I've definitely got some of my favorite and some of the coolest shoes on eBay. And as promised here, today it's time for the shoes edition of the eBay shopping tips.
- Like with clothes, it really helps if you know what you're looking for since on eBay you can't just browse around the site or check the latest arrivals. You have to have a specific item in mind, for example court heels, platform pumps, wedge sandals, lace up boots, peep toe heels, biker boots, ankle strap sandals, cut out buckle boots, whatever.
- If you're looking for a knock-off, let's say Isabel Marant lookalike sneakers, you can't search for "Isabel Marant inspired sneakers" or anything like that because it's against eBay rules to put the label in the item title if you're not selling that label. You have to find the right adjectives to describe it (wedge in this case). Some sellers also put "designer" in the name of their knock-off items, so you can search for "designer wedge sneakers".
- You don't know how the shape or that specific feature of the shoe is called? No problem. Check sites like Net-a-porter, Zara, Topshop, Boohoo, Asos, Solestruck - they always describe their items so you'll know how to look for the thing you want, because if you don't narrow down your search by including at least one feature you want your shoe to have, you'll get too many hits and you'll be losing time sifting through stuff you don't even want. For example, if you search for "pumps", you get 765 661 hits, if you type in "platform pumps" you get 44 507 hits. See what I mean?
- I never type in size or color, because that will automatically cancel out all the sellers that don't put sizes or colors in their titles. I use menus on the left side of the screen. First you click "Women's Shoes" under Categories on top. Then you click "see all" next to "Size" and you tick all the sizes that correspond to you and one full size up and down (if you're a size 5 you tick 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6 and Not specified). Why? Because you're going to ask the seller to give you measurements and then you'll decide which size will fit. The same goes for "Main Color": If you're looking for something in beige or nude, tick beige, brown, yellow, white, ivory and anything similar to the color you want, because different people see different colors differently. And then ALWAYS tick "Not specified" because some sellers don't fill in those categories so you won't see their items, but can possibly sell the item that you're dying to get.
- The same goes for material, style, etc - check what you want and things similar to that and ALWAYS check "Not specified" as well.
- Under "Condition", I first click "see all" and then tick "New with box" and "New without box". (If I don't find what I'm looking for, then I un-check those two and check only "Used".)
- Then I usually check "Buy it now" because I'm too impatient to wait for the auctions to end. (Again, if I don't find what I'm looking for, then I check "Auction" too.)
- Then under "Sort", which is on the top right side above the items, I check "Price: lowest first" (not "Price + P&P: lowest first") and I scroll to the bottom of the page where you'll see "Items per page" under items and I set that to the highest number possible.
- Then you start looking.
- Never buy the first pair of shoes you like! Open various possible items in separate tabs and compare shipping fees to see which item will actually cost you less.
- Also check seller's feedback (on the right side of the screen, next to the blue "Buy it now" button), the higher the better. Keep in mind that 96 % positive feedback isn't considered high, if it's not at least 98 %, find something else. (You can also click on the seller's name above feedback and then "see all" next to "Latest feedback" and then negative feedback to see what kind of problems other people had.)
- Now you found your shoes, you like the seller, you like the price and the postage, now you have to see what size will fit you. You can measure your foot but I recommend measuring shoes you already have at home. Take a shoe from your closet, which is similar to the ones you want, take a sewing tape measure and measure the insole of the shoe (you shove the tape inside the shoe to get the exact length from toes to the heel). You'll notice that different shoes have different insole lengths - peep toe (open toe) shoes can be a bit shorter because the toes have more room anyway. A lot of Asian sellers already include lengths in centimeters or millimeters (those are their shoe sizes actually - 240, 245, etc) so you can simply chose the size you want. If the seller didn't include insole measurements, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Ask a question", tick "Details about the item" and "No, I want to contact the seller" and ask for the insole measurement for the size you think you are and for one up or down (so you'll know how big the sizes run and will be able to chose the best size for you). Either you want inches or centimeters, sellers are happy to provide both (but you have to specify), no mater which system they use, so ALWAYS ask for the insole measurement - I always do and I've never got a pair of shoes that didn't fit me.
- If you have wide feet and think this could be an issue, ask for the sole width too.
- I always check the UK eBay first, because I'm from Europe and then I don't have to pay any tax, but if I can't find what I'm looking for there, I'll check the USA one too (keep in mind you'll have to pay 20 % extra for anything that costs more that €21 because of the tax). I also check the German one. You also have to know that you can find sellers from Asia on all of the eBays so keep in mind the 20 % tax if you buy stuff that costs €21 or more - under "Price" with blue "Buy it now" and "Add to cart" buttons you have "Shipping" and "Item location" where it says where the item will be shipped from.
I actually prefer shopping for shoes on eBay to any other site, because other sites aren't as obliging when it comes to measuring insoles. They tell you you can always return or exchange the shoes for free, but shipping the wrong size shoes back is never free - do you hear me, Boohoo?! And the insole measurements they put in every description at Solestruck are given for the wrong size (it's for the US 7, not 8) - do you hear me, Solestruck?! As it turns out, I've had more problems buying shoes from the more "renowned" sites than from eBay so don't sweat it, log on and do some eBay shoe shopping. Now.
All shoes are from eBay.