Sunday, July 06, 2008

If the shoe fits… Buy it online

Note: I hope you enjoy this guest post from my twitter friend Kelly Rusk who loves shoes almost as much as Carrie Bradshaw.

Being addicted to beautiful shoes AND frugal is a tough combination. Add in living in a city that’s not exactly considered fashion-forward (Ottawa), and you’re in big trouble.

While I make do, I had been tinkering with the idea of buying shoes online… Actually “obsessing” might be a more accurate word. But after shipping, taxes and duties, it looks to be a big rip-off for any Canadian. And what happens if you have to return them? A scary thought. However, my first online shoe buying experience was nothing but pleasant. Was it sheer luck? Maybe. But I like to believe I had a solid strategy behind my purchase, which has inspired this guest contribution to Bargainista.

First, before you start buying online I suggest going out and trying on A LOT of shoes. Heck, buy a few pairs while you’re at it! Basically you’ll want to have a good understanding of what styles look good, which brands are comfortable to you, etc. I went with this stunning pair by Chinese Laundry because I’ve had a few pairs of varying styles and each has always been one of my favourite pairs of the day.

For Canadians, buying anything online can be a little scary. However, I believe shoes are probably one of the more high-risk online fashion buys. Any shoe aficionado likely knows you buy probably 5 pairs of shoes for every one pair you really love and wear all the time. When purchasing online, you pay extra for shipping, duties, taxes etc., so you want to be sure you’re getting the right pair.

I bought my shoes from, which was an excellent experience except for a few quirks:

1. Shoes include an “import” tax, which you don’t see until you’re checking out.

2. If you want to return your shoes, Zappos makes it super easy BUT it costs $15 and (correct me if I’m wrong) you don’t get the import tax back either. So you’re looking at around $ 40 to return.

3. Shoes are all priced in US dollars, which isn’t a big difference right now, but still it all adds up.

So, my shoes, which were listed as $73, I actually ended up paying $108 for, however, they were worth every penny. They successfully survived (err, I should say my feet did) a night on the town, and I’m looking forward to many more.

Note, I honestly tried to find other recommendations for stores to buy from, but in terms of selection, price, quality and service, it just keeps going back to Zappos! I definitely won’t argue it’s fantastic, but I’d also love to hear any suggestions for other online stores.


  1. yeah I like zappos too it's the best!

  2. Zappos isn't bad, but my top choice is I seem to find more of what I am looking for there, they have a big selection of brands and styles.


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