Best Online Shoe Stores of 2018

Noel Case ·
Writer/Reviewer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We have been reviewing online shoe stores since 2016. We did in-depth searches on each website looking at shoes for women, men and children, finding what kind of deals were available and contacting customer support with questions. The best online shoe store we found is Zappos.com. Major benefits include a year-long return policy, 24/7 customer service and a vast inventory of shoes for men, women and children.   

Best Overall
Zappos.com
Zappos.com is an online shoe store with a wide selection of all kinds of shoes. It has rare services like free shipping on all products and a year-long, hassle-free return policy. Zappos has an easy-to-navigate, helpful website with images of shoes from all angles that make buying shoes online a pleasant experience.
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Best Specialty Shoes
Shoes.com
Shoes.com has a nice selection of specialty shoes, including eco-friendly, vegan, orthotic- and diabetic-friendly options. Whether you need shoes for health reasons, work or for your own interests and hobbies, this store has many selections available.
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Best Athletic Footwear
Foot Locker
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. You can be very specific in the type of athletic shoe you want by narrowing the search results to item categories such as lightweight, maximum cushion, motion control and stability.
View on Foot Locker
Best Overall
Zappos.com has a wide assortment of popular name brands and a selection of shoes to fit any size and style. Zappos also offers one-year returns and free shipping. Unlike many other online shoe stores, no minimum purchase is required to qualify for free shipping.
The search feature is a helpful tool to find the exact shoe you want. You can search for shoes by category, brand, size, style and occasion. The category filter is extensive and includes running shoes, diabetic-approved, orthotic-friendly and eco-friendly shoes. There are multiple photos of each shoe so you can look at them from all angles. You’ll want to watch the pricing closely because different colors of the same brand and style of shoe can have significantly different prices. Some of the shoes have customer reviews so you can get an idea of the fit and quality before you decide on a shoe. Many shoes also have video reviews from Zappos. It takes a standard five to seven days to receive your shoes after you order online. You can request and pay extra for expedited shipping if you need to receive it faster. Zappos.com allows you to return long after purchase without any hassle. If you shop on the site regularly you can become a VIP member. VIP member can qualify for free expedited shipping. Zappos offers 24-hour customer service to answer any questions.
Pros
  • There is free shipping on all inventory and VIP members can qualify for free expedited shipping.
  • You can return items up to a year after purchase.
  • It has a wide selection of categories and hard-to-find sizes.
Cons
  • You’ll want to pay attention to pricing because pricing for different colors of the same style shoe can vary greatly.
  • Regular customers will have to pay for expedited shipping.
  • The store does not offer a shopping rewards program.
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Best Specialty Shoes
Shoes.com has a large inventory of shoes, free exchanges and helpful customer service. In addition to a large selection of everyday footwear for women and men, there are many specialty footwear options.
The search browser is useful to find a specific shoe, or you can find a category type, like boots, oxfords or slip-ons if you want more browsing options. Shoes.com has many specialty shoes options, like shoes for work, hiking or running. You can also filter for such specialty features as orthotic-friendly, vegan, moisture wicking, insulated and diabetic-friendly. You can refine your search further under specifying categories like canvas, clogs, flats, size, color, price range and brand. Shoes.com has a free shipping option, but you must reach the minimum purchase requirement to qualify. If you decide you don’t like the shoes, you can return them within 60 days for a complete refund and shipping on returns is free. Items that are labeled as final sales, however, don’t qualify for returns. You can order online or over the phone. The website has a helpful FAQ page and customer service available via email or phone if you have questions. However, there isn’t a live chat option. You can also sign up for a newsletter for news and the latest deals on shoes.
Pros
  • Its wide selection of specialty shoes include vegan, insulated, orthotic- and diabetic-friendly options.
  • You can return most shoes within 60 days and the company pays for shipping.
  • This company has free shipping options.
Cons
  • There is a minimum purchase requirement to qualify for free shipping.
  • Final sales items don’t qualify for refunds.
  • There is no live chat option.
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Best Athletic Footwear
Foot Locker has an impressive selection of athletic shoes of all kinds, including field sports, track and field and general exercise. Since its focus is in one area, you obviously won’t be able to find fashion shoes or anything unrelated to sports.
Women's shoes are organized by brand, price and category and you’ll find shoes specifically designed for things like cheerleading and tennis that you won't find elsewhere. You can find a wide selection of running shoe types that can narrow down to your individual needs, such as motion control and stability. There are several nice options for people on a tight budget. You can search by price to find hundreds of shoes available in each price range. The website has a discount section so you can search for a good deal on the type of shoe you’re looking for. The company newsletter also sends out discounts and promotional options to your inbox. Categories for men’s shoes include running, wrestling, walking and every other type of activity. You can find shoes for children that have extra support or safety. Children’s shoes come in a wide selection of brands and colors – there are even name brand infant and toddler shoes available. Shipping costs from this online shoe store vary depending on your purchases. You can receive free shipping on select items or if you meet a certain minimum purchase requirement. If you choose expedited shipping, Foot Locker guarantees delivery within the promised timeframe or they will reimburse you for shipping. You have 90 days from the product's shipment date to get a full refund. You can either take your shoes to your local Foot Locker store to return or exchange them, or you can ship them back to Foot Locker's Wisconsin headquarters via ground service with the U.S. Postal Service insured or through Fed Ex. The company offers telephone support and live chat. There are also ample online support resources to answer your questions regarding payment, shipping, returns, exchanges, etc.
Pros
  • You can look for specific features in athletic shoes like lightweight and motion control.
  • You can return shoes through the mail or to a store in your area.
  • You can get reimbursed on expedited shipping if it doesn’t arrive on the promised date.
Cons
  • This store is limited to athletic footwear, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for other types.
  • Free shipping options are more limited compared to other stores we looked at.
  • If you return shoes through the mail, you pay for shipping.
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Best Selection
DSW, which stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse, has the widest selection of shoes we saw.
. It also carries many of the biggest brand names, including Nike, Steve Madden and UGG, so it is a good place to shop if you’re looking for designer shoes, boots, athletic shoes or sandals. When you sign up for DSW’s rewards program, you earn points for every dollar you spend. These points can be redeemed for gift cards. This store also offers free shipping on all sales and free exchanges within 60 days. One of DSW’s drawbacks is it doesn’t offer as deep of discounts as other shoe stores we looked at.
Pros
  • Wide variety of styles and brands
Cons
  • Not as many deals
$0.00DSW
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Best Value
If you’re looking for the best prices and opportunities to save more, Famous Footwear is one of the best options.
It has a sale tab on its site and consistently runs other promotions. For example, it often runs end-of-season sales during which you can get shoes, sandals or boots for as much as 50 percent off. Famous Footwear also has a rewards program that earns you points for each dollar you spend. These points can then be redeemed later. When you sign up for the rewards program, you also get exclusive offers and free shipping on any orders you make online. This may be one of the best perks because standard shipping applies to non-rewards members’ purchases.
Pros
  • Consistent sales and discounts
Cons
  • Free shipping for members only
$0.00Famous Footwear
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Why Trust Us
Since we started reviewing online shoe stores in 2016 we have spent over 30 hours exploring their features, their inventory, service policies and online support. We feel confident about our recommendations as a result. At some point, we contacted each of the stores in our lineup with various questions related to our findings and to clarify things we had a limited understanding of. The stores had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews online. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.

How We Researched
We evaluated shoe stores by simulating the experience of a customer buying shoes online. We did searches for specific types of shoes and priced them across different sites to find good deals. We consulted with people who regularly use online shoe stores and got valuable feedback about who provides the best service and which stores have the best selection for specific types of shoes. We explored the advantages of online buying over buying shoes in a store. We did extensive research online to the best online shoe stores.

How Can You Save By Buying Shoes Online?

Clearly you can find shoes at a local store, but you may find lower prices shopping online. Also, buying online is easier and cheaper than special ordering from a local store, especially if you need shoes in an atypical size or style. Shipping is one of the biggest drawbacks, but many online stores have begun offering free shipping, either on all orders or on orders that exceed a certain dollar amount.

What to Look For in Online Shoe Stores

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. 

Shipping
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. Look for online shoe stores that 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 to avoid paying costly fees.

Standard shipping is usually 10 days, but it’s 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.

Returns
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
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 to zero in on what you want.

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.

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