How To: Shop Shoes Online

2nd April 2020


Click your way to shoe nirvana with our guide to mastering the art of online shopping. 

Whether shopping for a pair of shoes for a future girls’ night or browsing for a seasonal update, navigating the world of online shoe shopping can be tough. Size and fit are critical – things that can be hard to gauge in the virtual realms of an online store. The joy of the internet means that a new pair of shoes is never more than a few clicks away. But what is a blessing can also be a curse – the arrival of an impulse purchase that doesn’t fit is always inconveniently disappointing. Before you get keyboard happy, we have a few practical tips for making sure that your online purchase doesn’t end in a struggle with an impenetrable returns policy. In lieu of whiling away an afternoon in your favourite boutiques, get your shoe fix with our guide to shopping footwear online. 

Avoid losing hours of your life in a spiral of new browser tabs and impulse purchases you later regret by having at least a vague idea of what you’re looking for. With only a few trackpad taps between you and a pair of questionable stilettos, it’s all too easy to end an online spree with a pair of unsolicited sandals and a tonne of buyer’s remorse. Even if you are after an impromptu pick-me-up, ask yourself the same questions you would when shopping IRL. What will you wear them with? How much wear will you get out of them? Do you really need them? Be conscious of the carbon footprint of your delivery, and don’t buy things you know you’re likely to send back. Would you still buy these shoes if they didn’t offer free delivery and returns? If the answer is no, remove from cart. 

When it comes to size and fit, the proof is always in the pudding. However, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the potential of an ‘ugly sister’ moment on receipt of your delivery. You know your shoe size, but measuring your feet and cross-referencing with the brand’s size chart can pay dividends. Retailers also provide size and measurement guides that are worth checking out, if only to convert shoe sizes. Luxury online stores often leave notes about whether a style fits true to size – use these as a guide, along with your previous experience of a brand or similar style. Depending on how and where they’ve been manufactured, some sizes can run smaller, and it might be worth going up half a size in a pointed toe. Always look at the heel height measurements, as images can be deceptive. If you’re really unsure, order a couple of sizes to try at home. 

Getting the size right with new designers can be tricky. If you are in doubt, consider ordering a couple of sizes to try at home.
Do your research before investing in designer pairs. You can read the review of these Bottega Veneta ‘Lido’ heels, here.

Before you hit ‘checkout’, look over the delivery and returns policies. Check that the delivery date matches your expectations – there’s no point investing in a pair of heels for Saturday if they won’t arrive until next week. Make sure you can return items in a way that’s convenient, and that the timeframe is reasonable. We recommend shopping with retailers and brands that try to minimise the carbon footprint of their deliveries, and always select sustainable packaging options when offered a choice, such as Matches’ Eco Luxe Box. 

It sounds obvious, but have a proper look at the shoe’s e-commerce images – use the zoom tool and any accompanying video footage to see details and how they look when worn. Research how the shoe has been styled on Instagram and in editorials. Read reviews from trusted sources. We have a whole host of real, honest reviews on 5 Inch and Up to help you make informed choices when shopping both IRL and URL. 

Take your new shoes for a spin at home on a carpeted surface as soon as they arrive and make your decision within a few days of your delivery. Don’t be beguiled by the thrill of a beautiful pair of shoes arriving in the post. It always makes us giddy, but now is the time to be practical. If they don’t fit, send them packing. And if you love them, prepare to never take them off.

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