If you have an unusual shoe size or just need a very specific shoe to match a particular outfit, shopping online can be much quicker and more satisfying than shopping in person. However, online shoe shopping can come with caveats of its own. For one thing, you can’t try a shoe on before buying it, and you may have to pay for shipping.
Still, even with its potential issues, shopping for shoes online can be an excellent option.
1. Shop Around
Don’t assume that the first online shoe store you check out has the best selection or prices. Just as you’d shop around for the best deal and the best show at your local shoe store, you should shop around online, too. When you’re shopping online, try to find several different options so that you can compare prices, and look at reviews for specific online shoe stores, too. This will ensure that you save as much money as possible, and that you buy your shoes from a reputable online store.
2. Check Shipping Prices
Before you spend hours looking for the perfect shoe at a particular online shoe store or from a certain eBay seller, be sure you check out shipping prices. Some stores with seemingly rock-bottom prices make up for it with sky-high shipping prices. And others that offer free shipping may mark up the price of their shoes to make up for it. So check into how much shipping costs, and try to buy all your shoes at one time from one shop if multiple-purchase shipping discounts are offered.
3. Know the Return Policy
Another thing to check out before you spend tons of time shopping at a particular online store is the return policy. When you’re shopping online for shoes, you obviously can’t try them on before you buy them, so they may not fit properly when you get them. And even if you’re relatively sure of the fit of the shoe because you’ve bought that brand or size before, the color of the shoe may not appear properly on your computer screen, which could mean that those purple pumps don’t match your favorite dress after all. Regardless of how positive you are that you’ll love the shoes you order, a good return policy will protect you in case you don’t like what you buy.
4. Take Care if Buying Used
There are plenty of places to buy gently used shoes online at a huge discount, but you need to take extra care when doing so. Used shoes are more likely to pass along fungal infections like athlete’s foot, or even just to smell bad. Plus, when shoes are worn, the wearer leaves an imprint of their foot inside the shoe, which essentially changes the way the shoe fits for the next person, according to one podiatry practice. Very gently worn shoes ““ or shoes you won’t wear often ““ may not cause you problems. But if you’re buying a pair of shoes you plan to wear on a regular basis, it’s better to splurge on new shoes that will form to your foot ““ instead of trying to form your foot to someone else’s shoes.
5. Read the Reviews
Before buying a pair of shoes online, read through the customer reviews. Obviously you’ll want to avoid purchasing shoes that have overwhelmingly negative reviews, but actually reading through positive reviews can be helpful, as well. Many times, reviewers who love the shoe will still give you helpful information about color, fit, and other details. Maybe the shoe runs a little wide or narrow, large or small, or maybe the color is a bit off from what it appears to be online. Either way, this is information you’ll want to have before buying your new shoes.
6. Use Credit Instead of Debit
When shopping online, it’s almost always better to use a credit card than a debit card. Because credit cards have federally-mandated fraud protection, you can rest assured that if your payment information is stolen through your online transaction, your liability is usually limited. If you don’t have a cash back card to shop online with, check reviews to help you choose a card that will work well for you.
Shopping for shoes online is a great way to be thrifty, as well as to get more options than shopping in stores. And if you generally hate the endless store-hopping and trying-on that comes with shoe shopping locally, you’ll particularly love shopping online! Just be sure to use these six tips for a more successful online shoe shopping experience.