Nowadays the Internet has made it very easy for us to buy practically any product regardless of where in the world it is produced or sold from. In most cases this makes our lives much easier, because instead of having to walk around for hours and even days to find exactly what we need, it is now a few keystrokes away. Not to mention that we have access to a much wider variety of goods and services from around the world that we would not have had otherwise.
However, with all the benefits of online shopping come some disadvantages, especially when it comes to buying shoes.
In the analog world, we would normally just walk into a store, choose a pair of shoes we find attractive , ask the salesperson if they have our size , and then try them on. Sometimes they will fit, other times we might have to go through this exercise a few times before we are happy with our choice.
The problem is, of course, we just can’t try a pair of shoes online as we would in the shop down the street.
So the only options we have is to either ‘chance’ it and just order our usual size and hope it will actually fit, or to consult a shoe size chart online before ordering.
Taking a chance is usually not the smartest approach because all shoes and brands are made different. While we can wear a size 8 in one brand and type of shoes, we could easily need a 9 in another. So if we order the wrong size, we will then need to return them to the seller (if they accept returns that is) and take another chance based on how the shoes fit. Returning products is quite expensive however, and can significantly increase the final price you end up paying for the shoes. Do this a few times, and you would probably be better off just going to the store.
At first we might think that measuring our foot size and then consulting a shoe size chart would be a better approach, but you actually end up with the same problem as before, and for the same reasons, if you just look up the first generic shoe size chart you find online. All manufacturers have their own standard that may or may not adhere to any international convention or standard. So you will end up improving your chances of getting it right, but not by all that much. And that is if the chart you looked up is actually correct, which from my personal experience is NOT the case eight times out of ten. If you don’t believe me, just go online and find a few of these charts and compare them – you’ll quickly spot at least some differences. Which one to use then??
The best approach by far that I’ve found is to, first, accurately measure the size of your feet, and then to look up the shoe size chart specific to your brand. This information is usually not readily available or easy to find.
Also, if you don’t find your brand in their list (which is currently at around 550 brands), you will at least find an accurate chart based on the Brannock device – the de-facto international standard. You will also find help to convert your size from one region to another, for example you can convert between US, UK, European, Japanese, Chinese, and other sizes.
So save yourself some money and frustration, and make sure to consult the right resources next time you decide to buy shoes online.