Shopping for women’s shoes can be difficult enough for women. But the task might seem impossible if you’re a man shopping for women’s shoes.

Why would a man shop for women’s shoes? If the woman in question loves shoes, it will show that you understand her and are interested in making her happy.

Even if you’ve never shopped for women’s shoes before, the following tips will have you well on your way to finding the perfect shoes for the women in your life. You may even have fun doing it.

Shoes: To Give or Not to Give

First, determine whether or not shoes are a good gift idea for the woman in question. It may seem like all women are shoe-obsessed, but that’s really not the case.

If you need more clarification, try checking her closet to see how many pairs of shoes she has. Does she wear different shoes each time you see her?

When you’re shopping, does she linger in the shoe section?

If all else fails, ask her why women are obsessed with shoes; if she has a ready defense, chances are she’s one of us.

Profiling a Woman’s Shoe “Type”

When it comes to women’s shoes, there are hundreds of styles, heel heights, colors, materials, and so on. So before doing anything else, you’ll need to determine which type of shoes she likes. This is a relatively simple step, since all you have to do is think about the woman you’re buying for.

Is she athletic? Professional? Are you the outdoorsy type? Or is she an artistic, one-of-a-kind kind of girl?

Form a mental image of the woman she is, and narrow your focus to women’s shoes that will suit her.

Check Your Facts

Check your information by looking through her magazines or catalogs. A reader of “Vegetarian Times” might not appreciate a pair of leather boots.

Keep an eye out for the stores she frequents. Designer heels might be lost on a woman who collects old Converse chucks from eBay, and you might insult a fashionista by offering up a pair of walking shoes, no matter how comfortable they are.

Paying close attention to her preferences will dramatically improve your chances of success.

The All-Important Heel

Now that you know the types of shoes she might like, you need to pick a heel height.

While some flat wearers secretly covet a pair of four-inch heels, it’s best to play it safe. Stick with flats or heels under 2 inches. Walking in high heels takes a lot of practice, and she should only do it if she wants to, not because you like how they look.

If you know she loves high heels, go for it, but stick within the general range of what she normally buys for herself.

Get Her Shoe Size

Some women are very consistent with their shoe sizes. If you look through the shoes she owns, they might all have just an “8” or a “9” on them; it will be simpler to shoe shop for these women. But most of us wear different sizes due to manufacturer and style differences.

If there are only two sizes available, choose the larger one. If there is a three-size range, try the one in the middle. And, no matter what, make sure the store you buy from has a reasonable return policy.

Verify Her Shoe Width

Letters near the size will indicate a special width. You might see an “A” or several “E”s, or even an “N,” “M,” or “W.” These all represent different widths.

Different letters can be used to describe the same width, which makes things even more confusing. For example, an “A” and an “N” both mean “narrow.”

If you doubt what the letters mean, make a note of them and ask someone at the shoe store for assistance. Again, be sure to check the store’s return policy, just in case they don’t work out.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test

Now that you’ve gathered the information, you’ll need to take your findings for a “test drive” by tagging along the next time she shops for shoes.

Take note of what she picks up and what she tries on; then, check her reaction to the shoes you think she might like.

Even if your instincts seem a bit off, don’t worry. This is only a test run; what you learn here will help you get it exactly right. You’ll also get extra karma points for showing an interest in her and shopping with her.

Shop for Shoes

It’s time to go solo and hit the shoe stores or the online retailers. In addition to the notes you’ve made, remember to check the stores’ return policies and ask for assistance if you need it before placing your order. Most importantly, relax and try to have fun. If shoe shopping were fun, we would spend less time doing it.

There is Always Plan “B”

As a last resort, or if this all seems too overwhelming, there is an easier way: gift cards.

Once you’ve determined that the woman you love actually does love shoes, you could get her a gift card or certificate for her favorite shoe store.

This is less personal, but she’ll forgive you if the card is large enough.

However, note that this trick may only work once, so do your homework before the next gift-giving occasion.

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