I was in the Knoxville area for a quick meeting one day this week, which took place just down the road from a discount shoe store. I needed new sandals, so I stopped by to check it out. Ultimately, I found some (Columbia Solocats, 60% off), which may or may not be keepers. That has nothing to do with the sandals, and everything to do with my funky funky feet (narrow, no arches, delicate skin, freakishly long toes). I digress.
While strolling around, I was reminded just how good the deals at discount shoe stores can be. There were Merrell, Columbia, Teva, Ahnu, and even Chaco sandals, as well as Merrell, Hi-Tech, and La Sportiva hiking boots deeply discounted. It was at a discount shoe store in Nashville's Opry Mills Mall (which, has been mostly closed since the May 2010 flood) a few years ago that I found my current pair of hiking boots. My La Sportivas, were going for $250 at REI. I picked them up at the discount shoe store for just under $50. Along the same lines, my favorite pair of everyday shoes are the Lafuma Sky Races. I bought these at a discount shoe store for around $40 when they were retailing on-line and at REI for $120.
Looking for trail shoes at a discount shoe store might seem like a scary proposition. However, you owe it to yourself and your wallet to at least give it a shot. See what they have to offer, research the product on your smart phone, and buy it for much cheaper. If your afraid of impulse buying, ask the store to hold the shoes for you. Most will for 24-hours.
It does take time and patience to find the best deals. The two pair of shoes I listed above are the only two pairs of trail shoes I've bought at a discount store. Both purchases were made after a great deal of research, and after several visits and searches over a long period of time. It was all worth it, too. They are my two favorite pairs of shoes of all time (except this pair of cowboy boots I had in elementary - I miss those), and they cost me $90 collectively, as opposed to $370. Have you been able to find deals like this? Share your tips below.
*Lame disclaimer - We, sadly, pay for our own shoes and get no discounts or perks from anyone...again, sadly. So, my mentions of the stores and brands above are just for context.