It’s difficult to determine if new shoes fit properly until you wear them in real-life situations, isn’t it? This can be frustrating since stores that let you return worn shoes are not as many. However, there are some stores running guarantee programs that do allow returns of used shoes. While some stores offer refunds, some either offer exchanges or give store credits to buy any other item at the store or all the options.
Stores that let you return worn shoes
To help you out, here’s a useful list of such stores, allowing you to test out your new shoes while still having the option to get a refund if they don’t meet your expectations.
1. Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom
In both the USA and Canada, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack (two different stores) allow returns on worn items for a refund. Additionally, there is no set time limit for returns at Nordstrom, while Nordstrom Rack allows returns within 40 days for shoes bought online and 30 days for shoes bought in-store.
Although Nordstrom’s return policy wording may be unclear, it prioritizes customer satisfaction and suggests that returning worn items is acceptable.
During my time working in the shoe department at Nordstrom, we only paid attention to obvious repeat offenders who were attempting to commit fraud. I recall only one woman being flagged specifically for shoes at my store. Aside from that, we did not have any concerns.
While returning shoes, you may be asked to provide a reason, which was simply a prompt in the register system at the time. However, this doesn’t mean that they will refuse your return. If you’re honest and straightforward with your reason, nobody will think twice about it.
Almost all items are eligible for return within 180 days at Kohl’s. However, if the return is made without a receipt and the customer did not use a Kohl’s credit card for the original purchase, the refund will be issued in the form of store credit at the lowest sale price in the 13 weeks before the return.
Although their returns policy doesn’t state it explicitly, in practice, you can return worn shoes.
3. Vionic Shoes
If you made your original purchase on vionicshoes.com, you may return or exchange your merchandise within 30 days of purchase for any reason, as is the case with any authorized retailer of Vionic shoes.
My experience with Vionic shoes has been mixed. While their slippers have been great and I love them so much that I buy a new pair when they wear out, the athletic shoes were terrible. They lacked support compared to the other Vionic shoes I’ve tried and had almost no arch support. However, I had a great experience with their boots, which were perfect for work. It seems that each model of Vionic shoes has very different levels of support.
I purchased a pair of trail runners from REI. After running about 50 miles in them, I realized they weren’t working for me, so I went back to REI to find a new pair. While trying on shoes, the salesperson suggested the same model that I had already tried and didn’t like. When I explained this, she encouraged me to return the shoes under their satisfaction guarantee policy. I initially felt hesitant about taking advantage of their return policy, but the salesperson assured me that it was meant for situations like mine, where a customer was unsatisfied with their purchase and wanted to find something better.
After returning the shoes, I realized that REI’s policy was meant to be used in cases like mine, where I had given the shoes a chance but ultimately wasn’t happy with them. In fact, since then, I’ve made several more purchases at REI, so it seems that their satisfaction guarantee policy has worked out well for both of us. Ultimately, I believe that it’s only considered abuse of the return policy if a customer returns items they are perfectly happy with.
Nike offers a 60-day return period for all purchases made through Nike.com, any of the Nike apps, or at a Nike store. However, even after this period, you may still return items if they remain unworn and unwashed. Additionally, Nike Members can enjoy free returns at all times.
I purchased two pairs of Pegasus directly from Nike because I was unsure of my size. After running in each pair twice, I discovered that they didn’t fit my feet properly, so I returned them. I had no issues with the return process, and the money was refunded to me promptly. Here are some steps you can also take to clean your worn shoes.
6. Fleet Feet
Fleet Feet, a chain of running stores that let you return worn shoes for cash, offers a Happy Fit Guarantee, which allows for returns within 60 days of purchase, regardless of whether the shoes have been worn or not.
If you’ve purchased an item from Fleet Feet, either in-store or online, and find that it doesn’t meet your expectations in terms of fit, performance, or appearance, you can return it for a full refund within 60 days.
Brooks offers the Run Happy Promise, which guarantees your satisfaction with your gear. If you’re not completely happy with your purchase, you can return it within 90 days of the purchase date, even if you’ve already run in the shoes. Whether you’ve worn them inside, outside, in the rain, or sweated in them, you can send them back if they don’t perform as expected.
For unworn items, you have up to one year from the date of purchase to return them.
Birdies offer a hassle-free return or exchange policy within 30 days of your purchase date. You can even wear your Birdies around your home and outside on a walk to ensure they’re the right fit and level of comfort. If you do decide to return or exchange your Birdies, shipping within the US is free of charge.
Once you’ve received a shipping label, you have to return the worn shoes within 14 days. Once Birdies receive your item, they will issue a refund to your original form of payment. If you’ve requested an exchange, they will send out the new order 1-3 days after they have received the shoes you’re returning, which you can drop off at any USPS location within 14 days.
9. Running Warehouse
Running Warehouse is just another of those stores that let you return worn shoes. You can return any item, whether new or used, within 90 days from the original invoice date.
If you return a shoe that has been used or worn within 90 days of the original invoice date, you may exchange it for another item or receive a store credit for the full value of your purchase. An excessive number of used returns within 12 months may limit your eligibility for exchanges or store credit as Running Warehouse.
For products returned beyond 90 days from the original invoice date, eligibility for store credit will be determined at the sole discretion of Running Warehouse.
10. Road Runner Sports
if you sign up on Road Runner Sports as a VIP member, you get a full refund for your shoes, even if the insoles have been worn, within 90 days, however, it is 60 days for non-VIP members after the initial purchase date.
Road Runner Sports VIP program is offered in good faith to any member who has a reason to return worn shoes. I even had to return one pair of shoes that I had used for a couple of runs with no issues.
While some individuals may take advantage of the program, I do not support such behavior because it goes against the program’s original intent.
At Scheels, as long as the worn shoes don’t look significantly damaged, they will accept them as a return. I must admit that I attempted to make a pair of shoes work for me, running around 20 miles before finally acknowledging that they were causing me injury. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Scheels does not have a time limit on its return policy. But that doesn’t mean you should keep the worn shoes for as long as forever before returning. Although they are a smaller chain, their customer service is exceptional and they offer a wide variety of brands and models.
Shoes you buy from Scheels should be returned in the shoe box and shipped in a proper shipping container. Here’s Scheels’ returns policy.
If you’re unsatisfied with your purchase, Allbirds is one of the stores that let you return worn shoes or exchanges within 30 days, with no questions asked.
You can wear your Allbirds shoes out and about for a few weeks, and even machine wash them, and still receive a refund with no questions asked. You can return worn Allbirds shoes, however, to return clothing, the tags must remain on the clothing.
Allbirds partner with Soles4Souls to donate lightly worn or like-new shoes, which are then distributed to people in need.
13. Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s store will accept your worn shoes as a return, even if you have worn them a few times and they are still in good condition. To be safe, I suggest cleaning the bottoms of the shoes as best you can before returning them. But overall, they will accept the return without any issues.
Dick’s is only interested in “clean and resalable condition”. If the worn shoe is resalable, they are taking it back.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, Calia, VRST, Golf Galaxy, and Field & Stream offer a 90-day return policy while Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse and Going, Going, Gone! locations offer a 45-day return policy.
14. Lululemon Shoes
Lululemon Shoes offer a full refund or exchange within 30 days of the original purchase date if you’ve tested out your shoes and found that they’re not suitable for you. To qualify for a refund or exchange, return the worn shoes in their original box alongside the proof of purchase.
Shoes that Lululemon can’t resell are recycled through their partnership with Debrand, like all quality returns.
I bought the Blissful shoes but ended up returning my pair since I didn’t love the style enough to justify the price. They weren’t comfortable enough for running, and while they were okay for walking, they looked too bulky.
The 30-Day Runlimited Guarantee program is limited to purchases of specifically-designated running shoes on the Zappos.com website or app and is subject to change or cancellation without notice. Shoes purchased and worn during the Program can be returned within 30 days of the purchase date following the return instructions you will receive via email after the purchase date. Unfortunately, Zappos employees and their family members are not eligible for this promotion.
QVC has a flexible shoe return policy that allows you to exchange returns-eligible shoes within 30 days in the US and up to 60 days in the UK of the date you received your package if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase.
17. Altra Running
At altrarunning.com, if you are not completely satisfied with your shoes, you can return them for any reason within the first 30 days and get a full refund. Altra Running provides a free shipping return label within the box with your purchase.
I advise you to keep the tracking number on the return label for your records until the credit for the return has been processed. Follow these steps to process your return on worn Altra Running shoes.
Ultimately, I have done the job of identifying as many stores that let you return worn shoes. Many retailers have generous return policies that allow customers to test out their shoes and return them if they don’t meet their expectations. The goal, usually, is to encourage you as a buyer to buy from them another time or recommend their products.
With this knowledge, you can confidently shop for all kinds of shoes, including running shoes, knowing that you can return or exchange them if they don’t work out.