The brown shell Strands will be considerably darker. I have them. And to make them look better than they do out of the box, I would strongly endorse an application of Saphir dark brown shell cordovan cream. It made mine look much better, IMO.
Amazon still has some pretty good deals for those can't wait until next week. A number of popular AE styles are discounted, plus certain ones are eligible for an extra 20% off (with the code DRESSHOL). I picked up a pair of black McAllisters for $200 + tax. Just hope the pair has not been tried on or worn too much. It is a gamble with pairs from Amazon...
The store manager told me this exactly: "The sale is mainly accessories but 4 or 5 shoe styles."
That's all I was able to get.