Learning how to buy shoes online has been a huge advantage for my family in keeping our cost of living low. Finding a nice pair of shoes can be extraordinarily expensive and getting them at a good price very difficult for most people.
Over time finding your preferred shoes at the cheapest prices becomes an art, but getting the hang of does take some time. I have drilled this down into a four step process.
Step 1 – Know Your Shoe Size
You cannot buy shoes online without knowing your size. This would seem easier than it is. Different manufacturer’s have slight differences in their sizing. Women know this much better than men because women’s shoes are apparently made to be uncomfortable (how do you fit your toes into a point anyway?).
The key is to know your favorite manufacturer. For instance, for running shoes I am a big fan of New Balance. They do a great job for my feet. When I discovered this I figured out that in those shoes I wear a size 11. For my general athletic shoes I prefer Nike. Nike fits me best at size 11 1/2.
No matter what the manufacturer you are going to have a preferred size. So hit the town and find out which size works best for you Without this information you are never going to get the best deal on your shoes.
Step 2 – Find the Shoe Discount
When I say find a shoe discount I am not talking about getting your shoes on sale (That’s step 3). What I am talking about is getting your order discounted. There are two ways to do this.
My preferred method is to use cash back rebate websites. These are sites that pay you a percentage back on your order for using the link from their website. So if I want to shop at the nike store online, I go to my preferred rebate site, search for nike store, and then click the link they provide.
This activates the rebate and I get whatever percentage back they offer on that website. My preferred site is MrRebates. They tend to get the best rebate price for their advertisers. Second is Ebates, which is the largest and has the most retailers, but tends to give less cashback. So I check MrRebates and if they don’t have the retailer head over to Ebates.
No matter which cashback site you choose they will work with TONS of online retailers so make sure to check both before you start shopping and they are great for any shopping you do online (not just shoes).
Backup Option – Your next best bet is to get discount codes from around the internet. I used to use these ALL the time, but I have found that the codes are getting less and less reliable. You can also try to use discount codes in conjunction with the cashback sites, but many times they will cancel out your rebate. The biggest and oldest site to get discount codes is RetailMeNot.com.
Step 3 – Get Your Shoes On Sale or Clearance
When we make purchases on items we know we are going to need, the most important thing you can do is not make a purchase in an emergency. I try to buy all my shoes as my current pair are just starting to show wear. This gives me time to find a ridiculous sale or clearance price.
This means you need to be visiting your preferred shopping websites on a regular basis to know exactly when the sale or clearance event is in effect. If you are new to shopping for shoes online here are some of my preferred sites:
- 6PM – they have some of the best clearance online and have all types of shoes.
- Sammy Dress – great place for dress shoes
- Joe’s New Balance Outlet – Like I said, I am a big fan of New Balance. This is the best site to get low prices on this brand. MrRebates gives you 5% cashback on this site.
- Nike Store – Nike’s online site has great clearance and the cashback from MrRebates is 7%. That is a really good combination.
You may find another site is better for your brand but these will get you started on your way to getting the best discount shoe prices.
Step 4 – Purchase with a Credit Card
If you cannot control your spending then shopping with a credit card is not going to be your best option, but if you are disciplined then using one of the many cash back rewards credit cards will get you at least another 1% cashback on your purchase.
The other reason to use a credit card for online shoe shopping is that the credit card companies are vigilant in stopping fraud. This is because when fraud happens they are on the hook for the money. With a debit card the money is already out of your account and you may have to deal with the bank not putting your money back right away.
With this strategy for buying my shoes online I typically save at least 50% off the retail price. If I realize my shoes are wearing out early enough I can get that number as high as 80%.
With a little practice and a little luck, you too can get your online shoe shopping to a much smaller part of your budget.