Helping You with Your Amazon FBA Business

Increase Your Profits & Save Time by Selling Shoes

Big collection of different sport shoes.I’m hooked on selling shoes!  Why?  Here are two reasons:

  1. Shoes are easy to find.
  2. Shoes are easy to prep and ship.

But my top reason is:

I’m making a larger profit on shoes than what I made with my other categories!

With that said, there are a few downsides to shoes:

  1. Shoes are a restricted category so you must get approved first.
  2. The cost for a pair of shoes is higher than what you may be used to.
  3. You may experience a higher return rate on shoes.

Keep in mind, that I’m not a shoe expert yet as I’ve been selling shoes for just a month.  But so far I’m optimistic that selling shows will lead me to more sales and higher profits.

Between December 10th, 2015 and January 7, 2016, Amazon received 23 pairs of shoes from me.  As of today, 8 have sold and below are my sales figures:

**Note: I know the report shows 9 pairs, but I actually sold 8 pairs of real shoes.  One of the items included in the report is a pair of snowshoes.  More on the snowshoes later…

Shoe FBA Sales SHD

I like that several of my shoes sold rather quickly and that my average sale price is almost $90.00.

Of course, I’m always saying that “Sales does not equal Profits!”  So, to see my shoe profits, here are my shoe numbers from InventoryLab:

Shoe Profits SHD

I wish the snowshoes didn’t show up in either of the above reports especially since they’re listed in the Sports & Outdoors Category.

But if you ignore the snowshoes, my average net profit for the regular shoes is $32.33.  This beats my average net profit of $10.00 for my other items.

Time Savings
I like shoes because of the lower volume needed to make a profit.  Take a look:

  • $1000 net profit / $32.33 average = 31 pieces to process
  • $1000 net profit / $10.00 average = 100 pieces to process

Considering I’m a one-person operation, I would love to make the same amount of money by processing 1/3 of the items. 🙂  But I’m not completely going to ignore the other categories as I’m still working on becoming a toy expert and I was just approved in clothing.

Besides having less items to process, I find that sourcing, prepping and shipping shoes goes pretty fast.

Sourcing – Retail
All of my November and December purchases have been through retail arbitrage. I bought shoes from Fred Meyer, DSW Shoes, Vans, Famous Footwear, Nike Outlet and the Reebok Outlet Store.  I have never walked out of a shoe department empty-handed and my average time searching for profitable shoes is 30 to 45 minutes.

Yesterday, I found 4 pairs of shoes at DSW Shoes in 45 minutes.  What’s great is that now I’m a DSW Rewards member and am able to take advantage of additional discounts due to my past purchases with them.  Yesterday, I was able to save an additional $30.00 which will improve my bottom line.


But even without the $30.00 in discounts, I would have still bought the shoes because of the high net profit:

Inventory Lab 4 Shoes SHD

Sourcing – Online
On January 6th, I signed up for this online shoe sourcing list.  I swore I would never sign up for a list again, but I do want to take fast action on shoes and get my volume up.  On my Day #1 list, I purchased 6 pairs of shoes.  Once my 30 day subscription is over, I’ll let you know how it worked out and if I’ll be keeping or cancelling it.

Shoe Ranking & Criteria
Up until two days ago, my criteria has been very simple:

  • Ranking at 10,000 or less
  • Shoes, shoeboxes and lids in great condition

I learned about the 10,000 ranking guideline from the shoe webinar that was included in one of the Q4 Coaching Groups that I joined.

On January 6th, I read this article by David Penley.  In the article, he discusses sales ranking and gives a great example of why a shoe ranked at 119,548 may be better than a shoe ranked at 5,082.  Besides rank, he factors in the number of shoe variations (colors & sizes), the number of sellers and the number of buyer reviews.  **My average sales rank for the 4 shoes that I bought yesterday is 39,087.

David Penley’s shoe sourcing list is the one that I joined. He also has a Shoe Sourcing Facebook group.  I’m a member of the group and am looking forward to learning more about shoes!

According to my notes from the shoe webinar, you can expect 10 to 12% of your shoes to be returned.  At this point, I have not had any shoe returns.  But it’s still early and once I have more shoe history, I’ll let you know what percentage of my shoes are returned.

As of now, my plan for any returned shoes is to have them returned to me.  If I examine them and they are still in new condition, I’ll send them back to Amazon.  If the shoe condition doesn’t meet my standards for selling on Amazon, then I’ll either list the shoe on eBay, donate or keep it.  Many of the shoes that I buy are the sizes that my husband and I wear.

Time to Get to Work!
Shoes from Outlet StoresThere’s so much more that I want to cover about shoes.  But I do need to finish up this blog post and look at today’s shoe sourcing list.  I plan on writing more about shoes in later posts.

Of course, I’m always here to help and love it when you leave a comment or question either on this blog or my Facebook page!

Have a great day and I wish you all a Happy and Profitable year.


p.s.  Here is an update to this post: Shoe Progress Report: Sales, Profits and More!

p.p.s.  3/3/17 Update: Learn more about selling shoes with Stephen Smotherman’s new course,  The Reseller’s Guide to Selling Shoes!

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Miguel January 9, 2016, 2:12 am

    Great blog post, Diana! After looking into OA lists, it seems like very tight margins and saturation, which equals a race to the bottom. I’m an athlete so shoes are a good fit for me (excuse the pun). ? I can’t wait to see how this month plays out for you!

    • Miguel January 9, 2016, 2:24 am

      Forgot to ask: how did you get ungated?

      • Diana January 9, 2016, 4:18 am

        I got ungated back in October when Amazon was giving out instant approvals. I just had to fill out a short form and answer some questions about image files. A friend of mine just got ungated tonight so if you’re thinking about getting ungated, tonight is a good time to try.

    • Diana January 9, 2016, 4:17 am

      Thanks Miguel! I’ve been focusing on athletic shoes as that’s all I wear so I know brands and prices. Since I just started the list, I don’t know yet if there will be a race to the bottom like I experienced with other lists. With that said, with the larger profits, I can afford to go down in price. With the other lists with price margins under $20 and some under $10, every dollar counts. I’ll give an update once I have more history.

      • Miguel January 9, 2016, 2:42 pm

        Sounds exciting and I’m optimistic for you! Forgot to mention that my wife scored a brand new pair of Mizunos for under $23 the other day. Too bad she’s not into RA! LOL

        Oh, I do believe before you even think about ungating, you have to have a pro seller account. Right? Since I’m only testing the waters by sending in a handful of items, I’d be in the red and that would = unhappy wife. ?

        • Diana January 9, 2016, 4:07 pm

          Please don’t make your wife unhappy! But yes, you do need to be a Professional Seller. There’s quite a few unrestricted categories that you can sell in and then once you start selling 40+ items a month, then become a professional seller!

  • Valerie January 11, 2016, 12:18 am

    Thanks for the informative post! Your facebook post from a few weeks ago inspired me to apply for ungating in shoes (successful) and I just went sourcing for shoes for the first time today! If I get the ROIs I anticipate, I think it could be a great category!

    Question when it comes to RA: I’m not sure which sourcing app you use? I use strictly the Amazon seller app, and when I got home I learned the following: If I scan a shoe and it comes up as currently being sold on Amazon but the price says “$0.00”, that means its out of stock in that size. Too bad, because I came home and looked a few up and they were actually great sellers, just out of stock in the size that I scanned. Not sure how I will find a work around for this, because it won’t be very efficient to have to use two different apps (seller and regular) while in store. Also found that probably only 1/5 of shoes I scanned showed a rank in app. There would be shoes which had tons of great reviews, but didn’t show a rank. Weird.

    Curious about your experience with the app you use?
    Thanks for the great info as always!

    • Diana January 11, 2016, 2:59 am

      Hi Valerie,
      First of all, congratulations on getting ungated in shoes! I think it’s a great category due to the higher profit margins.

      I use the Scoutify App when scanning. It’s part of the InventoryLab subscription. With Scoutify, you can check the other variations (size and color) of that shoe. Also it has links to CCC and Keepa for further research. This way, if you find a shoe that’s out of stock, then you can get a price idea based on other sizes and history.

      Once I find a shoe that looks good in Scoutify, then I also scan it in the Amazon app. The Amazon App will tell me if the shoe is restricted and also what conditions I’m allowed to sell the shoe in. Scoutify doesn’t give that info.

      Hope that helps!

      • Valerie January 14, 2016, 7:29 pm

        Thanks for this response! Good to know about the scoutify info. I may have to consider at least trying it out.

        Another question for you, I know you briefly addressed above:
        Have you been avoiding shoeboxes without lids, or even shoes without any box at all? I’ve heard a mix of answers: that it would be ok to use a blank box, and also that that would not be ok. What have you learned thus far?
        I’ll certainly be checking out the Facebook group you mentioned to learn more. Thanks!

        • Diana January 15, 2016, 1:39 am

          Hi Valerie,
          That question was just discussed in the shoe Facebook group and the majority of the people do recommend shoe boxes with lids and the boxes need to be in great condition.

          I know some people use generic boxes or poly bag. I’m not comfortable with doing that.

          For now to keep my buyers as happy as possible and to keep my Seller account healthy, I’m going to buy only shoes that have shoe boxes & lids. There are plenty out there and one secret is to search the main shoe aisles and you’ll usually find clearance shoes mixed in. These clearance shoes (in my experience) always come complete with boxes and lids. Shoes in the the actual clearance section are often missing the lids.

          Hope that helps and good luck with shoes!


  • Lucky February 3, 2016, 3:45 pm

    You mention Retail Arbitrage. I read somewhere that that practice wasn’t something Amazon liked or am I confusing this method? It seems most sellers on Amazon are doing Retail Arbitrage in one way or another.



    • Diana February 3, 2016, 8:55 pm

      Hi Lucky,
      I never heard anything about Amazon not liking their 3rd Party sellers to do Retail Arbitrage. Both Retail and Online Arbitrage are common methods for many FBA Sellers to find products to sell on Amazon at a higher price than what we paid for them. Let me know if you have any other questions!


  • Raj February 15, 2016, 12:45 am

    Hi Diana,
    How are you?
    This is Raj, I am a regular reader of your blog. I love your blog. I was wondering if you could email me so that I can ask you how will I get approved in the shoe section. Please let me know. Thank you so so much.


    • Diana February 15, 2016, 1:26 am

      Sending you an email.

  • Cathy February 17, 2016, 2:06 am

    Would you recommend the sourcing list ?

    • Diana February 17, 2016, 2:57 am

      Hi Cathy,

      I do recommend the sourcing list. From it, I learned about a bunch of stores that I never heard of before and found a lot of great shoes. Some were from the list and some were others that I found on my own by following rabbit trails.

      With that said, I did cancel the list because I couldn’t keep up with it. There were plenty of finds each day, but with my schedule, I wasn’t able to look at each day’s list in a timely manner. When I did get to some of the lists a day or two later, some of the finds were either out of stock or the price from the retailer went up.

      So, I cancelled David’s list and went list-free for awhile. I recently signed up with Quincy Lin’s 2-day list.

      I’m in the process of writing a new blog post about my shoe progress. I should have it done later this week.


      • Cathy February 17, 2016, 3:23 am


        • Cathy February 20, 2016, 5:46 am

          Me again ~ I’m waiting on a response from David to see if he has an opening. I’ve not heard of Quincy Lin. 2 day would probably be good for me… how expensive is it? Have you ever used “The Selling Family” ? They have some openings. I do RA ~ but would be a lot easier to do more OA 🙂

          • Diana February 20, 2016, 2:31 pm

            Hi Cathy,
            Quincy’s lists are at Also, he was in a recent podcast at Ecommercemomentum. The list that I’m doing is $97. His list fees are higher than David’s.

            I do know of the Selling Family and have purchased many of their products. They are awesome. I did try their list out (non-shoes) and you can read my review of it here: Getting a Shared VA to Help with My Amazon FBA Sourcing. Then I have a followup post to that.

            I quit doing the non-shoe lists due to the increased competition and lowering of prices, which you’ll see with any list. I’m not so worried about that with the shoe lists because the initial profit is much higher. When the profit is $30, you can go down a few dollars. When it’s $10, there’s no room to go down.


  • Cathy February 20, 2016, 8:12 pm

    Thank you!!!!

    • Cathy February 20, 2016, 8:33 pm

      One more question ~ when you say his list fees are higher, does that mean higher profit per shoe or? And do the shoes themself cost more? Thank you so much for your help. 🙂

      • Diana February 21, 2016, 12:24 am

        Oh, I meant the monthly subscription fee!

        • Cathy February 21, 2016, 2:04 am

          Duh ~ Blonde moment. Thanks~ 🙂

          • Diana February 21, 2016, 3:12 am

            🙂 Check back in a few days and I’ll have another shoe post up. I plan to have it published by Tuesday at the latest.

  • Andy March 13, 2016, 5:53 pm

    Hello Diana,

    Does Scoutify app give the sales ranks for shoes? If not, how do you determine the sales rank when your out purchasing? Also, are you concerned about Amazon wanting to see purchase invoices directly from the manufacturer. In case a Amazon buyer claims the shoes are fake…?


    • Diana March 13, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Hi Andy,
      Yes, the Scoutify app gives the sales rank for shoes. Plus, with a few clicks, you can easily get a screen that lists the prices and how many are in stock for each variation. For example, after I scan in a shoe, I’ll go to the screen that lists all of the sizes and see which size sells for the most money.

      Being accused of fake or counterfeit merchandise can happen with any category. That’s one reason why I no longer buy from thrift stores or places that don’t have a good receipt. On my shoe retail receipts from regular stores, the UPC or model number is always listed. Not sure if that’s good enough for Amazon, but I’m kind of stuck with that.


  • Jason DiFilippo January 26, 2017, 12:57 pm

    Hello Dianna,
    I just came across your site, and I am a hardcore shoe collector and reseller.
    Amazon ungated me to sell sneakers, but they want a 1 time fee of 1500$?
    Did you have to pay that?

    They also said that they needed invoices, not receipts from the actual shoes. Which means you have to have an account with ha major brand, or buy from someone who does.

    I’m very confused. Could you give me a little advice?


    • Diana January 26, 2017, 2:22 pm

      Hi Jason,
      There are some shoe brands that you are most likely restricted to sell – New Balance, Nikes, Asics, Clarks, Adidas, Anne Klein, Mizuno, Uggs, Toms. I can’t give you a complete list as every Seller’s restrictions are different.

      So, to sell a restricted brand, you need to apply to get approved. This typically requires providing invoices, a letter of authorization and a $1500 fee. The requirements can be different between brands so you’ll have to check each one individually.

      I never paid a fee or applied to get unrestricted. When I started shoes a year ago, there were less brand restrictions. For example, Nike was an unrestricted brand and so now I’m “grandfathered” in and am able to sell that brand.

      Sometimes if a brand becomes restricted, Amazon will still let you sell it if you were already selling it.

      The best thing to do is always check the ASIN in the free Amazon Seller App or in the “Add Product” screen in Seller Central to see if you’re restricted or not.

      Again, the restricted list is different for everyone but I can sell Nikes, Clarks, Skechers, Saucony, Aerosole, Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Ecco, Lifestride and numerous other brands.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions!

  • Carlos Batz July 27, 2017, 6:13 pm

    How did you get approved to sell brand shoes in amazon?

    • Diana July 28, 2017, 2:56 pm

      Hi Carlos,

      I was grandfathered into many of the brand name shoes.



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About Diana

I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!

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