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Theme shopping: comparing themes

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 03:39AM EDT

Love our themes, but having a hard time choosing between them? Here are a few key differences and some tips on what to consider when theme shopping…

** View a full comparison chart of all our themes here [PDF] **



Out of the Sandbox currently has 4 themes available exclusively for the Shopify platform:



Initial Release Date



September 2016

View changelog


October 2014

View changelog


September 2013

View changelog


November 2013

View changelog


November 2012

View changelog



Each theme has several built-in styles which mostly relate to the default fonts and color settings for elements like buttons, links, background colors, etc.

Turbo: Portland, Seoul
Parallax: Aspen, Los Angeles, Madrid, Vienna
Retina: Austin, Montreal, Melbourne, Amsterdam
Mobilia: Sydney, Milan, Tokyo, Napa
Responsive: New York, London, Paris, San Francisco

While these styles are a great starting point, you are of course free to change things up as you wish, once you set about customizing your shop through the theme settings.


All of our themes have settings for Colors and Typography that you can configure as you wish, as well as options for the features, content and sometimes layout of various pages in your shop. But you'll want to pay attention to some of the styling and layout differences between the themes because some of these are not configurable and will be tricky to change without paying for extra development work, so it’s best to choose a theme whose default styling you prefer, especially when it comes to the following:


Header area

Your logo and main menu navigation are part of the header section, and these elements have limited options for their placement. For example, most of our themes have been designed to have the logo display in the far left corner, with the main menu somewhere to the right of it. Currently the only themes that has a built-in option for centering the logo above the main menu are Responsive and Turbo, so keep your desired logo placement in mind when choosing between the themes.

Dropdown menu styling

The Mobilia and Responsive themes use a hidden 'popout' style, where the 2nd tier submenu only appears when you hover over its parent link in the initial dropdown. On the other hand, in Parallax and Retina the submenus are always visible, with the 2nd tier indented under its parent link:

Social feeds

Also make a note of which social feeds you intend to enable in your shop (Twitter, Instagram and/or blog) and make a note of which layout styles for these you prefer, as some of this styling is “locked” into place (e.g. the Instagram feed is horizontal and full-width on Mobilia, a standalone section in Retina, but occupies a vertical half-width space with the Twitter feed on the other half, in Parallax, Responsive, and Turbo):


View the demo shops

We have several demo sites for each theme which are intended to give you a sense of what a shop could look like with a particular theme + style: OOTS themes Note that if you don’t see a certain element or feature showcased in at least one of the demo shops for that theme, it may not be available for that theme (but you can always ask us to confirm).


Preview the theme in your own shop

The Shopify Theme store allows you to install our themes in 'preview mode', which is a great way to try a theme on for size, play with the configurable theme settings, and see if you like the way the theme looks with your products, logo, images, etc.


See what others chose

Check out our "Featured Shops" lists for each of our 4 themes, and look especially for shops that are similar to your own products/industry for some ideas and inspiration: 

Featured shops using Reponsive
Featured shops using Retina
Featured shops using Parallax
Featured shops using Mobilia
Featured shops using Turbo


In the end, deciding on a “look” for your shop -- which will certainly be influenced by the theme you ultimately choose -- is a highly subjective thing, as it really comes down to what you feel will best reflect your own products/brand/market sector, and also what you think will appeal to your main shopper base. So do some research, try some on for size, and go for a theme whose styling and available features meet your particular needs and appeal to you most. Happy theme shopping! :)

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