5 On Your Side

Best Places on Your Computer to Shoe-Shop Till You Drop

Posted October 16, 2007 1:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2007 9:43 p.m. EDT

— People spent $130 billion shopping online last year, and nearly one in five people shopped for shoes. Given that volume of business, Consumer Reports just checked out a number of shoe sites.

Buying shoes can be fun. Finding them is another story, though.

Fit, price and style all factor in.

One place worth checking is the Internet. More and more Web sites sell shoes.

Consumer Reports checked out eight shoe sites that emphasize women’s offerings, including Nine West, Zappos, and Piperlime.

Most sites have a wide selection of styles and sizes, except for ShoeMall.com. It had a limited number of brands–and no shoes for children.

For savings, Consumer Reports found some good choices.

“Piperlime in particular had really good prices overall. But no one site always has the best deals, so you really should shop around" says Lisa Freeman from Consumer Reports.

Go right to the clearance section for the best deals.

Looking for designer shoes? Consumer Reports says SmartBargains.com has a great selection, including shoes from Michael Kors and Kate Spade at good discount prices. But don't expect to find the same styles sold in stores.

Another consideration is return shipping fees if the shoes don’t fit or you don’t like them.

"Many of the sites don't cover return shipping. So if you don't like the style and it doesn't fit, you'll have to pay those costs out of pocket. However, some sites do cover shipping on returns" said Freeman.

Piperlime, Solestruck and Zappos.com let you return shoes at no charge. And another plus for Zappos is that you get an impressive 365 days to send them back!

For kids' shoes, Consumer Reports found Onlineshoes.com has helpful search tools. You can search for "school," "playground," or "celebrations."

Another bonus: this site will give you 110 percent of your money back if you find a lower price for the same shoe within 10 days of purchase.