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Most shoe fans on AAAC are familiar with shoemart's online store as a place to get Aldens and AE's but I live close enough to visit their store. I got there about 45 minutes before it closed so I was slightly pressed for time. I wanted a pair of McCallister AE's in burgundy with matching belt which look like this:



but they didn't have them in stock so I had to order both the shoes and the belt (this will take about a week but ships to my house via UPS for $10) and then wait.

I was hoping to walk out of there with them on my feet but it wasn't going to happen. The staff there was very sharp and knowledgeable and their in-store supply of AE's and Aldens is pretty vast although not 100% complete.

What really grabbed me was that Alden sends them their factory seconds to sell out of the store! AE only sells the seconds online and I dont think most people realize you can get Alden seconds but they do send them to shoemart. I dont know if they send them anywhere else, this was the first time I ever got to see what Alden seconds looked like and what qualified as a second.

Basically you cant tell, the imperfections have to be seen close up after careful inspection which leads me to believe that anything more than a subtle glitch goes into the garbage somewhere. They had row after row of seconds with about 20-25 pairs per half size and in varying widths so you had to be careful and read inside the shoes to get the right width.

I bought a pair of these tan balmoral cap-toes with broguing and medallion for $279 instead of the $398 they would normally cost.



The only thing wrong with them was that the broguing around the ankle above the inseam on one shoe didn't have little punch holes in it, they looked more like ovals because the little detail strip got skewed when it was sewn, it only shows for about an inch and its right were your pants would cover it and its inboard facing the other shoe.

I was thrilled to find the whole seconds section but didn't have time to really drool over everything in the store. When I paid they were going to drop them in a plastic bag but I nagged them for a box, they came out with an AE box and I made them get me an Alden Box and Alden bags - they charged me $10 for the bags and thought I was nuts! I guess the seconds get no respect but I shouldn't have had to prod and cajole considering I bought one pair and ordered a pair of AE's and a belt - all in 15 minutes without them having to push me. The manager also hadn't heard of AAAC. I was going to give him the pitch to check out AAAC and give us a discount and answer some questions etc. to kick up some business for himself, become a member and all that but I didn't get a chance and "the bag fiasco" didn't help my mood.

I will go back there for more and they were really good, their salesmen Chester knew his stuff, which last was which, etc. Maybe then I will give the AAAC pitch and get them into the fold, but cough up the bags already! :icon_smile_wink:
 

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Speaking of discount Aldens, I just got the pair of captoe bals (style C909, same as pictured above except in black calf) that I ordered on Tuesday from the remodeling sale at Mr. Mac in Orem, UT.

They posted a thread on the Steals & Deals forum about 6 weeks ago, offering first-quality Aldens for $199 (final sale, no returns, and they have only D widths) plus $10 shipping anywhere in the CONUS.

As I had only just seen that thread, I called expecting to be told they were all sold out of my rather common size (10.5 D), but no, I was in luck and they still had the C909s on hand.

Worth checking out if you're an Alden fan.

The shoes are outstanding, and now bookend the deep-brown pair of Alden bals I got from Team Shoe last year for $215.
 

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I've only ever purchased two pairs of seconds, both of which proved unwearable after a short period as they were not properly made/lasted and became very odd looking and uncomfortable in short order. This was not something that could be detected when they were purchased.
 

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ShoeMart Norwalk

I have been shopping there for years. The owner, or at least the man I think is the owner, is a really interesting guy. When they run sales, they have amazing prices.

One time when I met the owner at one of these sales, I mentioned that I like the Alden cordovan product, and he brought me out from the back a number of pairs that were not displayed but were also on sale. There were so many great shoes, that I had a hard time deciding which pair to buy. This guy obviously loves shoes. He even made me promise to bring in a pair of John Lobb bespoke just so he could see them.

Anyway, get yourself on the mailing list and look for those sales. Only once or twice a year, but well worth going.
 
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