WHAT’S UP WITH SHOE RENTALS
Okay, if you read the title, I know you might be imaging bowling/ skating/ ski shoe rentals. I want you to put aside those daunting images for just a moment and open your mind to a new possibility (if only just for a little while). You remember when Rent the Runway blew up, everyone was trying to get in on the amazing opportunity to look as stylish as your favorite celeb at a fraction of the cost. Have you ever wondered if there were other companies out there that rented items beyond clothing? Shoes, even? If you’re like me, you’ll probably like to know that there are indeed companies out there who’ve definitely got us Queen Feet Ladies covered.
WHY IS THIS A THING
Ladies, let’s just admit it. We can be pretty indecisive with our wardrobes. We like to dress for our moods, the season, the occasion, the experience, etc. All of these moments are very temporal. So, we need to consider a closet that is as dynamic as our personalities. We deserve to customize and rearrange our closets to be actually useful and not for insurmountable storage space for things we never wear. If we only wear ,on average, roughly 20% of the items in our closets, what’s the point of letting those cost you more on storage.
WHO ARE THESE COMPANIES
#1. Style Lend
If you’re in NYC and love designer shoes, you should definitely consider taking advantage of this opportunity to earn some money on your worn soles with this startup. You can give them your shoes worth a minimum of $200 to be rented, with you receiving 50% of the rental price. Currently, they accept/ rent designer shoes up to size 12. What’s even more exciting is that they’re looking scale until they’re fulfilling demand internationally since they’ve gotten so many requests beyond NYC. I’m definitely excited to see where they are in the next 5-10 years.
#2. Village Luxe
This rental community is also exclusive to NYC. Currently, this site has lots of size 11 options but limited in size 12s. This, of course, could change as this startup continues to grow. In the meantime, you might find a lot of luxury apparel options that could catch your eye.
#3. Bag Borrow Steal
Just know, this site is very limited when buying size 11 shoes. Sizes beyond that are virtually nonexistent. They seem to currently specialize in luxury handbag rentals; however, I’m hopeful for their future product expansion also as demand grows.
Even non-luxury retailers like Designer Shoe Warehouse are now considering renting out-of-season styles and/ special occasion shoes. You know, it does make sense. When else do you need champagne colored satin shoes besides wedding season? How often do you wear your prom shoes? If these questions resonate with you, it might be valuable to at least consider the possibilities of shoe rentals.
I know, there are still MANY questions about this business model to be answered. What happens if your property gets damaged? Lost? How do I continuously rent my shoes or clothes while keeping everything sanitary? Not to mention, we do live in an “I”, “My” society. Are we ready to start sharing our closets beyond occasional thrift shop purchases?
While you might not be completely sold on the concept, you could keep this in mind during hard financial times, especially if you have valuable footwear, apparel, and accessories. Of course, there would be a lot of kinks to work out for this to be a scalable concept. For instance, would this model require the resurgence of the shoe repair/ cobbler industry? The shoe rental idea has already been posed to luxury labels to offer an alternative to their usual one-time sale model. And while current rental communities exist in concentrated fashion hubs like NYC, this could change soon. You never know, shoe rentals may just be the future.