Factory seconds, samples, one-offs and custom overstocks are pairs of boots which have been created as prototypes, for displays/pictures, leftover custom orders, or with minor cosmetic flaws from production. These characteristics typically put them just underneath the benchmark for our first quality production. We are happy to offer these boots and pass along some savings to our valued customers. Not all factory samples make it to production. In fact most don't and are often rolled up into our one-off inventory. We will also post boots which have been tried on a few times in the local shoe repair shop or were exchanged a few times to get the right size for a customer. These will be slightly marked down as well, but not as much since they have only been tried on a few times. Depending on the amount of times they have been tried on as well as build cost, the price on some models may be either higher or lower than others.
Where do factory seconds come from?
With so many manual steps involved (typically around 200 steps per pair) in creating a single pair of boots, sometimes imperfections outside of normal tolerance can occur with production boots. The difference is that second quality pairs tend to have more of these imperfections, or larger instances of them. For every 100 pairs of boots that are produced, we get about 5-10 pairs, sometimes 10-15 pairs of these which come out with minor flaws due to the nature of handcrafting a boot.
During the build process, sometimes any of the following examples of events can occur:
1. The sole stitching machine rips the shoe out from underneath and the thread appears crooked or dents the upper leather or welt. Same concept applies for upper stitching.
2. The sewing machine jams in the beginning, middle or end of sewing a quarter while the needle has already poked through and produces a stitch line slightly outside of the pattern. For a second quality boot, we would have this happen in multiple areas.
3. Deviation of leather scarring, texture or shade, excessive scuffs, scrapes or scratches, is more plentiful on one boot than another or on the pair as a whole as compared to first quality. This is not to say that leather with more texture than another pair is defective, but these are marked as seconds due to them not coming out exactly as we would sell a first quality pair.
While none of these examples impact the performance or quality of the boots built, and most of the factory second's flaws aren't immediately noticeable when wearing, we do monitor instances such as these and ensure to mark the boots as factory seconds on our website should we come across them.
With this grading system, the grade assigned and the description mentioned are the primary reason the boots were marked as factory seconds. There may be other minor quirks or flaws associated with a factory second or sample boots. Performance and quality are not compromised with factory seconds and samples, as they are aesthetic instances of manufacturing.
Stitching irregularities – such as multiple small dips in the sewing lines from manually turning uppers through sewing machines. These may be present in a few areas of the pair, not per boot, in order to be marked as such. Due to the manual nature of making this type of product, there may sometimes be a small stitching irregularity on a first quality boot too depending. The difference is a second quality boot would have multiple instances of these.
Leather color either being slightly lighter or darker than what is pictured on the website or social media.
For Richmond models, some toecaps may be slightly crooked from boot to boot. For example, the left boot toecap might be straight while the right boot toecap may be slightly skewed.
Leather folds, texture, or grain – no loose grain though. Leather may be creased from multiple try-on's or aggressive try-on's which can cause the boot to appear to be worn when it was simply tried on a few times.
Multiple scuffs, scrapes, or surface scratches in the leather as a result of either the manufacturing process or from the natural variations in the leather hide. While these aren’t on many pairs, they are on a few and mixed in with this batch. Note first quality pairs may have minor scratches or imperfections either from transit time or from the leather itself.
Different grit sand paper being used to finish the boots as well as different veg-tanned leather welts, veg-tanned leather midsoles etc. Sanding irregularities may also be rolled up into this category.
Footwear was worn for photos or around the factory or warehouse for grading/fit testing. Other instances include damage sustained during production such as multiple surface gashes or multiple instances of heavily crooked stitching, scarring or imperfections. Specific descriptions of this grading will be provided on the product page for each pair and typically Grade 2's are lower in price. With Grade 2's, we often end up giving them away to charity or Goodwill and as a result, they usually never get posted onto our website for purchase.
What Determines the Price?
Pricing depends largely on materials used, mainly soles and upper leather. These are the two major cost-driving components of a boot or shoe's typical end price. For example, kudu, moose, Dublin, Chromexcel and horse leathers are more costly and difficult to obtain. Therefore they carry a higher end price regardless of being a factory second, sample or first quality.
Pricing may fluctuate from time to time depending on the grading or condition of each pair when they become available. Pricing within each style but different sizes may also change at any time depending on the condition and what becomes available, as it becomes available. For example, a 1 centimeter leather gash won't carry the same price as a 2 inch leather gash.
**Factory seconds and samples/one-offs are final sale - no returns, size exchanges only if the size desired is available in the item you purchased. If you have a question about sizing please reach out prior to purchase**
How often does stock appear?
There is no schedule or time-frame as to how often or when factory samples or seconds may appear. Their occurrence is typically presented at any point by chance during the manufacturing process or taking inventory and doing quality control. Each month there is always inventory coming in from the factory be it regular production or anything backlogged finishing up. Due to this any type of inventory (be it seconds, samples or one-off's, etc.) can be presented at any time.
So why consider a factory second?
Maybe you live in Buffalo and the snow, slush rain and salt are part of your commute for 8 months out of the year. Maybe you're looking to go to Wegman's (or grocery store of preference) and want to put on something that will get you from the parking lot to the deli counter in style. Perhaps you don't want to wear a $500+ boot to go fill up your car at the gas station out of fear gas may drip onto your leather boots and stain. Or just maybe you're looking for a general pair of boots to beat around which you don't have to worry about taking care of too much. From groceries to the gas pump, seconds and samples can make for a great addition as a worry-free option to your everyday rotation.