One of the most significant investments for walkers and runners is in their shoes. A good pair of athletic shoes can cost $50 to $150, with some hiking boots topping $200.
For comfort and to prevent problems like blisters, you need shoes that fit well. If they don't, you'll want to return or exchange them as soon as possible. Know the return policy of the store or online vendor before you buy shoes, so you aren't stuck with shoes that are a poor fit.
Return Policy Essentials
The most generous return and exchange policies are usually found at local running or outdoor stores that thrive by developing lifelong customers. Often these stores will accept shoes worn several times outdoors and exchange them until they find the right shoes for you.
Discount and mass market chain stores may have better prices but a much more strict return and exchange policy. Online stores are convenient, but you can't try on shoes before purchase, and a return will require you to mail the shoes back.
When shopping at a store, ask the sales staff about the return policy and get it in writing when possible. When shopping online, find the shoe return policy page. Check these requirements:
- Money back or exchange: Does the vendor refund your money or offer a business?
- Procedure: Do you bring the shoes into a store? Do you call to get a return authorization number? Can you get a return authorization number online?
- Reason for return: Can you return them for any reason, for no questions asked, or do you need to cite a reason?
- Shipping: Does the vendor foot the bill for return shipping? What is the shipment method for returns?
- Shoe Condition: Must you return the shoes looking new, in the original box, or can you return them after wearing them outdoors?
- Time limit: How long do you have to return the shoes from the date of purchase?
Tips for Returning Shoes
Following a few basic guidelines may help you make the most of your walking or running shoe purchase.
Wear Shoes Indoors First
Because return policies vary, wear the shoes indoors or on the treadmill for the first several wearings. If you find any discomfort in wearing them, return them. This may include the boots being too tight or loose, blisters, pain from the shoes rubbing in the wrong place, new knee pain, etc.
Many chain shoe stores and online vendors have return policies that specify the shoes must be unworn and in the original packaging.
That means you should only wear them indoors on clean surfaces for a few days before returning them. If they appear to be worn, you may not get a refund or exchange.
Take Action Quickly
Don't expect a fit problem to resolve with continued wear. Break off your relationship with the shoe as soon as you detect a problem and take them back or send them in for an exchange. Shoes should be supportive yet comfortable from the first wearing, or you need to exchange them for shoes that fit your feet better. No pair of shoes fits every foot.
If you are using a local running shoe store, knowing what didn't work well with the shoes can help the staff find the right shoes for you.
Don't Expect a Warranty
Check the vendor's policy about returns for defects, but don't expect your walking shoes to last for more than a year. As shoes are items of clothing, they are expected to wear out, and some will have defective stitching or glue.
Athletic shoes are only likely to last 350 to 500 miles of wear, which is three to six months for most fitness walkers and runners.
Return Policies by Brand
Knowing the shoe return policy is essential for ensuring you can return the shoes when they don't work for you. Here are examples of some popular vendor policies.
WHAT IS THE RETURN POLICY?
Returns and Withdrawal policy for items purchased at the Online Shop
- The product is in its original state and packaging.
- Apparel has the original tags attached.
- Accessories have all parts of the original packaging.
- Footwear is in the original shoe box.
- Please note that we cannot accept any right of withdrawal from you for customized & personal items, as these are made uniquely for you. These items can only be returned to us if there is a manufacturing defect.
- For products with a protective polythene lining: If the protective lining has been removed, the product cannot be returned or exchanged for health protection reasons.