Buying Sneakers Online vs. In-Store: 10 Reasons Why The Other Is Better


When it comes to copping kicks, you can either buy online or in-store. But ultimately, which is better? With that being said, we present 10 arguments for both sides of the coin and if you’re like most individuals nowadays who can’t have enough sneakers in their life, it’s a must to be a savvy shopper in both regards. Clearly, buying online remains king for convenience, but what about building relationships with your local shop and enjoying the instant experience of holding the pair in your hands before throwing down your hard earned money. One thing’s for certain, it’s not like the good old days and that may not be a bad thing…or is it?!


Why Buying Online Is Best: Camping Out Sucks

Camping for a new release may be standard practice nowadays, but it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable. Sleeping outside and taking time off from work or school, just for a CHANCE to purchase a sneaker? That’s why we have the internet. Okay, maybe playing hookie from work or school isn’t all that bad.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Camping Is A Rite Of Passage

Camp outs are just part of being a sneakerhead in 2013. You can’t call yourself a true sneakerhead if you’ve never camped…can you? Success or failure; everyone has to take in the experience at least once.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Plentiful Bounty

Unless you’re able to move from one shop to the next, buying in-store means you only get a chance to purchase from that one place. Buying online, you can attempt to cop the latest hot sneaker from multiple places or even multiple countries.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Ensuring The Right Fit

For older sneakerheads, this wasn’t a huge problem. But, if you’re new to a brand or silhouette, purchasing a hot release in-store gives you a few extra minutes to actually try on the kicks. You don’t get that luxury when you’re battling thousands of others online for a limited release hundreds of miles from where you live.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Convenience

Who likes taking a shower, getting dressed, racing down to the shop and lining up out in the elements at a crazy hour? Buying online means never having to even get out of bed. Modern convenience at it’s finest.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Limited-Edition In-Store Only Product

Sometimes it’s limited edition boxes given to the first X amount of customers, or promo tees created to coincide with the sneaker release. But, very rarely are these items made available to online buyers. Shops such as Concepts and Kith just to name a couple have done an excellent job lately of offering these type of in-store extras for special collab releases in recent years.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Seemingly Endless Discounts/Coupons

Buying online opens the possibility to get some pretty significant discounts. Whether it’s free shipping, 20% off or buy one get one deals, promo codes typically only apply to online shoppers…and sometimes they stack. And you know we’re always looking out!

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Quality Control

Along the same lines as getting a size that actually fits you, if you’re new to that particular model or brand, the in-store purchase gives you the option to back out. You get to see the quality (or lack thereof) firsthand, and can back out of the purchase if the materials or colors aren’t up to snuff or even what you thought they were based upon a pic on the ‘net.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Flexibility Counts

Two shoes come out on the same day? No worries! When buying online, you can cop both from the privacy of your own living room. Your local shop may be an NSW account, but they may not be a Vans Vault account. You can save yourself the hassle (and gas money) by buying online.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: The Real Deal

Buying from a brick and mortar (particularly large chain stores) can give you a bit more confidence than buying online from a place you’ve never been (or even seen). You can be more confident that the release is legit, and not a fake or B-grade.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Custom Kicks

Nike iD doesn’t have a brick and mortar (yet). If you want to put your own unique spin on a sneaker silhouette, or ensure you may never see anyone else wearing the same kicks as you, online ID programs are the only way to go. And it’s not just Nike in the mix either. You can customize your own 1-of-1 from New Balance, Vans and adidas just to name a few.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Support Your Local (Sneaker) Dealer

Just like the mom-and-pop grocery store down the street, your local sneaker boutique is often in competition with large sportswear chains that have much deeper pockets. Without getting all political, buying local helps to support small (and unique) businesses. Always important…plain and simple.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Sneaker Emporiums

Larger sites like Eastbay, Nike, Zappos, etc., usually get significantly more stock than your local Champs or sneaker boutique. Which naturally, gives you increased odds to snag what you want.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Human Interaction

In addition to supporting your local mom and pop, if you purchase from the boutique around the way, shop clerks might just remember you the next time. It’s not always a guarantee, but building relationships with shop owners can have a ton of benefits. Aside from getting out of the house and meeting new people, shop workers might hold sizes for you, or drop taxes at the register. Buying from a big box’s online store doesn’t give you that face-to-face connection.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Embrace The Darkside

If the sneakers you’re after are really hyped, the internet has ways of improving your chances. However shady they may be, online bots and the inevitable resale markets are always there to guarantee you can get your hands on a release (no matter how much you have to pay for it).

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Beat The Bots

NDC, and many other online retailers, have a big problem on their hands with programmers who’ve found ways to beat (and subsequently sell access to) their Twitter reservation system or hack into the backend webshop. It can be stressful week after week missing out on new releases to the point where you may not even want to mess with buying online. And even if you give into buying a bot, that’s even more money you now have to pay for a new release.

Why Buying Online Is Best: Increased Accountability/Buyer Protection

If you are forced to go the resale route, and you do it smartly, there is a digital paper trail. Violating the terms of a deal puts the seller at risk of losing his/her online reputation. This helps to protect buyers from scammers.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: Instant Satisfaction

When buying in-store, sure you get hit by tax (in most states), but there are no shipping costs and no waiting for the delivery man. You can even throw it back to the good old days, and rock those fresh new kicks right out of the shop. Can’t beat that!

Why Buying Online Is Best: Peer Reviews

When it comes to the resale market, online reviews help buyers make smarter choices. Does this seller sell fakes or B-Grades? A quick something search will help guide you and hopefully others past experiences will ensure a paositive one for you too.

Why Buying In-Store Is Best: The Experience

Buying online, you miss out on the overall feeling of being in a sneaker store. Sure, the internet has changed things forever – often for the better – but there’s absolutely no feeling like going into a sneaker store, trying on a sneaker you like and walking out with that shopping bag. Plus, a lot of sneaker boutiques nowadays have stepped up their ambiance and overall shopping experience and they’re fun to visit, especially if you may be from out of town.


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  • Ryan Lee Brasher

    Why in-store is best: break out something you’re excited about and someone else there might be excited about it too.

  • justin

    is this fuckin real?

  • meninethree

    i actually like campin out for sneakers. meet cool ass people.


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