Winter is here; time to spend a bit more time in front of your computer hanging out on the Internet and going wild on shopping websites, for things like... shoes. Oh wait! Do I sound like a girl? The fact is, I just love shoes; I probably have more shoes than the average girl. I'm always looking for good brands that make really good quality shoes.
Almost every year I buy a new pair of shoes to replace the ones I have worn out. I usually buy running shoes, even if I didn't run that much in 2012! Here are some tips I've learned.
When you are buying most of your shoes at the same place it's often good to buy several at a time. Most good websites often offer discounts after a checkout or a permanent discount based on your previous purchases cost. In the end it costs less money to buy five pairs of shoes at the same time instead of buying them one at a time throughout the year. Some websites will thank you for your loyalty and offer additional discounts.
Speaking of aggressive discount websites, it's often a trap! This is the exact same strategy as low-cost flights; the price looks nice at first but in the end it's ugly: credit card taxes or taxes from nowhere, shipping costs, etc... It's often a waste of time even if it's tempting to have a look.
Unfortunately French websites are often way too expensive; north America sounds like heaven to find better prices and interesting brands but customs fees are always a terror that you don't want to hear about! That's why I like to go to other European websites like England or Germany. Furthermore, France is always missing either some styles in a brand, or the brand entirely; I don't know why; probably some weird French laws.
Size; it's often the biggest concern for a beginner shoe-buyer. However, most websites are quite clear about it and provide good sizing charts in centimeters. Once you know your size in centimeters it is just a matter of luck. Depending on the style and brand of shoe sometimes you feel good with an extra size, sometimes your feet will feel cramped. In the end the first purchase for each brand will matter since most of the brands keep the same measurement for all of their styles. I now have my personal sizing chart for each brand I buy and also sometimes a few reminders to maybe try bigger size or a smaller one the next time. To be fair, I've only had to send back one pair of shoes because they didn't fit.
We don't often think about it but some brands do think about width size. I'm particularly interested because I do have large feet and I don't like to feel cramped in my shoes. There are specialized brands which sell very large shoes and some like New Balance have very rare options that allow you to choose your width size; quite useful in my opinion. Unfortunately again, I never found this option in France and even maybe in Europe...
Like everything, your learn with experience; it's now quite common that people are asking me for tips on how to choose the right style of shoe, especially for running. The thing is to stay up to date with the new models every year. Shoes are a bit like cars; there are not completely new styles every year; I mean lots of new styles are often just a small modification of a previous one. That's why it's often a good to buy last year's styles, making the price very low.