Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running Away From Returns - Part Deux

As promised, just a couple of more tips on how to make sure that those adorable pumps you've been lusting after on line will be every bit as wonderful when you receive them as they appear to be on the website!

Making sure a shoe fits you when you purchase it sight-unseen from an online retailer can be tricky, as we discussed a few days ago, particularly when we're talking about high heels.  Of course you're not going to win every time.  There will be times that something will come up that you just couldn't have planned for, like the big bubble of glue in the toe of the last pair of pumps I purchased that no amount of gel pads could make more comfortable!  But there are ways to minimize your risk and avoid incurring the disappointment of having to return those babies you've awaited so anxiously when you find they don't fit as they should.  

It starts when you first begin looking at the online pictures.  I'm going to use ShoeDazzle as an example.  (you can click here to get your invitation to join if you haven't already!)

A.   Read The Reviews

This is one sexy boot!

 By VANESSA W on 03/11/2013
I tried these on for my boyfriend and he instantly loved them. They are super sexy & fit really well. They come up a bit higher than some boots but would look great over jeans or with a dress.


Most of the shoe clubs allow their patrons to post a quick review of the shoe, and they don't seem to edit them a whole lot which works to our advantage!  Read what other women have said about this particular shoe.  Was it tighter in the toe box than is reasonably comfortable?  Does the pair run a little bit small?  Can you dance in them?  Most women are really good about helping a sister out, and I've found these reviews to be very reliable.

B.   Look At The Picture...No, REALLY look at them!

Check out the shoe from every angle given on the description page.  Notice especially the angle of the shot of a model actually wearing the shoe, and look carefully at the angle of her foot. 

1. Angle of Shoe Too Steep :(

1.  Does it look like she's standing and walking on her toes?  If so, the angle of the shoe is probably really not going to be comfortable.  I've had more than one pair that I've tried on in person and realized very quickly that, no matter how cute, the steepness of the shoe from heel to toe was so extreme that I wasn't going to be able to walk in the shoe even a short distance, much less for an entire workday or dinner outing.  Even in heels, a comfortable and reasonable distribution of your foot should be about 40% the toes/ball, 40% midfoot, and about 20% your heel.

2. Squished Toes  :(
2.  When looking at the 'toe cleavage' in relation to the tip of the shoe, does it look like the toes would be crammed into the toe-box?  Probably not the best shoe to be in at the office for 8 hours!  Having your toes crammed into the shoes and feeling them rubbing against the front for an entire workday will make one grouchy.  Believe me! :)  I've had a pair that literally made the toenail of my big toe bleed by the end of a workday.  And no matter how adorable they are, no shoe is worth bleeding over!  (Yes, I said it).

3. Toe of Shoe Tips Up Slightly  :)
3.  Does the toe of the shoe tip up just a bit?  If so, this is going to make the shoe a little more comfortable to walk in and make you feel less like you're going to topple forward.  The angle of this shoe is just a little steep for me, but even just a lightly upward-tipped toe-box can make a balance difference when wearing a higher heel.

4. Consider The Platform  :)
4.  Regardless of how high the heel is, does the models' foot look like she's standing naturally and in a reasonable degree of comfort?  In this pair, there is a significant platform attached.  And though the heel itself is VERY high, when you look at the angle of the models' foot, she's actually standing at what, in a different shoe, would be about a 3" heel rather than this actual shoes' 7.25" including the heel and the platform!  Looking at weight distribution, this looks almost as though she's at 50% toes/ball of foot, with the rest evenly distributed throughout the rest of the foot.  These are shoes that are going to be comfortable enough to wear all day at work, then to the grocery store afterward, and out with friends for a drink on the way home!

C.   Know Your Styles

A few just extra little tips:
  • First off, if you're not comfortable wearing  a 5" heel, don't try.  At least not until you've worn them around the house enough that you can walk comfortably and confidently in them without having to look at your feet in deep concentration.  No matter how smartly a woman is dressed, if she can't walk in her heels in almost the exact fashion she walks in her running shoes, the focus will be on the awkwardness of her gait and not on the desired overall affect.Trust me on this one.  We have a woman at our office, an executive, who is always nicely dressed.  But whenever she wears higher than a 3" heel, she totters when she walks, and I find that I'm so busy being worried she's going to fall that I completely lose the affect that she was after when she dressed that morning!  There are plenty of gorgeous 'kitten heels' (under 2") that are up-to-the-minute stylish that you can break yourself in to without frightening everyone around you.
  • If you love heels but aren't comfortable wearing stilettos all the time, go for the wedge!  A wedge heel will give you more stability when you're walking and standing than that of a stiletto heel.  They're just as gorgeous, come in just as many styles and colors as their more pointy counterparts, and you can wear them literally for hours on end without feeling the least bit uncomfortable.
  • Want to wear a higher heel without feeling the pain?  Shoes with platforms were made for you!  You can see in the picture in #4 above the huge difference a platform can make in a heel.  You're literally then only wearing a heel that, no matter how tall it looks on the shoe overall, is really only as high as from the bottom of your foot to where the heel connects in the back, most times over half the height of the total heel.  And platforms, like wedges, offer quite a bit more stability for the foot during a long workday allowing you to feel at 5p about how you felt at 8a. Well, your feet at least!
  • When buying a pump (closed toe or peep toe), start of course by reading the review.  If the general consensus is that the shoe is true to size (TTS), the go up a half size. This will help cut down on the possibility that the toe box is going to be unbearable or the peep-toe hole just too small.  If you find that they're just that wee bit too big, this is nothing that a gel pad to the heel won't fix instantly.  But there's just really not a huge fix for a tight toe-box.
I'd be happy to hear any other ideas that you've found work for you when purchasing shoes on line!  Please leave them in the comments section below.  

I haven't really purchased anything new for spring...having looked at all these adorable shoes in writing this post though, I may need to remedy that.

Be back shortly.  I'm goin' shoe shoppin'!