Have you ever bought shoes online?

I have big and wide feet. Size nine wide, female. I don’t wear heels at all because I’m uncomfortable in them.

Local stores, even the better ones, seem to have a limited stock of flat heeled dressy shoes, but I’ve seen many sites online that sell shoes in all styles, including flat dress types.

Is it wise to buy a shoe without trying it on? Have you ever done it? I have only one pair of flat dress shoes and they are almost worn out, so I’m turning to fellow Dopers for advice.

It’s fine to buy shoes at a place like Zappos that has free shipping both ways (meaning free returns). I have, on occasion, bought two or three pairs of shoes just to try them on fully intending to return all but one pair.

I have size 12W women’s feet and for most wide shoes online is about the only option anymore.

There are other places that do free returns, btw. I think it was just Zappos who originated it. I do believe that Amazon.com now does free returns on clothing (including shoes).

All the major ones have free returns, both ways. Note: my experience is with men’s shoes, but they have both. Maybe if you need some specific fancy brand, you can’t.

The big one is Zappos. it seems to me like they got steadily more expensive. Amazon does it, formerly as Endless but now as themselves. Piperlime is the other one, women’s stuff mostly, I see that they’re GAP now.

From the former two, it’s pretty painless. You don’t like them, you fill out an online form, print the packing slip and return postage, and send back. IIRC you had to wait for them to accept it before getting a refund, but you could get a new order faster if you took credit or something like that. Otherwise, read the reviews as sometimes they will tell you if they fit a size too small or something.

I sell shoes online as a side business. The main issue with buying shoes online is that manufacturers vary wildly as to how they calculate size and width. There are some brands that consistently run a 1/2 to whole size small. The terms wide, extra wide and extra-extra wide are almost meaningless if you try to compare between brands. The best strategy is to be somewhat familiar with the shoe you wish to buy by having tried it on.

ReplThanks for your input. I don’t have a big budget but shoes are the most expensive clothing items I buy, as I’ve had foot problems, and my job is a standup one. I’m a baker, ha ha.

I’m willing to pay higher prices if the quality and comfort is good. I once saw one of those TV doctors say that two of the best things you could do for your health was to wear the best quality footwear you could afford, and to have regular dental care, keeping your teeth in good shape. The latter we can’t do online though!:smiley:

What do you, astro, call a “wide” by actual measurements? For a size nine, preferably round toe?

Definitely check out sites with lots of reviews, like Zappos and Amazon. On Zappos they have ratings like “fits true to width/feels wide/feels narrow.” And you will for sure run in to lots of comments about comfort, especially with wide shoes and work shoes.

I’m not at my warehouse right now so I can’t give you a direct measurement however here are a few tips that may save you some money.

As a rule in athletic shoes a women’s wide will be directly equivalent to a men’s medium “D”. There is generally a one size offset between men’s and women’s shoes. The interesting thing is that design wise for athletic shoes there are lots of men’s athletic shoes these days that are bright, fancy have interesting designs and would look perfect on the girliest girls foot. You just go a size down and get the men’s medium. The advantage here is that there are usually tons of men’s 8 or 8.5 D’s on sale all over while shoes calling themselves women’s 9 wide are far fewer in number. Some shoes even go unisex.

Re US women’s wide Doc Martens women’s shoes “medium” will generally work for most US women needing a wide. My daughter wears an 11 wide and their 11 mediums fit her perfectly.

Going up a size to a 10 medium is also a strategy to get shoes that fit. Interestingly a US women’s 10 medium will not make your foot look at all bigger than a 9 wide because it has a narrower appearance profile than the more blunt shaped 9 wide.

Since I don’t buy lots of shoes I tend to go for neutral or darker colors. My athletic shes actually were a "men’s’ shoe at the store where I acquired them, and they are black. I find the lighter the color the faster the shoe tends to get dingy in appearance. If I went to more dressy events it would be fun to have a pair of blingy type shoes though. I’ve seen some that have rhinestone buckles, or bows, which counter the darker colors and plainess nicely!

Just now I have just four pairs of shoes. One is the dress shoe that’s wearing out. One is a ratty old work shoe I use now for gardening. There’s exactly the same shoe, newer, for work, and then the athletic shoes.

Have you tried wearing 10’s? It could solve a lot of problems.

www.6pm.com is my go to site for the best deals, however, returns are not free.

No, I haven’t tried 10’s. The store I go to mostly is a dedicated shoe store, and they have fitters, like in the old days. It’s not just a section of a department store, and definitely not Payless! Ironically, I once worked for Payless for a couple of years at their headquarters here in town.

I will check out that website, thanks for the tip.

I have, and I won’t buy shoes online again. The sizes vary too much, even within the same brand. Yes, free shipping both ways is nice, but there’s the added headache of taking the shoes to UPS or the USPS to send them back within the 30 days.

The only way I’d ever buy shoes online again is if I had the exact brand and style already at home and I simply wanted to order new ones. I have done this successfully with dress shoes.

It’s 1 year at Zappos before you have to return at least. I don’t recall, but do you mean that it’s 30 days until the shipping label expires? For what it’s worth, whenever I took a Zappos package to a UPS store, they always indicated that I can just drop it on the counter and didn’t have to wait in line.

I do it pretty frequently, but it has to be either a really good deal or a brand that I’m familiar enough with that I know exactly what size I need.

I can’t remember the last pair of shoes I didn’t buy from Zappos. If you don’t count the bicycles cleats I bought at a local bike shop a couple years ago, I guess it was a pair of sneakers I bought from some local store I don’t remember about eight years ago. I would have Zappos’ babies if I could, and I’m a dude. They don’t want to screw up your order, and they’ve never screwed up one of mine but I swear to god, they love it when you have a problem. They just want to show you how goddamned awesome they are.

“Oh, they’re a bit snug? Let me overnight you a half size larger and see how that fits. And here’s a return label. Would you like us to pay for UPS to pick that shit up for you?” I ordered a pair of shoes once at like 11:30 on a Saturday night and they were at my front door on Monday morning. I was kind of concerned when Amazon bought them a few years back, even though Bezos said he wasn’t going to change the company.

I read somewhere that the Amazon model does everything it can not to interact with the customer and the Zappos model cherishes every opportunity to do the same. I think that’s pretty succinct and accurate, although I’ll also say that Amazon has pretty damned good service when you need them. They may not want to talk to you, but they provide great service when they do.

I give Bezos a lot of credit for allowing Zappos to maintain its own culture. You’re not going to score awesome deals there, but you will get fair prices and exceptional service. For the record, I don’t work for or own Amazon stock.

I’ve bought my last 2 pairs of Keens on Amazon. If you don’t really give a shit about the color like me, you can get a pretty good deal.

The first pair I ordered was a little too big, but Amazon was awesome about it; exchanged them for a smaller size NQA; didn’t even have to pay for the return postage.

Side note: on the site there was a note regarding the particular shoe I bought saying something to the effect of “this model tends to run about a size bigger than listed.” This note also appears on the official Keen site, which brings up the obvious question: if they know this, why don’t they just re-number the sizes?!

Yes, but they were (a) sandals (bigger margin of error there) and (b) a brand I had several pairs of so I knew how the sizing went.

But as others have said, most of them have free returns so you can actually try them.

I’d bought from Piperlime, which had a 30 day return policy limit. I was annoyed because I’d showed up at the post office and it was closed early, due to New Year’s Eve.

From LL Bean several times. They always fit, but their return policy is great.

I buy a lot of shoes online. I find brands that seem to fit me, and buy ones that have the kind of silhouette I need.

For example, I have Morton’s neuroma, so I have to make sure there is no tapered toe. And I need good support so I have to have room for an insert or a good insole to start with.

After a while, you get used to seeing what you know works on your foot and what doesn’t. You still might guess wrong on the size, or the brand just might not be proportioned quite right, but you can narrow it down.

If the shoes you have work, see if you can find the brand and a similar style online.

Also, if you go to full-service shoe stores, you can just ask if they can get things in your size/style. No harm asking.

I love Zappos. I buy my shoes there and my Levis. Good prices and outstanding customer service. The free shipping is ground but more often than not they upgrade you to overnight for free. I order them from work on my lunch break and they’re at my house the next day when I get back from work.