Cocktail Sneakers sells both in retail locations as well as online because let’s face it, sneakers are a product that most people tend to want to ‘try on’ before they buy. Even so, most brands offer online shopping options to make their products imminently more accessible. Experience has proven that footwear is a challenging product to purchase online because brands design sneakers differently. Beyond color choices, sneakers are made using various materials, sole heights, and overall weights. Leather, for example frequently requires a ‘break in’ period before it molds to a wearer’s unique foot shape whereas mesh is more forgiving and readily shapes to a wearer’s foot.

To help alleviate the trepidation that comes with purchasing sneakers online, here are a small handful of best practices to ensure you find a perfect fit every time.

  1. Measure (twice!)
Most online footwear sites provide a way for you to measure your feet to ensure a proper fit. Measuring at home is fairly simple if you follow these guidelines:
  • Measure your feet toward the end of the day when they are at their largest (thank you, gravity!)
  • Trace your foot (left and then right as your feet may not be the same size) onto a piece of paper on the floor.
  • Measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the outermost part of the heel.

Armed with this information, you should be able to compare measurements against the available brand’s sizing chart to locate optimal shoe sizing.

Women, specifically, experience feet size fluctuations (seasonally, while pregnant, etc.) therefore it is prudent to add some “wiggle room” of .5 inches to ensure proper fit. If sneakers don’t come in half sizes (and you are a half size), size up to avoid pinching or discomfort. Should the design of the sneaker be narrower, and your feet tend to be wider in the toe box (or even if you prefer a roomier fit), also consider going up a size. To mitigate the above, Cocktail Sneakers smartly designed its sneakers with a matching cork lining cut to the exact fit of every sneaker, which can be added beneath the sunset-orange sock lining not only to ensure a perfect fit as feet aren’t always the same size! 

For serious sneakerheads, it may be worthwhile to invest in a Brannock foot device.

2. Read Returns/Exchange Policies

Online footwear brands innately understand that like their apparel cousins, some items may not fit exactly as a customer wishes the first time around. Therefore, most have thoughtfully constructed returns and exchange policies that allow customers to exchange incorrect sizes or return items they decide they don’t like. Be sure to check these policies for free shipping and return options as well as any potential restocking fees associated with returns for refund or exchanges.

3. Check Reviews
Online shopping has ushered in valuable customer insights in the form of reviews. Generally, reviews help clarify initial thoughts or concerns customers have about the product or the company they wish to purchase from. Reviews are subjective and should therefore be used as a framework to better understand a customers’ overall experience. Are the reviews consistently positive? Are there any patterns of concern—with sizing or customer service response time? A lot can be learned from reading what others write about fit, performance and durability.
4. Contact Customer Service

The flexibility and convenience of online shopping has made purchasing products incredibly easy. Customers scrolling websites or social platforms can buy desired items with a single click! That flexibility has created distance between brand and customer which sometimes makes communication with the brand (or customer service) challenging. Before hitting the “buy now” button, consider contacting customer service with any potential questions or concerns. Shoppers can quickly assess whether the company from which they plan to purchase is responsive and engaged. Brands that want your business are highly responsive and will jump through hoops to make customers happy.

5. Keep an eye on your favorite brands

Many retailers are volleying for consumer businesses. To maintain a competitive edge, brands will create promotional campaigns or sales discounts for customers that are advertised across social platforms or more exclusively through email or e-newsletters. When you find a brand you adore, consider subscribing to their email lists and follow them on social to keep track of future promotions and discounts to get the best deal for the products you want most. 

Buying sneakers online is more common and can be an unexpectedly fun (and competitive) experience when brands release limited-edition designs and styles. Use the tips above to ensure your online shopping experience is as positive and seamless as possible.