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We can never have too many shoes! Whether you are looking to pamper your feet in style or function, it's important to know how to shop for shoes online. No matter your size, style, or budget, we are here to help you discover the perfect footwear for you when buying online.
It used to be that if you wanted a new pair of shoes, you trudged off to a department or shoe store; tried on several pairs; settled on one (or a dozen), and took your purchases home with you that day.
Lately, more and more people are breaking with tradition, and buying shoes online. In part, I believe this is because we've become more busy, but mostly I think that it's because we now have access to brands, designers, styles and sizes that we were not able to find in our local shoe stores.
If you feel the need for a women's size 14, extra-narrow, red pump with a 3 inch heel, the chances are, you can find it at one of the many online shoe stores.
But all online shoe stores are not created equal. Here is some advice for buying shoes online.
#1 Fitting and Sizing
There's no perfect, crystal clear answer here. Without a doubt, fitting and sizing is the hardest part of finding a pair of shoes. sizes vary (sometimes extremely) from manufacturer to manufacturer. Be sure you can measure your foot and have an idea of what size it is. The best way to determine fittings is to measure your foot. It should be 0.5cm shorter than the insole length (from heel to toe) and 0.5cm wider than the width (underneath at the widest part) stated.
#2 Shipping Charges: The Added Cost of Buying Shoes Online
If possible, try to find out shipping charges before spending a lot of time adding items to your cart. You may think you're getting a great deal on all those shoes, but if shipping is too high, you might ending paying a lot more than you anticipated. This is especially true if you are ordering from a country other than the one you reside in.
Many online shoe stores offer free shipping or combined shipping discount, which is great. But do a few price comparisons before you buy. Occasionally, you'll find a better price at an online shoe store that charges a reasonable rate for shipping, and still come out ahead than a department or shoe store.
#3 Returns/Exchanges - Know the Policies in Advance
Another hugely important element to buying shoes online is having the ability to return or exchange them if have a defect, don't fit, or just don't look the way you thought they would.
While most online shoe stores will offer some kind of return policy, don't take it for granted. Know before checking out that you'll be able to return the "new condition" shoes for any reason.
Of course, if you're willing to take a chance on a deeply discounted pair of shoes, you might decide to buy without a return policy. But you still need to know what your return and exchange options are before buying.
Also, find out in advance whether or not you'll have to pay the return shipping fees if you do need to make a return or exchange.
#4 Need Your Shoes in a Hurry? Check Shipping Times
If you absolutely, most certainly, must have a particular pair of shoes by a certain date, I strongly recommend buying them in person, or ordering them far enough in advance that you have other options if your shoes don't ship in time.
This is not some hidden code implying that online shoe stores don't ship in a timely fashion. In fact, most of the shoes purchases I've made online have arrived in record time, but why take any chances?
Again, know the shipping policies of the online shoe store you're dealing with, and check to see if the item you're ordering is actually in stock. If it is backordered, this could add weeks to your delivery time.
As long as you deal with reputable online shoe stores and pay attention to the details mentioned above, buying shoes online is a great way to save time and money; and to give yourself the most options when shopping for footwear.