Those of you who keep up with my book review site, Lou Reads, know that there is no love lost between me and shoes. Or rather, me and shoe shopping. I was cursed with fragile footsies; anything less soft than an angel's wing brings on a blight of blisters, a collection of calluses (thanks, Mom, for your bad genes).
In fact, I haven't been able to feel my right pinkie toe since Bonnaroo.
So, when one of my colleagues told me that Zappos.com, the largest shoe dealer on the web, had an outlet store in wee Shepherdsville, KY, I figured this might be the chance to score some of those high end, toostie-gentle, brand-name shoes I can never afford retail. Of course that was months ago, and I filed away the knowledge for a rainy day... little did I know.
Turns out that Zappos is headquartered in Nevada, but their primary warehouse is in Shepherdsville. If you go to their website, you can take a "tour." Apparently, they offer employees "free vending," so I'm thinking WIDE styles are probably popular with the employee discount.
Anyway, bored and looking for a field trip, I set out for Shepherdsville around 5pm today. It's around a 25 minute drive from the Highlands, just off exit 116 on I-65 South. Just as I turned off the exit, the skies opened up, the wind began to whip, and I put-putted at 15MPH from the exit to the driveway of the massive Zappos building. Storm-blinded, I parked in one of the conveniently placed customer parking spots right near the door and bolted from the car.
When I made it through the doors, I noticed that the employees were flooding out of the shop into the glass foyer. It wasn't until I was inside that I realized what they were looking at. The first "P" in the Zappos sign had been torn from the building and shattered on the ground in the parking spot next to mine. (See picture above)
Had I put-putted a little faster from the highway exit, it might have come crashing down on my noggin. I later found out that the P was made with foam, so traumatic brain injury may be an exaggeration, but it sure would have hurt like the dickens.
The storm lasted a good hour or so, and for me being stuck in a shoe store for an hour is pretty much hell ("Shoes everywhere! Nothing but shoes! 99% of which will tear up your tender toes! And even at outlet prices, there's still thousands of shoes that cost more than your weekly food budget!")
That being said, I did indeed find high-priced, feet-friendly, name-brand shoes at a bargain (a pair of Bjorn sandals that retail for $97 for just $50). They had plenty of Danskos, for example, in the $60-$80 range. Because of the delay, I nearly succumbed to impulsiveness and walked out with three pairs of shoes (Naturalizers for $37 and Croc flats-- I know, I know, ugly. But these looked comfy-- for $16), but better nature prevailed and I put back two.
The outlet store has a whole wall of deeply discounted shoes (many seemed slightly damaged) and frequent sales. From July 4-16, the outlet is having a summer sale where no shoe will be less than 30% off (I may go back and check out the Danskos again). Men seem to get short shrift there; not too many rows of men's shoes. And the pocketbooks? Ugh! Unless you're Paris Hilton, looking to carry all your earthly possessions with you in a huge, ugly, hobo bag just in case you end up in the clink again, AND are willing to pay $200 for the privledge, forget it.
Definitely worth the drive. Just stay away during windstorms. Still five letters left.