In my last post, which introduced my article on things you should never buy online, I talked about my disappointing experiences shopping online—particularly for shoes. After ordering the same pair shoes from Zappos last month in three different sizes, then being forced to ship them all back because not one pair fit comfortably, I concluded that I simply shouldn't buy any more shoes without being able to try them on.
Well, as it turns out, that resolution didn't last long. Because, as I discovered last night, shopping for shoes in a store has can be even more problematic than buying online—especially for someone with weird feet like mine.
After my disappointing experience with Zappos, I decided I should give up on shoes with any kind of built-in arch support, since it always seems to hit me in the wrong part of the foot. So instead, I decided to try the nearby Skechers outlet, knowing that Skechers makes many shoes with a memory foam insole that conforms to your particular foot. I tried on every single pair of flats in the store, and I didn't find any that was a perfect fit, but I found one pair in a size 7 regular that I thought would be acceptable. Until I got it home, that is, and started wearing it around the house. After an hour of just sitting still with the shoes on my feet—not even walking around much—they were starting to cut off my circulation. And since they were also so long that my heels came close to slipping out of the shoes when I walked, I knew sizing up wasn't an option. So, back those went to the store.
Then, last night, I gave DSL a try. This experience was even worse: there wasn't a single pair of shoes in the store in a wide width. I tried simply sizing up to a 7 regular, but in every single case, the size 7 - and sometimes even the 7 1/2 - was too tight across the top, yet too long at the same time. There were one or two pairs I could get my feet into, but none that felt comfortable.
So I came home and fell back on Plan B: I ordered a pair of shoes from Minnetonka Moccasin. These aren't vegan, but they're made from moosehide, which comes from (presumably) free-range moose, so it fits within my ethical limitations. And on every other requirement, they appear to tick all the boxes: they're available in a 6 1/2 wide, they look reasonable, and the overwhelming majority of reviews describe them as both incredibly comfortable and incredibly durable. They're a little pricey at $70, but if I can get five or more years of wear out of them, they'll still be a great value. And if they don't fit, I can send them back and exchange them for a different size, free of charge, until I find a pair that does. If I try on all the sizes and nothing fits, well, I'll have to eat the $7 return shipping, but I'd rather take that risk than waste another evening in a shoe store trying on pair after pair to no avail.
So it appears that, at least where shoes are concerned, sometimes online shopping is the best option after all. And that makes this story a good way to introduce my latest Money Crashers piece, which is all about the things you should always buy online. Once again, shoes aren't on that list (for someone with normal feet, shopping in a store for those is probably easier), but clothes are—or at least, "clothing basics" where fit isn't crucial—along with seven other items that are nearly always cheaper and more convenient to order over the Web from the comfort of your home.
Find out what they are here: 8 Things You Should Always Buy Online