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Buying Shoes Online
Old 09-13-2015, 01:22 PM   #1
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Buying Shoes Online

I prefer and buy far more online than in B&M (brick-and-mortar) stores these days, including some clothes. But shoes remains and exception for me, mostly because sizes have been less predictable than clothes IME. The only pair of shoes I ever bought online were at really low closeout pricing (no returns), turned out to be a half-size too small. So I get a mildly painful reminder of that mistake every time I wear them (poetic justice?).

Zappo's inventory, pricing and alleged customer service has been tempting, but risking sending boxes of shoes back and forth to get the right size makes it unappealing to me - even if they offer the illusion of free return/exchange shipping. I'd rather go to a store and know I am walking out with the right size. But it's getting harder and harder to find shoes I want at B&M stores, presumably the online shoe sellers are impacting the B&M sellers inventory carrying abilities (careful what we wish for?). So I may have to reconsider Zappo's and the like.

What say ye?

Note: I don't think 'showrooming' is at all fair to merchants in case you're tempted to recommend that approach. I won't do it - YMMV
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Old 09-13-2015, 02:04 PM   #2
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I guess you have a couple of choices, buy some shoes you don't really want at the B and M and leave it at that.
Or shop online and deal with the hassle, only you can decide between those 2 options...now I live 2 hours from the MOA in MSP, so I might drive down there and hit all the big retailers and the countless small shoes stores,I'd probably find something I'd like.I guess Chicago isn't that far the the MOA.....
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:19 PM   #3
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I lucked out, as I found the box for a very comfortable pair of Merrell chameleons. So I had the size, and knew they'd fit. The shoes are hard to find, so I was fortunate to find them at an online merchant -- mackspw -- in my size.

I think if you focus on two different shoe makers, you'll be able to predict whether a certain size will fit.

Interesting story: Last weekend we went to a local REI store. They had nothing in my size. They did have a show my spouse wanted, but the rep actually told her where to get it for half price on amazon. This was after trying on a pair to make sure the size would fit.
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:30 PM   #4
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Maybe this is a guy thing or an engineer/geek thing, but the only shoes I ever buy are running shoes - good for work, good for play. I know how I fit into New Balance and have been buying them online for the last 10 years with no problems.
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:31 PM   #5
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I buy shoes that I'm pretty confident will be size consistent online - primarily Birkenstock sandals and Asics sneakers.
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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I was greatly inspired by the success of my recent house remodel, whereby I ordered many things online from a number of places (Sears, Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc.) that turned out to be better, cheaper, and faster while providing much more selection than what I ever could have found in B&M stores.

So...I took the plunge and bought a bunch of new shirts from Macy's, and a couple weeks later a second bunch from Kohl's. Once again, the entire experience saved time, was cheaper or same price (always bought shirts from Ross previously), with much better selection than the B&M equivalent. All had no fit issues and came with free shipping!

Regarding your shoes question, after gushing to a friend about my online shopping success, he proceeded to inform me he now buys everything, including all his shoes online with no problems. This week, he said, he had seven packages delivered. My gushing promptly stopped.

OTOH, he buys expensive Italian casual shoes. For me, the Norstorm's Rack, Sacks Fifth Avenue, and even Ross all in one mall 5 minutes from my house are more convenient, so I'm sticking with that route for shoes. Everything else, as much as possible, I intend to buy online.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:10 PM   #7
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I'm probably one of the few that used Zappos and hated it. Two different orders of high priced junk. Sure they pay to return and reimburse, but neither would have been purchased at a B&M.

The last was a pair of green leather(picture suede) clown sized shoes. They weren't green in the photos or description neither were they suede or clown sized. The rep tried to help me as he said these ran big." I'd ordered a 9 1/2 these looked like a 12 or 13. What size would you suggest?". He got the point. Maybe I pay a couple of bucks more to go to a physical store, to me it's worth it.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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My wife orders from Zappos for many of her shoes. If she's not certain of the sizing, she'll order two in different sizes, sending the one that doesn't fit back. We recently had a problem with a belt that the rivet broke. They just said to throw it away and credited our account. They no longer had that belt in stock, so they waived the difference on a more expensive one. Unfortunately, the box arrived damaged and empty. Zappos sent a replacement and for all the trouble, gave us a $50 gift certificate for all the trouble. Other than this one time, we've had no problems with shipments.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #9
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There is something called shoefitr that many online retailers and brands use to show how a shoe fits compared to other shoes. You start with a shoe you like, plug in the size, and compare it to your prospective shoe, and it will shoe you how they compare and will recommend which size in the new shoe most closely matches your shoe. I have a need for a wider forefoot so I don't always follow their size recs because as long as the shoe is wide enough, I don't necessarily need the larger size for the length. runningwarehouse.com is my usual place to shop because of free returns, as long as you don't overuse it.

I feel a bit bad for my friend who opened a running store in a nearby town, and sometimes will go there and try and buy a new model for the first time because there is nothing quite like trying it in person, but after the first pair I go back to buying online. Like the OP, I won't try a shoe on and put it back to buy online, unless I had other issues with the store or salesperson.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #10
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I like Zappo's. I also order shoes from Amazon.

I haven't bought shoes at a brick and mortar store, for over a decade as far as I can recall. Hmm, I know I bought some at a local running shoestore in 2001.
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Old 09-13-2015, 06:24 PM   #11
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Zappos and Shoebuy.com

Both offer free returns, and both are very accommodating and will provide a return label that you attach to the original carton and take to the local UPS store.

I wouldn't hesitate with either of these two.


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Old 09-13-2015, 06:56 PM   #12
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I've always been hesitant to purchase shoes on line. Recently I purchased a pair of shoes on line at Cabela's with free shipping to a local store. I could try on the shoes at the store and if they didn't fit I could return them right there.
I get free shipping, a chance to try on and return and can support a local store. I think I'll do this again in the future.
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:19 PM   #13
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I have bought sandals and golf shoes on line with no problems whatsoever. I wouldn't hesitate to buy other shoes online either.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:46 PM   #14
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I wear a womens size 5 1/2 shoe. Most stores only carry size 6 and up, so for me, shopping online has opened up a huge number of options that I just can't find in the brick & mortar stores.

For example, I recently bought a pair of Teva sandals online. I tried to buy them at the local REI, but they don't carry my size and won't order them, even though they carry that same style in the larger sizes. I'm happy to give my business to a merchant that actually wants it.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathy63 View Post
I wear a womens size 5 1/2 shoe. Most stores only carry size 6 and up, so for me, shopping online has opened up a huge number of options that I just can't find in the brick & mortar stores.

For example, I recently bought a pair of Teva sandals online. I tried to buy them at the local REI, but they don't carry my size and won't order them, even though they carry that same style in the larger sizes. I'm happy to give my business to a merchant that actually wants it.
I'm the other end of the extreme... I have big feet - size 11 womens. Most stores don't carry that size. If it's sneakers, tevas, etc - I'll just buy a mens 9... but for pumps or womens style sandles - I have to order online.

I know my feet - and can look at a shoe and tell if it's too narrow from a picture.
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Old 09-14-2015, 01:29 AM   #16
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I have bought shoes by mail my entire adult life. My feet are short, broad, and high-arched, and no store accommodates them. Sending shoes back because of fit is just a way of life, though selections have improved in recent years.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:03 AM   #17
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I wear size 15 shoes, and shopping online is the best for me. Amazon is the best place to find the boat shoes I wear all the time.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:04 AM   #18
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DW has purchased online with Buy Women's, Men's & Kids' Shoes Online in Canada | SHOEme.ca (Mainly Teva sandals) - she has returned two pairs, (they pay the shipping both ways - and e-mail a shipping label for returns; we dropped off the return package(s) at Staples for pickup....no muss, no fuss....she recommends them).
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjm-7 View Post
I've always been hesitant to purchase shoes on line. Recently I purchased a pair of shoes on line at Cabela's with free shipping to a local store. I could try on the shoes at the store and if they didn't fit I could return them right there.
I get free shipping, a chance to try on and return and can support a local store. I think I'll do this again in the future.
I do this regularly with REI Outlet and when they are running massive sales on things I need want, including shoes occasionally. Generally, things fit and all is well; but, when I don't want the item for whatever reason, returns have always been very quick and easy.
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Old 09-15-2015, 04:22 PM   #20
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So I bought some very nice slippers online yesterday, looking forward to getting them. If that goes well, maybe real shoes next. Baby steps (pun intended)...
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