Army & Navy Shoe Sale 2013

a&nposterIt’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.

shoe

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.

heels

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.

shoe3

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.

pourlavictoire

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.

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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.

pourla

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

I went back to Army & Navy

Don’t judge me.  Actually you know what, go ahead and judge me.  I don’t care.  I’m used to it.  Today’s reason for judgement, or one of them at least is due to the fact that I went back to Army & Navy.  Yes.  What?  I waited a week before going back.  That’s something, right?

I bought a pair of socks

It’s okay though, I didn’t just randomly go for the hell of it, I went with my friend to help her find a pair of shoes.  She’s a size 5, so it’s often hard for her to find a size that is small enough.  I couldn’t remember if there was a size 5 section at Army & Navy or not.  When I went last week, I just went straight for the 8s and never looked back.  But yes, they do indeed have a size 5 section.  It’s just very small.  Like half a rack.  But there seemed to be a good selection of heels on it, and they seemed to be pretty cheap too.  We had hope that we would find her a pair yet.

Running shoes, so I can pretend to be athletic

And there was me, still lurking around the size 8s, wondering if maybe it might be okay for me to purchase just one more pair.  I tried on these pair of Marc Fisher flats that I had also tried on the first time around.  I still kind of wanted them.  But I didn’t want to buy yet another $40 pair of shoes.  People already think I’m crazy.  Not that I care.  And so I sort of walked around in them for a bit while we shopped, hoping that would help me to decide.  Flats were missing from my first round of purchases. How could I go without a new pair of flats?

These Reeboks have some good support

I found myself wanting to try on boots and runners.  But I found myself without a pair of socks with which to do so.  And so I bought a pair of socks there solely for that purpose.  I was getting disappointed with the runners, and then I noticed a pair higher up in the shelf.  They were Easy Tone Reeboks.  And they were comfortable.  Throw them together with a dry fit tshirt and some spandex and I’ll look like I’m actually sporty.  No one needs to know how long it’s been since I’ve actually been to the gym.

A pair of short, black boots

I was also debating about a pair of short boots.  Rain boots were out of the question.  There were no pairs quite like my red ones.  I was hoping there would be, as my red ones are a little beat up from wear, but alas, nothing was good enough.  But these short leather boots were pretty classy.  And comfortable.  Comfort was key for them.  But since they were boots, they weren’t part of the $40 and under shoe sale.  Though they were still on sale, just not as cheap as the shoes.  I debated about them for a while, and eventually I caved and decided I would buy them for my mom as a Mother’s Day present.  And then you know, borrow them occasionally, since we conveniently have the same shoe size.  Hey, she borrows my shoes all the time, so it’s okay.

The boots even came in a box, how classy

And as for my friend?  She tried on the shoes.  But alas, came out of it with nothing.  I think I was more upset than she was about this.  Partly because having her buy something would make me feel better and more able to justify my own purchases.  By comparison to her, I just looked like I had a problem and no self control.  It was kind of upsetting.  She came very very close to at least buying a bag, but then ultimately decided against it.  Very disappointing.

Dr. Scholl’s insoles to add more comfort to my shoes

And so I ended up purchasing a pair of socks, a pair of runners, a pair of boots, and a pair of insoles.  Dr. Scholl’s for her comfort insoles.  I wanted these tana brand insoles that I liked that were cheaper but they only had them in size 5.  Go figure.  At least this time my purchases were more practical than last time.  And it doesn’t seem bad or unreasonable at all by comparison to buying eleven pairs of shoes.  So whatever, I’ll just take it as a sign that I’m improving.

I got to walk around with a considerably smaller bag this time

I would like to say that that was the end of my shopping day today.  But it wasn’t.  But that’s all I spent at Army & Navy.  Which is good.  The walk back to Waterfront was so much better this time.  It wasn’t raining as hard, I was with a friend, I didn’t look like a freak. All good things.  My shopping bag was considerably smaller.  And there was only one this time.  Well, technically two, but that’s cause she double bagged it for me so it wouldn’t break.  How very thoughtful of her.

She tied a knot in the bag to ensure my purchases would be safe

As for those flats, I did not end up buying them.  After walking in the store for a bit, I realized they would cut into the side of my foot slightly.  Which my friend assured me was a bad thing.  And so I reluctantly put them back on the shelf and we parted ways.  I know I have other flats, but I was hoping to get a new pair.  But there are still four more days left for the sale.  So who knows what could happen…

Army & Navy Shoe Sale, Part 3: The Aftermath

If you haven’t already, go read Part 1

And then when you’re done reading that, go read Part 2

Or don’t.  I really don’t care what order you read these in.

Travelling home with my giant plastic bags

And so I emerged from the store, with my two giant Army & Navy shopping bags, fearful that they were dangerously close to breaking.  Really they should have given me at least three bags.  The bags were quite weak, and eleven pairs of shoes could easily rip through them, especially the ones with heels.  Also, it was raining.  A lot.  So I had to somehow maneuver and hold my umbrella, my purse, as well as the giant plastic bags filled with shoes that I was trying so desperately to keep intact.

The 4 bags I came home with, 3 of which were filled with shoes

I had another bag with me, that I sometimes carry and use if I buy a couple grocery items, and so I stopped and put a few of the shoes in there, so as to even out the weight of the bags.  And then I held that bag in my right hand with my umbrella, and held the other two in my left hand, getting a good grip on them so they wouldn’t break away.  I don’t know why it had to rain.  I kind of wanted to wear one of the new pairs right away, but a lot of them were heels and not good for walking, especially in the rain while carrying too many things.  But I did stop at the side of the road to change into one of the comfortable pairs.

There are so many different doors & entrances to the store

Now, keep in mind I had been up since 5:39 am, and I had just been through quite an ordeal.  I was so disoriented upon leaving the sale, that I started walking in the wrong direction, further down East Hastings, instead of of back towards Waterfront where I was supposed to go.  Yeah, I was heading towards the police station and the fire hall.  Because I was so used to exiting the store from the other side, that I got confused.  I soon realized my mistake and thought “Wait, this isn’t right…”.  I seriously think that all my brain power went into finding and deciding on shoes, as well as fighting my way amongst the other shoppers.

How was I supposed to remember which direction to walk in once I left?

But it’s okay, I turned around and headed back in the right direction.  I was just annoyed at having added more steps to my walk.  Don’t get me wrong, I love walking, but not in the rain with two bags full of shoes.  People must have thought I was crazy.  Keep in mind, I was also still wearing my “Keep Calm & Buy Shoes” t-shirt.  They must have thought I was some sort of freak.  At one point, this guy asked me if I was okay.  I must have appeared really drained and out of it, lugging the bags of shoes and trying to get where I needed to be.

I should have turned left upon leaving the store

Normally, I would walk all the way back to Waterfront, but I was so tired that I finally found a bus stop and stopped there to collect myself.  Also, I looked down at the new shoes I was wearing, and the rain had hit them hard.  They were leather and I was worried I was ruining them, so I changed back into my black flats, hoping to preserve the new pair.  When the bus pulled up, I got on, and then I heard someone yell towards me.  I had left my umbrella on the seat at the bus stop, and this woman had been kind enough to retrieve it for me.  I was very grateful, as the rain did not let up as I made my way home.

My brown flats are okay after being attacked by the rain

When I finally got home, my mom asked me how many pairs of shoes I bought.  I said I didn’t know.  She asked “What do you mean you don’t know?”.  And then she asked if I bought ten pairs & I said “Yeah, I think so”.  And I remembered that I was supposed to look for runners for her, but neglected to do so.  But my mission that day was to scope out the pairs on the racks that might not be there or restocked the following day.  I intend to go back and look at the runners and boots and flip flops and such that I know they have plenty of in stock.  And I will find a good pair of runners for my mom because I’m a nice person.

These black heels will go with anything

I showed her a couple pairs of heels that I bought and asked if either would work for her, cause she needs a pair to wear to my brother’s high school graduation ceremony this year.  But apparently neither of them worked.  Oh well, I tried.  My mom, my sister, and I all have the same shoe size.  So that’s one of the ways that I justify my purchases, by telling myself that I can let them borrow them as well, so it’s not just for me.  Even though it is mainly for me, especially the heels, since they tend not to wear heels.  But still.  They could if they wanted to.

I love purple shoes

Later that day, my dad asked me where I was that morning.  Because he was obviously surprised when I was up before 6 am.  I told him I went to Army & Navy.  For the shoe sale.  Downtown.  And he asked if I went with anyone.  And I said no.  And he was like “You went all the way the way downtown just to buy shoes?”.  Yes.  Yes I did.  I guess he thought it would have made more sense if I’d gone shopping with a friend.  But he doesn’t understand that it’s one of those things I had to do alone.  I also explained to him about the VIP thing, as to why I was there so early.  He also tried to ask how many pairs I bought.   I think I said I don’t know, and then when he guessed, I settled on saying I bought ten.  I don’t know why that somehow sounds better than eleven.

I am the proud owner of 11 new pairs of shoes

So I am now content with my shoe purchases.  People are surprised when I say I bought eleven pairs.  But whatever.  Go ahead and judge.  I’m happy with purchases.

Stay tuned for Part 4…

Army & Navy Shoe Sale, Part 2: Crazy

Read Part 1 if you haven’t already.  

The shoppers started rushing in at 8am

As 8 am hit, the sale became open to the public.  The public referring to all the crazy people who had been standing outside, lined up in the rain.  They ran in.  Literally, I saw people running in.  As if they were running to catch a bus or a train or a plane that a loved one was on and they had to stop them to tell them they love them before they leave forever and it’s too late like in one of those romantic comedies.  Yes.  Lucky for me, I was sitting down at that point, so I didn’t get knocked over or stepped on or anything.

The place filled up pretty quickly

I looked around and I could see people everywhere.  It wasn’t safe for me to get up anymore.  If I were to wander away from my seat by just a few steps, I would lose my seat, or worse, my shoes.  Not gonna happen.  It’s okay, looking at the shoes in front of a mirror was not essential.  I could manage.  It was okay.  Everything was fine.  Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.

I was surrounded by people

I had a problem.  I couldn’t narrow it down.  And as I looked around at all the crazy people around me, I realized something.  I was crazy.  And I hate to admit it, but I think I might have been the craziest person there.  Why?  While everyone else had one basket full of shoes, I had two.  And people commented on it too.  There were two nice ladies I was seated next to who I began to talk to.  And one of them looked at my full baskets and asked “Do you have a limit at all?”.  And I said “Yeah, sort of..”.  And she said “What’s your limit?”.  And I said “I don’t know…”.

There were too many shoes to choose from

We had to be careful too.  Because at this point, employees were walking around, picking up and taking away shoes and baskets that had been discarded.  They would ask if you were done with your stuff, and then take what you didn’t want.  But when approached, everyone becomes so protective of their shoes, as if the employee is a predator threatening to take away their baby.  You don’t want your shoes taken away while you’re still deciding.  There’s no way you’ll be able to find them again.  I would hate to have to work there during the sale.  It must suck.  A lot.

How could I possibly decide?

There were also cameras everywhere.  Like a film crew, recording everything.  I don’t know where exactly that footage will end up.  But I hope the part where I was looking bewildered, trying to spot something on a shelf, then realizing the guy had the camera aimed right at my face is edited out.  Because I know that will not be flattering in the least.  They were also going around interviewing people about the sale.  I overheard this girl ask some women if they would mind being interviewed but they declined.  Because they didn’t want to be distracted from their shoes, no doubt.  I might have done it, had they asked me.  But then didn’t.  All the better, as it gave me more time to focus on my shoes.

I can't believe I filled 2 whole baskets of shoes

I tried them all on, weeded out a few, but still had far too many.  I could eliminate those that were uncomfortable and might cut into the back of my feet or squish my toes.  But somehow there were still a lot that I loved.  This sort of thing never happens.  At least not to this extent.  I can see why people go early.  They get in new shipments everyday, but still, if I went tomorrow instead of today, I wouldn’t have been able to find as many good pairs as I did.

My version of a condensed basket of shoes

We sort of had this sense of camaraderie going, those us sitting in that space with our shoes.  Comparing, saying “Oh you have to get those ones!” and “Those are so cute!” and “Are there any more of those ones?”.  And even offering up some pair every so often.  I had some that were maybes or that I’d discarded, so I let another woman try them on.  And this woman let me try on these boots that she wasn’t sure about, just in case she didn’t buy them.

I lined them all up. I couldn't narrow it down any more than this.

At one point, the woman beside me asked if she could try on a pair of shoes in my basket.  I said, “Oh, those are my shoes,” and she said “But can I just try them?”.  And I had to explain to her that by “my shoes”, I didn’t mean I was going to buy them, I meant that I owned them, that they were the ones I walked into the store with that morning.  I knew that was bound to happen.  I overheard another girl say “My fear is that someone’s going to take the shoes I came in with“.  You and me both, sister.

I carried them to the checkout like this

A little later, I had managed to condense everything into one basket.  I told myself that was my limit.  Whatever I could fit into one basket.  Even if that basket was overflowing, apparently.  At one point I just sort of sat there, staring at them.  I knew I was going to buy them all.  I thought about taking them out and trying on each pair again, just to make sure.  But I knew there was no point.  Like it or not, it was going to happen.

With the shoes on the counter, there was no turning back

So I made my way over to the checkout.  It was now or never.  I felt judgement was upon me, as others had just a few pairs they were holding.  I had eleven.  Yes, eleven.  I just counted them again to make sure I got that right.  They advertise the sale as each pair being under $40.  So naturally, I picked up all the pairs that were $39.99.  I showed some hesitancy at the counter, but I gave in.  At least I had the $100 gift card.  I was hoping the girl might have given me the $500 by mistake, but sadly she did not.  Even with the $100 gift card, I probably still spent more than a lot of people there.  Let’s just say my total was under $500.

My 2 giant bags full of shoes

And so I was handed two large bags full of shoes, and sent on my merry way, filled with shame, excitement, happiness, and regret.  It was a confusing mix of emotions.  A shoe sale can do that to a girl.

Stay tuned for Part 3…

Army & Navy Shoe Sale, Part 1: VIP

I think this will be a 3 parter.  Because it’s all too much for just one blog post and I don’t want to overwhelm you.  Well, I guess I don’t really know for sure how many parts this will end up having but 3 sounds like a good number.  Let’s just start with one for now and see where that takes us…

Decided on these shoes to get me through the rain & to the sale

So I woke up this morning and got out of bed at 5:39 am.  Why?  Because I needed to be at the shoe sale by 7:30, so I could get first dibs on shoes.  I got all my stuff together, decided on wearing my reliable flats, and grabbed a granola bar before I headed out the door, just in case I needed sustenance while making my quest.  Caught the bus at 6:22 am and I was off on my way.

You’ll believe what’s in store once you see it

When I got there, I didn’t see a line, and then I realized you had to go to the other entrance.  So I went around and saw all the people waiting.  And then I walked through the dark alley way, because that’s where I was supposed to wait for the VIP entrance.  I was early.  It was 7:10.  I had to wait another 20 minutes for the person to show up.  A couple other girls joined me, cause they had VIP access as well.  Luckily, we were let in at around 7:15, so we didn’t have to wait for too long.

I waited in the alley to be let inside

We headed downstairs.  There were actually quite a few people there who got to be at the sale early.  There must have been a lot of ways to get VIP access.  I guess I just wasn’t aware of what all those were.  I headed for the size 8 shoe racks, and began my quest.  I should have been quicker.  I mean, I wanted to try on every shoe that I possibly could.  There was no looking at prices, there was trying it on, seeing if it fit and looked good, and then tossing it in my basket.  That’s how it’s done.  Time to deliberate and eliminate came later.  Much later.

I headed straight for the size 8 shoe racks

As I checked the time, I realized I should hurry up.  I was running out of time before the sale actually started.  Once 8 am hit, the hoards of people would come rushing in, disturbing the relative peace that we now had.  Everyone was nice.  I got compliments on my shirt and everything seemed to be okay.  I overheard another woman say “This is what heaven is like”.

My favourite t-shirt

All too soon, I realized that I had a problem.  While other women had a few pairs of shoes in their baskets, mine was full.  Like, full to the point of overflowing.  So I got a second basket.  And before long, that one was pretty full as well.  To the point where it was difficult to carry them around.  Yeah.  But what could I do?  I wasn’t done.  I needed to scope out more.  Before the other people came in.  What was I supposed to do?

I started trying on shoes

I also got to meet Heather, the girl who won the Facebook contest.  We both got to collect our gift cards there.  I congratulated her.  You know, instead of being like “Bitch, that prize should have been mine!”.  Because I’m not a mean person.  And she was really nice too, it’s always good when a nice person wins.  Apparently she was an elementary school teacher, and all the kids had Facebook, and she had a great support network.  Hence all the votes.  That, and her photo being professional and gorgeous.  I’ve always said I didn’t want to go into teaching, but now I have at least one reason.  Multiple votes for Facebook contests.  I’ll keep that in mind.

It was nice to have space to try them on and walk around

And so I continued my venture, and when I finally had too much in both my baskets, I made my way over to get a seat and figure it all out.  I tried them on, compared, debated, trying to make a decision.  I overheard someone saying they wanted to finish and go before 8 am, before all the crazies came in.  It was true.  The crazies were not those of us who were there super early before the sale.  We were the sane ones, the ones who were smart enough to find a way to get VIP access so that we didn’t have to wait in line.  The crazies were the ones who would line up even earlier and wait in the rain.

They were all so pretty

As I sat there trying on my shoes, I realized there was no way I could possibly be done by 8.  It wasn’t going to happen.  Maybe if they had let me start at 6 am, then I could have.  If ever there’s an option to start at 6 am, I would totally do it.  Sure it’s early, but it’s worth it to avoid the crowds.  I think I hate crowds more than I hate mornings.  I still can’t believe I was up before 6 am.  I feel bad for people who have to do that on a daily basis for work.  I never could.  But imagine getting to go shoe shopping every morning instead.  If that’s not an incentive, then I don’t know what is.

I made my way through the size 8 section, scoping out all the racks

And all too soon, it was 8 am.  And the madness continued and began to escalate further…

Stay tuned for Part 2…

What shoes should I wear tomorrow?

So I’ve been talking about the Army & Navy Shoe Sale for a while now.  You’re probably sick of it.  But oh well.  There’s still more where those posts came from.  Seeing as it hasn’t even started yet.  So I didn’t win that contest on Facebook.  Heather from Surrey had over 400 votes.  She’s a lucky girl, lots of shoes and lots of friends.  But she deserved to win, her photo was pretty awesome.

I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t win a VIP party at the Roxy and $500 worth of shoes.  But I still win, because I got the second most votes.  So I still get VIP access for the sale & $100 towards shoes, which is pretty sweet.  I’m supposed to be there at 7:30 am.  Still figuring out the details.  Damn that’s early.  But I guess it’s worth it?  For first dibs on shoes?

What shoes would be best to wear to a shoe sale?

I need to figure out what shoes I should wear tomorrow.  I mean comfort trumps all in this case.  I read advice that you should wear flip flops, as they are easy to remove and then you can quickly try on other pairs.  But I feel like if I wear flip flops, I could easily lose one, or maybe both.  Plus someone might step on them, and what if I need to run?  Or at least fast walk, towards a shoe rack?  I feel like it might make for a dangerous situation.

So I’m thinking maybe runners?  Cause then I can move quickly and easily.  And I can wear a comfortable pair where I can slip them on and off without having to untie and retie the laces every time.  I’m thinking maybe a skate shoe style, so it doesn’t look like I’m going to the gym.  Not that it matters where it looks like I’m going.  But yeah.  The problem is, most of the shoes that I own like that are at least partly suede, and it’s going to be raining tomorrow.

So maybe just regular flats?  That I can slip on and off with ease?  Better than flip flops, because they’ll be less dangerous in a frenzy.  And my feet won’t get totally wet in the rain.  But then what if I want to try on boots or shoes that I would want to wear socks with?  Maybe I should just wear flats and then bring a pair of socks with me, just in case?

One would think that since it’s going to rain, I should wear my red rain boots.  But no.  Boots are not appropriate footwear when shoe shopping at a massive event.  Because I’ll have to carry them around with me as I try on shoes, or leave them aside as I make my way through the aisles.  Plus those boots, I’m actually afraid someone might steal or mistake for a current sale item.

Basically I guess I just need a good shoe that can get me there.  Once there, I’ll likely forget about what shoes I came there in.  But I don’t want someone to try on my shoes by mistake.  That’s happened to me before.  I will be gaining new pairs of shoes, but I don’t want to accidentally lose an old pair in the process.  When did shoe shopping become such an ordeal?

I suppose I will figure it out.  I should probably go to bed soon, seeing as I will have to be up super early tomorrow in order to make it down there before the sale starts.  But I probably won’t.  I’ll just be tired tomorrow.  Oh well.  The excitement and determination to find awesome shoes will give me the energy that I need to get past my sleep deprivation.  I may not know yet what shoes I’ll wear to the sale tomorrow, but I know for sure what shirt I’m going to wear.  It couldn’t get more perfect than this one…

The perfect shirt to wear to a legendary shoe sale

Don’t forget to vote for my red rain boots photo in the Army & Navy Shoe Sale contest!

Click here to vote —–>  http://bit.ly/IV0NGi

If I win, I promise you an epic blog post about the shoe sale!

These boots are made for walking

The first time I wore these boots at SlutWalk Vancouver last year

Well, walking in the rain, to be more specific. But yes.  They have served me so well so far.  I was lucky enough to purchase these at the annual Army & Navy Shoe Sale last year. Some people laugh when they hear how much I love the Army & Navy Shoe Sale.  But whatever.  They just don’t understand.

They still have the ability to get attention

Funny enough, I’ve actually always hated rain boots.  I think they’re ugly for the most part. Gum boots, I mean.  I just picture little kids in yellow gum boots jumping in puddles.  And they just seemed childish to me.  It never appealed to me as a footwear option for grown women.  There are more stylish boots that you can get out there without resorting to gum boots.  They try to jazz them up with pretty patterns and such, but it just never worked for me.  They’ve also never seemed to fit properly either.

Ready to wear

But at the Army and Navy Shoe Sale last year, I had a change of heart.  After going through piles of shoes and deciding between them which ones I “needed” to have, those bright red rain boots caught my eye.  I was drawn to them.  They were different from any other rain boots I had ever seen.  They were special.  So bright.  So red.  So waterproof.  And so comfortable.  What were the chances they would be all those things?  I knew I had to have them.

They have really good tread for all the walking I do

Many people splurge on Hunters.  I was never willing to do so.  Mainly because they just didn’t seem appealing enough.  If they were really that great, then maybe I would spring for a pair, but I didn’t see the need for it.  Nothing against them, it’s just that everyone has them and the colours weren’t exciting enough for my liking.  I have heard good things about them though, and I’m pretty sure they are long lasting.

I love the buckle on the side

But I remain perfectly content with my Cougar rain boots.  I think it’s the fact that they’e just so vibrantly red.  They get noticed.  Pretty much every time I’ve worn them, I’ve received a compliment or at least some sort of comment on them, more so than any other footwear or clothing article I’ve ever worn.  Even in the state they’re in now, slightly beat up due to constant wearing, they still look good enough to get noticed.  I think if I died tomorrow, my red rain boots would be one of the things that people would remember me for.

Resting after a long day

They’ve become my go to choice of footwear when it rains.  Which in Vancouver is all the time.  But as those who live here can attest to, Vancouver weather tends to be very bipolar.  So the day will start out sunny, then it’ll rain, then it’ll stop, then it’ll rain harder.  Or it will be raining in the morning, then sunny in the afternoon, and then who knows what next.  It’s extremely frustrating.  As a consequence, I often make poor footwear decisions.  For example, wearing suede shoes on what I think is going to be a sunny day, only to find out that it will be filled with rain instead.

I can even wear them with sweatpants

The opposite happens as well, where I’ll be all prepped with my rain boots, and it will indeed be a sunny day.  This is preferable though, because who says that rain boots are only for rain?  If they look good, then I am permitted to wear them whenever the hell I want, regardless of what the weather should dictate.  And I have.  I try to colour coordinate when I can, but sometimes the red rain boots don’t exactly match the outfit I’m wearing.  But I don’t care.  I make it work.

The zipper's still going strong

I know I already wrote a blog post about another pair of boots not too long ago.  But it’s never too early for another one.  And besides, that one was expressing my sorrow at having lost a good pair.  It made me realize I should cherish these things while I still have them.  Also I’m slightly worried about my boots.  Zippers often fail me, and I fear that in the future the zippers on these ones may do the same.  The little top parts of them have broken off slightly.  But you can’t really tell.  I’m hoping they will pull through and give me another year at least.  Is that too much to ask for?  I think maybe some day in the future I will end up being like my boots.  You know, good looking and a cougar.

The brand of my boots

I love shoes

My simple, brown, low heeled shoes

So the Army & Navy Shoe Sale starts next Wednesday.  I didn’t realize it was so soon.  For some reason I thought it was in May, and then was pleasantly surprised when I realized it was early than I expected.  And then my mind started racing and trying to mentally prepare myself for what is to come.

These might be the only things I own that are plaid

I read a blog post where the writer said he at first thought that the term “legendary” was an exaggeration, and then realized how big a deal it actually was.  Legendary, that makes me thing of Barney on How I Met Your Mother.  I’ll admit that years ago, I would have thought the same thing.  And I would have laughed at those women who were obsessing over a shoe sale.  If you think about it, it does sound ridiculous.  Should I be ashamed right now?  Now that I’m one of them?

I love a good pair of high tops, even if they're pink

I first discovered this legendary event two years ago.  I went to the location downtown on 36 West Cordova Street.  But I didn’t go on the first day.  It goes on for several days, and they receive new stock every day.  There are plenty of shoes to go around.  So I never understood why people went crazy and HAD to be there first thing in the morning on the first day of the event.  I heard there was a woman who would have her personal assistant line up for her at 4:30 am, just so she could be the first one through the doors when they opened at 8:00 am.  That’s insane!  4:30??  I may love shoes, but that’s not something I’m willing to do.  And even if I had a personal assistant, I wouldn’t make her do it either.  Although I’m guessing she pays her personal assistant good money with demands like that.  Now I kind of wish I was her personal assistant…

These metallic heels were so comfortable I bought them in black as well

So yes, I went two years ago, and then again last year.  So the 63rd annual Army & Navy shoe sale will be my third.  Third time’s a charm, right?  I will admit that I can’t even remember how many shoes I bought each time.  And I may not have gone on the first day, but I did go multiple times.  Three times the first year, I think?  And twice the second?  Not 100% sure.  But I remember going with my friend the first time, and she was done and ready to go after finding one pair of shoes.  Yeah.  One.  Pair.  Of shoes.  Yeah, I don’t get it either.  And then I felt guilty for making her wait while I scrambled to find pairs and then spent forever deciding which ones to buy.  Cause no one wants to be that person who makes someone else wait.  So I learned my lesson.  My next trip there, I went alone.  And I had all the time I needed.  Some things you just have to do alone.  Can’t have anyone holding you back when you’re shoe shopping.

Can't go wrong with a pair of black sandals you can easily slip into

Last year, one thing I recall, as I was looking through the size 8 section, was a woman who came up to me with a pair of shoes and said “Can you try these on for me?”.  Because she wanted them for her daughter, who was also a size 8, and wanted to make sure they would be a good fit.  So I did, because I’m a nice person.  And they were a good fit.  They were comfortable and I told her so and she thanked me and took the shoes.  And then I thought, they were nice, and they fit well, now I want them…  I should have just told her they were terrible so that she would leave them behind.  Damn.

I think these are only pair of rain boots I've ever owned

Some people get VIP access to the shoe sale.  I’m not exactly sure what that entails, but I think you get to skip the line and then you have a personal shopper holding your shopping baskets for you?  Or something?  I don’t know.  But whatever it is, I want it.  They have contests on the radio, but I haven’t heard how to win those or when to call in.  I think I’m always listening at the wrong time.  But then I discovered that there’s a Facebook contest. Which is so more my style.  And so naturally, I entered.  I used a picture of my red rain boots that was taken the first time I wore them at SlutWalk Vancouver last year.

I even bought some running shoes for the gym

I wish the contest was based on how many pictures of shoes you bought you posted.  Cause I could definitely win that.  But it’s based on amount of votes, as these things usually are.  This is the link, if you want to see the picture and maybe cast a vote to get me one step closer to the sale.  Not only do you get VIP access, but you get a gift card to spend towards your purchases.  What’s better than shoes that are on sale?  Shoes that are free!  How great would that be?

They also have foot lotion & foot spray

So now I wait, and see if I can possibly win anything.  I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go on the first day or not, seeing as it will likely be complete chaos, and I don’t exactly do well with crowds, especially crazed, shoe obsessed crowds.  But I happen to have next Wednesday off.  And so I can go down there pretty much whenever I want.  4:30 am is out of the question.  Do I want to be there at 8:00 am?  Maybe.  Does VIP access include body guards?  That would helpful, I’m sure.  I need to decide what shoes to wear to the sale.  They’ll have to be comfortable, as I make my way through the crowds.  And not too fancy.  Don’t want someone to pick them up and try to buy them by mistake.

Me at the shoe sale 2 years ago, trying to make a decision

I got a pedicure

After a long day of working and volunteering, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure.  Well also, I bought a voucher from TastyGo a while ago that I had yet to use.  I tend to have a bit of a problem when it comes to purchasing online deals like Groupons, Indulge Living dealsSocialShopper deals, and so on and so forth.  I mean, I forgot I even had a TastyGo account.  And then I always end up checking my accounts at the last minute and realizing that I have a voucher that will soon expire.  This particular one expires in June.  However, I have another pedicure voucher from TeamBuy that also expires in June.  So I had to use one of them now.

The place I went today was Illusion Studio and Spa on West Broadway.  It was nice there. I picked out my polish, and then made my way over to the chair.  In the past I’ve often opted for red polish, because it’s just so classic, but lately I’ve been opening up my colour choices.  I thought a bright blue would be nice for spring.  And I think it was a good decision.  I tested a few shades of blue on my nail, only to realize there was a piece of paper sitting on the counter designated for colour testing.  Oh well.

I think I picked a good colour

I liked the set up they have there, because my chair was faced in good view of the TV.  At first I was disappointed because I thought that the chair was not a massage chair.  And then I noticed the remote carefully hidden at the side and retrieved it as soon as I made this discovery.  I love those massage chairs, pressing random buttons even though you’re never really sure what exactly they’re going to do.  Do they sell those things to normal people, or only supply them at salons?  Because I want one.  At some point the massage chair stopped massaging and it took me a while to notice before starting it up again.  But I did stop it while she was doing the nail art, as the vibration may have caused some disruption.

The TV was on the Food Network.  I think if you’re going to have the channel on the Food Network, you should also have some food available for the people watching.  It’s the decent thing to do.  The show that happened to be on was Family Cook Off, a show I had never watched before, nor will I ever watch it again.  It’s basically two families cooking an entree and a dessert and then the two judges give them points and whichever family has the most points wins the “coveted golden frying pan” and $1000 worth of groceries.  I don’t know why but that seems like kind of a lame prize to me.  I mean I’d rather have the $1000 so I can go buy my own groceries.  Cause I’ll bet the $1000 worth of groceries they get weren’t on sale.  The host of the show is super annoying.  She just keeps bothering the contestants as they’re trying to cook and asking them stupid questions.  The episode I saw was a family of kids against a family of old people.  The kids won.  That’s all I have to say about it.

Pretty nail art that I could never do

So back to my pedicure.  I usually don’t get nail art, but the voucher I bought included it.  Score.  I am quite happy with the outcome.  I don’t get pedicures very often, but in the past I’ve had some where they didn’t look that much better than if I had attempted it myself.  Okay, that’s not true, any attempts of mine would be far worse than anything a professional or a normal person could accomplish.  Or anything a drunk or otherwise incompetent person could accomplish.  But some were never really anything special.  This time, they came out pretty and professional looking, and like they’ll last.

For some reason, the woman beside me got a nail dryer after her pedicure to speed up the drying process.  I did not.  I was just left to sit there and let them air dry in their own sweet time.  But I didn’t complain.  It allowed me more time to sit and watch TV in my massage chair.  No complaints there.  I’m pretty sure the staff there made fun of me in another language, but I think that happens to me pretty much at any salon or spa I go to ever.  Or maybe I’m just paranoid.  But she painted my nails so pretty that I don’t care either way.

Not a weather appropriate footwear choice

I brought flip flops to wear after, as you’re supposed to do.  But unfortunately for me, I was taking public transit and it was cold and raining outside.  I probably looked like an idiot with my rain coat, umbrella, and flip flops.  Not exactly weather appropriate footwear.  But whatever.  Why hide a good pedicure?  And it wasn’t terribly cold.  Although my last bus was late so I was standing outside longer than I had expected.  But I figured that if my toes were to turn blue from the cold, they would at least match my toenails.

I am wearing socks right now, so I can’t see the beauty of my toenails at the moment.  Because it’s cold.  And tomorrow I will likely wear boots because it’s supposed to rain.  And the day after that, closed toed shoes of some kind because it might still be cold.  But damn it when the sun is shining and the weather is nice, I will wear my flip flops proudly once again.  Also, the Army & Navy shoe sale starts next week, so at least my feet will look good as I’m trying on shoes.

My feet will look good in so many shoes now