6 Common Sneaker Purchasing Errors and How to Avoid Them
In the United States alone, annual footwear sales in 2021 exceeded $100.7 billion.
Sneakers, in turn, are among the best-selling types of shoes in the country. After all, their design and materials make them excellent for everyday use. Some even feature materials that make them ideal for sports and play.
However, just because sneakers are for daily use doesn’t mean they’re cheap. They cost around $70 to $250, so you should still be careful when buying a pair.
Being a careful buyer means avoiding common sneaker purchasing errors. Below, we’ll tell you what these mistakes are and how to prevent them, so read on.
Not Measuring Your Feet’s Dimensions
In most people, the feet stop growing by age 20 to 21. Thus, it’s also often after this point wherein your shoe size no longer changes.
However, the size of your feet can change as you age, but not because they’ve started growing again.
Instead, your feet may lengthen due to ligament and tendon degradation. These structures support your feet, so when they collapse, your feet can flatten. That can lead to a lengthening or widening of your feet.
Weight changes can also affect your shoe size; if you lose a lot of weight, your feet may become flatter or narrower. Conversely, extra pounds can cause your feet to be plumper and broader.
That’s why it pays to measure each foot’s length, width, and height before buying sneakers. You should also measure both feet, as they’re not uniform in size.
If there’s a significant difference between the dimensions, get the next bigger size. You can then use inserts or insoles to make the smaller foot fit better in the other shoe.
Not Checking the Shoes’ Sizing System
One of the top mistakes to avoid when buying sneakers online is not checking their size system.
The standard shoe-size systems include the U.K., the U.S., Europe (Euro), and Mondopoint (Mondo). Of these four, only the U.S. system has a subdivision for women and men.
The U.S. system for women’s shoes denotes a 1.5-point difference from men’s sizes. So if a sneaker is a size 5 in U.S. women’s, it’s usually a size 3.5 in U.S. men’s.
The U.K. system is similar to the U.S. one, but it’s 1 point smaller than U.S. men’s and 2 points smaller than U.S. women’s. So, for example, a size 2 in the U.K. is a size 3 in U.S. men’s or a size 4 in U.S. women’s.
The Europe system is more common than the Mondopoint system, but they both use higher numbers. For example, a size 5 U.S. women’s sneaker is a size 35.5 in Euro or a 22 in Mondo.
Knowing these size variations is especially crucial when buying unisex sneakers. For instance, suppose you want to buy Air Force 1s and usually wear a size 5 U.S. women’s. If it’s a unisex model, a size 3 U.S. men’s or a 2 in the U.K. size will fit you too.
Fortunately, most unisex types of sneakers have tags with sizing charts. They convert the different sneaker sizes in all four primary shoe-size systems.
Failing to Consider the Outsole Material
Don’t focus on just the appearance of the sneakers; instead, look at their underside or soles. Sneaker soles, also called the outsoles, influence the shoes’ comfort, traction, and longevity. So no matter how cool the sneakers look, if their outsoles are flimsy, they’re not worth buying.
Rubber is among the most common materials used to make sneaker outsoles. After all, it provides excellent ground traction, is non-marking, long-lasting, soft, and comfortable. Makers also mix it with materials like ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyurethane (PU).
EVA/rubber outsoles are non-slip and often the most lightweight of all sole materials. They also feature excellent shock absorption and thermal insulation properties.
PU/rubber outsoles have non-slippery, lightweight, durable, and soft features. They’re also comfortable, thanks to their shock absorption features.
Forgetting to Check Discounts and Offers
In the U.S. alone, there are about 25,000 shoe stores, some of which are brand-specific while others are retailers. So to remain competitive in such a saturated market, they often run promos and deals.
That’s why you should check store promotions aside from comparing sneaker prices. Otherwise, you might miss out on massive discounts on your sneaker purchases.
Not Factoring in Your Outfits
Sneakers are so versatile they go well with dresses, skirts, denim, shorts, and even slacks. However, that still depends on the color of the shoes and clothes.
If most of your outfits are in bold, vibrant colors, you may want to choose a more neutral color for your sneakers. These include white, gray, black, navy, or beige.
On the other hand, if your wardrobe is full of muted shades, consider a more vibrant color for your sneakers. For instance, red, green, and bright blue sneakers work well with lighter or darker clothes.
Skipping the Fine Print
Always read a store’s return and exchange terms when buying sneakers online. After all, you won’t get to try the shoes beforehand. Thus, you should be able to return or exchange them if they’re not what you expect or don’t fit you.
Pay attention to the store’s timeline for returns and exchanges, too. Some only allow one to two weeks, depending on your location and distance from the store. Most also require you to return items in their original packaging with uncut tags.
Check the store’s fees for returns and exchanges; some shoulder the postage fee. However, you may have to use the same shipping container or a specific courier.
Lastly, verify how long it takes for the seller to process returns, exchanges, and refunds. They usually take about 30 days, but to be sure, check their website FAQs. Online customer reviews may also provide insights into these issues.
Avoid These Common Sneaker Purchasing Errors
Commit common sneaker purchasing errors, and you risk wasting hundreds of dollars. So, measure your feet, double-check each shoe’s sizing system, and mind their outsoles. Don’t forget about your outfits, store discounts, and return and exchange policies.
Keep those factors in mind, and you’ll likely be able to buy your dream shoes in the perfect size for less.
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