Fashion Shoes

Shoe Shopping Tips: Navigating Online & In-Store Purchases

Shoe shopping can be both an exciting and daunting task, whether you’re browsing the aisles of your favorite store or scrolling through endless options online. Finding the perfect pair involves more than just picking a style you love; it’s about ensuring comfort, fit, and value for money. This guide will provide you with practical tips for navigating both online and in-store shoe shopping, helping you make informed decisions and find the perfect pair every time.

The Basics of Shoe Shopping

Before diving into specific tips for online and in-store shopping, it’s important to understand the basics of what makes a good shoe shopping experience.

Know Your Size

Knowing your correct shoe size is fundamental. However, sizes can vary significantly between brands and styles. Meghan Cleary, author of Shoe Are You?, advises, “Don’t be afraid to size up or down in shoes. Every brand and style fits differently, so it’s important to try on multiple sizes to find the perfect fit” (Source: Meghan Cleary’s Website).

Personal Anecdote: My Size Revelation

I used to always buy the same size, assuming it would fit across all brands. One day, I fell in love with a pair of shoes that felt tight in my usual size. Trying a half size up made all the difference, teaching me that flexibility in sizing is key to finding comfort.

In-Store Shoe Shopping Tips

1. Shop in the Afternoon

Your feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon or evening. This ensures that the shoes will fit comfortably even when your feet are at their largest.

2. Bring Your Own Socks

Wear or bring the type of socks you plan to wear with the shoes. This helps ensure a proper fit, especially with athletic or winter footwear.

3. Stand Up and Walk Around

When trying on shoes, stand up and walk around the store. Cherise M. Goring, DPM, advises, “Your feet change shape when you’re standing, so it’s important to get a feel for how the shoes will fit when you’re actually wearing them” (Source: Verywell Health).

4. Seek Help from Sales Associates

Sales associates can provide valuable insights and assistance. Nick Wooster, Men’s Fashion Director at Forty Five Ten, suggests, “When shopping for shoes in-store, ask a sales associate for help. They can help you find the right size and style for your needs and can also offer advice on how to care for your shoes” (Source: The Business of Fashion).

5. Check the Return Policy

Even when shopping in-store, it’s important to know the return policy. This way, you can confidently make a purchase knowing that you can return or exchange the shoes if they don’t work out.

Online Shoe Shopping Tips

1. Read Reviews

Reviews can provide insights into the fit, comfort, and quality of the shoes. Cherise M. Goring, DPM, emphasizes the importance of reviews: “When shopping for shoes online, read the reviews carefully. Pay attention to what other customers have to say about the fit, comfort, and quality of the shoes” (Source: Verywell Health).

2. Use Size Guides

Many online retailers provide size guides that can help you determine the best size based on your measurements. Some even offer tools to measure your feet at home.

3. Take Advantage of Free Shipping and Returns

Beth Goldstein from NPD Group advises, “Take advantage of free shipping and returns when shopping for shoes online. This will give you the flexibility to try on shoes in the comfort of your own home and return them if they don’t fit” (Source: NPD Group).

4. Look for Detailed Descriptions and Photos

Ensure that the product descriptions and photos provide enough detail about the shoe’s material, construction, and fit. This helps you make a more informed decision.

5. Check the Return Policy

Always review the return policy before making a purchase. This ensures you can return the shoes if they don’t fit or aren’t what you expected.

6. Use Mobile Technology

A study published in the Journal of Retailing found that mobile devices are increasingly used to research shoes, compare prices, and make purchases. Use mobile apps and websites to enhance your shopping experience, ensuring you get the best deal and the right fit.

Balancing Style and Comfort

It’s tempting to prioritize style over comfort, but this can lead to regretful purchases. Dr. Rock Positano from the Hospital for Special Surgery states, “The most important thing is to find shoes that are comfortable for you. Don’t sacrifice comfort for style. If a pair of shoes doesn’t feel good, don’t buy them” (Source: Hospital for Special Surgery).

Personal Anecdote: Comfort Over Style

I once bought a pair of stunning high heels for a wedding, but they were incredibly uncomfortable. By the end of the night, I could barely walk. Since then, I’ve prioritized comfort, ensuring I can enjoy both the event and my shoes.

Tips for Specific Shoe Types

Athletic Shoes

For athletic shoes, focus on fit and support. Make sure there’s enough room in the toe box and that the shoes provide adequate arch support. A study from the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research emphasizes the importance of proper fit to prevent foot injuries and enhance performance.

Dress Shoes

When buying dress shoes, look for quality materials and construction. Leather shoes, for instance, should be supple but supportive. Walk around in them to ensure they don’t pinch or rub.

Casual Shoes

Casual shoes should be versatile and comfortable. Opt for styles that you can wear for various activities, from running errands to casual outings.


Boots should provide ample room for socks and should not be too tight around the calves. Ensure they are easy to put on and take off and that they offer good support.

Making the Most of Sales and Discounts

Take advantage of sales and discounts, but don’t let a good deal cloud your judgment. Ensure the shoes fit well and meet your needs before making a purchase.

Seasonal Sales

Look out for seasonal sales, which often offer significant discounts on various shoe types. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and end-of-season sales are great opportunities to snag high-quality shoes at lower prices.

Sign Up for Newsletters

Many retailers offer discounts to new subscribers. Signing up for newsletters can give you access to exclusive sales and early notifications about upcoming discounts.


Navigating both online and in-store shoe shopping can be a breeze with the right approach. By following these tips, you can ensure that you find shoes that fit well, are comfortable, and meet your style needs. Remember, whether you’re shopping in-store or online, prioritize fit and comfort to keep your feet happy and healthy.

As experts like Meghan Cleary, Cherise M. Goring, and Beth Goldstein emphasize, taking the time to find the right shoe can make all the difference. So go ahead, put these tips into practice, and enjoy a successful shoe shopping experience that leaves you with perfect-fitting footwear every time.

Happy shoe shopping!

Serena Mitchell

I'm a fashion-obsessed gal with a passion for sharing affordable finds, styling tips, and body-positive fashion inspiration. I believe great style is about feeling confident and expressing your unique personality – not about breaking the bank. When I'm not hunting down the perfect pair of jeans, you'll find me sipping coffee at my favorite local café or exploring new hiking trails with my pup.

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