When you shop for clothes online, selecting the best fit for your body isn’t usually all that difficult. A small sized shirt is probably similar at most retailers, so if you’re confident in your size, you can place your order without worrying too much about purchasing clothes that don’t fit.
Shoes, however, are an entirely different story. At some stores, you’re a size seven–at others, you’re an eight. Depending on the brands you shop, you can leap a whole size up or down. Plus, everyone’s feet have particular needs. Some people require a wide fit while others prefer long and narrow styles. People also like specific amounts of extra cushioning or support.
No one wants to end up ordering a pair of shoes online only to realize they are uncomfortable. So, how can you ensure that you’re spending your money on shoes that will probably suit your needs? Here are some tips for buying shoes online:
Choose a Retailer You Can Trust
One moment you’re browsing the Internet for great shoe deals, the next you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and found yourself on some website that you’ve never even heard of before. Now, that’s not to say that finding new stores is a bad thing, but you should always make an effort to spend your money at stores that are secure.
Smaller retail stores are your best option when it comes to shopping online–you are likely to get a better deal rather than if you were to order from a chain department store. Don’t let yourself fall into a trap, even if those designer stilettos look like a real steal. Chances are, they probably aren’t.
If you’re not 100 percent positive that an online store is legitimate, you can find out if they are through a couple of steps. First of all, Google the website’s name and check out whatever reviews and objective feedback you can find. If you can’t seem to locate a history or any sort of reliable references to the site, it’s a no go.
Then, check out the website’s connection type. If the address includes “https” instead of “http” then you know you’re using a secured site. By double checking the security of the website, you can prevent yourself from spending money with a sketchy retailer and ensure that the website is actually selling quality products.
Pay Attention to Reviews
If the online store you’re browsing doesn’t allow real customers to leave reviews on the products they purchase, then that’s a huge red flag, especially when it comes to shoes. Before you commit to a pair, you’ll want to read quite a few opinions to help you make a decision.
Reviews can tell you if the shoe runs true to size or not–consumers tend to rely heavily on online reviews before making a purchase. If everyone who purchased the shoes before you bought a size up, then you probably should too. Other customers can also tell you if the color appears correctly in the store photo, if the shoes are comfortable, and if they are satisfied with their purchase. After reading a bunch of positive or negative reviews, you’ll feel more confident in your buying decision.
Evaluate the Materials of the Shoes
Although you might not be able to physically pick up a pair of online shoes to see how they feel, you can read about the materials they’re constructed from. This can help you ascertain the level of quality, as well as get a better feel for what the shoes actually look and feel like in real life. For example, if the UGG boots you’re looking to buy aren’t made from sheepskin, they’re most likely fake.
Sometimes, stores will sell boots and other shoes that look like they’re made of real leather, but they’re actually created with a fake mimicry. Do your homework and be aware of what materials you’re putting on your feet and what are the most common in footwear. Don’t get stuck paying for a nicer product than you’re actually ordering.
See If You Can Try the Shoes On Somewhere Else
In 2016, an estimated 1.61 billion people worldwide purchased goods online for a variety of reasons, including cheaper prices. More often than not, you can stumble across great online sales on designer brands that would cost a fortune in store. The only bummer? You cannot try things on over the Internet.
What you can do is find a cheaper version of your dream shoe online, then locate a more expensive version of the same shoe in a physical store. Make a trip to the store, try the shoes on, then place the order online once you know that the shoe fits well and meets your expectations. You’ll get to try before you buy and save money. Two birds with one stone.
Check Out the Return Policy and be Cautious
If the worst happens and you’re unhappy with the shoes you so carefully picked out online, you’ll want to be able to get your money back or at least exchange them for store credit. Before you commit to an online order, do some research and figure out what the retailer’s return policy is.
Many online stores have strict return policies or will make you pay for some pretty expensive shipping to send a pair of shoes back. In those cases, you might not want to go through with the purchase unless you are very certain you’ll be happy with the product. Shopping online can be risky, but by taking the proper steps–you are likely to purchase a product that will satisfy your needs.