It’s that time of year again. Imagine a room full of rows upon rows of racks of beautiful shoes. More shoes than you would even have time to try on. But you attempt to anyway. That’s right, ladies, the Legendary Army & Navy Shoe Sale is only a few days away. And I do mean legendary in every sense of the word. On Wednesday, April 24th, Army & Navy will open its doors at 8:00 am sharp for eager women in search of the perfect shoes. This is the 64th year that they’ve held this sale and things only get better with time. I’ve been to this sale for the past three years and each time have been increasingly impressed with their selections. They receive well over 100,000 pairs for the sale and are constantly restocking throughout the twelve days.
This year I had the privilege of meeting with footwear buyer Silvio Urbani, who showed me where all the many boxes of shoes are being stored awaiting the sale. I was in awe when I saw all the boxes and skids in the warehouse, just wondering what shoes each one held. I almost felt compelled to grab a box cutter and tear them all apart. But I resisted the urge, as I did not wish to be banned from the store. Instead I listened intently and contained my excitement.
With over 85 brands to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Clarks, GUESS, Kelsi Dagger, BCBG, Nine West, Steve Madden, Qupid, Andrew Geller, just to name a few. I hear that Pour La Victoires are supposed to be a hot seller this year. But how could they not be? They’re gorgeous. And I’m not crazy or shoe obsessed. Okay, who am I kidding, clearly I am. But take my word for it anyway. As a bargain shopper, I know what I’m talking about. Just because you’re paying less for something, doesn’t mean that it’s cheap or that you’re not getting your money’s worth. At Army & Navy, you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth. Every pair of shoes at the sale is priced at $40 or less, regardless of how much the original cost was. You really can’t go wrong.
Sales this massive may seem intimidating to first timers. But don’t worry, I promise you it won’t be the chaotic, dramatic, aggressive scene that you’re picturing. Over the years, people have actually become more pleasant. Rather than women fighting over shoes, there is now often a sense of camaraderie among them. Last year, I met a lot of great people at the sale. We sat together trying on our shoes, complimenting our various choices and giving our opinions. The staff are also amazing and baskets are provided for those of us who like to try on as many as we possibly can all at once. Shoppers are generally respectful and the sale is a real community building event where women can share their love of shoes.
There are usually about 30,000 customers between the 6 stores each year. Store locations are in Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Edmonton, and Calgary. I’ve only ever been to the Downtown Vancouver location on 36 West Cordova Street. That place is like my home away from home. I always feel welcome there and they always meet my needs. With over 100,000 pairs of shoes, you’re bound to find at least one perfect pair. Last year, I believe I found eleven. On day one. Apparently that’s a lot? Each person buys about 3.5 pairs on average at the sale. So you know, there are a lot of practical and reasonable shoppers out there. And then the few excessive and compulsive buyers like myself come along. Because shoe sales are where we belong.
It’s recommended that you go early to make sure you get the deals. I mean, everything’s a deal, but the nicest pairs go fast if you don’t hurry. Doors open at 8:00 am on Wednesday, but people start lining up as early as 5:30 am. Yes, while the rest of you are still asleep, a few
crazy dedicated shoe lovers are out bright and early beginning to form what eventually becomes a massive lineup along Cordova Street. Rain or shine, nothing gets in the way of a a new pair of shoes.
If lineups and ridiculously early mornings aren’t your thing but you don’t want to miss out on first dibs at shoes, don’t fret, there is another way. Contests! I’m not just a bargain shopper and a shoe lover, I’m also a contest enthusiast. So I’m going to go ahead and tell you about the ways in which you can possibly win VIP access to the shoe sale. Because knowledge like this is too good to keep to myself. First off, what is VIP access? Pretty much, you get to skip the line, enter the store before it opens to the public, and go try on shoes before everybody else. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
To win VIP access for you and 3 friends, plus a $250 shopping spree, simply click here and fill out the entry form. I wish you luck! Because we all deserve a new pair of shoes. And the only thing better than a new pair of shoes is a free new pair of shoes. There’s also a contest on the Army & Navy Facebook page where you can win a $100 gift card by uploading a 30 second video clip about your favourite Army & Navy moment. I may enter myself, but there are too many good moments to choose from. And you can win VIP access through their Shoe of the Week contest. You can also win a new pair of shoes plus VIP access through Vancity Buzz. It would also be worthwhile to tune in to your local radio stations and see if they might be giving away any VIP access prizes as well.
If you’re unable to make it first thing in the morning on day one, it’s okay. New stock fills those shelves everyday. There’s room for 30,000 pairs on the shop floor and staff keep busy filling them throughout the day. Every two hours or so is a good time to hit the sale, in between the spurts of crowds. There is more selection this year than ever before and always something for everyone. It’s not just all about heels. If you prefer comfort, you don’t have to sacrifice style, as there are plenty of great flats, sandals, athletic, and walking shoes to choose from. If you’re anywhere between a size 5 and a size 11, there’s sure to be a pair for you. And while men’s shoes aren’t advertised as part of the sale, the store actually does have a great selection of them at reduced prices. Literally something for everyone.
So next Wednesday, I will be at 36 West Cordova Street at 7:00 am. Because clearly I had to book a day off work for this. It’s become a bit of a tradition for me. It’s like a sign that spring is finally here. And with spring, comes an excuse to buy new weather appropriate footwear. Which in Vancouver is sometimes rain boots as opposed to sandals. But Army & Navy has plenty of both so they got you covered. The sale runs from April 24th to May 5th. Hope to see you there!