When it comes to buying shoes online, you can't do much of a try-on. You can judge a site by its inventory and prices, but you won't know the true fit until your package arrives (if it arrives), and you won't know how the online retailer deals with things like problems and returns until you deal with those issues.
So, we turned to our friends at SiteJabber.com, an independent site that collects feedback good and bad on web sites, for a look at the online shoe stores worth stopping by and those you ought to run away from as fast as you can.
The ones they liked:
- Zappos: This popular site met the expectations of SiteJabber users. Why? They liked the selection of shoes, including less common sizes, and praised the customer service — noting it has a 365-day return policy. Oh yeah, and shipping and returns are free. Complaints: Prices tend to be a bit higher than some other sites and there aren't many sales. Read the a href="http://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.zappos.com">reviews.
- DSW: Fans of the site like that its inventory reflects the wide variety you'll find at your brick and mortar DSW stores with the expected discount. Complaints: Some say they've run into glitches that have caused problems with their orders. Read the reviews.
- Nordstrom: Shoe fans love Nordstrom, which tends to have trendier and better quality brands than many of its competitors. Users liked that returns can made at Nordstrom stores rather than shipping them back. Complaints: Customer service online doesn't match the acclaimed in-store service and prices can be high. Read the reviews.
- 6pm: SiteJabber users heap high praise on this site's deep discounts and daily deals. Complaints: Not much. Just that the prices change so rapidly that you have to be mentally prepared to see the shoes you bought on Monday cheaper on Tuesday. Read the reviews.
- Endless: High praise on this site for its prompt processing, including free overnight shipping, and a full year to make returns. Other pluses cited by SiteJabber users: It's easy to make returns and there are sales aplenty. Complaints: Customers service has some problems with mistakes that happen from time to time during checkout. Read the reviews
- MenShoeNet: Some users complained they never got the shoes they ordered. Others said they finally did after much hassle and a long wait. Other complaints: Canceled orders didn't result in refunds and runarounds are the rule.
- Kicksbay: This China-based knock-off site delivers awful quality, badly made replica sneakers that SiteJabber users say don't resemble anything they ordered, including the size. Try to return them and you're looking at a hefty shipping charge to get them back to China.
- NikeStarShoes: See Kicksbay and you'll get the gist.
SiteJabber users also warn about literally hundreds of sites that claim to sell of famous brands including Louboutin, Gucci and Jimmy Choo among others at deep discounts that are clearly selling knock-offs. Be very wary of any site that claims to sell pricey name-brand shoes at a deep discount. Most of the top brands have very tight controls on where their shoes can be sold.
What's your favorite shoe site, and your least favorite? Tell us below in our comments field.