. What caught my attention, was the comparison of high end vs. affordable shoes. A test was conducted using Manolos, Nine West, Payless, and the brand name was covered. Most thought the Nine West shoe was the most expensive by appearance only, and after taking each shoe apart, it was the most well constructed! I laughed at this, because I love Nine West, as they take up most of my closet. The article is a good read because it also compares handbags, creams, and jackets. Here is the link: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008807240425

  4. Allie says:

    Fab and detailed review – awesome and thanks! :)

  5. Lashawn says:

    thanks for the info…..very detailed. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I shop for shoes.

    How many pairs of shoes do you own? If you don’t mind me asking.

  6. fdiary says:

    Lashawn, I don’t have alot of shoes because when I buy a pair I try to get rid of a pair. I would say I have about 70 pairs of shoes excluding boots and sneakers. Boots – I have like 10 pairs of boots because it really doesn’t get cold enough to justify wearing boots all season long.

    I don’t think you have to get crazy and have like 300 or 400 pairs of shoes. If you buy the right selection of colors and styles – 50 to 70 pairs of shoes should meet all your needs. ;-)

  7. Erkica says:

    Hey great reviews! That was very helpful, sounds like Nine West is the better shoe.

  8. swtpinkpea says:

    thanks for the article. very informative!

  9. Pristine says:

    Great review! Mmm, I’m a little confused about what you mean about tap to heel alignment. Can you give an example maybe?

    I recently bought a pair of Steve Madden Mary Janes for $90 (on sale) but I’ve been debating with myself whether or not to return them. After all, I’ve gotten Nine West shoes on sale for 2/3 of the price.

  10. layla says:

    Thank you sooooooooooooo MUCH!!!!!

  11. Budget Babe says:

    I have about 60 pairs of shoes in my current rotation…I was thinking 10-15 and then I actually counted and was utterly shocked! LOL. good to know I’m not alone.

    also, there reviews are really helpful and thorough, thanks for sharing.

  12. that girl says:

    I”m a payless girl for everything besides actual running shoes.

  13. Hi, I applaud your blog for informing people, very interesting article, keep up it coming :)

  14. tanyetta says:

    This post is very informative. Thank You for breaking it down for us :)

  15. Tingatipto says:

    What an awesome article! I have been a lurker on your blog for sometime now. This is my first comment :)

  16. Julie says:

    Please take a second to respond to my poll about SD: http://shoesnjules.onsugar.com/ShoeDazzle-Reviews-15139593 – Whether you’ve tried them or not I want to hear it!

    Thanks ladies!

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