Miss Manners, My Left Foot

Now, I realize the shopping season for next year has only just begun, but I absolutely have to put this out there for all of you who are on the way to the mall (or equally disturbing shopping place) where your favorite shoe store is.

Following even just a few of these tips will ensure you are not wasting money on shoes you will wear once and not be able to return. I know few who hold all of the following to be true and self-evident, so I submit to you the best of the Do’s and Don’ts.

English: A man browsing the shoe department in...


The Etiquette Required in a Shoe Store

The etiquette of buying shoes is much more than pulling boxes off of shelves and looking down at a shoe salesman. In order to have a shoe shopping ecstasy, follow these simple rules:

DO bring your own footlets.

This is a new or clean pair of socks or knee-high hosiery. Do not wear them to the store. Place them on your feet only when trying on shoes. Remove them after trying on shoes. This prohibits the exchange of fungi.

Red shoes, Prada

DO NOT attempt to try on 10 or more pairs in one sitting.

At most bring three pairs to the fitting. Replace the ones you choose not to buy from the place where you found them if it is a self-service store. Try on all three before asking the salesman to bring you more.

DO look at the shoes in the mirror furthest from the fitting.

This allows you to walk in the shoes, thus eliminating the chance that you buy shoes which will hurt your feet.

"High Heel Shoe. Talon haut. Stiletto. Ta...

This shoe could be the exception.

DO NOT ask the salesperson if the shoes look good on your feet.

If you have doubt, do not buy the shoes. The salesman’s job is to sell YOU shoes. Chances are good the salesman would tell you the boxes looked good on your feet if it would end in a sale.

DO try on both shoes before you buy.

Human error leads to shoes being placed in the wrong box. Better to find out in the store, than at home, the shoes you bought are two different sizes. Plus, your feet are different sizes. If you do not already know which foot is larger, trying on both will reveal it to you.

DO NOT assume…

…that if one shoe is comfortable, the same shoe in another color will be as well. Dying changes the chemical properties of certain materials. Where one may stretch readily, another may not.


DO buy shoes that will compliment your wardrobe and your foot.

Buying shoes based on the popularity of the style will not guarantee that they will either make your outfit complete or make your foot look its best. I can think of 18 styles off the top of my head which make my foot look like (skis, boxes, hooves).

DO NOT buy one style of shoe in all of its colors.

Not every shoe will fit with all clothes of similar color. The combination of both style and color should compliment the wearer and the clothing. Just because the beautiful boot is great in black with your outfit does not mean the equally fabulous turquoise one will go with your sun dress.

shoe fetishism: high heel shoe

That is going to pinch.

DO buy shoes in the afternoon.

During the day, feet swell due to the pressure put upon them. Buying shoes while your feet are cool and small in the morning may lead to shoes that are too tight after only a few hours.

DO NOT buy shoes after leaving the gym.

Your feet should be clean when you purchase shoes. (Idly wonders if she should comment feet should be clean at other times as well.)

Safety in Numbers

When in doubt, bring your best friend. That is the one person who will tell you whether you have purchased the perfect shoe, or should just wear the boxes!

© Red Dwyer 2008-2011
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  1. Eh Gads we need to live closer together so we can shoe shop! Really it simply isn’t the same doing it alone. It is like, well it is like a steady diet of masturbation.

  2. I used to wear size nine shoes, but now I wear size ten – feet DO continue to grow – so do not assume that, because size nine shoes fitted last year they will fit THIS year!

    I’m glad I’m a guy – one pair of decent shoes does me until they wear out!!! 🙂

    Happy New Year everyone!!! 🙂


  3. I’m glad you displayed a picture of those awful elf shoes. I remember when everyone was wearing those. Yuck! Just remember to bring a friend who doesn’t wear your size. In the event there is only one pair left, they won’t be prone to shoe hate in the hopes of getting them when you walk away. Good shoes can make good friends turn.

    • LOL! I hear you on the shoe-hate-diversion. Those friends instantly stop being invited to shop. They hate them…a week later, sporting them. And they were and still are totally hideous. I do not care who liked or wore them.

  4. I second the guy thing. I wear shoes until they wear out. Counting sneakers, I have four pair of shoes: Sneakers for the summer, lace up ankle height hiking style boots for the winter, decent casual shoes for when I dress up a little and my good shoes for weddings, funerals and the like.

    My dress shoes are somewhere around 30 years old. I paid over $100 when I bought them. I was the only guy in the wedding parties at my daughter’s weddings who had comfortable shoes.

    My mother thinks I need new sneakers. So they’re dirty. Sneakers aren’t supposed to stay white.

    My favorite shoe store was Sherman Bros. in Phila. Every salesperson had to tour the shoe factories. These people knew their shoes and would spend all the time you needed to be sure you got the best fit, etc. Sherman Bros. only sells expensive shoes at a 10% discount. Then again, expensive shoes are cheap when they last 30 years.

    The last pair of shoes I bought from Sherman Bros. were Ecco casual shoes for around $150. When I asked the salesman about having them resoled he told me they wouldn’t need to be resoled because the soles wouldn’t wear out. He was right. After 7 years, the only things wearing out are the shoelaces. LOL


    • I have a fair mix of expensive and inexpensive shoes. I bought a pair of tennies when I started walking last year, but it was only to replace the only other pair of them I had…which were 10 years old. I despise them. I have not put them on in a year, and just as soon walk in my boots or a pair of heels, since it is what I wear anyway.

      I would be so bored with four pairs of shoes. Cannot even get there from here.

  5. the other thing about not buying shoes after a work out is that your feet may have swollen during the physical stress… then you get home, your feet have settled and your new shoes are too big…

    great post – haven’t bought women’s shoes for a while, tho…

  6. Now that I am picturing Marc in stilettos (get that image out of my head!), I can return to what I was originally going to type here. Consider what the prospective shoes will be able to match that you already have in your wardrobe. Will the shoes replace an old pair that is similar or be a completely new design or shape? Great topic Red!

    • I usually am looking for clothes to match the shoes 🙂 But I realize, I do things a mite backwards from the rest of the pack! Red.

  7. bear

     /  January 1, 2012

    RED we need to shop were Linda does. Masturbation in a store. Whoo HOOO! lets go!!!!! Or am I just wrong?

  8. Have only a couple of shoes and I HATE shoe shopping! I agree with your ettiquete (sp?) lessons though.


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