For the longest time, luxury brands were reluctant to sell their brands online in fear of cheapening the image of its products. When the luxury boutique, Net-a-Porter, launched its website in 2000, it was met with ample skepticism, many thought it would fail. The founder and former Tatler fashion editor Natalie Massenet began her operation in a small Chelsea flat with a team of 15 staff members. Fast forward 14 years, luxury goods giant Richemont bought out the company and 3,000 plus individuals are employed around the world to run the operation. With its glossy online content, killer curation and impeccable service, Net-a-Porter achieved the seemingly impossible and convinced consumers to make luxury purchases online. The e-commerce landscape has not been the same since.
Consumers started to recognize the benefits of buying merchandise online. For the time restrained individuals, it means being able to shop any time anywhere minus the commute to the physical store. Since online stores are not limited by shelf space, it has a significantly larger selection to browse and switching from store to store is a mere click away. Finding your desired size is as quick as a click on the filter button. Shipment for purchases has become so efficient that sometimes your order will arrive faster than you are able to schedule an in-store visit. In case you change your mind, most sites offer easy return policies.
Of course online shopping will never replace the in-store sensory experience. Many stores are cognisant of the fact and amplifying their store experience to facilitate your walk through the door. However, for the quick window shopping fix, or a last minute outfit purchase, online seems to be a quick and satisfying solution. Here are some best of the best luxury shoe sites to pick from.
10. Lyst: Now Partnered With PayPal
Lyst just raised an additional $14 million in funding and is rumoured to partner with PayPal. So if PayPal is your preferred method of payment you are in luck. The site is essentially a shopping aggregator of other e-commerce stores either brands or online retailers. The initial set up takes you through an exhaustive list of brands and sites that you like and dislike that is somewhat laborious but necessary to cater to your personal taste. You will then receive a personal feed of product mixes based on your selection. The amazing thing about this shopping experience is that you are constantly finding things you didn’t even know you wanted and the options are endless.
9. Totokaelo: Minimalist Chic
Totokaelo is a shopping destination for people with high affinity for minimalist chic. The Seattle based luxury boutique has grown rapidly in the past six years since its launch. It has recently expanded its collection to menswear and home ware. The footwear collection is mostly androgynous and minimalist with occasional bursts of vibrancy. You will find a niche collection of Anne Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela and Dries van Noten. Everything featured is of the highest calibre of design and quality.
8. Sneaker Boy: Online Purchases Only
Look no further than the Sneaker Boy if you’re a luxury and comfort kind of person. The Australian based luxury website has the best and latest collection of crème de la crème sneaker offerings. The website layout is modern minimalist and almost futuristic to best showcase the products. There are two brick and mortar show rooms one based in Sydney and the other in Melbourne, but only as the name suggests for show. They do not carry any inventory in store. All orders are processed online only.
7. Colette: French Chic and Avant-Garde
The renowned retailer Colette is undoubtedly the benchmark of French chic and avant-garde dressing for many. Browsing through their online store, you will come across serious boots, sky high heels and colored sneakers often with a dash of playfulness. Charlotte Olympia, Alaia and Giuseppe Zanotti are regular merchandise here. The store, regularly cited as some of the most influential French luxury retailers, has its share of cool and quirky home ware and gadgets too. Be sure to check that out.
6. Opening Ceremony: The Go To For Fashion Insiders
The first Opening Ceremony store in New York has been around since 2002 and it’s where all the cool kids of America shop. Since its inception, it has been known to acutely spot upcoming trends or the next big brand and is considered the epitome of cool for the fashion insiders. It has a good blend of established designers, emerging artist and its own private label. Its offbeat curation and exclusive collaboration with brands has led to an impressive cult following.
5. Bergdorf Goodman: Over 60 Footwear Designers
Bergdorf Goodman has kept its retail locations to a bare minimum of two, one for male fashion and one for female, on one of the the most prestigious shopping streets of the world; 5th Avenue in New York. The name is synonymous with prestige and luxury and has seen its mention in plenty of Hollywood films since the 50’s and more recently in TV series. You can now step into Bergdorf Goodman’s online shoe salon with over 60 footwear designers like Sophia Webster, Brian Attwood and Manolo Blahnik from anywhere in the world.
4. Farfetch: More Than 7,000 Styles
A quick search on the shoe category, you will find more than 7,000 styles on the website! You will find everything from Bottega Veneta, Charlotte Olympia to Narciso Rodriquez. The impressive collection comes from a collective selection of shoes from the most desirable fashion boutiques around the world. It started the operation shipping only from five countries to now, where currently merchandise is sourced from 25 countries around the world. The content includes introduction of new boutiques to Farfetch and neighbourhood highlights
3. Barneys: Satisfaction Guaranteed
The New York based luxury retailer Barneys has made its fair share of headlines in the past couple of months – from the alleged racial profiling against customers to the usage of transgender models in its latest ad campaign. Regardless of publicity outreach, good or bad, heading to Barneys online or in store for shoes is a no brainer. It has an impeccable selection of the most coveted shoes. You could pick a pair of shoes blindfolded and still leave the store satisfied.
2. Lane Crawford: Categorized By Color
The Hong Kong based specialty luxury retailer has been around since 1850 and was interestingly enough started by two Scottish men. It had a humble origin but nowadays it caters the rich and the supremely stylish individuals of Asian Pacific. It has nine retail stores across Hong Kong and China. Its online operations that began in 2011 is equally impressive in selection and curation. Expect to see only the best of the best on this site categorized by color groups. You will want to buy every shoe, in every color.
1. Net-a-Porter: Carries Over 350 Designers
Net-a-Porter is one of the early successes of online luxury. The founder has an impressive accolade of having the British Fashion Council title and winning the Woman of the Year from Glamour Magazine. When it launched in 2000, nobody thought it was a concept that would survive the test of time. Yet, it has achieved tremendous success since its inception and it now carries over 350 designers such as Burberry Prorsum, Chloe and Alexander McQueen. Given the founders background, it is no surprise then, that it has one of the best online luxury fashion content.