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The 15 Best Places to Buy Shoes Online and In Person

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello

Looking for the best place to buy shoes? We don’t blame you for doing a little research first. Far too often, you walk into a retailer on the hunt for deals, only to find that there’s nothing left in your size. Shopping online is a gamble too — without trying on a shoe first, you don’t know whether you’re getting something high quality or in the perfect size. But you don’t have to vet every online and in-person store on your own! Whether you need a one-stop shop or a store that specializes in a particular type of shoe or activity, we’ve got you covered.

Relying on product reviews, store reviews, testing, prices and inclusive sizing, we’ve put together a list of the best places to buy shoes online and in person. We also checked each store’s return and exchange policies and customer service ratings, which are particularly important if you’re shopping online. Not every pair of shoes will be the right pair, but you can prevent common shoe-shopping issues by looking for products at the right place.

The 15 Best Places to Buy Shoes Online and In Person

Finding the Best Places To Buy Shoes: A Buyer’s Guide

Shoe shopping can quickly become a headache if you don’t know where to begin. While it’s amazing to have an endless supply of brands, styles, sizes and retailers at your fingertips, the process can become overwhelming. So, we recommend honing in on your must-haves.

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home or be limited to just one store, for example, shopping online is the best way to go. If you have trouble finding the right fit, however, in-person stores may be better for you. (Just make sure you bring at least a thin, no-show pair of socks — you’d be surprised at how many people get athlete’s foot and other conditions from trying on shoes with bare feet!) Check out the other important factors to consider when finding the best places to buy shoes below.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Places To Buy Shoes

When determining the best places to buy shoes, we considered the variety of styles each store had, specialty items, refunds and exchanges, customer service and price.

Styles

What style of shoe are you looking for? If you want a unique sneaker or hiking boot, for example, your best bet is an online retailer that specializes in that style — such as Foot Locker for athletic shoes. If you’re on the hunt for fashion-forward, dressy shoes, however, you may have better luck at big retailers, such as Nordstrom or Asos.

Specialty Items

Thanks to the internet, finding specialty items is easier than ever. However, not every online retailer sells unique shoes — in fact, many websites sell very generic and popular styles to cater to the masses. If you’re on the hunt for a shoe that no one else is going to wear, we recommend that you do some shopping at lesser-known websites, such as Forsake and KURU Footwear.

Refunds and Exchanges

A seller’s refund and exchange policies can make or break your shopping experience. So, it’s important to check it out before making a purchase at any given store. We’ve checked out the policies of every store we recommended, and we believe all our recommended sellers have reasonable rules.

Customer Service

Shoe shopping is a difficult task — not everything is going to fit well on the first go. When this happens, the customer service department will become your best friend or worst enemy. We made sure to check out the customer service reviews of every seller in our recommendations. For each of our recs, the vast majority of customers are happy with the customer service departments.

Price

Before shopping at any shoe store — online or in person — take your budget into account. If you want to spend less than $100, for example, you’ll have an easy time shopping at Amazon, Asos or Torrid. If ample customer reviews are important to you, we suggest shopping at sites like Zappos.

What Are the Different Types of Places To Buy Shoes?

Online

A majority of shoe sellers are online only, meaning they don’t have in-person stores. Online shoe stores have a few advantages: You won’t have to deal with mark-ups from third-party sellers and you can shop from the comfort of your own home. On the other hand, you won’t get to try on shoes before buying.

In Person

Nearly all shoe stores now have a website to keep up with the times. However, you may find that local shops such as consignment stores and boutiques don’t do business online. These stores aren’t always the best places to shop for mass-produced shoes such as high-profile sneakers, but they’re great for specialty items, vintage products and discounted products.

Online and In Person

These days, the vast majority of in-person shoe sellers have websites. This means you get the best of both worlds — you can shop for shoes on your laptop or phone and return them in person, or you can shop for shoes in person and return them by mail. The downsides? These stores don’t always offer the same shoes in person that they do online, and the return and exchange policies can get confusing.

1

Best Overall Online: Zappos

Pros

  • Wide variety of shoes
  • Excellent customer service
  • Free shipping and returns

Cons

  • Shoe brands may not honor their warranties
  • Can’t try before buying
  • Variety can get overwhelming

What makes Zappos such a great place to buy shoes online? It has a nearly endless supply of shoes in every possible style and size, and it sells its products at competitive prices. The company also gets impressive customer service reviews, and offers free shipping and free returns up to a year from the purchase date.

While there aren’t many downsides to shopping at Zappos, it’s important to note that certain shoe brands will not honor warranties on their shoes purchased through Zappos (ie. you may need to purchase shoes directly through a brand’s website to get the brand’s full warranty). In addition, you can’t try on shoes before buying them as with in-person stores.

2

Best In Person: Nordstrom

Pros

  • Also has an online store
  • Specializes in high-quality shoes
  • Always sells sale items

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Hard to find the right items in sale section
  • Shoe brands may not honor their warranties

While brick-and-mortar shoe stores are becoming less and less common, Nordstrom is still a great place to shop in-person for shoes. It sells sneakers, heels, loafers, boots and more from both affordable and high-end brands. Plus, the sales section sometimes has good deals hiding on the shelves. If prices aren’t affordable enough, we also recommend Nordstrom Rack — the off-shoot brand that sells items from previous seasons at discounted prices.

Overall, though, Nordstrom is expensive. While the sales section is helpful in searching for affordable shoes, it’s often difficult to find items in your size. Also, some brands may not honor certain aspects of their warranties if you purchase their shoes at Nordstrom.

3

Best for Affordable Shoes: Old Navy

Pros

  • Most shoes are under $50
  • In-season shoes
  • Business-casual and casual styles

Cons

  • Hit or miss with shoe quality
  • Difficult to find the right shoes in stores
  • Slow website

If you’re hoping to spend less than $50 on a pair of shoes, we recommend Old Navy. The brand sells in-season and casual shoes at affordable prices both online and in store. They also specialize in business-casual footwear such as loafers and faux leather boots.

However, some buyers believe the quality of shoes suffers for the sake of affordability. It may also be difficult to find the ideal shoe in stores — you may only find styles you like that are in your size online. In addition, the website is slow and takes a while to load, which can be frustrating.

4

Best for Dress Shoes: Reformation

Pros

  • Sustainable
  • High quality
  • Recycling program

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Few shoes sold in wide width
  • Return shipping free only if you keep an item from order

While Reformation stepped into the world of shoes just four years ago, it’s done a lot in a short amount of time. The brand sells sustainable, high-quality shoes for all kinds of dressy occasions, from the office visit to the gala. (Our favorite is the Mallori closed toe heel.) We love the recycling program, which allows you to return worn shoes from the brand for a store credit.

The downsides: Expect to pay a hefty fee for Reformation’s shoes, many of which cost over $200. In addition, the brand doesn’t offer many wide-width options, and return shipping is free only if you keep at least one item from your order.

5

Best for Athletic Shoes: Foot Locker

Pros

  • Expansive collection of basketball shoes and running sneakers
  • Quick shipping
  • Multiple perks if you sign up for rewards

Cons

  • Website isn’t intuitive
  • Shoes may be sold at a higher price
  • Restock fee on returns

If you’re on the hunt for a great pair of athletic sneakers or sport-style shoes at a fair price, Foot Locker is the place to shop. Its assortment of basketball shoes (think Jordans and Nikes) is expansive, as is its collection of running sneakers. We also like Foot Locker’s rewards program — FLX Rewards — which gives you free shipping, early access for certain deals and special rewards.

However, some buyers have noticed that certain athletic shoes sold on Foot Locker are sold at lower prices elsewhere. In addition, you may have to pay a restock fee on returns (not on exchanges), and some buyers find the website difficult to use.

6

Best for Office Shoes: Vivaia

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Cushioned insoles
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No wide widths
  • Not much arch support

In search of a comfortable yet stylish work shoe? Vivaia is our top pick. The brand has been gaining buzz in recent years for producing high-quality, unique and fashionable styles that make comfort a priority (a rarity in the world of office shoes). Our favorite is the Julie Pro — a round-toe, sleek and knitted shoe with a chunky heel.

The downsides: Vivaia shoes are pricey, so multiple pairs may not be in your budget. Also, the brand doesn’t offer many shoes in wide widths, and some buyers wish the shoes had more arch support.

7

Best for Trendy Styles: Asos

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Wide-fit styles
  • Fashion forward

Cons

  • Some buyers see it as fast fashion
  • Slim return window
  • Shoes come in bags

Asos is an excellent place to shop if you’re looking for the trendiest shoes on the market. (Right now, you’ll find the site peppered with chunky black loafers and pointed, closed-toe mid-heels.) We like that the brand sells wide-fit styles and frequently has sales. Plus, shipping is free over a certain threshold, and return shipping is free if sent back in the first 14 days.

However, some buyers found that certain shoes were lower quality than what they had expected for the price. We also think the 14-day return window is a bit slim, and shoes come in bags as opposed to boxes.

8

Best for Outdoor Activities: Forsake

Pros

  • Wide range of hiking boots and walking shoes
  • Many weatherproof styles
  • Some styles sold at in-person stores

Cons

  • No wide fit shoes
  • Some styles reportedly uncomfortable
  • $10 fee for sale-item returns

For all things outdoors, we recommend Forsake. The online shoe store offers a wide range of hiking boots and walking shoes, many of which are water resistant and easy to slip on. They have great everyday styles, too — our favorite is the Sofia Chelsea Boot! We also like that in-person retailers such as Nordstrom and REI sell Forsake products, so you can try on shoes in person.

While Forsake offers free returns on full-price items, it charges a $10 fee for sale-item returns (though this isn’t too bad if you consider that most sellers don’t allow returns on sale items). In addition, women’s styles aren’t sold in wide widths, and some buyers found certain styles uncomfortable.

9

Best for Foot Pain Relief: KURU Footwear

Pros

  • Variety of styles for different activities
  • Designed to reduce foot pain
  • Shop based on your foot condition

Cons

  • Expensive
  • $5 shipping and restocking fee if you don’t have rewards
  • Not sold at most in-person retailers

If you struggle with foot pain, we strongly encourage you to shop at KURU. The online seller offers all kinds of shoes with cushioned insoles that cater to a variety of foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis, flat feet, heel pain, heel spurs and bunions. (In fact, one customer noted that their KURU sneakers were better than any other sneaker brand, including Vionics and Hoka, for 12-hour work shifts.) We love that you can shop for shoes based on your foot condition.

Since KURU shoes are tailored to specific foot issues, they can get expensive. In addition, the brand charges a $5 shipping and restocking fee on returns if you don’t sign up for the rewards program — so make sure you do!

10

Best Luxury Shoes for Plus Sizes: Vince Camuto

Pros

  • High quality
  • Boots sold in wide calf sizes
  • Try on shoes at DSW

Cons

  • Expensive
  • $7.95 mail-in return fee
  • Could expand its wide-width collection

If you struggle to find a high-quality, dressy shoe in your size, try out Vince Camuto. The brand sells luxury heels and sandals in wide widths, and also sells tall boots in wide and extra wide calf sizes. We also like that you can try on shoes in person at any DSW store.

The downsides: Vince Camuto is expensive, especially if you’re purchasing genuine leather products. And if you want to return your shoes via mail (rather than in person), you must pay a $7.95 return fee. We also think the brand could stand to expand its styles sold in wide widths.

11

Best for Rain Boots: Muck Boots

Pros

  • Durable
  • 100% waterproof
  • Free returns and exchanges within 30 days

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some styles are clunky
  • Insoles could be more comfortable

If you want to buy a pair of rain boots that can withstand all kinds of wet weather, Muck Boots is the ideal place to shop. The brand sells an expansive collection of 100% waterproof boots, most of which have a durable rubber exterior and neoprene upper. The result is an extremely comfortable and long-lasting boot that you can wear in both cold and warm weather. We also love that Muck Boots offers free returns and exchanges within 30 days.

Of course, premium boots are expensive. Some buyers also find certain styles to be clunky and uncomfortable, and others wish the boots came with more comfortable insoles.

12

Best for Fishing and Water Sports: XTRATUF

Pros

  • Waterproof styles
  • Easy to slip on
  • Grippy outsoles

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not made for wide feet
  • Insoles are not cushioned

If you’re an avid fisherman or woman, we recommend XTRATUF. The brand sells boots and boating shoes that are waterproof, easy to slip on and grippy on slippery surfaces. They’re also durable, lightweight, comfortable and need little to no break-in time.

However, some customers note that the shoes don’t accommodate wide feet. Another common complaint is that the insoles don’t have much cushioning, and that the shoes are pricey.

13

Best for Utility Boots: BOGS

Pros

  • Free UPS shipping (except Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico)
  • 100% waterproof
  • Made to withstand very cold temperatures

Cons

  • Expensive
  • $12 shipping fee and $10 return fee for sale items
  • Some styles are clunky

BOGS is an excellent place to shop if you work on a farm or simply love to traverse the outdoors in all kinds of weather. The boot company specializes in 100% waterproof and durable shoes that can withstand extremely cold temperatures. A bonus: It offers wide-width and wide-calf sizing.

The downsides: BOGS charges a $12 shipping fee and $10 return fee on sale items. In addition, its boots are on the pricey side and some styles can feel clunky.

14

Best for Plus Sizes: Torrid

Pros

  • Wide range of styles
  • Shoes sold in wide widths only
  • Boots sold with wide and extra wide calf sizes

Cons

  • Limit to plus sizes
  • Certain styles feel low quality
  • Some shoes are uncomfortable

Not many retailers cater to plus sizes, which is why Torrid is such an important brand. The online seller offers booties, sandals, heels, flats and more in wide widths only, and it also sells wide-calf and extra-wide calf boots. Styles are always trendy, so you’re sure to find in-season picks.

However, Torrid has its limits in terms of sizing. It doesn’t cater to people who have calves greater than 20 inches in circumference. Also, some buyers complain that certain styles are made with low-quality materials, and that some shoes aren’t comfortable.

15

Best for Free Returns and Exchanges: Amazon

Pros

  • Quick shipping
  • Easy returns
  • Huge collection of styles

Cons

  • Options can get overwhelming
  • Some poor quality shoes
  • Must have membership for best returns and exchanges

If you want to be sure that you’ll have a simple return and exchange process when shopping for shoes, we recommend Amazon. The online mega-retailer offers so many brands and styles that it’s difficult to keep track, and with a prime membership, shipping is speedy. Returns and exchanges are also free with a membership, and Amazon allows you to return items at various drop-off points to make things easy.

However, Amazon suffers from many poor-quality and fast-fashion shoes, so it’s important to read reviews. The options can also get overwhelming, and you won’t get the benefit of quick and free shipping without paying for an annual membership.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Where do most people get shoes?

    A:While brick-and-mortar stores used to be the most popular places to buy shoes, most customers now use online stores such as Zappos and Amazon.

  • Q: What is the best online shoe store?

    A:Based on reviews, customer service and overall satisfaction, Zappos is the best online shoe store.

  • Q: What is the best in-person shoe store?

    A:Nordstrom is a great place to shop for shoes in-person because it offers a wide range of high-quality styles.

  • Q: How much will I spend at different places to buy shoes?

    A:The cost of shoes varies greatly from store to store, but you should expect to pay between $20 and $200 for a great pair of shoes.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

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By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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