Friday, March 18, 2011

In These Shoes: Sole Society

One of the most interesting things to me, as a fashion blogger, is seeing new ways of shopping online. A few years ago, private sample-sale websites like Gilt Groupe and Hautelook were all the rage--and they continue to be, although the number of copycat sites has pretty much leveled off. Then came rental services like Rent the Runway, otherwise known as Netflix for dresses. The latest trend is for sites that offer you items on a monthly subscription basis: accessories at Send the Trend, jewelry at Jewelmint, and now shoes at Sole Society (which, coincidentally, is owned by Hautelook). All of these sites have you take a quiz to determine your personal style--it usually involves selecting a series of images--and then generate a personalized selection of products based on your answers. If you see something you like, it's a flat fee, although you can buy as many items as you want (all for the same price). Items are generally available in limited quantities, but the selection refreshes every month. So if you have a particular accessory addiction, these sites can either be very convenient or a lot of trouble--in a good way, of course.

Which brings me to Sole Society. As loyal Cheryl Shops readers know, I love shoes like most people love air or food or water, so the thought of having a personalized selection from which to choose every month sounds just like heaven. I got to preview the current and upcoming collections this week, and I can say the shoes are very on-trend as well as suitable for a range of styles--that's where that style quiz comes in handy. The shoes are all made by Marco Santi (which, a little birdie told me, is manufactured by Vince Camuto, the same fellow responsible for the Jessica Simpson Collection),  exclusively for Sole Society, although new vendors might be added in the future. What I like is that the shoes are mostly leather (although there are some fabric styles as well) and really quite stylish. And while I love fancy shoes, I also love a good bargain: Every pair of shoes on Sole Society is just $49.95, which is amazing when you consider how detailed and well-made they are.

One little caveat: Once you buy your first pair, you opt in for membership. You'll get an email on the first of every month detailing your new shoe selection, and you can either choose to buy a pair or skip the month (you can skip as many months as you want). If you don't respond by the 5th of the month, you'll be automatically billed $49.95, otherwise known as the membership fee. But even if you don't want one of that month's pairs of shoes, your credit is good for up to 12 months (and you can only be charged for three months' worth of credits). Based on what I saw, I would probably want to buy a pair every month, but if you are an epic email-deleter, be aware (or set a Google calender alert).

Even if you don't buy a pair of shoes every month, there's a bunch of fun content on the site--the trends page shows you what to wear with particular shoe trends, and Sole Society also enlists the advice of fashion insiders to provide fit tips, styling suggestions, and other editorial-type content. It's all in the spirit of fostering community—after all it's a Society, not just an e-commerce site. Speaking of which, don't forget to invite your friends: for every three who purchase a pair of shoes, you get a free pair. And if there's anything better than getting a new pair of shoes every month, it's getting that pair for free!

3 comments:

Mens Suits said...

Wow a collections of shoes with fabulous design and styles many girls will be love seeing this. I love that hope there's many more post of sole society ^^

Anonymous said...

Most of the shoes aren't leather - they're either fabric, faux leather, or microsuede. Of the 12 selections I was offered, only two pairs were leather.

Shoe Club Gal said...

Hi Cheryl -

Love your article here about Sole Society! Have you had a chance to sign up to any of the other shoe clubs out there like ShoeDazzle or Sole Society? Would love to hear what you think of them!

By the way, I started a site where we review all the major shoe clubs. Would love to know what you thought about our Sole Society review if you have a chance to read it. Thanks!