Monday, November 9, 2015

So Long DSW!

Over the years, I have bought and replaced countless pairs of shoes. Many of those pairs were purchased at the crap shoot known as DSW where the prices are usually pretty good (at least in the clearance section) but the durability can sometimes be questionable. In reality, most of the shoes that have any kind of longevity for me have been ones that aren’t usually found on the discount or clearance shelves.

My most recent workhorses were a couple of pairs of Johnson & Murphy dress shoes which I surprisingly found on clearance at Macy’s for about $40 a pair. The brown shoes met their maker a few years ago while the black ones held on until just recently. In the past, I had a pair of Allen Edmonds loafers that put up with daily abuse for over four years before finally giving up on me… holes in the soles are never fun when you step in a puddle. These were also the most comfortable shoes that I have ever owned and I hoped to once again buy a pair but the price has always been prohibitive running about $400+.

With my work and lodge shoe choices dwindling and few stores carrying wide sizes, I spent some time a few weeks ago trying to find some decent shoes at a good price. After having a few options returned to Amazon due to foot strangulation issues, I decided to see if I could find any of the Allen Edmonds shoes on sale somewhere at a price that I could at least justify. My thought process was rather simple… I currently spend about $50-75 on a pair of shoes that last me a year so if I can find a pair of Allen Edmonds for $200-250 that last me four years (like my last pair), I am basically breaking even.

So I started my search scanning the numerous Amazon sellers, sifted through the Nordstrom Rack website, and quickly clicked on and backed out of Shoebuy. All of them had limited selection, prices that were still too high, and didn’t carry the right size for me. I had just about given up on trying to find this unicorn when I clicked on one more link to a website that I didn’t recognize. This is when I found the Shoe Bank, Allen Edmonds' factory seconds website. It didn’t take long before I came to the realization that the site met all the criteria that I was looking for including prices that were far lower than I was expecting… basically at the same price point as lesser quality brands found at DSW. And I am fine with a small blemish that prevented it from passing quality control but that no one else is able to find.

The only aspect of the buying process that may prevent some people from taking advantage of these prices is the fact that there is no e-commerce capabilities to be found on the site. While the current stock and prices are listed, you have to call the store to place an order. Not an issue for me, I was on the phone within 30 minutes and had the receipt emailed to me shortly thereafter. A week later and my feet are once again enjoying the comfort of a luxury shoe. And now, a few weeks later, and nearly all my shoes have been replaced with the only holdovers being my work and combat boots.   

So, if you find yourself in the same position, definitely take advantage of the prices and quality offered at the Shoe Bank. You will not find the same quality for these prices anywhere else and, if you go through shoes like me, it is going to save you a heck of a lot of money in the long run. One big category checked off the shredded wardrobe overhaul list… on to the next.