How to Shop for Shoes Online without Tripping Up

Internet shopping has two major benefits over real-world shopping: firstly, you literally have a world of choice at your fingertips; infinitely more than you’ll find in the average high street or shopping centre and, secondly, there are fabulous bargains to be found. Ah, you say, but surely it’s not a good idea to buy shoes on the internet? We disagree: provided you follow our guide to shopping for shoes online and are happy to put in a little effort you’ll be rewarded with some outstanding online shoe bargains that should fit perfectly. Here’s how:

It helps to know upfront exactly the kind of shoe you’re looking for
If you type a vague query such as ‘buy black shoes’ into an online search engine you’ll be presented with enough results to keep you browsing for the right pair until the end of time. Limit your search results to the country you’re in and be specific: ‘buy Clarks black leather ankle boots size 9’ as a search term is likely to return a smaller and more relevant selection of results.

Know your shoe size and don’t be tempted to deviate from it
Shoe sizes can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, and different countries express shoe sizes in different ways. Most diaries have a shoe-size conversion chart, as will most reputable online shoe retailers. If you have a preferred shoe manufacturer whose shoes you know will always fit your feet, all well and good. If not, to guarantee that your online-bought shoes will fit nip to your nearest shoe shop, find an equivalent pair and try them on before you bag your internet bargain. If you are near a shoe shop it’s always a good idea to get your feet measured too. If you’ve fallen in love with a shoe you’ve seen online but the retailer doesn’t have it in your size, move on – don’t be tempted to risk buying half a size larger or smaller; you’re asking for disappointment.

Look for customer testimonials and reviews
If you’re thinking of buying shoes from an independent online retailer, it’s always worth doing a quick search for online reviews and testimonials from existing customers. If the retailer is any good, they may already feature customer testimonials on their site.

Don’t let hidden costs undermine your online shoe bargain
There is no world shortage of shoe shops; competition for customers’ cash is fierce. So, when purchasing for shoes online shop around for retailers who won’t charge for credit card transactions and who offer free delivery. Don’t be fooled into adding overpriced accessories (polishes, brushes, spare laces etc.) to your order and make sure that your online shoe retailer offers secure online shopping – there is usually a logo to this effect on a retailer’s website.

Check out customer services and returns/refunds/exchanges policies
Should the shoes you purchase online be damaged or unsuitable in any way you should be entitled to return them to the retailer. However, policies vary greatly between online shoe retailers – some will refund the purchase price to your credit card, whilst others will offer you store credit to value of your purchase to buy another pair of shoes. Some will arrange for your returned shoes to be collected from you free of charge, others will expect you to pay the postage costs. Make sure you know exactly what’s on offer if something goes wrong before you hit that ‘checkout button’ on the website.

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