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Let’s start with the very obvious. What IS a Shopify theme? Simply put, it’s a template for how your store looks and feels. Think layout, style, colors and fonts – all factors that determine the design of your store.
What you plan to sell in your store can help determine what theme you’ll choose. If your store sells cosmetics, a classy and stylish theme may be the way to go. If you’re selling snowboarding gear, something more edgy and ‘cool’ might be a good choice.
But with thousands of Shopify themes to choose from, how do you know which one will work best for your store? To help you find the right one, we’ve narrowed down a list of 8 premium themes, plus 2 free ones, that cover a range of functionalities and styles.
This is a highly customizable and intuitive theme that’s great for showcasing featured products and collections. New features are added fairly regularly, which means it won’t become outdated or obsolete as Shopify expands its available features to storeowners. It comes in three different styles and has features like marketing pop-ups, a slideshow and a promo banner, just to name a few.
Most popular theme feature: Video Slider.
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Replacing Add to Cart popup with Slide Out Cart, Removing “Powered by Shopify” text from footer.
2. Grid by Pixel Union
Pixel Union is a powerhouse of an agency that not only offers beautiful themes, but design and business roadmapping as well. Their Grid theme is a masonry-style theme, which means the layout is based on columns but the images don’t have fixed height rows. Grid is a theme aimed at wholesalers and high-volume stores.
Most popular theme features: Feature multiple products, posts, or promotions in masonry and standard layouts.
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Fixed (Sticky) Header, Plus/Minus quantity buttons.
3. Mile High
Mile High offers 3 flexible and SEO-friendly themes and has helped hundreds of clients build the online stores of their dreams.
- Galleria is their most contemporary theme, and was recently re-designed with tons of new features like a beautiful column slideshow, extensive video support and advanced AJAX product filtering.
- Showtime has three styles to choose from and is optimized for fast page-loading. It’s full of features, including advanced product filtering and Instagram galleries.
- Couponia is an affordable and powerful theme that’s designed for layout flexibility. However, it does not support Shopify’s sections feature and Mile High no longer offers support for this theme.
Most popular theme feature: Smooth header transition from a regular to a fixed position, with the logo in the middle of the navigation.
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Remove “Shopify Theme by Mile High Themes | Powered by Shopify” from the footer.
Used by 500,000+ stores, Archetype offers 3 different themes.
- Streamline is a mobile-first theme that takes into account that 80% of online traffic now comes from phones. While other themes may call themselves mobile-friendly, Streamline is specifically designed for smaller screens and the use of thumbs when browsing.
- Motion is an elegant and dynamic theme focused on showcasing products through animation and video. It offers collage sections and allows customers to switch categories instantly, thereby encouraging them to browse faster and longer.
- Impulse is a theme for larger stores and is designed to promote your products throughout the customer browsing experience. Archetype actually researched Fortune 500 retailers and designed Impulse on the features that help them sell.
Most popular themes features:
- Motion – quickview.
- Impulse – feature product images in a large, multi-column drop-down menu.
- Streamline – multiple featured images on product hover.
Most requested tweaks on Carson:
- Motion – Fixed (Sticky) Header.
- Impulse – Smart product recommendations instead of related products.
- Streamline – Footer tasks (creating a multi-column footer with newsletter signup, navigation, etc.)
5. Superstore by Pixel Union
Another popular theme from Pixel Union, Superstore is designed for large-volume retailers and larger stores. For retailers with extensive online catalogues, less powerful themes may not do the trick. Superstore was created with that in mind, and also offers easy wholesale pricing, predictive live search and speed optimization – all features that are a must for larger stores with lots of products.
Most popular theme feature: Dynamic product filtering on the collection page.
Most requested tweaks on Carson: FAQ page template.
Underground offers 5 themes, each with a different focus and a specific set of functionalities. From a fashion specific theme to imagery and content focused stores, Underground has something for everyone. All their themes come with multiple presets, so store owners can customize their chosen theme to fit their vision.
Most popular theme feature: Icon theme – fixing product information sidebar on the product page (on scroll).
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Rotating promo bar.
7. Turbo by Out of the Sandbox
This graceful theme has a muted color palette, plenty of white space and an uncluttered look and feel. Ideal for showing off products without distracting the customer, it has features like predictive search capability, infinite scrolling and customizable page templates. Customers are invited to try it for 14-day before committing fully.
Most popular theme features: Infinite loading and mini cart.
Most requested tweak on Carson: Implementing new currency convertor to work with multi-currency checkout.
This design and development studio has 4 themes, each designed for specific needs a Shopify store owner may have. Each theme has at least 2 styles to choose from, so store owners are not limited in the look and feel of their store. From bold grid-style themes like Focal to the masonry-style elegance of Kagami, Maestroo delivers quality and versatility.
Most popular theme feature: Kagami – product Image zoom on hover (product page).
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Subcollections.
If a premium theme is not in your budget for now, a free one is the next best thing. Don’t be put off by the fact that these themes cost nothing – they are officially supported by Shopify and offer everything you need to start your Shopify store.
Debut is designed for stores with a small number of products. It has features like predictive search, promo banners and allows you to feature YouTube or Vimeo videos on your home page.
Most popular theme feature: Predictive Search.
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Open social links in a new tab.
Minimal is a clean and modern theme that’s responsive and easy to style. It offers features like product image zoom, a slideshow and product filtering.
Most popular theme feature: Lightbox (on the product page).
Most requested tweaks on Carson: Option swatches on the product page.
The Final Word
Whether you’re choosing your first theme or switching from an existing one, pay attention to its functionalities, especially on the product page. How a theme looks is important, but how it functions, is just as if not more important than the visuals. While some tweaks and fixes are inevitable, you want to keep them to a minimum, which will save you time and money.
Remember that if a theme doesn’t reflect the product you’re selling, it will take a lot of time to implement the needed functionalities from scratch. Does your chosen theme need a small change to make it perfect for your store? Check out our task catalog and see if Carson can help!