Online shoe stores provide far more styles and sizes than what any department store can offer. Whether you need running shoes for a 5K or high heels for a wedding, there are shoes for every occasion. In selecting shoe stores for our buying guide, we sought out retailers that provide a large inventory for men, women and kids.
Besides a vast inventory, online shoe stores should offer numerous shoe styles, and they need to make it easy to browse and quickly locate the types of shoes you're looking for. For our buying guide below, we made sure the companies did just that.
Below are the standout retailers – those that excel in offering designer shoes, athletic footwear, even specialty shoes, such as orthotic and diabetic-friendly. Read more below about the best online shoe stores, and to learn more, read our articles about online shoe stores.
Best for Designer Shoes
Designer shoes can be extremely costly, particularly if you buy them from a brick-and-mortar department store. However, some companies, such as Macy's, provide high-end merchandise without extremely high prices. While Macy's is one of the more expensive retailers in our guide, it runs many promotions to keep costs low. Additionally, its inventory is extensive and consists of many top name-brand shoes.
Another recommendation for designer shoes is DSW, which stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse. This online retailer is exactly what its name suggests: a warehouse for designer shoes. This company provides numerous styles and brands. In addition, shipping and exchanges are free, so you don't have to worry about additional costs.
Macy's, a popular department store, offers the same selection of quality merchandise online that you'll find at its brick-and-mortar locations. This company features a large selection of fashion shoes for men, women and kids, including popular and designer shoe brands. Additionally, it runs promotions often, so you may be able to find the shoes you've had your eye on at a sweet discount.
Best for Athletic Footwear
When you exercise or play a certain sport, the right footwear is critical. It can make all the difference between playing at peak performance or receiving a serious injury.
Foot Locker is one of the best online shoe stores for athletic footwear. You can find shoes for specific sports and activities, such as basketball, golf, cheerleading and tennis. Additionally, you can narrow search results further by looking only at shoes, for example, that are lightweight, have maximum cushion, motion control and stability features. With this company, you can be very specific in the type of athletic shoe you desire.
Foot Locker specializes in athletic shoes. It has an impressive catalog of shoes for field sports, track and field and general exercise. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, this retailer likely has your next pair of basketball or running shoes. Because the company's focus is athletic footwear, you won't find high heels or fashion shoes.
Best for Specialty Shoes
For some people, due to health, work or personal reasons, you may need specialized footwear, such as orthotic or diabetic friendly shoes. Or, maybe you need shoes that are insulated or completely waterproof.
When browsing shoe stores online, you don't want to look through dozens of shoes, trying to find a pair with the features and characteristics you need.
Shoes.com is an online shoe store that provides many specialty shoes, including eco-friendly, vegan and moisture-wicking options. Whether you need shoes for health reasons, work or for your own interests and hobbies, this store has many selections available.
It has a 60-day return policy, so if you don't like the shoes or they don't fit just right, you have plenty of time to return them. And even better, you don't have to pay for shipping. You simply print out a return shipping label, stick it on the box and mail them back to the company.
Deals & Discounts
One of the advantages to shopping for shoes online is the numerous sales and discounts you can find. Many companies provide daily deals where a handful of shoes are on sale for that day only. You can also search through clearance sections to find shoes at steep discounts. Holidays, end-of-season and other sale events can also spur discounts.
Look for online shoe retailers that provide an email newsletter and subscribe to it. Often, these emails contain promotional codes and coupons you can use to get further discounts that aren't available to the general public.
One disadvantage to shopping online instead of in a brick-and-mortar store is shipping costs, which add up quickly, especially if you are shipping several pairs of shoes. Luckily, many online shoe stores provide free shipping.
Other stores may give you free shipping once you've hit a minimum purchase requirement. And some stores may charge a flat shipping fee. Before you spend too much time browsing a store's inventory, read its shipping policy. You shouldn't pay large fees if you don't need to.
There are different shipping methods. Standard shipping takes seven to 10 days. It is nice to have the option for faster delivery times when you need it. Most online shoe stores offer expedited shipping for an additional cost. Most retailers offer order tracking so you can check on the status of your shipment.
When it comes to return policies, longer is better. Look for shoe stores that offer 60-day or longer return times; this gives you more time to make it to the post office to return merchandise.
Easy Search Options
Online shoe stores provide extensive inventories; however, because the inventory can be so large, you need to be able to find what you are looking for quickly and easily. Consider the company's search options. Some of the best online stores provide a toolbar where you can search by keyword. Many companies let you filter results by style, brand, size, width, color, heel height, price range, etc. These search filters allow you to bypass dozens of shoes so you have an easier time finding exactly what you're looking for.
Online shoe stores provide convenience and a larger selection of shoes than you'll find in a brick-and-mortar store, saving you time and money. And, best of all, no more long days spent driving all over town to different shopping centers in search of that perfect pair of shoes.