In this article, I would share my thoughts on the best time in the year to buy shoes, sandals and footwear, especially if we are buying from more expensive brands for the quality, comfort and durability of the shoes. Times has also changed as many retailers have brought their business to online platforms and is able to offer discounts as well. Lastly, I would also share on the worst time to buy shoes, from the Chinese custom perspective….so that part is up to you to believe or not.
The best time to shop for shoes and footwear where there are huge discounts
Over the years, I noticed that the best time of the year to buy shoes or footwear is during the fasting month of Ramadhan. That is when we can find very good deals as shopping complexes would be throwing in sales with huge discounts.
The second best time would be during the end of the year, around the Christmas and New Year sale.
Whereas for other festive seasons such as Chinese New Year or Deepavali, there may be sales here and there but the discounts are not deep.
This was true even when I was young. We were not from a rich family so my mom could only buy a lot of things during sales. She would go to Hankyu Jaya and Baturoad (both the shopping complexes are no longer in operation long time ago) in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman to look for deals. Since she frequented there often, she was the one who told me that it seemed before Raya, the discounts would be more.
So if it is during the fasting month and you frequent shopping complexes, you would find banners with huge discounts from shoes and clothing stores. If you have budgeting constraints, and need to save for that nice pair of shoes, it would be a good time to go during the time when there is a huge discount to get a good pair of shoes.
Many people get around using public transport and need to walk a lot, hence a good pair of shoes really make a difference. This is something I definitely can attest for as I used to take public transport to work in my first job, I do not have good knees hence I gotta invest in a good pair of comfortable shoes. It is the same for my other friends who have to take public transport to work.
A good pair of shoes can last for longer period of time. I know some larger families would wait for the Raya sale to buy clothes and shoes in bulk to save money.
The Rise of Online eCommerce stores with almost year round discounts
Times is changing as many shoe brands have started to focus on online ecommerce site and list their items in places like Shopee. When brands move part of their operations online, they are able to drastically bring down the operating cost- ie they need not need to pay for rental, staffing (with OT) and operational costs. With the reduction of cost, many brands could offer discounts almost round the year.
Especially for online where they have theme days in a month like 1:1, 2:2, 3:3, 4:4, etc where the platform itself would provide incentives such as free delivery and gift vouchers, many online brands would also take that opportunity to offer discounts.
Hence, if you are shopping for online, you may be able to find the discounts more often, at least about once a month. From what I understand, many would wait until around that time to login to shop.
How to buy shoes online when we cannot get to try them on?
This was the question that I had initially pondered as well. After all, the reason we visit a physical store when buying shoes is so that we can try on the shoes and get recommendation from the salesperson.
However, I have learned that some people are already very familiar with a certain brand hence know all the sizes. For example, the most comfortable pair of sandals I have ever worn in my life would be from Crocs. And I have worn from many other brands in the past. The only downside from Crocs is that after a few months of wearing, for the female sandals, the lines located at the soles would be worn off and the sandal may get a little slippery. It is still comfortable to wear but we would need to be careful when walking on slippery surface (example on a rainy day or in a wet toilet floor). If purchasing for an older folks, brands like Scholl seemed to be a favourite with them.
Anyway, as I am familiar with Crocs, if it is the same series but different colour, I would know the size as it would be the same as the size I am wearing. I noticed it is how others determine and buy shoes online as well.
The worst time of the year to buy shoes (based on olden beliefs)
Do not buy shoes as gifts for other people
This part would be something that is passed down for generations. Generally, we do not buy shoes as gifts for other people, ie like a birthday gift. It is said if we give a person shoes, the person would walk away from us. How far that is true, I do not know.
But there was a time when my brother dated a girl and she had requested for a pair of shoes from him. Blue colour high heel shoes that she had spotted and love. He bought her the shoes and well, their relationship ended shortly after. She got to keep the shoes, of course.
I think we can give them shoe vouchers or give them money which they can use to buy whatever they want. Also no issue when it comes to parents buying for their kids or their elderly. Just avoid to have the shoes bought and presented as a gift for someone not related to us, especially all wrapped up nicely like for birthday, Christmas or Valentine gifts.
Chinese beliefs of not buying shoes during Chinese New Year
Also, it is pantang (taboo) for a Chinese to buy any shoes during the duration of Chinese New Year. Including the Chinese New Year eve, there are about 16 days in a year where Chinese folks are not supposed to buy any new pair of shoes. So if we wish to buy any shoes, we would need to buy it either before CNY eve or after Cap Goh Mei.
Years ago, many shoe retailers know this. They know business would be slow during the CNY period. So they put in a little discount during that time (but not huge discounts). Because other races (who do not observe that pantang) would be buying the shoes, so sales would not be almost flatline.
I belief this is related to the word ‘shoe’ which sounds like bad luck in Chinese. Just like Chinese do not like the number 4 as has the same sound as ‘sei’, meaning ‘die’ in Cantonese and you could see in some buildings especially if the owner is a Chinese taukeh, there is no 4th floor in the lift. They would have levels like G, 1, 2, 3, 3A, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc. Sometimes even no 13th, 14th, 24th floors as well.
Whether the Chinese pantang is true or not, sometimes I find no harm following lah. When I was growing up, my mom used to buy all the footwear for us. Since she was the one buying it, she never thought of the need to tell us about that pantang. When I was 18 years old during CNY, I was walking past a popular shoe retailer chain and saw a discount on a slipper that I like with discount. I had some of my own money as I had always worked part time during school holidays since I was 17 years old. So I bought it and happily took the slipper back to show to my mom.
My mom got angry when she saw that pair of slippers and proceeded to give me a huge scolding. She said if a Chinese buy a pair of footwear during the CNY period, the entire year would not be good. She said there are so many days in a year which I can buy, why must I buy of all days during that time.
That year, yeah, was real crap. I moved to another state to pursue my tertiary education and went through a lot of emotional downs. It was really a bad year and I was grateful for my good group of friends to help me pull through. Hence, I leave it up to you to belief or not, hee hee.