Looking for cheap wholesale shoes that you can resell for a nifty profit? You’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find awesome shoe vendor options, plus the answers to all of these important questions:
Why sell shoes online?
There is one great reason to sell shoes online: There’s money in it. Don’t believe me? Consider the case of Beth Marbach, who made $4 million when she switched from selling books to selling shoes.
Or how about Benjamin Kapelushnik, a 16-year-old who makes a killing selling sneakers. One woman even made a whole lot of money selling her old used shoes. There really is a market for everything if you know where to look and who wants to buy…
I’m not saying that everyone will make millions selling shoes online, but there is definitely a market here. The global footwear market is set to reach over 400 billion dollars by 2025 and consumers in the US alone are spending over $76 billion on shoes each year. That’s a big money-pie, so why not take a slice?
What are the best shoes to sell online?
Most people think of women’s footwear when they think of shoes to sell online, but that’s only one option.
Beth Marbach started out selling 90% women’s shoes and 10% men’s shoes when "Sex and the City" was in full swing, and Carrie Bradshaw started a craze for women’s shoes. But after that, Beth noticed the men’s luxury market grew, and by the end she was selling 90% men’s shoes and only 10% women’s shoes.
Trends change, and it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse. Notice which shoes are selling well and stock up on those. Also, notice if the market is changing, and adjust what you’re selling to fit. It’s all about experimenting and finding what’s most profitable for you as you go.
Here’s a list of the main things to consider when deciding what shoes to sell:
Who are you selling to?
Get shoes that’ll appeal to people ages 18-34 if possible, as they tend to be the biggest online buyers. Older buyers (65+) are less trusting of online shopping and don’t tend to do it as much.
Think to yourself: Who spends a lot of time online and may be looking to buy shoes? Stay-at-home moms, for example, may spend a lot of time browsing the internet, and want to buy shoes for themselves or for their children without the nightmare of going out to the store.
What shoes to buy and sell all year-round?
Seasonality is a problem if you’re selling flip-flops or knee high boots. Why? No one wants icicle feet in winter, and no one wears knee-highs to the beach. Check out the searches for these types of shoes in Google Trends:
In summer months, flip flop searches go up and searches for knee high boots go way down. You can compare those to the searches for loafers, which appear to be fairly steady year-round.
This doesn’t mean you can’t sell flip-flops; it just means you’ll need to be aware of your market and also stock winter shoes over winter, or pick types of shoes with steady sales all year round.
What are the most popular colors and sizes?
You don’t want to be the guy who ordered the same number of each size of shoe, only to find himself running out of common sizes and unable to move the smallest or largest sizes. You also don’t want a full stock of crazy colors that most people aren’t interested in when black is the most popular choice.
Unless you have a sure-thing niche market for crazy shoes, include some black shoes in your inventory, and stock more of popular sizes. In the US, the most common size is 8 for women and 10.5 for men. In the UK, it’s size 6 for women and size 10 for men.
What style of shoe sells best?
There’s a large range of shoes you can choose to sell, including:
- Infant & toddler shoes
- Children’s shoes
- Women’s shoes
- Fashion sneakers
- Outdoor shoes
- Men’s shoes
- Fashion sneakers
- Loafers & slip-ons
- Outdoor shoes
So which shoes are best for profits? Generally, the top 3 types of shoes are men’s athletic shoes, women’s casual shoes, and women’s dress shoes.
But these are broad categories with many styles to choose from. So how do you narrow it down? The best way is to do some simple market research is to use a tool such as the SaleHoo Labs.
SaleHoo’s Market Research Lab shows you which products are currently selling well. You can select 'clothing shoes and jewelry' as a category and browse through the results to find the best high-selling, low-competition options.
A little background research like this can help you to make a more informed decision about your market before you buy up a whole bunch of stock.
How to buy shoes in bulk for resale
Step 1: Find cheap shoes online for resale
There are 3 main ways to source shoes for selling online. We’ll go through them, and then look at some supplier options for all kinds of shoes.
Option #1: Buy wholesale shoes
How it works: You buy cheap wholesale shoes in bulk from a wholesaler who sends them to you. You then resell the shoes online.
- Wholesale buying can be a really cheap way to get shoes (good profit margin potential).
- You buy and store the inventory, so...
- You control how it’s packaged or sent.
- You know how much you have of each product (and when you need to restock).
- You have to have space to store the shoes.
- There’s more work involved in packaging and sending your items.
- If the shoes don’t sell, you can end up at a loss with a house full of shoes.
- Get samples of products to ensure quality before buying up large.
- Start with small orders
- If they have MOQ (minimum order quantity) and it seems too large, contact them and see if they would do a smaller order.
- Use a safe payment method such as PayPal, credit card or AliPay to eliminate risk. If your supplier doesn't have safe payment options, try somewhere else. It's not worth the risk.
- Scale slowly. You can increase your order quantities bit by bit when you're making enough revenue to reinvest. Don't overextend yourself too early.
- Create a professional email address for these interactions, it's best to use a business account rather than your personal one for security reasons.
Option #2: Use a shoe dropshipper
How it works: You list the shoe styles and sizes the dropshipper stocks, without having to buy any or handle them yourself. When you make a sale, you purchase the item through the dropshipper, put in your customer’s address and the dropshipper packages and sends the shoes to the customer for you.
- The dropshipper takes care of the stock, which means…
- Less work for you, as you don’t have to package items
- You don’t need storage space
- You only pay for the items you’ve already sold, so it’s lower risk, financially speaking
- You can offer a much larger variety without having to buy every item
- If the dropshipper runs out of stock, you can be left with expectant customers but no product
- You will pay more for these items than if you were buying in bulk, which means...
- Lower profit margins
- It's harder to compete with other sellers on marketplaces such as eBay
- You’re relying on someone else to fill your orders, and if they make mistakes, you get the angry customers or bad marketplace reputation
- Check the availability of the dropship items you’re listing
- If stock is running low, consider pulling your listings before stock runs out
- Check on the progress of your orders when you’ve put them through
- If there are going to be delays, you need to know about them so you can keep your customers in the loop
- Check out more great tips for using dropshipping here
Option #3: Buy liquidated shoe stock
How it works: Companies want to get rid of stock because they’re closing down, or moving, or it’s the end of the season and they’re making room for their next line of stock. These products are dirt cheap, and you can buy and resell for a decent profit margin if you know what you’re looking for.
- It’s super-duper cheap
- Sometimes you can get liquidated brand name shoes that aren’t easy to source via wholesale or dropshipping
- Liquidated products may be low-quality returns or products that just didn’t sell well
- If some of the products are damaged or faulty, you may have to fix them up (if you can) or accept your losses
- You often have to buy really large lots at once and then sort through them
- You have to know your market really well to know what liquidation stock is safe to buy
- If you’re buying a big pallet of shoes, get an inventory list of exactly what you’re getting
- Do some poking around: Is there a market for these items? Or are they duds?
- Look on eBay and Amazon to see whether there are similar products. Are they selling? If so, for what price?
- It might look super cheap, but don’t forget to factor in shipping costs too. Still profitable?
Step 2: Source shoes from wholesale shoe suppliers
One of the main issues with finding suppliers online is the number of scams out there. If you ever use Google searches to find suppliers, you may have wanted to bang your head against the wall!
To save you time and a bunch of effort you will want to check out our SaleHoo Directory.
The SaleHoo Directory has over 150 trusted wholesale shoe suppliers from around the world. The great thing is the suppliers are vetted and verified by SaleHoo staff so you know you are working with quality suppliers!
The cost is just $67 USD per year.
While you are searching for suppliers keep in mind the following:
What products and brands do they sell? Do they ship internationally? Do you need a resale license/sales tax ID to do business with them? Do they have minimum order requirements, and if so, how much? How long have they been in business?
Want good news? All of this information can be found on SaleHoo!
Top wholesale shoes suppliers
Because we want you to be one step ahead of the game we have outlined a few top wholesale shoe suppliers in China and the USA found in our SaleHoo Directory. Check them out below!
Finding shoe suppliers based in China
Shoe suppliers in China are known for their low prices, and they often have a massive range of products.
But where to find them? Check out a couple of great Chinese shoe supplier options from SaleHoo Directory below:
This China-based supplier has almost every type of shoe you can think of, and offer both wholesale and dropshipping services. They stock:
- Baby shoes & socks
- Kids shoes (boys and girls)
- Men’s shoes
- Flats & loafers
- Formal shoes
- Athletic Shoes
- Women’s shoes
- Flats & loafers
- Athletic & casual shoes
- Home shoes
- They also stock shoe accessories such as laces and insoles.
This supplier also offers wholesale shoes from China, and their range includes:
- Children’s shoes (both boys and girls)
- Rubber boots
- Winter boots
- Casual shoes
- Dress shoes
- Flip flops
- Women’s shoes
- Casual shoes
- Dress shoes (high and short heel options)
- Men’s shoes
- Dress shoes
- Athletic sport shoes
- Boxing shoes
- Kickboxing shoes
- Tennis shoes
- Track shoes
- Wrestling shoes
- Shoe accessories
- Shoe care
- Shoe horns
- Shoe storage
Pros and cons of buying wholesale from Chinese suppliers
- Low price
- Massive range of products
- High profit margin for you
- Shipping can take up to a month in some places
- Language and communication barriers
- There are lots of scammers so be sure to do your research!
- Sometimes they don’t have the payment method you are after
Buying wholesale shoes for resale from US suppliers
China isn’t the only country where you can buy cheap wholesale shoes in bulk. Why not check out the options in the US?
Below is a wide variety of shoe suppliers in the US:
- Huge range of shoes for both men and women (wholesale and liquidation)
- Casual evening and work shoes for women (wholesale and dropship)
- Flip flops that leave animal prints instead of footprints (wholesale and dropship)
- Women’s comfort shoes and kids school shoes (wholesale and liquidation)
- Fashionable women’s shoes in larger sizes (wholesale and dropship)
- Large range of women’s trend wear (wholesale and dropship)
- Exotic high heels (wholesale and dropship)
These are only some of the options in the Directory, and there are also suppliers from a whole range of other countries too. So there’s a good chance you’ll find a local supplier if you want one.
Pros and cons of buying wholesale from US suppliers
- Fast shipping times
- Quality is usually consistent
- Communication and customer service
- Suitable payment methods
- Quality website design
- Higher cost than buying from Chinese suppliers.
- Less product range.
Buying wholesale brand name shoes
There’s a large demand for brand-name shoes, which is probably why many of the success stories at the top of this page were based on selling them. Beth Marbach said she sold high-end shoes because even if the economy goes down, rich people always have money to spend on fashion.
The brand-name shoe market can cost more to get started in though, and you can face some tough competition, so be sure to look into your market before you buy large quantities of stock.
Below are a few brand-name shoe suppliers from our Directory:
This supplier has high-end men and women’s shoes (wholesale and liquidation). Some of the brands found here include:
- Cole Haan
- Hugo Boss
- Kenneth Cole
- Steve Madden
- Calvin Klein
- Marc Fisher
- Michael Kors
- Nine West
- Ralph Lauren
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Stuart Weitzman
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Marc Jacobs
- Tory Burch
- Kate Spade
- Christian Dior
- Diane Von Furstenberg
- Cole Haan
This supplier has flip-flops, sneakers, shoes, boots and slippers (just dropship). Some of the brands found here include:
- Under Armour
Some other brand-name shoe suppliers include:
- Brand name shoes, everything from sneakers to heels (wholesale and liquidation)
- Jordans, Uggs, Converse, Nike, Adidas, Puma and more (wholesale and liquidation)
- Armani, Hugo Boss, Dior and Gucci and more (wholesale)
Pros and cons of selling branded shoes
- Loyal brand following
- Niche market
- High competition
- Credibility- It will take a lot to convince potential buyers to buy from you over well established stores
- Lots of research required to avoid fake products
- Low profit margins
Buying secondhand shoes
One final option is to sell secondhand shoes.
You can either sell your own old shoes, or you can look through garage sales or secondhand stores to find extras if this market works for you.
Pros and cons of selling second-hand shoes
- Cheap items
- Little start up costs
- Reduces waste and is better for the environment
- Niche market
- Unique finds
- Time consuming
- Limited products
- Often products are damaged
Step 3: Start selling shoes online
Where can I sell shoes online?
Let’s take a quick look at some of your options below!
1. Sell shoes on eBay or Amazon
Many sellers use eBay (or other online marketplaces) to sell their goods. Here’s the ins and outs of using eBay to sell shoes:
- Huge marketplace with a massive number of buyers visiting regularly
- This means more sales potential than you might get elsewhere
- It’s quick and easy to get started
- You don’t need any special skills
- You have to pay seller's fees
- You’re ultimately marketing eBay or Amazon, not your own brand
- Competition can be fierce
- Do some market research before deciding what to sell
- The SaleHoo Lab can show you what shoes are selling well on eBay and have low competition
- When listing your shoes:
- Include all words in your description that people might use to search for your products
- E.g. People might use “shoes” or “sneakers” or “trainers” to look for the same type of product. You want all of them to find your listings
- Choose a price that ensures you’ll make a profit
- Competitive pricing isn’t always best
2. Start your own shoe store online
It’s a lot easier than you might think to open your own online store these days. Let’s check out the pros and cons…
- You can build your own brand
- You’re not directly competing with other sellers
- You have more flexibility in how you list and sell your items
- No pre-established buyers
- You’ll have to build your customer base
- You have to set up your own store
- Use the marketing tips below to get traffic to your store
Step 4: Market your shoes online
Try these marketing tips to direct people to your products.
People love YouTube videos, and often search for fashion tips and style advice. Why not showcase your shoes?
- Review shoes (comfort, style, versatility etc)
- Compare similar popular shoes
- Talk about the outfits people can build with different shoes
2. Post pictures on Pinterest or Instagram
People spend forever browsing around sites like Pinterest. If you’ve got good pictures of shoes, post ‘em up and hashtag anything about your shoes that people might be looking for.
There are a couple of options to consider for advertising shoes:
- Google Adwords has tools to help you do keyword research so you can plan your campaigns before spending on them
- Facebook advertising can be particularly useful if trying to get awareness and traffic to your own online store
It's important that you start small here: Don’t spend more than you’ve got to lose, especially if you’re new and you don’t know what works yet.
4. Join niche groups and communities
To really get direct contact with your customers, you'll want to try joining niche groups and communities such as Facebook Groups or other niche relate platforms. That way, you'll be able to directly communicate with those who are especially interested in your products - whether they want to purchase them now or at a later time.
5. Live selling
There's been a huge jump in live selling these days now that there's 'live' features on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. What happens here is that people go 'live' on these social media platforms and start talking directly to their audiences. Their audiences can ask questions in the comment section and you can directly answer them through your camera phone. Some ideas to talk about on your 'live' are showing people how the product works step by step or talking about instances where your product solves a problem.
Tips for Selling Shoes Online
Although this article has delved quite deep into everything you need to know about selling shoes online, here are a few tips that you'll want to watch out for during your selling journey:
- Look for shoes that have a good profit, preferably $25 US dollars or more even used.
- Try to find a good niche to sell in, whether it's orthopedic shoes or shoe brands with high demand
- Vintage shoes can actually be quite profitable, but you'll need to know the market
- Look for certain materials that can increase your perceived value, such as snakeskin or calfskin
- Try to make the sizing as clear as possible for the customer, the last thing you want are high refunds
- Make sure the shoes are clean before selling them, even if that means cleaning them yourself
- Take good photos to really show off the shoe, try neutral backdrops if the shoes have a unique design
- When taking photos, take them from multiple angles so the customer feels more secure about their purchase
- When you ship the shoe, use a dust bag. They don't have to be very expensive but customers will feel better that you've tried to protect them
- Wrap your shoes in bubble wrap to prevent them from getting scratched or indented
To sum up...
Buying and selling shoes online can be a very profitable business!
Generally, it’s a good idea to:
- Stock shoes that will sell to people over the age of 18 but younger than 65
- Buy shoes that are popular year-round or be prepared to switch between summer and winter stock as the seasons change
- Buy more of popular shoe sizes and fewer pairs of the smallest or largest sizes
- Stock some black shoes
- Use market research tools such as the SaleHoo Lab when searching for profitable shoes before you buy a whole lot of stock
You can choose any of these options for sourcing shoes:
- Buy and store your own wholesale stock to sell
- Sell shoes via dropshipping and let the supplier fill the orders
- Sell liquidated stock
When it’s time to sell, you can choose online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, or you can open your own online store. Then you can market your shoes via YouTube, Pinterest, or paid advertising.
If you’re looking for a type of shoe supplier that we haven’t listed, try asking us to find one for you in the “Supplier Wanted” section of the SaleHoo forum. All the best and be sure to let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below!