Payless Shoes is closing thousands of stores, taking our childhoods with them

We’re not sure how to handle this: Payless Shoe Source is closing shop on thousands of stores. Business Insider reports that Payless plans on closing 1,000 stores as part of a debt restructuring deal.

The company currently has over 4,400 stores in 30 countries. Children all over the world got carted to those stores with their parents looking for affordable kicks and church shoes. Meanwhile, teenagers all over the world marched their very first paycheck to Payless, to pick out their very first pair of self-bought shoes.

Did Payless they give away too many pairs of shoes with their BOGO sales?

In an age of online shopping, maybe Payless just wasn’t able to stay relevant.


Apparently, collaborations with famous designers such as Alice + Olivia, Christian Siriano, Isabel Toledo, and Lela Rose couldn’t even save them. Nor could bringing in high-end brands like Airwalk and Champion.

In January, Reuters reported that Payless was in debt to the tune of roughly $655 million.


A slow and steady decline in visitors to shopping malls over the years may be partially to blame for the news. The Limited recently shuttered all 250 of its stores and laid off 4,000 workers. Sears, Macy’s, Kmart, and Wet Seal have also all announced massive closures and layoffs.

Times, they are a changin.’ We once assumed Payless, like the Monopoly thimble, would be around forever. How wrong we were.