how to shop at dsw

5 Tips : How To Shop DSW

Why I shop DSW

I love DSW. And I’ve often been asked how I get such good deals and find such cute shoes there. The store (stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse) has a ridiculously large collection of shoes not only in stores but also online. In fact, its online selection is at least twice that of retail locations. DSW offers affordable shoes in the latest trends and even more interestingly, a whole luxury line (not available in stores that I have been to) that consists of Prada, Giuseppe Zanotti, Herve Leger, in addition to a few other well-known designers.

I first discovered DSW when I lived near Gaithersburg. There were a few store locations in the area and I wanted to see what they were all about so I stopped in one day and I was hooked. I shopped there off and on and introduced my mom and sisters to it. It was shoe paradise. Basically, all shoe lovers can easily spend 1+ hours here. (i.e. Do not make this a “quick stop” or decide to stop in if you are on a tight schedule because let’s face it, you’ll be late.)

Although DSW carries handbags and accessories (socks, shoe cushions, etc…), their shoe collection is [obviously] their main focus. The online selection always has non-seasonal shoes available. In fact, just yesterday I was browsing through their amazing riding boots section and was pleasantly surprised at the prices I came across.

Now that you know why I shop at DSW, you can read the following tips on the best ways to shop DSW.

how to shop at dsw

How to shop DSW


Before you buy anything, make sure you sign up for a rewards account. I’ve gotten so many discounts and rewards coupons through them just by using my account. Not only do you earn points, which turn into rewards, but you also receive alerts and codes when the company is having a sale or special. For example, recently I received a code that allowed me to earn double points for the span of a few days. If you’re a super shopper and you have a large family to buy shoes for (or you’re a classic shoe addict – what woman isn’t?), you will sometimes be able to earn triple points.

*I should note that this is not a credit card. It is just a unique number that you access using your telephone number. No need to worry about stolen card numbers or affected credit.

how to shop at dsw
DSW is constantly adding merchandise to their site. They are on top of trends and had ankle strap heels long before other stores. Their site is easy to navigate and their search engine is better than most.

Returns are free to stores AND shipping is free above $35 if you are a rewards member and you use code “SHIPR.” These are musts for online shopping. I despise forking over cash just to “try on” something. Online shopping is too fickle, or maybe I am, for me to miraculously love and fit into everything I order. Especially when you are between two shoe sizes.

how to shop at dsw

Avec Les Filles espadrilles


This is an important note to remember. Clearance racks can get tedious but they will always have better prices than clearance selections online. Sometimes you will find shoes on clearance at the store but they will still be regularly marked online. Browse these racks (usually a special section in the back of the store) often and if you aren’t in dire need of a particular shoe, wait for more markdowns. But only if you can live without it in the likely chance that it could sell.

DSW has 4 markdown tiers: 30%, 40%, 50%, and 70%. Discounts are marked down from the sticker price. A few months ago, they posted a very helpful “markdowns for dummies” chart in the section where all the calculations are already done for you. Maybe to give us a few extra minutes to shop instead of spending that time on menial tasks like math.


Think all clearance shoes will be in the back section? Nope. DSW will sometimes mix in clearance shoes in between the regularly priced ones. Be sure to quickly scan the rows for the telltale green, purple or blue tags.

how to shop at dsw


This is a very important thing to remember in striving for the best deals. I’ve already mentioned how important it is to sign up for a rewards member’s account. And I’ve noted how DSW takes in-store returns for free. But what happens if you make a purchase online, use a $10 rewards coupon but sadly, the shoe doesn’t fit? What now? No one wants to lose hard earned cash. Lucky for us, DSW has the best rewards/returns policy. As long as you make an exchange, they will honor the coupons you used.

And that’s all she wrote folks. Hopefully you’ve learned a bit and discovered something new! Have a wonderful weekend!

how to shop at dsw

Steve Madden sandals



5 shopping tricks to get the best deals at DSW


Similar Posts


  1. Wow, such great deals. I have to say I have not been to a DSW in a few years. Looks like I have been missing out. Going to check online now.
    Have a great week-end.


  2. Grace, these tips are amazing… and now I’m inspired to hit the store again! 🙂 By the way, you have fabulous taste in shoes!

  3. Hey Shoe Lover! Amazing article! Thanks for spreading the word. We’re so glad you love shopping with us. You can actually score free shipping online with any purchase over $35. Be sure to check us out on Facebook for tons of chances to win free shoes and more!

    Peace, love, and shoes,
    The DSW Social Team

  4. I also love DSW. Unfortunately, the closest one to me now is over an hour. I never thought of checking to see if they had a web site, though. I’ve been shopping at Zappos a lot lately. Now you’ve given me yet another site. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad…

  5. Nice tips! I love going to DSW – there’s always great deals there! xx Kat

    Love and Ace

  6. Fantastic tips! I will be signing up for sure. We don’t have a DSW here but whenever I’m visiting my brother and his family in Milwaukee, I always stop in for some retail therapy:)
    Not sure how good this will be for my wallet, but who doesn’t like a good find. Thanks for sharing!
    xo, Jackie

  7. Hi! I’ve noticed that DSW is only carrying 4 luxury brands now. I’m curious to know what happened to all the Prada, Gucci, etc. Was it sub-par stuff made specifically for DSW?

    1. I’m not exactly sure – I once bought a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti sandals from DSW and I tried to look for them outside of DSW but couldn’t find them. So I do think you’re right – luxury brands are made specifically for DSW. However, I can’t speak for the quality. I thought it was great but I’m not an expert on luxury items 🙂

  8. This may be interesting to anyone who shops at DSW…last week, I bought a pair of Mizuno running shoes with a green discount sticker, which was 20% off retail. Today, green is 30% off. A DSW store associate told me that within 60 days, they will do a price adjustment and you do not need to avoid wearing those shoes that long, just have your receipt when you come in(and I would bring the box, just in case they need to scan it). But one adjustment per item is the limit, and if you are adventurous (like me), you can wait even longer to see if that percentage discount will go up.

  9. Great tips, loved the article! Just curious if you know how often or whether DSW marks down their clearance items? Like how 30% items at target will eventually be markdown to 50% and 70%.

Comments are closed.