I have asked this before but the answer was somewhat convoluted and dissatisfactory.

I am looking to achieve the following:

  • A shoe is sold in many colors and many sizes
  • The shoe should show up in layered nav filters for sizes that the simples represent, but when filtered the image should change to the corresponding image
  • Ideally it should be represented by only one configurable product

Currently there are two solutions we have implemented:

Solution 1:

  • Set one size of each color of the shoe to be visibility Catalog and the configurable to be Catalog, Search
  • When these simples are displaying in the category we have a plugin which gets the correct URL from the parent configurable and pass the current color/size in the querystring to pre-load the selection when the customer navigates

Solution 2:

  • Create multiple configurables, each representing a different color.
  • Each configurable points to the same set of child products
  • Gallery images take care of the color/image view requirements in catalog

I think that each of these solutions is viable, but I have a feeling that there must be a better way. Any workable suggestions welcome.

  • It doesn't merit an answer, I'll leave it as a comment. I have done this before as the spec was to do the same as the North Face do in their Magento installation. I used this module http://cjmcreativedesigns.com/magento-extensions/pre-select-colors-plus-swatches.html and I got Chad the author to code up some additional Prototype JS (which I am useless at) to handle the image switching in Layer Nav. I know that's not much use to you code wise, hence the comment :) But it worked really well and was simple to manage in the backend.
    – McNab
    Nov 6, 2013 at 20:01
  • And I should say, that just used normal configurable products with the colour swatches and images all assigned to the appropriate simple products in the Image tab of the configurable product. I bolted it on to Amasty' Improved Layered Navigation by basically merging some of the CJM code into the Amasty module.
    – McNab
    Nov 6, 2013 at 20:09
  • I've used the second solution you provided with success along with a simplified version of this: github.com/tzyganu/Switcher. This enables you to set a default configuration when viewing the configurable product. Results can be viewed here: theladysaysno.be/kledij/jurken/bloomsbury-dress-fever.html
    – Marius
    Nov 13, 2013 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


Some time ago, I found this module:

http://www.webguys.de/magento/adventskalender/turchen-04-configurable-products-und-die-basis-artikel-nummer/#more-3005 [Text in German]

It doesn't work with configurable products at all, but uses simple products and applies a "base_product_number"; then it overrides the product collection and thus achieves by a SQL GROUP statement that products with the same base_product_number are shown as one in product lists. Of course, as soon as you filter, only the simple product with the correct color/size/whatever will be shown, and also its picture.

I think it didn't make it to github, maybe you can contact the developer and ask him to provide the alpha-version on github for community contribution.

  • This is great. Solves pretty much all of the issues I'm having. Now to get somebody to buy in with my appreciation :)
    – philwinkle
    Dec 12, 2013 at 17:09

One idea of how to implement this:

  • Use one configurable product which has all the simple products assigned
  • Create an attribute which is only for configurables: "configurable_colors"
  • Have a cronjob which runs at night and iterates over each configurable product and fetches all unique colors of that configurable product. It then assigns the colors and all the images of the simple products to the configurable attribute "configurable_colors" in serialized form, e.g. "Red:image_red.jpg;Blue:image_blue.jpg;Green:image_green.jpg"
  • In the frontend grid view when showing a configurable check for your custom attribute and if it is set, iterate over the image colors and show the images with the information of the configurable product and link the color in the URL
  • I guess you could also include the size in the URL in case a size filter is set in layered navigation

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