Our favorite store from which to buy new shoes for Nathan was a place in town called Geishe Shoes. It was a mom-n-pop, sure, which made it expensive. But they had fantastic model-year-end sales.
A year or two ago, they went out of business.
So we started shopping at the Stride Rite outlet store. Again, just shopping sales.
We found out the other day that they are closing their physical stores in favor of 100% online sales. This follows news from earlier in the week that Payless ShoeSource is closing 400 stores as part of a chapter 11 restructuring.
I get that online sales are convenient and sometimes, but not always, cheaper. But shoes are a bitch to shop for. Especially for a growing kid. Without stores around and employees to measure their feet and offer a professional recommendation, you're flying blind.
Clearly Stride Rite has had this in the works for a while as they launched an iPad app in 2014 for sizing kids' feet. Once the iPad gives you the size, you can have your kid try shoes on virtually.
Forget virtually. I want real. This is crap.
Personally, I refuse to buy shoes that I haven't first tried on because my feet are really wide and I wear anywhere from a size 10.5 to 12 depending on how they're made. One pair I currently wear is actually size 13. That's a helluva range of sizes. I'd never trust buying online only for myself. And shoes, like any fabric-based item, never look the same in person as they do in photographs. Colors are off, patterns look funny, the works.
Basically, we'd constantly be sending shoes back and forth to the company and, if they don't offer free return shipping, I won't even bother shopping with them.
Why is the shoe industry shooting themselves in the foot?
So long as those steps are virtual only.