Did you know that footwear is one of the most common items that Americans purchase? In 2020, the US imported almost 6 pairs of shoes for every person, and annual sales exceeded over $76.9 billion.
As the world becomes increasingly more digital, more and more shoppers decide to buy their shoes online. With endless choices and extended size ranges available, it’s no surprise that many people have taken advantage of the ability to buy their next pair of shoes from the comfort of their homes.
However, with online purchases comes online shoe shopping errors. It’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t understand the differences between buying shoes online vs. in person.
Luckily, we’ve created the following guide explaining what you need to look for. Consider these 10 online shoe shopping mistakes the next time you’re looking for a new pair, and you’ll find it much easier to snag the right pair for you!
Not Knowing Your Size
The first mistake you can make is not knowing your size. Believe it or not, many people don’t actually know what size their feet are. They rely on trying shoes in person to determine what size fits them best.
While there may be some circumstances in which testing shoes in person may be the best option, you should be able to accurately gauge whether shoes will fit you – if you have an understanding of your shoe size.
First, you’ll need to measure your feet. You can do this at home or go to a shoe store or cobbler if you want to measure them precisely with a tool.
This is only the first step of knowing your shoe size. You’ll also need to take into account the types of shoes you wear and how you wear them.
For instance, many women find that they can size down a half size in open-toed shoes or sandals. The extra space in the front or back gives them some wiggle room.
With athletic shoes, you may want to go a size up from your usual. When you work out or go on a long walk or run, your feet will swell.
They can grow a half size or more during exercise, which can be uncomfortable if your shoes don’t have extra space. You’ll also likely be wearing athletic socks, which may feel better if your shoes are a half size larger than unusual.
Not Checking the Website’s Measuring System
And speaking of fit, the measurement system will also help you determine what shoes will fit you. Depending on where you buy your shoes, you’ll be shopping with different measurement systems.
The most obvious difference is when you shop in different countries. A shoe store website selling a US 10 will list it as an EU 40 to its European audience.
However, you’ll also want to think about sizing differences between the brand. For example, some brands don’t sell half sizes. You’ll have to conduct some research into the shoes to see if you should go up or down a size.
Where will you get the information you need to determine what size you should choose? This brings us to our next error: failing to read online customer reviews.
Not Looking at Reviews
You know your body best, so it’s ultimately up to you to choose the style and size of shoes that work for you. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from the experience of others. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring customer reviews.
Online reviews benefit your shopping decisions for numerous reasons – which is why 72% of customers will take action only after reading a positive review.
First, you’ll learn about fit. Do your selected shoes run large or small? Are they comfortable?
You’ll also learn about the quality. People typically leave reviews for two reasons: they’re either highly satisfied with the product, or they’re very upset. Reviews will tell you if the shoes you’re interested in are truly great finds or if they’re mediocre at best.
And lastly, you’ll discover any unexpected features of the product that the pictures or description may not depict well. For instance, some colors are hard to pick up on camera. Reviews can tell you what you can expect the color to look like in real life.
Shoes can make or break your outfit. For this reason, many people choose to play it safe when they go shoe-shopping. They opt for the same styles and colors that they’ve always worn.
However, shopping online makes it so much easier for you to explore all of the options out there. Social media like Pinterest and Instagram provide countless outfits and style inspirations. Why not use the time you spend on social media to find new styles of shoes?
The next time you visit an online shoe store, don’t go immediately to your favorite brand or styles. Instead, give yourself a few minutes to browse shoes that are out of your comfort zone. Consider that there may be a pair that can freshen up your wardrobe.
One popular style of shoes that has become a modern wardrobe staple is the Dad shoes. These shoes are comfortable, athletic shoes that can be dressed up or down for most occasions.
Not Comparing Shoe Prices
Online shopping makes it easier than ever to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible. Don’t make the mistake of buying the first pair of shoes that you see without comparing prices.
A quick Google search can reveal dozens of retailers that sell the exact same product that you want. In just a few minutes, you can identify the site that will give you the best deal.
Along the same lines, don’t choose shoes that are more expensive just because of the name brand. Often, a higher price-point doesn’t indicate quality – some companies count on shoppers who live by brands to buy their products, even if they’re not made well.
Before you spend quite a bit of money on expensive shoes, look into the price and see if you’re getting your money’s worth. You may be able to find a similar pair of shoes of better quality somewhere else.
Buying Cheap Shoes
With that being said, the less expensive pair of shoes isn’t always a good option, either. Your goal should always be to find a pair of shoes that fits you well and is made of durable material.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between the words inexpensive and cheap. Inexpensive refers to the price point, while cheap refers to the quality. You can buy a pair of expensive shoes that are cheap, and vice versa.
When you buy shoes online, read the description of the material as well as the reviews. Zoom closely into the picture so you can look at the fine details.
Often, pictures allow you to zoom in close enough to see the seaming and construction of the shoe. Does everything look well-made? Are the seams aligned?
Remember that you can find a pair of shoes that fits you well and will last a long time, even on a budget. Use the internet to your advantage and conduct some research on popular inexpensive shoes that are built to last.
Forgetting to Read Return Policies
Unfortunately, even the best research into your next pair of shoes doesn’t guarantee that the pair you buy will be your perfect fit. Factors like the shape of your foot and your personal style may result in that new pair being sent back.
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to look into the return policies of a store before you buy your shoes. Otherwise, you could end up stuck with a pair that doesn’t fit you at all.
Check that the return policy fits your needs. Some stores will only give you store credit, while others will offer full refunds. And timelines can vary between a 14-day return allowance or up to a few months.
Understanding the review policy is especially important if you’re someone who likes to buy multiple sizes of the same pair of shoes. With this method, you’re guaranteed to return at least one pair.
Taking off Labels When Trying on
On a similar note, make sure you don’t take off the labels when you try shoes on. Most stores will not let you return a pair of shoes without the full tags and labels attached.
We get it – in the excitement of a new pair of shoes, it’s natural to want to take the new tags off immediately and start wearing them. But you’ll want to spend a few minutes in the shoes before you commit.
Try on your shoes inside and walk around. Jog in place for a few seconds, and try on the shoes with two different pairs of socks. This may sound silly, but this way you’ll know for sure if the shoes fit.
Also, make sure to try on your shoes inside. The moment you step outside, the soles of your shoes will become dirty. It’s unlikely that you can return them at this point.
Making Rushed Decisions
Online shopping has made shopping almost too convenient. You can end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on clothes you don’t need, all thanks to impulse buying.
Buying things impulsively is a problem that most Americans struggle with. Consumers in the US spend over $5000 a year on impulse purchases.
Don’t regret the pair of shoes you buy online as the result of a quick decision. They’re not going anywhere. Instead, take measures to avoid rushing to buy a pair of shoes.
A great way to mitigate the desire to buy something impulsively is to write down a list of everything else you could buy with the money you would be spending on that pair of shoes. You’ll likely realize that you have other priorities.
And if that doesn’t work, force yourself to wait at least 24 hours before you re-visit the website. You’ll probably notice that the shoes don’t seem as important anymore.
Ignoring Your Current Wardrobe
Lastly, don’t ignore your current wardrobe when you’re shoe shopping. Shoes can be quite expensive, and it will be frustrating to end up with a pair that doesn’t match anything you own.
If you’re in the process of updating or transitioning your wardrobe, you may want to hold off on buying shoes online. But if you have your heart set on buying shoes, select a pair in a neutral color like black, white, grey, or brown.
A good tip for buying shoes online is to think of at least 5 unique outfits you can wear that pair of shoes with. Consider how they’ll match other accessories in your wardrobe like belts, coats, and bags.
Keep in mind that your shoes don’t have to match the items in your closet exactly. A good trick to keep in mind is the idea of linking colors.
For instance, say you want a pair of shoes in a color that you don’t have in your closet, but they have black details. So long as you wear other items with black in that outfit, the shoes will go with what you own.
Avoiding Online Shoe Shopping Errors
The more you know about online shoe shopping errors, the more steps you can take to avoid making them. Your next pair of favorite shoes is closer than you think. Here’s to an enjoyable online shoe shopping experience!
If you’re interested in learning more about fashion, technology, and fitness, visit our other blog posts.
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