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Friday, April 13th 2012

Smart Shopping: A Guide to Buying Shoes Online

Ah, shoes. They’re the things fetishes are made of. Platforms, sky-high heels, brilliant colors, gorgeous details—a woman’s closet can never have too many (just ask Imelda Marcos). Here, a few tips to guide you in finding the perfect new addition to your own collection.

At Shopbop, our product editors try on every pair of shoes as they write descriptions (lucky ladies, no?), and out of this effort comes a note on how the shoe runs: true to size, large, or small. You can find these notes on the Size & Fit tab of any style’s detail page (it’s the tab next to the Description). As you look at these notes, keep your own foot’s nuances in mind. Is your foot particularly narrow? A little wide? This will affect how the shoe fits you.

Also keep in mind that European sizes run a little differently from US sizes. A US shoemaker tends toward a slightly wider shoe, while European sizing errs on the narrow side, particularly on the larger end of the scale. (For example: I wear a US size 10, but I always buy a size 41 when shopping for See by Chloé and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes.)

Looking at a shoe online, particularly a shoe with a heel, it can be tough to tell what falls into your comfort level. Start with a favorite pair of pumps (preferably a pair without a platform) already in your closet. Set the shoe on a tabletop, and with a tape measure or a ruler, measure the heel height from the table to where the foot would rest at the top of the shoe. Use that measurement as your guide when browsing shoes online.

Remember: a platform can be subtracted from the heel measurement to get the true feel of the heel height. For example, if the shoe you’re shopping has a 4-inch heel and a 1-inch platform, it will feel like you’re walking on a 3-inch heel.

Soles generally come in three iterations: leather, rubber, and synthetic. Leather soles may wear down more quickly than rubber. If you think your new pair will get a lot of wear, have them resoled at a cobbler right away, and they’ll last you for ages.

Shop designer shoes.


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