Shopping for women's shoes

Shopping for women's shoes

Shopping for women's shoes can be difficult enough for women. But if you're a man shopping for women's shoes, the task might seem impossible.

Why would a man shop for women's shoes? Well, if the woman in question loves shoes, it will show that you understand her and that you're interested in making her happy.

Even if you've never shopped for women's shoes before, the following tips will have you well on your way to finding the perfect shoes for the women in your life -- you may even have fun doing it.

Shoes: To Give or Not to Give

First, determine whether or not shoes are a good gift idea for the woman in question. It may seem like all women are shoe-obsessed, but that's really not the case.

If you're unsure, try checking her closet to see how many pairs of shoes she has. Does she wear different shoes each time you see her? When you're shopping, does she linger in the shoe section?

If all else fails, ask her why women are obsessed with shoes -- if she has a ready defense, chances are she's one of us.

Profiling a Woman's Shoe "Type"

When it comes to women's shoes, there are hundreds of styles, heel heights, colors, materials, and so on. So before doing anything else, you'll need to determine which type of shoes she'll like. This is a relatively simple step, since all you have to do is think about the woman you're buying for.

Is she athletic? Professional? The outdoors type? Or is she an artistic, one-of-a-kind kind of girl?

Form a mental image of the woman she is, and narrow your focus to women's shoes that will suit her.

Check Your Facts

Check your info by looking through her magazines or catalogs. A reader of "Vegetarian Times" might not appreciate a pair of leather boots.

Also pay attention to the stores she like to shop at. Designer heels might be lost on a woman who collects old Converse chucks from eBay, and you might insult a fashionista by offering up a pair of walking shoes -- no matter how comfortable they are.

By paying close attention her preferences, you'll dramatically improve your chances of success.

The All-Important Heel

Now that you know the types of shoes she might like, you need to pick a heel height.

While some flat wearers secretly covet a pair of four inch heels, it's best to play it safe. Stick with flats or heels under 2 inches. Walking in high heels takes a lot of practice, and she should make that jump only if she chooses to -- not because you like the way they look.

If you know she loves high heels, go for it, but stick within the general range of what she normally buys for herself.

Get Her Shoe Size

Some women are a very consistent shoe size. If you look through shoes she owns, they might all have just an "8" or a "9" on them -- it will be simpler to shoe shop for these women. But, most of us wear different sizes due to manufacturer and style differences.

If there an equal number of only two sizes, go with the larger size. If there is a three-size range, try the one in the middle. And, no matter what, make sure the store you buy from has a reasonable return policy.

Verify Her Shoe Width

Letters near the size will indicate a special width. You might see an "A" or several "E"s, or even and "N," "M," or "W." These all represent different widths.

To make matters more confusing, different letters can be used to specify the same width. For example, an "A" and an "N" are both mean "narrow."

If in doubt as to what the letters mean, make a note of them and ask someone at the shoe store for assistance. Again, be sure to check the store's return policy, just in case they don't work out.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test

Now that you've gathered the information you'll need, take your findings for a "test drive" by tagging along the next time she shops for shoes.

Take note of what she picks up, and what she tries on; then, check her reaction to the shoes you think she might like.

Even if your instincts seem a bit off, don't worry. This is only a test run, and what you learn here will help you get it exactly right. You'll also get extra karma points for taking an interest and shopping with her.

Shop for Shoes

It's time to go solo and hit the shoe stores, or the online retailers. In addition to the notes you've made, remember to check the stores' return policies and ask for assistance if you need it before placing your order. Most importantly, relax and try to have fun. If shoe shopping wasn't fun, we wouldn't spend so much time doing it.

There is Always Plan "B"

As a last resort, or if this all seems too overwhelming, there is an easier way: gift cards.

Once you've determined that the woman you love actually does love shoes, you could get her a gift card or certificate for her favorite shoe store.

This is a little less personal, but if the card is sizable enough, she'll probably forgive you.

However, take note, this trick may only work once -- so, be sure to do your homework before the next gift-giving occasion.