There's a new place to pick up great deals on brand name shoes, but this time it's not a shoe store -- well, not the kind of shoe store you're used to at least.
Earlier this month Shoe Megashop boutiques were launched inside select Marshalls department stores around the country.
The press release I received promised 5,000 square feet of space devoted to footwear, featuring the latest styles in brand name shoes at up to 50% off.
Normally an announcement like this would have had me there on opening day, but my schedule was crazy and I wasn't actually able to make it to one of the Shoe Megashops until a week after its opening. And to be honest, I wasn't really expecting to find anything that different from a typical shoe store.
But I was surprised to find that Marshalls Shoe Megashop is very different.
When I first walked in, I saw a lot of brands and styles I've been writing about very recently, including some of my most recent picks from Nine West, Tahari, Nina and Guess.
Since I write about shoes every day, and I knew these were the latest styles, I expected to see them marked maybe $5 or $10 dollars off their usual prices.
I was wrong.
In fact, most of those shoes were only about $25 -- seriously.
A couple were only $20, and a few were $30 -- but the vast majority of dress styles I looked at were $24.99. Some of these shoes are presently enjoying spots on my Top Picks for Spring and Summer, Shoes of the Day, etc. -- styles that are currently being sold elsewhere for between about $50 and $90.
Higher-priced brands like Ellen Tracy and Via Spiga shared similarly deep discounts, and ranged in price from about $40 to $60, but there wasn't nearly as much selection from these more expensive brands -- however, I suspect that stock varies from location to location.
Unfortunately, I didn't see a lot of hard-to-fit sizes, but otherwise there was a good selection of standard sizes and colors, so I think it was just fate that I wasn't able to find my size in the one pair I gave myself permission to buy. (Nine West "Dollface" in white with silver heels for $24.99 in case you're curious).
While I was a little disappointed that it seemed like the selection of women's dress shoes only made up the first few rows, I soon realized that it was because the rest of the space is being occupied by similar deals on brand name casual shoes for women, men's shoes and kids' shoes. This is great if you have an entire family to shop for, but childless, career and dress shoe-obsessed women like myself sometimes tend to focus solely on our own feet ... and I wanted more dress shoes.
The people around me seemed to agree. While the kids' and men's sections of the boutique were relatively empty, the women's section was filling up fast, and people were excited about the styles and deals they were finding.
As I was preparing to leave, I heard a woman behind me declare to her friends that she couldn't breathe. I turned around for a minute, expecting to find a woman clutching her chest in the midst of some sort of medical emergency.
But before I could kick myself for never having taken that CPR class, I heard her say to her group, "No, it's O.K! I'm sorry. I'm just having a shoe moment!"
When I saw the $40 price tag on Tahari pumps she had stopped in front of, I understood. I've had those moments myself.
There are plans for 600 Shoe Megashops by the end of summer, but there are several of them already open and ready for business. You can use the store locator at the bottom of this page to find a Marshalls Shoe Megashop near you.
And if you're near Charlotte, Sacramento, Raleigh, San Francisco, Baltimore or Portland you still have a few days to catch the end of the Marshalls Shoe Megashop Sole Mates tour.
Look for hot male models accompanied by a car shaped like a red stiletto (I so need one of these). They models will be hand-delivering ads that entitle the recipient a chance to win a $1000 shopping spree at Marshalls.