Maybe its the element of risk or the fear of commitment, but I’m still skittish about buying shoes online.

There is definitely a larger selection and you can sometimes save a few dollars — especially now as they blow out old stock in the fall to make way for new styles.  As far as getting a gander at them, all the online merchants seem to have them mandatorily photographed from a half dozen angles.   But what if the dang things make you feel like one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters when they arrive by mail?

Major player Zappos tries to assuage that fear by offering free and unlimited returns.  You’re not supposed to notice that they build about 5 bucks back into the item cost.

Take this one for example. Looks like something I could abuse, cover in winter rock salt and be too lazy to polish for the next 4-5 years.   But what’s a Stonefly Milano?

After straw polling my peers, I’ve been told an excellent way is to know how a certain brand fits and count on that manufacturer’s internal controls to be consistent.    In other words, once a size 11 New Balance, always a size 11 New Balance.  In that event, it might not be a bad idea to go to a shoe store with a notepad and number two pencil to build an extensive brand dossier for your feet.

Comment with your shoe tips and favorite merchants, as well as any woeful tales of goofing on a size and getting stuck with $6.95 return shipping each way.  Hey, sometimes you roll the dice and lose.  That’s life.

frugallibrarianLet’s get stingy with it… The frugal librarian is also too lazy to leave the house to find value.

Become a regular checker of, or subscribe to the RSS feed of slickdeals and dealhack.  These sites have user-submitted deals that are RED hot on hundreds of merchants.  We’re not talking “save 10%” kinds of stuff.  Ridiculously low blowouts that require action within a few days.  So if there’s a knickknack for which you’ve been on the fence for a couple months or something you’re kind of interested in, keep it the back of your mind and wait for it to come across these sites

And for the one-two cheapskate combo punch, check retailmenot and currentcodes for the secret codes you enter while buying to get additional discounts.  Well, they were secrets before astute shoppers or those that subscribe to those merchants insider deals newsletters leaked them to all us common folk altruistically.

Too phobic to shop online?  Completely understand.  Most of the insurance companies out there are offering packages for online identity protection and peace of mind.  $2-$3 a month for $30,000 in coverage is pretty reasonable.  Shoot, you’ll  probably save twice that in gas and time getting dressed.