You’ve spotted a fantastic pair of shoes on an online shop and you’re ready to dive in and buy them. But hold up! There’s a few things you need to consider before you buy shoes online.
Buying shoes from an online marketplace is of course different to buying them on your high street. In your local shoe shop you can try the shoe on, get a feel for the quality and you know where you can take the product if things go wrong.
So before you go through the checkout and get those fab new shoes shipped to you, here’s some of the most important stuff to consider when buying shoes online.
Check the Returns Policy
When it comes to returns, you’ll find that the policy varies hugely between stores. Some of the bigger marketplaces offer free returns, or even the option to return to a local outlet. Larger brands, who both have turnovers in the millions, can easily afford to offer free returns. Likewise bigger online stores often offer free returns.
Away from the big boys of the industry, you’re probably looking at the return costs being incurred by the buyer. This is actually the standard procedure for most small and mid sized shops, but it’s worth checking policies before you commit to buy.
There will also be a time limit on your returns options, often around 14 days, but this does vary. Always read the returns policy before you complete that checkout!
Although you will obviously know your shoe size you’ll probably also be aware that sizes vary between brands. If you’re a size 10 in one shoe you might find you’re a 10.5 or 11 in another brand.
The variable comes from a mixture of the use of materials, and the different sizing templates available for shoe manufacturers. Check the company’s website for their sizing details and measure your foot using a pair of thick socks.
If in doubt, stick to your normal shoe size or make a visit to a local outlet to check the sizing of the brand you’re looking at.
Check the Material Details
They might look great online, but actually what are they made of? Materials vary massively, with different leathers, nubucks, suedes and fabrics being available in a huge variety of qualities. If you’re buying a pair of leather shoes from someone like Doc Martens or Timberland then you probably know what to expect. But if you’re getting a pair of shoes with unique or varied materials, such as those cool new wool shoes from a company like Baabuk, then you might not know much about them. Read the details on their website to get up to speed about what they’re from.
Every business online these days can be easily researched in just a few moments. Sites like Trustpilot, Facebook, Amazon and Google will tell you all about a company’s customer service and quality.
Of course, you’ll need to take a broad view as many people just like to complain. But if you’re looking at smaller clothes stores or startup manufacturers like the aforementioned Baabuk, search their name and see what comes up. Add their name plus ‘Trustpilot’ to look at their quality feedback.
Try them on ASAP
When you receive your brand new shoes make sure you try them on straight away. As returns policies are normally only valid for around 14 days, you’ll need to make sure that your new purchase is just right.
Put on a pair of clean socks and wear the shoes around indoors. You want to avoid soiling the shoes in any way as this might invalidate your returns opportunity, so wear them for a few minutes around the house to get a proper feel for the fit, materials etc.
Trying them on and walking in them means you’ll get a feel for important fitting variables such as pinching, rubbing or general discomfort. If they’re not right make sure you start your returns procedure as soon as possible.
So next time you’re considering buying shoes online, remember to check the product and company details, look at the returns policy, and finally don’t forget to try them on as soon as possible.