Here’s How Shoe Stores Are Discreetly Tricking You

Sharing is caring!

Shoe shopping should be an experience since many women and men take great pride in their footwear. However, there is a reason shoe selling is a highly lucrative business worth tens of billions annually, and it is all about secretive ways shoe stores train their employees to “trick” you into spending your hard-earned dollars. Here are some of the most famous yet effective tricks shoe stores use. 

Creating the hype


In the age of social media, creating hype is easier than ever. If a shoe has a big name, all the retailer has to do is convince you that you will feel special if you get your hands on the limited pair. From luxurious Isabel Marant wedge sneakers to Adidas’ collaboration with Kanye West, now known as Ye, or Manolos that became a symbol of the hit TV show SATC and Carrie Brandshaw’s eclectic style, people are willing to pay more to be part of an experience, regardless of whether that shoe is comfortable, or even likable. 

Getting premium quality 


If you are shopping for a new pair of sneakers, you will find that many are advertised as “premium.” It is not haute couture, but with this adjective, you believe you’re buying your feet the best footwear. The reality is that only a small percentage of sneakers are used for sports, but they are fashionable, chic, and swoony, so paying for premium “features” you don’t need seems like a bargain. 

“Four on the floor” trick 


There is a reason why shoe sellers want you to sit down while trying out the shoes, and it has nothing to do with your comfort. George Valdez, a YouTuber, talked about the phenomenon called “four on the floor,” which involves the salesperson giving you the pair you want plus a few more. With choices, the seller is offering you options and widening the chances that you will open up your purse and get at least one pair. 

The $.99 tactic 


Your subconscious will respond better if the shoe price is $99.99 instead of $100. The left-digit effect has been around for ages and is not restricted to shoe selling. However, this trick still works online and offline, so one should keep that in mind while shopping, especially for shoes since we tend to spend more on footwear, especially men. They spent more on footwear than they did on any type of clothing in 2021. 

Offering the pricey pair 


Another win-win situation for the seller is offering them a pair they wanted plus another, more expensive one. It increases the chances that you will leave with at least one pair, if not both. There are several reasons for this, including that the more pricey pair will make your chosen pair more affordable. 

Crafty seller 


Some sellers are so good at their jobs that they will convince you to add “just” another $99.99, and you will get Italian handcrafted leather instead of the generic pair you came in to try on. Playing on a customer’s vanity requires fine-tuning and creating hype on the spot. 

All about the profit margins 

Illustration. Image credit: Shutterstock

According to Kurt Salmon, a retail consulting firm, women’s footwear has profit margins as high as 50 percent, higher than women’s clothing. Shoes are less likely to be marked down than clothing because they are less season-specific. This begs the question of whether that sale alert was really a way to save or a marketing ploy. 

Yet, sellers are not to blame 


All major fashion brands have training courses for their workers, presenting them with various sneaky yet perfectly acceptable ways to do their jobs. Shoe shopping is not bad, but it is highly likely that you will spend more on shoes and bags than on shirts. 

The last pair 


Another great way to get someone to buy an overpriced and unnecessary pair of shoes is by telling them the infamous “That’s the last pair.” This often works online, too, where signs of “low stock” or anything similar exist. This creates a sense of urgency much greater than when you’re shopping for a sweater. 

The comfort trap 


Many fashion houses have openly said that shoe comfort is not their priority. But, even knowing that we still love shoes, and that’s why we fall for that trick about breaking in shoes, despite knowing in our hearts that that specific pair is too narrow. Shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. 

Shopping with purpose 

Illustration. Image credit: Depositphotos

Remember that shoes grow and change with time, so measure them. Avoid shopping in the mornings because your feet swell during the day, and you do not want to buy a shoe that is actually half a size smaller. Try both shoes because your feet are not symmetrical, and focus on what you need instead of what you saw on social media. 

Keeping things hygenic 


Never shop if your feet aren’t clean, and if you don’t have a shoe sock, kindly ask a seller to provide you with a pair. Think about how often you’ll wear your new shoes and how they fit your budget. In reality, you need a pair of sneakers, dress shoes for special occasions, sandals, boots, and office shoes. The rest is optional. 

Don’t let the prices fool you 

Photo by ColleenMichaels / Depositphotos

Resellers and a community known as “SneakerHeads” are partly responsible for the high prices, and the sneaker industry is predicted to reach $120 billion by 2026. Apart from overpriced sneakers, other forms of footwear are also considered vastly overpriced despite offering no proof that the newer models are better than the older ones. 

Old name, new prices 


Many believe that the quality was much higher decades ago, and this helps decades-old companies keep their prices higher despite the decline in product quality. The best way to avoid the shoe craze is to get custom shoes, though the prices could be more budget-friendly. 

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.