Herring Shoes

What is a factory second?

9 November 2023

If you have ever visited a shoe factory, or indeed a large retail shop, you have almost certainly found the ‘factory seconds’ section and spent more time than you wish to admit trying to find the fault that makes them a factory second.

If you have seen our previous blogs you will know there are around 160 processes that go into making a pair of welted shoes. Whilst some of these processes are more intricate than others, they all require a tremendous amount of skill and absolute focus from the craftsperson (easier said than done in a loud working factory). When the shoes have gone through the final stages and are ready to be packed, they are meticulously checked before going in the box and at this point they must determine whether this exact pair meet their strict criteria. The makers are only human, it is natural that there will on occasion be the odd ‘imperfection’ from one of the 160 stages that is deemed not acceptable for a full priced pair of shoes.

Wouldn’t it be a terrible waste to throw a pair of shoes away just because of a small imperfection? The truth is, many of us wouldn’t notice or even mind these imperfections. They will never be imperfect to the point that the shoes are not fit for normal wear and tear, that is the important factor to remember, they are very much fit for purpose (you can even challenge your colleague to see if they can spot the imperfection!). We think factory seconds offer a higher quality of shoes to our customers that perhaps would otherwise have been out of their price points, and just think, each one truly is unique!

To give you an idea, you can expect to see some minor marks or cuts in the leather, poor stitching that does not look symmetrical on close inspection, blemishes/deep creasing in the leather, or even wrong markings on the shoes, we have shown some examples below.

So, our advice is that if you see a factory second available in a style you like and in your size, give them a go! And who knows, maybe there will be a nice selection added to our website shortly…..

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