Shoe Stores Online

Putting your best foot forward

I am a shoe-a-holic! The only trouble is, there's nothing I like less than wasting my time in store after store, waiting in lines, and otherwise playing the usual retail game. That's why I have purchased just about every one of the more than 400 pairs of shoes and boots I have online. True story! And you can do it too.

Size Matters

The first thing to really be sensitive of is knowing your own shoe size. This may seem like a silly thing to say, but when was the last time your foot was actually sized? Get sized in the late afternoon when your foot is likely to be at its most swollen, so you know just how big a shoe needs to be to fit you. And try on BOTH shoes! Most people have feet which are at least slightly different sizes, so it pays to take the time to check out both.

Now that you are certain of your own size, remember that different makers will fit your feet differently. Keep this in mind while shopping for shoes online, and keep notes on which makers fit you best and in which brands you need smaller or larger sizes.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Size is out of the way, but the real question on your mind is...where do I go?!

Most folks who are new to online shopping are concerned they won't be able to see what they are looking for well enough to be certain about their purchase. However, a virtual stroll through most sites should change plenty of minds on that score, and while return policies vary, they are usually fairly generous, and are always easy to find.

Returning merchandise tends to be easy, as most shipments arrive with a "just in case" return shipping label that you can place on a box or bag. Of course you're still paying retail prices at these websites, but you have the added convenience of shopping from home. You also have features like wish lists, which add to the ease of your shopping.

Popular Online Shoe Stores

One of the best online shoe retailers is Zappos. This retailer has kids shoes, mens shoes and womens shoes of all kinds. It has, hands down, the very best viewing system for online shoe shopping; each shoe can be viewed at every conceivable angle and you can zoom in as well.

Whether you're a woman looking for serviceable work shoes at a good price or a femme fatale shopping for serious couture, Zappos has what you want - and they add to their stock constantly. You're likely to find those Pradas that you drooled over at Saks for less at Zappos.

The site also has the features that make online shopping easy: a wish list so you can put those favorites on ice until next time; free shipping for all orders; and - yes, this is true - a 365-day return policy on all purchases! And of course your shipment will arrive with a return label so you can turn around and stick the label on your parcel if you want to send those babies back. You can hardly go wrong at Zappos.

Another great choice is Bluefly. This site is designed for the fashionista set who want to wear the absolute latest and the best designers, but don't want to pay full price for them. I say, viva le resistance! Bluefly doesn't have any of the simply, no-nonsense things that most of us crave, but they do have the fancy designer stuff, and they have it in spades, for a LOT less.

Bluefly stocks both mens and womens shoes, and although no one beats the Zappos 365 return policy, Bluefly's is great too: 90 days to return merchandise so long as it is unused and still sports its tags. If you return for Bluefly credit the shipping is free, but otherwise the return shipping price is only $6.95 - one dollar less than the flat $7.95 shipping fee Bluefly charges to ship your order inside the U.S., no matter how big it is.

My final discount source for online shoe shopping? EBay! It may seem sketchy, but in years of buying shoes on eBay (and hundreds of pairs later) I have not once had a bad experience. People who routinely sell goods on the auction site rely upon customer feedback, and even one angry customer can hurt their business. It's not for everyone, but I recommend eBay for discount online shoe shopping.

I hope you give online shoe shopping a try, because it is worth your while. You will be surprised at how easy it is, and how certain you can be of your purchases even when you make them online. You will save your time, your money and your sanity doing your shoe shopping online. Best of all, when someone asks you where you got those beauties, you have a great story to tell!

By Karla Momberger