There is power in certainty. But the opposite is also true. Uncertainty can cause even the most seasoned deal-hunters to sit on the sidelines when something of high quality gets its price slashed. And that retail inertia has kept many of us, myself included until recently, firmly at arms length from the every-so-often Allen Edmonds Seconds Sales.
But then I gave it a shot. And it was… awesome.
Better late than never. Right?
What are these 2nds Sales anyway?
Reddit has a great guide on how these things work, but think of them as scratch & dent sales at appliance stores. Brand new goods, but some sort of goof was made at the factory. Often it’s something cosmetic that hardly anyone would notice. Maybe a line of stitching is slightly off center, there’s a scuff in the leather, or sometimes… it can be much worse. That’s one part of the risk. The reward is the shoes get drastically discounted ($125 – $199 usually) compared to regular retail price.
These misfit-shoes get sent to their outlet stores to be sold off. But even if you don’t live near anywhere close to an Allen Edmonds Outlet, you’re not out of luck. With just two emails and a single phone call, these ended up on my doorstep not that long ago:
Allen Edmonds 5th Street Boots - $149.00 (2nds quality. Reg $299 for 1sts)
How does it work?
- Keep track on Threads and all the other online men’s style/deal forums. Usually someone who has an outlet nearby will catch wind of the next scheduled sale & will let everyone know.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org or one of their outlet stores and ask kindly for a list of shoes that will be available during that upcoming sale in your size and width.
- IF there’s something there that catches your eye (I was considering a black pair of 5th Streets for almost a year), and they have it in your size, that’s when you order by phone.
Yes… the phone. Commerce via the telephone. What a flashback to the 20th century (feel free to use a landline and/or a rotary dial for kicks). When I found out there were black Fifth Streets in my size available, a rep told me over email to give her a call. I did, and she fulfilled the order. She was super nice too. Great Wisconsin accent and everything.
So what was wrong with your boots?
Not much. Well, at least not much to me. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the uppers. But flip the boots over, and you’ll see that the stitching gets dangerously close to the toe of the right boot. There was also a slight ding to the edge of the sole on the left boot, but a little extra shoe creme or edge dressing should make that blend right in.
Will that cause serious issues down the road? Maybe. We’ll all find out together. But so far, so great. No issues of any kind.
So what are the risks?
- Whatever has made them “2nds quality” might be unacceptable to you.
- They charge a $10 restocking fee for returns. You can avoid this by returning them to an AE retail store. Doesn’t have to be one of their outlets.
This experience with the Fifth Streets isn’t something you should count on. This seems to be a really good scenario. Plenty of guys have pulled a pair of 2nds out of the box and been truly disappointed with what showed up. A scuff was too noticeable, the construction was too sketchy… etc. And at that point, you’re on the hook to return them to the tune of a $10 restocking fee.
It’s a gamble. But when it hits, it hits.
Your turn guys. Have you tried the Allen Edmonds 2nds sales out yet? Did you order over the phone and have to gamble? What was the end result? Should I just quit now while I’m ahead with these Fifth Streets? Or do you avoid these because of the hoops you have to jump through? Leave it all below.