Tips for Buying Women’s Shoes Online

Tips for Buying Women’s Shoes Online

When it comes to online shopping, we’ve come a long way in recent years. What was once the pastime of the forward-thinking gadget fiend has, over more than a decade, become a process that can be completed in literal seconds, by anyone.

Some consumers might assume that there's something less personal and 'intimate' about online shopping, which is particularly true when shopping for the one thing that fashionistas all over the world covet more than perhaps any other: shoes. Shoe shopping can be a genuine pleasure for many women, but for many more, it can be frustrating and tiring. For these individuals, buying women's shoes online is now not only a legitimate option, but brings with it some benefits you might not have even considered.

In this guide to buying shoes online, we'll explain and underline all of these benefits, and will also offer a few top tips for buying shoes online that should help everyone get the best out of their online shopping experience.

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Benefits of Buying Shoes Online vs In-Store

There are numerous obvious benefits of buying shoes online, but also a number of advantages that you might not have thought of:

  • Convenience – Perhaps the main reason why buying shoes online is such a good idea for those of us who value our time off, buying online means being able to do your shoe shopping from the comfort of your own sofa, and there's no physical shoe shop on earth with that kind of flexibility! Your purchase will also be delivered right to your doorstep, usually at a reasonable price, particularly if you're willing to wait a little longer and opt for second class delivery.
  • Discount – Whereas most physical retail stores limit their sales to once or twice a year (generally winter and summer sales), you'll always be able to find a sale (and a bargain) online if you look hard enough. Price comparison is also far easier online, as it doesn't require physically trundling from one store to another.
  • Choice – A physical retail store will have limited stock depending on the size of the store itself, but an online store will have theoretically limitless stock. This means more brands, more styles and more choice. This is also a major benefit if you have a more unconventional shoe size, as online retailers will have far more choice when it comes to size.
  • Brand new – In a traditional shoe store, the shoes you're buying could potentially have been tried on by other shoppers, whereas if you're buying online, there's a far greater chance that your brand-new shoes will actually be brand-new.

TOP TIP: Know What You Want! Are you in the market for something to wear on a big night out a few times a year? Or are you looking for something subtle and comfortable to wear every day? Know whether you're shopping for style or comfort; this will make your life a lot easier as you'll be able to narrow down your potential purchase by style and function. Buying for comfort is also a lot easier online (assuming you know your shoe size), as it's less important knowing how the shoe will look on you.

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Buying Shoes Online that Fit

Whilst it's true that you won't be able to physically try the shoes on (though virtual reality might have a few tricks up its sleeve in the future!) through an online retailer, the vast majority of retailers will include a very forgiving returns window. So, you'll be able to try your shoes on in the comfort of your own home without feeling pressured by sales staff. And if they don't fit, simply arrange for them to be collected by courier or drop them at your local post office.

Buying shoes online that fit is generally as simple as knowing your size, knowing what you find comfortable and ordering to suit. Many sites will offer brand-specific guides to stop you buying the wrong size too, as (for example) one brand's size 11 might be another brand's size 12. Buying comfortable shoes online will also be easier for women with less conventional shoe sizes or special footwear needs (such as extra support or poor circulation) and will also be a far more private experience.

TOP TIP: Know Your Feet Knowing exactly the kind of size and the kind of shoe that fits you comfortably is highly recommended before you even consider opening a browser or unlocking your phone. Think about the shoes you already own that you feel most comfortable in and use those as 'litmus test' shoes, but also consider using a foot measurer to find your exact size. These tools are the same ones that have been used for high street shoe stores for decades and measure not only the length, but the width of your feet.

Remember that it's also very common for one foot to be slightly larger than the other, so don't panic if the measurements don't match up, just make sure you buy the size that fits your larger foot. Finally, if you’re purchasing from abroad, be aware that different countries will use different sizing standards. Thankfully, there are numerous online comparison tools to help international consumers easily convert (for example) US to UK sizes or vice versa. Take a look at our shoe size guide for more info.

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How to Buy Women’s Shoes Online

Online you'll be able to find any kind of shoe you imagine, but that doesn't mean you should look for the same things in them all. Not all shoes are born equal after all!

Buying Formal/Dress Shoes Online – When buying more formal dress shoes (particularly high heel shoes) online, you might want to err on the side of caution. When buying heels you should also take not just the shoe size, but the pitch (or the incline) of the heel to make sure you're buying a shoe that you will find comfortable. Generally speaking, the higher the pitch, the more weight will be put on your toes. Finally, always read the customer reviews and do your research before clicking that 'buy now' button! The same advice obviously applies when purchasing specific shoes for a special occasion. Also, sizing is rarely uniform, so make sure you take note of the returns policy.

Buying Gym Shoes/Trainers Online – Less caution is required when buying women’s athletic shoes or trainers online, as the sizes tend to be more consistent and they are generally also more affordable, so you stand to lose less money if something goes wrong. That being said, you should still research the shoe you're buying before finalising your purchase. Also, running shoes tend to be more common, so you should be able to find the same shoe from more sources. This means price comparison is a great tool to use when buying gym shoes online.

TOP TIP: Safety first Always check the fine print in the sales and returns policy of the online retailer. This is important with any items of clothing, but particularly with shoes, when the 'right fit' is so important. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to ring the customer support line for some clarity. You'll want to know exactly how much time is allowed for returns, if the retailer pays for return shipping and whether any refunds will be cash or store credit.

You'll also want to take the same precautions you would when buying anything online, making sure that all sites you use have SSL certificates and/or use PayPal, which is generally regarded as one of the most secure online payment methods. Also, as a rule of thumb; if the site looks dodgy then it probably is, so stick to clean, professional websites with a decent track record.

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Conclusion

Buying women’s shoes online doesn’t need to be scary! Not being able to try before you buy and 'see how it looks' can be a deal breaker for some shoppers and one-on-one bespoke customer service can also be missed. It's also easy to get carried away when shopping online. However, if you are willing to be patient, get to know your feet and follow our advice, buying shoes online is safe, easy and can also be a lot of fun!

Now Put These Tips into Practice!

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