15 Essential Shoe Shopping Rules Every Guy Under 40 Must Follow

February 20, 2014

Shoe shopping seems to be second nature for women, but most men are not so lucky.

If you were born without the shoe shopping gene, you will need some guidance and advice to find the best deals and make sure you get the value you deserve.

You can use the 15 shoe shopping tips that follow to get you off to a great start.

1. Be sure of your size

You may think you know your shoe size. After all, you are wearing shoes right now, so all you have to do is look at the tag on the back.

Keep in mind, however, that shoe sizes vary from style to style and manufacturer to manufacturer.

Always have your feet measured when you shop for shoes. You will get a better fit, and your shoes will be more comfortable. Once you have found a favorite brand, you can simply buy the same size over and over. Until then, always check the size carefully before you shop.

2. Shop with comfort in mind

You want your shoes to look great, especially if you are buying them for business wear.Keep in mind, however, that comfort is still the key.

The shoes you choose need to conform to your feet, and they need to remain comfortable all day long. A great-looking pair of shoes will do you no good if they hurt your feet.

3. Watch the sales circulars

The ladies have already figured this one out, but chances are you are not as adept at grabbing bargains at the local department store.

Before you go shoe shopping, you need to spend some time with the sales circulars or go online in search of coupons. You might find buy-one-get-one-free deals, special percent-off coupons and lots of other money-saving opportunities.

Once you arrive at the store, do not be afraid to ask the salesperson for additional discounts. Many retailers offer unadvertised specials and other deals to entice shoppers.

4. Check the clearance rack first


Whether you are looking for dress shoes or sneakers, you should always check the clearance rack first.

You may think that the clearance rack is full of outdated styles or funky colors, but that is often not the case.

You just might find a great pair of shoes at an equally great price by shopping the clearance rack.

If you do not find what you are looking for, you can always move on to the regular sales floor.

5. Check shipping costs when shopping online

There are some great shoe bargains on the Internet, but you need to shop with care.

Simply finding the right size can be a challenge, since there is no sales clerk to measure your feet and find the right fit. If you do shop online, be sure to check the shipping charges and return policies. Some online shoe stores offer free shipping both ways, making it easier to get the perfect size and a great deal.

6. Shop late in the evening or on Sunday morning

These tend to be the slowest times at most shoe stores. If you head out on Sunday morning or late in the evening through the week, you may have the place all to yourself. That means you will have the full attention of the sales associates – and more time to find the perfect pair of shoes.

7. Wear the socks you normally wear when you try on shoes


The thickness of your socks can make a big difference in how your shoes fit and how comfortable they are.

Be sure to wear the right socks when you shop for shoes. If you are shopping for business attire, leave the gym socks at home and wear a pair of dress socks to the department store instead.

8. Check the soles

The quality of the sole is a good indication of how long the shoes will last and how well constructed they are.

Look at the quality of the stitching on the sole and where it connects to the upper.

If the stitching appears uneven or shoddy, you might want to pass and look for a better pair of footwear.

9. Leather quality is key

Take a good look at the quality of the leather. It should be soft and supple, not dry and brittle. If the leather is not good quality, the shoes will quickly show their age and may not last as long. Quality leather is an absolute must for dress shoes, since poor quality leather will look shabby in no time.

10. Watch the heel height

If you are much shorter than your peers, you might need a slightly higher heel, but in general it is best to keep the heel size to 1.2 inches or less. Heels higher than that simply do not look natural on men, and they can be uncomfortable to wear as well.

11. Choose the right toe shape

When it comes to choosing a toe shape, the key is to avoid extremes. A toe that is too square will look just as bad as one that is too square. Look for a shoe that looks natural and elegant.

12. Consider your suits when shopping for shoes


The shoes you choose should look natural with your normal business attire, not detract from it.

If you favor slim fitting suits, avoid buying shoes with large and bulky soles.

Those bulky shoes will detract from the overall appearance of the outfit and look very out of place. Lightweight and elegant shoes would be a better choice for that slim fitting suit.

13. Take a cue from your peers

If you are unsure what kind of shoes to choose for the office, take a cue from your peers.

Look at the types of shoes your coworkers, and especially your bosses, are wearing and take your cue from them.

If you work in a vary conservative office, the last thing you want to do is choose shoes that will make you stand out. Understated elegance is the watchword in such a situation.

14. Get a second opinion

If you are shopping for shoes for the first time, it can be helping to take a more experienced friend along. Shopping with a trusted work colleague who is older and more experienced is a great way to get the best dress shoes.

If you are unsure if the shoes you have already chosen are suitable for the office, ask a colleague you trust for their advice.

15. Buy the right accessories

Your shopping trip is not over when you have found the perfect pair of shoes. You will also need to select the right accessories, from an extra pair of shoelaces to quality leather polish. You might also want to invest in a home shoeshine kit. Shining your own shoes can save you a lot of money and make your footwear last longer.