Finding the right shoes for your needs requires knowing what can hinder your progress. Here are common shoe shopping mistakes and how to avoid them.
People are buying more footwear than ever before. Between 2019 to 2025, the market growth for shoes will increase by 3.8%.
There’s a huge variety of designers, styles, materials, and extra features available nowadays. The incredible amount of choice encourages consumers to upgrade their kicks on the regular.
But with more choices comes more chances to choose the wrong footwear. And the wrong shoes can ruin your day, damage your feet, and put a huge dent in your bank balance. You want to do all you can to avoid common shoe shopping mistakes and have happy healthy feet.
Not sure where you are going wrong when you shop for shoes? This list of the most common mistakes will teach you everything you need to know.
- Not Knowing Your Shoe Size
Be honest. When was the last time you measured your feet? If your answer is “high school” then you are likely in good company.
But it won’t hurt to measure your feet again before overhauling your shoe closet to be 100% sure you’re wearing the right size. And you can measure your feet at home too with this handy step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Grab a piece of paper, pen, and measuring tape.
Step 2: Put the piece of paper on a flat surface (wood or linoleum floor is fine) and place your bare foot on top.
Step 3: Draw around your foot so you end up with an outline of your foot on the paper.
Step 4: Grab your tape measure and line it from the back of your heel to the tip of your big toe.
You can also measure your width if you think you have wide feet. Use each store’s personal sizing chart to determine what size shoe you are for each brand. But, you can use this shoe size chart to convert your foot in inches or cm to standard shoe sizes.
If you are buying shoes from overseas, don’t forget to look at the conversion instead of guessing. In the US, there are different shoe sizes for men and women but many countries have one universal size for all genders.
- Shopping at the Wrong Shoe Stores
Not all stores sell quality shoes and many sell the same pairs of shoes for different prices. One of the most common shoe shopping mistakes is not comparing shoe prices before you press “buy” in an online shoe store.
Some classic types of shoes (like Converse sneakers, for example) almost never go on sale. But, if a store is running a sale across their entire store, you can often get these timeless shoes for cheaper than usual.
Also, check online customer reviews if you are shopping at a store you have never shopped at before. This is the best way to check that a store has good returns and refund policies and offers great customer service.
Stores often share positive, five-star reviews on their websites. But the only way to get an accurate picture before you buy sneakers online (or any other shoe) is to check independent review sites like Trustpilot.
- Failing to Try On or Break in the Shoes
If you wear a t-shirt in the wrong size, the worst that could happen is that it doesn’t look flattering. But if you wear shoes that don’t fit right, you could get blisters or cause damage to your toes or feet.
You could even lose toenails and develop fungal problems.
So, make sure you try on your shoes before you buy them. Whether you buy in-store or online, go for a short walk around your house or the store. If your feet slip around in the shoe or they pinch you, they are the wrong size.
And when you try on the shoes, wear the socks you intend on wearing the shoes with. If you are buying hiking shoes to hike in a cold climate, try on the shoes with your thick hiking socks.
Some shoe brands, like Doc Martens, need breaking in before they will feel comfortable. Again, wear them around the house first before you venture outside.
- Opting for Style Over Comfort
Many people own dozens of pairs of cheap, low-quality shoes rather than a select few decent, comfortable pairs. It’s a huge mistake to choose fast fashion over durable, classic pairs of shoes.
Most people should have the following capsule shoe wardrobe:
- Smart shoes
Opt for strong, durable shoe materials like leather and GORE-TEX for waterproof shoes. These types of shoes might have a more expensive upfront cost, but they will save you money in the long term as you will need to replace them less often.
And if one part of the shoe wears down (like the liner or the heel) then you can hire a cobbler to replace only that part. This will save you even more money in the long term!
- Choosing Impractical Shoe Styles
Would you wear sneakers to hike Mount Everest? No, but you likely make silly shoe choices (with less serious consequences) all the time.
High heels are fine for special events like cocktail parties and weddings. But if you are wearing them to the office every day, that’s a surefire way to kill your feet. Instead, choose a shoe with a strap and a lower heel.
Sneakers are fine for most sports and short walks on asphalt. But when you’re walking your dog in your local park where it often rains? Invest in a pair of rain boots or waterproof trail runners, instead.
Avoid These Common Shoe Shopping Mistakes
Some people think buying shoes is a simple and easy task that you don’t need to think about too much. So, they’re surprised when they make common shoe shopping mistakes and buy uncomfy shoes at high prices.
But now, you know what these mistakes are. And you will be able to build an enviable shoe collection full of stylish and comfortable shoes that you bought at affordable prices.
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