Disclaimer: I am in no way being compensated for this post. I just really like Zappos and want to let you all know about my experience with buying running shoes from them.

I had always heard fantastic things about Zappos returns policy. But since I’m learning to be more frugal, their business model didn’t necessarily sit well with me.

I mean, Zappos offers no sales, no promo codes, and no discounts. So why shop there? Supposedly, they have absolutely fantastic customer service. And after having a single experience, I have to say that Zappos returns and customer service are ultra awesome and worth every cent you spend with the company.

What’s so great about Zappos Returns?

Okay, there is a 365-day Zappos returns policy. That’s crazy. So when I ordered my new running shoes (the lovely Asics Nimbus 14), I figured Zappos was the way to go because of that policy.

I wore my pair of Nimbus 13 until they died, and I knew my size–10 4E–but I had to make sure the upgrade was really an upgrade. So I needed a decent return policy.

It turns out, the Nimbus 14 was too narrow for my Hobbit feet–even in 4E and with the already-wide Asics toebox. I rubbed blisters on my feet, and it was a miserable experience. After logging about 450 miles in the Nimbus 13, I was pretty bummed about the upgrade not really being an upgrade.

So instead of chalking up a $140 loss, I went online to see exactly how the Zappos return policy worked. And I realized that I was screwed. It requires the original packaging, which I didn’t have. (My cat loves cardboard, so she went to town on the box in the few months since I’d bought the shoes, anyway.)

But I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask what could be done, anyway. I mean, if the company prided itself on customer service, maybe they’d let me return the shoes anyway, so I could get a refund to buy a pair of running shoes that didn’t hurt my feet.

No Such Luck

I went online, found a live chat button, and told the rep about the problems I was having. I told the truth–the fit from the previous model made me think these would work, so I trashed the box, but I can’t wear them because of the blisters they cause. Unexpectedly, I was still told that I needed the original packaging to get a refund.

But–but!–she said they could do an exchange for a size bigger. And while I wasn’t sure if a size bigger would work, it was my best option. So I told her that I needed a 10.5 4E in the Asics Nimbus 14.

After a few minutes of her verifying my information and us chatting about running in the heat and humidity, she comes back to the chat and informs me that not only am I going to be getting a brand new pair of shoes, but because of how amazing Zappos returns turn out to be, they would also be issuing a $35 refund to my account because the dropped in price, and they would be upgrading my account to lifetime VIP status so that I would always have free next-day shipping.

Who Does That?

Zappos does.

Needless to say, I was quite happy. Especially about the refund part. They did not have to do that because I had paid full price.

Luckily, the 10.5 4E is fantastic in the Nimbus 14, and I haven’t had the first bit of problem out of the shoe. I don’t know why Asics would have narrowed the toebox, but they did. So if you’re a Nimbus wearer and spoiled by the unbelievable cloud you run on, make sure you hit a half-size up when buying the 14. (Update: the 15 and the 17 both have a much wider toe box than other ones, so if you’re an Asics Nimbus runner, check those models out.)

So yeah, Zappos made a lasting customer out of me already, and a few weeks after I got my package, I got a personalized, hand-written note from my CSR. I was dumbfounded. They really do want to make their customers feel special.

It was a nice touch.

Regardless, I am going to need new running shoes in the fall, and I’ll need to try out the difference between the 10 4E and the 10.5 4E in the Asics Nimbus 15s. So guess where I’m going to be shopping when that time comes?

I’ll also be saving my original packaging this time. Most definitely.

What have your experiences with Zappos returns been?

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