Are Shoes Cheaper In Store or Online

While your dream pair of shoes is only a store away, is that changing? With the influx of online shopping in today’s digital era, the footwear industry has been turned on its head. Shoe stores used to be packed, and while they are still in business, the virtual stores are a few strides ahead.

Today, there’s a wealth of shoe retailers that cater to American online shoppers. Although the number of virtual shoe retailers has increased ten-fold, there’s a boatload of options. Whether you’re looking to purchase shoes in store or online, the world is your oyster.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the answer to the commonly asked question, ‘are shoes cheaper in store or online?’ and a deep dive into much more.

The Changing Face of Retail

The advent of technology has significantly changed the retail industry. For example, shopping virtually for shoes delivers extensive insight at your fingertips. By skimming through one or two search engines, consumers can check out countless reviews to discover whether or not the products that tickle their fancy are the ideal fit.

Consumers can buy pairs of shoes with one touch of a button and engage with brands via live chat features and social media platforms. With the fast footwear industry and instant information available online, consumers have become accustomed to infinite options and prompt responses from brands.

Why People Buy Online?

The transition to the online realm has been quick. For businesses that embraced change with eCommerce, the outcome has been nothing short of incredible. The human psyche revels in gaining knowledge. It’s the reason why online shopping is soaring in popularity as a result of information overload by consumers.

There are countless reasons why people gravitate towards buying shoes online. However, we’ve rounded up a few.

Price Comparison

Most people prefer comparing the selection of shoes and prices. However, online shopping has paved the way for virtual retailers to dominate the market. Virtual stores allow consumers to compare prices in a heartbeat and access a warehouse full of inventory. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a multitude of people turn to online stores for their shopping needs.


It’s hard to resist a great deal which is why online shoe retailers are usually the most competitive in the market. The boatload of cyber-only deals on the rise is one of the reasons people shop online for shoes. After all, everywhere you turn, you can always snag a cute pair of shoes at a steal.


While some people have concerns about online shopping safety, the truth is that many renowned retailers such as Amazon have security protocols. These provide a safe environment for their online shoppers, resulting in them spending more money on shoes and other items that catch their eye.

Security professionals claim that online shopping is equally as safe as in store shopping which is something that’s well appreciated by many.

The Perks of Buying Shoes Online

The Perks of Buying Shoes Online

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Shoe shopping can be a struggle when it comes to doing so conventionally (in store). However, when you factor in trying on and walking in footwear, it turns into a tedious task that can take an entire day. Therefore, when a mall trip crosses your mind, you should consider online shoe shopping that ushers in the following perks.


Let’s face it. As human beings, we can be a tad bit lazy at times, so we’re constantly looking for more convenient and easier ways of doing things. As such, nothing beats online shoe shopping. When you need a new pair of kicks, heels, converse, they are a few clicks away with online shopping.

Today’s online marketplace will allow you to skim through the trendiest styles from the best brands with a few scrolls on your mouse and compare prices across various sites. Convenience is worth its weight in gold, and with a wealth of companies offering no delivery charge, there’s no excuse to miss out on online shopping.

Infinite Options With a Few Clicks

When you’re online shoe shopping, your options are limitless. There are countless retailers in the US and across the globe that can provide an excellent shopping experience. That saves you the hassle of hopping from one store to another in quest of the perfect pair of shoes.

Easily Accessible Customer Feedback

When you’re looking to purchase shoes virtually, it’s always wise to take the time and patience to check out customer reviews. Doing so will give you invaluable insight to ensure you’re buying footwear that will last and is the perfect fit for you. After all, they’ll review the wear and style of the pair of flats, sneakers, or heels you’re eyeing.

Customer feedback is a crucial component of any online shopping experience as it provides consumers with honest opinions from previous buyers. These reviews help carry the conversation for sneaker lovers. Additionally, when it comes to deciding, the feedback will ensure you find a great fit for you and your feet.

No Pressure Sales

There’s nothing worse than dealing with pushy salespeople when you walk into a shoe store. Online purchasing means you can skip the unpleasant high-pressured sales experience and focus on footwear that tickles your fancy.

You can skim through the array of sneakers in peace and decide on the perfect fit for you rather than an annoying salesperson steering you towards the shoes with the highest commission.

Are Shoes Cheaper In Store or Online?

Woman in store shopping for a pair of shoes on her phone.

To answer this question, let’s discuss two main reasons why shoes you buy online can be cheaper than in your local store.

Price Comparisons With Few Clicks

Although there are various perks to purchasing shoes virtually in an online shoe store, nothing beats the ability to conduct price comparisons to find the best discount shoes. Contrary to walking around the mall, virtual retailers allow users to compare dozens of companies simply and easily for particular online shoes.

Courtesy of price comparison tools, users can showcase various pricing models such as in-store deals and cyber discounts.

Notifications on Discounts

Another reason why shoes can be cheaper in store compared to an online retailer is that there’s always the advantage of receiving notifications on your phone or email altering you of the latest discounts, coupons, promo code, or specials at your local store retailer.

Larger retailers like Famous Footwear, Shoe Carnival, and Zappos are three places you can browse for new shoes online that also sometimes offer discounted prices, a promo code, or even free shipping. Famous Footwear and Shoe Carnival also have physical store locations if you would rather scope out the shoes before making a purchase.

Are Designer Shoes Cheaper Online or In a Physical Store?

Generally speaking, we have found that eCommerce is somewhat more affordable than shopping in a physical store, and that also rings true when shopping for luxury brands and designer brands to add to your collection. There are many discount shops and outlet store sites online to find discount designer brands, handbags, and clothing.

The Perks of In Store Shopping

In-person shopping ushers in the following benefits.

Reveling in the Experience

Many consumers delight in the act of shopping in a retail store and turn it into a social event that online shopping cannot compete with. They also have the opportunity to scope out the sale section to find the best price.

Immediate Fulfillment

With brick-and-mortar shopping, consumers can skip the anticipation of waiting for their shoes to be shipped and delivered. Shopping in a store rather than an online store allows you to revel in fast fashion. Instead of waiting, the customer can receive their desired items right away after visiting a physical store location.

No Shipping Costs

Without shipments, customers don’t have to pay for shipping and delivery costs, as is the case with online shoe shopping.

Trying Before Purchasing

In-store shopping allows consumers to assess and try on shoes to make sure they are a snug fit before buying them. This is especially important for more expensive luxury brands you definitely want to try out before purchasing or if you don’t want to have to deal with the return shipping process if you aren’t happy with your purchase.

Secure Purchases

Online data breaches are increasing, with 156 million sensitive records leaked in 2020. As a result, in-person store purchases might appeal more to some customers to reduce the likelihood of being victims of data breaches.

How Physical Stores Are Adapting

Inside a shoe store at the mall.

Traditional stores are not blind to the draws of online shoe shopping. To remain afloat, they have adopted many practices to entice customers to proceed with in-person shopping. A multitude of retailer establishments allow consumers to shop for their shoes online but ship them to their local store for easy pickup.

In most instances, the footwear is available on the same day a consumer requests it online. As a result, online shoppers can decide what they want but still visit the store to get the product.

Many retailers have also begun offering price-match guarantees for their items. Therefore, customers can do their online shoe shopping research to discover the most ideal prices for their footwear but head over to the physical stores to ultimately buy the shoes. That gives buyers the much-needed peace of mind knowing that they got the best prices on the shoes while encouraging them to shop in person.

Besides benefiting from online savings, buyers also examine the shoes in person and are certain of them before buying. In addition, physical stores and online retailers are integrating their inventory into sales management software with each phase of the supply chain. As a result, they can update stock and adjust orders to keep up with the latest trends and growing demand.

How to Compare Shoe Prices

Whether your goal is to buy footwear in a store or virtually, you want to get the best price possible. Consider implementing both retail techniques for certainty on the most ideal price for your shoes. To compare footwear prices, you should:

1. List Competing Shoes

Regarding price comparison and discount shopping, list all competing brands to discover the lowest available price in store or online. There’s a wealth of virtual comparison platforms you can use, such as Google Shopping, to make the process more efficient.

2. Compare Footwear Alternatives

Check out various types of footwear in addition to brands if your ideal option is too pricey. You might stumble upon cheaper options if you rigorously compare the perks and features of each to determine if you’ll get value for your money.

3. Use Cost and Deal Trackers

Slick Deals, for instance, is a platform that gives you insight into deals and coupons without you doing the heavy lifting. These price trackers alert you when a pair of shoes (from a brand that piques your interest) is on sale at a discounted price. If you can exercise patience, these price trackers can save you cash on your purchase, online and in store.

Cons of Purchasing Shoes Online

When it comes to buying shoes online, it may not always be an ideal option. Let’s discuss the cons of shoe shopping online. Whether you’re looking for flats or heels, at times, finding the ideal pair online is no easy feat. Here are the drawbacks of online shopping for shoes.

1. No Fitting

Despite the convenience that virtual shopping ushers in, trying on a pair of shoes before buying is impossible. Footwear must be a snug fit for optimum comfort as the last thing you need is struggling with blisters or sore feet that can put a damper on your day.

Without the ability to try on a pair of shoes beforehand, you have to wait for them to be delivered to you and hope for the best. The lack of the option to try on the shoes and see what they look like in person before buying them can be a struggle for those with smaller or larger feet. They require trying on several sizes to get a snug fit.

Customer Support Isn’t Always Available Immediately

If you’re encountering issues with the footwear you want to buy, seeking assistance can be challenging. Regardless of whether you’re having delivery or mispricing issues, online retailers usually take a few hours to get back to customers as a result of smaller staffing compared to physical retail stores.

Furthermore, if you’re trying to work out a complicated return, you’ll need to make sure you exercise patience and spend an afternoon making your way through the telephone tree.

Security and Privacy Concerns

While various retailers such as Amazon have top-grade security, others don’t. That’s particularly true when you factor in smaller online stores that lack the security parameters to prevent data breaches and protect your privacy.

The online realm always raises concerns. With renowned companies such as Sony and IBM being victims of hacking, it doesn’t come as a shock that physical retail stores with an online presence are susceptible to cybercriminals.


Now that you know the answer to the question, ‘are shoes cheaper in store or online?’ regardless of where your next shoe shopping spree finds you, whether it’s at the aisle or on the couch, ensure you have a budget. It permits you to buy the shoes you’ve been eyeing but without going overboard.

Therefore, you can shop without worry and guilt, knowing that today’s splurge won’t ruin future financial plans.

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