Buying shoes online can be a right pain sometimes.
This is especially so when they arrive and you’re hoping to have a “Cinderella” moment, but end up having a “wicked stepsister” moment instead, trying to jam your foot into an ill-fitting pair of heels or sneakers.
While shopping online for shoes is great – you have access to countless brands that don’t have a physical retail space in Singapore – the downside, however, is it can be difficult to find shoes that match the pictures and description, is comfortable to wear and the correct size for your feet.
As such, here are eight tips to bear in mind when you shop for your next pair of footwear online so you don’t end up wasting money.
1. Shop on sites that allow you to zoom in on images
One of the biggest challenges of buying shoes online is that it can be hard to get an accurate sense of the quality and finish of the shoe.
Shop with retailers or sellers that have clear images of the product from multiple angles.
You want to be able to zoom in to get a better idea of the colour and texture of the materials used, not to mention how fine the finishing is.
2. Look for images of the shoe worn by models
Often, it helps to see the shoe worn by a model. This is especially so when you’re trying a new style.
For instance, on a model’s feet, you will be able to see how much toe cleavage a pair of heels reveals, or if the placement of the ankle straps visually elongate or shorten the legs.
If the images you desire are not available and the shoes are from a major brand, try looking for photos of them elsewhere.
Different online retailers have different ways of presenting their product and you may be able to find a variety of images photographed with different lighting or styling.
3. Start by measuring your feet
Place your feet flat on white paper one at a time and trace its outline with a pencil.
Measure the length from the tip of the big toe to the heel. Most people have feet of different sizes so do take the measurements for both sides.
With this, you can find out your shoe size for different brands by referring to conversion charts.
4. Consult individual brand sizing and conversion charts
Sizing is often inconsistent across brands, sometimes even within the same brand.
Shopping sites that stock a many different brands may offer one size and conversation chart as a guide but you should note that this is often just that — a guide that may well be inaccurate.
If the brand that you are interested in buying has its own website, consult that size and conversion chart instead.
5. Buy brands that you have tried before
When in doubt, stick to buying brands that you have worn before.
That way, you have a better grasp of which size to get and how the shoes would fit on your feet.
6. Start with a relatively cheap pair
If it’s the first time you are buying from a particular website or brand, start with a test order, and make sure it’s not something that’s too much of a splurge.
Once you’ve established that the sizing and fit of the brand work for you, go ahead to shop till you drop.
7. Make sure you’re comfortable with the return and exchange policies
Read the return and exchange policy carefully before making any purchases.
Shoes are heavy and can cost a lot to ship back, especially to an overseas retailer.
8. Consult customer reviews on the pair prior to purchase
When it comes to shoes, reviews are invaluable if you want to find out if the product is true to image and to size.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.