Everyone enjoys e-commerce purchases, but buying shoes online is a bit trickier.
It’s much easier for you to go shopping at the mall for a pair of new kicks.
Because you get to try them on, see how they look and feel, then check out and be on your way.
Obviously the in-store method guarantees that you’ll get the proper shoes for your feet, right?
According to a study by the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 75% of Americans are wearing the wrong sized shoe. A shoe is considered to be the wrong size if it’s:
a. Longer or shorter by half a size
b. Narrower or wider than a person’s foot by more than one width size
You probably won’t think that this is a big issue. You might even say that you like your shoes slightly bigger or smaller than your feet.
But What happens If You’re Diabetic?
Consider this: individuals with foot ulcers caused by diabetes are 5.1 times more likely to have improper shoes than diabetics without foot ulcers. Furthermore, one of the biggest issues affecting diabetics is neuropathy (nerve damage).
Diabetic nerve damage usually happens in your body’s extremities. Places like your feet and hands are at risk, especially since they’re so far away from your spinal cord and brain. In some cases losing feeling in your legs and feet may eventually lead to the development of infections.
Nerve damage is very serious. Once nerves are destroyed, nothing can restore them again. This is why people suffering from diabetes should be wearing proper shoes that fit their feet.
While these facts are of major importance to diabetics, finding a shoe that fits is still important to you.
Trends In America
Each year foot-injury related issues cost the U.S. economy $6 billion dollars. If you think about it, you’re on your feet everyday except for only a few hours when you’re sleeping. Since your feet are so important, you should be taking care of them.
Now you might think that buying an expensive shoe is the only way to get the “right” fit or protect your feet. This isn’t true. You can buy a cheap pair of shoes from Walmart or Payless and you’ll be just fine.
The key here is to make sure you’re buying something that fits.
However, the problem is that the cheap shoes available would last you all of one week. Those kinds of shoes would obviously be a waste of money.
If you’re going shoe shopping, at least make sure to get something that’s good quality. After all, protecting the things that transport you should be a high priority.
7 Tips for Buying Shoes Online
Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, these are the steps you should be taking before purchasing.
1. Know Your Size & Fit
First you need to know the dimensions of your foot. While videos like this one can show you how to find the right shoe size, it’s best to let a professional do it for you.
Now you don’t necessarily need to go to the doctor for this. You can visit a nearby shoe store and have a skilled professional record your measurements.
He/she will have you stand on a Brannock and adjust it to record the size of your feet. Most boutique shoe stores should have both a skilled professional and a Brannock device.
2. Avoid Popular Retail Stores
We recommend you avoid Footlocker or Foot Action because it’s highly unlikely any of those retail folks are skilled craftsmen or shoe experts. Except if it concerns the latest Nike Hyperdunk 6000 VRZ Midrange. In which case they’ll talk gibberish to you.
If you can’t find a boutique shoe store close by, you should do a Google search for nearby shoe business. Then call around to ask if any of those stores have what you want. This beats driving around aimlessly looking for a store.
3. Find Your Shoe
After you’ve found your store and gotten your measurements, you’re ready to start buying shoes online.
Although you know your measurements, only two sizes mater: right and wrong. If you’re a 12 but your foot fits snugly into 12.5, then 12.5 is the right size. Numbers on the box aren’t always accurate, so you can’t always trust them. Just make sure to keep your receipt or box just in case. Or you could shop with Amazon Prime and enjoy hassle free returns.
4. Buy Arch Supports
The third thing you need to do is get yourself some arch supports. If you followed our advice to meet with a professional who uses a Brannock, you should know your arch length as well.
When it comes to arch supports, we’re not talking about Dr. Scholl’s or those silicone gel insoles. You want proper supports, and the best options are from companies like Birkenstock, Inov8, Spenco, Superfeet, L.L. Bean, etc.
TIP: Arch supports aren’t fitted in accordance with your shoe size. They’re based on your arch length.
On the Brannock device, the tiny slider that touches the ball of your foot measures the arch length. Don’t be alarmed if the measurement is larger than your shoe size, this is normal and you’re not an ogre. Just know that arch supports focus on the contoured shape beneath your feet, not the distance around your foot.
5. Customize Your Arch Supports
The number of shoes that come straight out of the box with added support is very limited. It’s usually up to you to purchase and install them. Except for select brands like Noat, Birkenstock, M8T and Dansko – all of who make some of the strongest work boots and shoes.
Sometimes the insoles that support your arches and heels can be longer than your shoe. In which case, you’d need to trim them. You can do this easily by using the original soles as a tracing template. Once you have an outline, simply cut off the excess and, BOOM, you’re good to go.
The first few times you wear your arch supports, they’ll feel a little weird. If these are your work shoes, you may want to carry the original insoles with you. Just in case your feet become irate with you and start protesting.
Over time the arch supports will save your feet. They’ll also stop bugging you and your life will be normal again.
Foot Fact: Women are 4 times more likely to experience foot problems than men.
6. Don’t Buy Cheap Shoes Online
When it comes to price, premium quality won’t come cheap. You can buy cheap shoes online or in stores but you probably shouldn’t. Your feet are extremely important and you need them everyday. If you’re a server, construction worker, engineer, nurse or in a similar profession, you should be paying for premium.
There’s a good chance you haven’t done any of the other steps before. If that’s the case, you’ll come back to thank us when you realize what a huge difference these tips make. Especially if you’re like a few of our writers who work long shifts at other jobs. This will the smartest investment you make versus upgrading to the next Apple iPhone 800C++.
7. Function Over Style
This last tip is probably the most important to remember. Even if you work in the field or have a dress code, being on your feet for hours, changes everything! Your shoes stop being accessories and become vital tools for your feet. You aren’t merely dressing for work. You’re getting equipped for it.
While buying shoes online or in store, worry about what will fit and provide support. Let your feet lead and your eyes make suggestions. Leave your ego out of this. You’re shopping for work shoes, not high fashion (that’s a topic for another day).
Imagine if you’re a server or technician, do you really think the customer cares about your shoes?
No. They care about the kind of service you’ll be giving them.
So if you’re concerned with vanity and style, your feet and your tips will suffer. Remember that all good workers are only as good as their tools. That’s why they invest quite a lot in premium items. You should do the same thing with your shoes because they’re also important tools.
You can apply these tips for buying shoes online or in local stores. Whether you’re searching for work shoes or just looking for shoes to go running with. The principles remain the same.
Always by what’s right for your feet, not what’s trending. It’s a decision and an investment that will pay for itself in more ways than you can imagine.