Thanks, (if you don't mind some questions) what colour/material are yours and where do you wear them. Also how do they fit compared to other 5 last shoes?
They're the stock black waxy. They're a little roomier than my PAs but I like them that way - I tend to wear them on heavy walking days with thick socks.
PSA: Jos. A. Bank has shoe trees at buy 1 for $25, get 2 free (so $8.33), in case any of you didn't buy enough during the recent $8.50 sale.
Do you automatically get 2 free items when you add 1 on your cart or do you need to add 2 additional items?
How durable are the tap soles, and what will AE or a cobbler do to the sole once the rubber's worn down or away? Replace the rubber or the whole sole?
I'll almost certainly go with an all-rubber mini-lug on my MTO boots, but I'll miss the natural edging of a leather sole quite a bit and am toying with the idea of a mini-lug rubber tap sole.
Speaking of all-rubber mini-lugs: is there any consensus regarding the relative merits of the Toby and Vibram models?
I don't think the factory 2nds sales are a good idea for us Canadians - here's why:
Let's say I want a pair of Mcallisters that can be bought at Harry Rosen (Canada's only real AE retail presence) for $355 plus tax ($400 all in). Now the shoe bank can sell a pair of 2nds to me for $245. But shipping is $45, and despite Free Trade, shoes are exempt as Canada wishes to provide incentives for a non-existent shoe industry, so you will pay duty around 8%-10%. Exchange rate is currently around $1.10. This brings the landed cost of those shoes to around $350. That is for a pair of 2nds with flaws that may not even be acceptable to you. Returns will cost you another boat-load in shipping. To me, the $50 premium for 1sts at Harry Rosen is worth paying given the risks and potential return costs of 2nds.
Despite AE's claims of a global presence, their shipping costs to Canada price their on-line offerings out of reach for all but the least value conscious shoppers. That leaves us Canadians to buy at Harry Rosen, who carry an extremely limited stock, but will order shoes for you if you want something they don't carry. I don't know if you have ever shopped for shoes at Harry Rosen, but in my experience they have little interest in selling the AE line, giving much more attention to the Prada, Boss, etc. lines. I'm hoping that AE will soon realize that the Canadian market for high-end shoes is actually fairly strong, and will service this market better soon.
I have now bought 3 pairs during factory seconds sales and felt great value in all three purchases. Found only very minor flaws on each pair though finding one with a flaw you couldn't live with would be a painful and costly return process indeed.
Dalton - $229 USD so cost me around $300 CAD all in at the time including shipping which is much less than the over $400+ (site is down so can't check) plus tax that Harry Rosen charges for 1sts
Eagle County - $129 USD ended up around $200 CAD ( I did not check the price of firsts at Harry Rosen on this one)
Leed Cordovan (yet to arrive) - $299 USD. Charge after shipping on my credit card was $401 CAD at an exchange rate of 1.15 which is the worst I have ever paid and might need to hold off on US purchases for a bit because of it. I did not check the cost of firsts from Harry Rosen but at $650 currently on the AE site I can only guess they would be around $700 CAD plus GST. Well worth the factory seconds sale IMO.
Not to mention the Brooks Brothers versions that end up 2 for $250, those are huge value for Canadians. I don't think everything is great value on the seconds sale for Canadians but I do feel like their are gems that come along that make it worth while. It takes a bit longer to hold out for though.
This fall here in Calgary and I can't wait, It likely will not be as great as in the US. Price matching policies will likely only include other Canadian retailers, but here's hoping that I am wrong because that would be fantastic.
It's doubtful, especially with the current exchange rate. They will price their goods to absorb exchange rate fluctuations and will be padding their costs vs US to cover additional shipping and marketing costs for a 'standalone' market. Having worked with large US retailers entering the Canadian market, there's a great number of factors that ensure we won't be paying the same (relatively) low costs of our neighbors.
I have no answer to your question, but I love the color and might have asked you for advice on how to get them to look like this.