Buying dance shoes online

Let’s be honest: we don’t just buy dance shoes for their function – the more you dance, the more you want your shoes to show off both your skill and your style. And in a city with a somewhat limited dance shoe supply, online shopping provides the variety – and, often, affordability – that we’re missing.

Here are a few tips for making the most out online dance shoe purchases:

Quality check
Buying dance shoes online can be a great bargain, but make sure you don’t sacrifice quality for a low price tag. Make sure the shoes have suede (or chrome leather) soles, and have a steel shank up the heel and through the centre of the sole, up to the ball of the foot. Reputable online retailers will list these features in the product description.

Sizing chart
You want your dance shoes to fit like a glove. Nothing can replace actually trying the shoes on before you buy them, but a good size chart will help ensure you get the proper size. Different brands use different sizing methods, so rather than relying on your street shoe size, make sure you find their sizing chart and measure your foot according to their instructions.

Customization
Some sites will have endless customization options, from heel height and the material and pattern of the shoes, to fit options like “narrow” and “wide” widths. In some cases, they also offer a “street sole” option in addition to a suede sole. Make sure to check out all these options and select the ones you want. Also make sure these customization options don’t affect the return policy (see below).

Shipping costs
It’s all too common to get seduced by a low price tag, then be hit with high shipping and handling fees, taxes, customs duties and other hidden costs. Make sure you get a complete price breakdown (including all taxes as well as shipping and handling fees) before ordering your shoes, and shop around for web stores with lower shipping costs.

Return policy
Even with a good sizing chart, you might get shoes that don’t fit quite right, or looked better online than on your feet. Since nothing can really replace trying a shoe on in person, make sure the site you’re buying from has a good return/exchange policy. Things to look for in a return policy are:

  • time limits – will they take the shoes back at any time or do you have a limited number of days to make a return?
  • fees associated with returns – many sites will charge you a postage fee for any returns; make sure they are reasonable.
  • do they offer refunds, or only exchange/credit? And if it is exchange only, is there something else on the site that you’d be happy with, if the shoes you want don’t work out?

Payment options
Any time you make an online purchase, you want to make sure your payment is secure, and your personal details will remain private. Check out PC Mag’s 11 Tips for Safe Online Shopping for some practical advice on keeping your purchases secure.

Have you bought dance shoes online? Do you have a go-to dance shoe site? Tell us about your experience below!

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