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Dispelling the Illusion of the Nike Factory Store

Don’t get me wrong. If I’m ever nearby a Nike Factory Store, I’m going in. But… after visiting three Nike outlets recently, I’ve come to realize that their offerings aren’t that good. While on vacation at Palm Springs, Hollywood, and Anaheim (with a stopover in Long Beach), I managed several (unplanned) visits to Nike Factory Stores at Desert Hills Premium Outlets, Long Beach, and the Outlets at Orange. While each location offered something a little different, they were pretty much the same.

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The stores have the “walls” and the “racks” as I call them. The racks and shelves have the inventory stuff, usually older models or stuff that didn’t sell well. There’s usually a lot of sizes with a modest discount. Predominately, there are the running shoes and trainers. Sometimes, you can find even steeper discounts, but it varies from store to store. The walls is where the good stuff is at, meaning you can find some rare items there but in limited quantities. Some items are really marked down on the wall while there are many one-of-a-kinds. So grab something if you like it.

But that’s when the revelation set in. I looked at Nike’s online clearance site, and you know what I saw? Pretty much the same shoes at the factory stores. But then again, why should I expect different? I guess I had always assumed that the Nike Factory Store was a potential treasure trove of great deals. Well, you can find them, but it’s not easy or as convenient as periodically scanning the online clearance items.

I thought I had found some great pickups at Desert Hills that had lots of Kobe X.

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My favorite, the Easter colorway, marked down to $109

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The Flight

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The Liberty

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Black Crimson and Opening Night

But again, compared to Kobe X on clearance online, the prices and selection were pretty much the same. Only the Easter colorway was unavailable online and not discounted an additional $30.

This LeBron collaboration with Doernbecher was an anomaly with so many of these $200 pairs at a discounted price.

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The main difference with the physical factory store and the virtual clearance area was the in-store specials. From the three locations, each had different colorways at well reduced prices. Say the KD8 for example. Each store had a bunch of discounted KD8 colorways, but one location had a black colorway for even cheaper than another store while the third store may not have had that black colorway but had a different colorway on markdown. It was really weird.

By far, the Desert Hills location had the best offerings. The store was buzzing with people, especially tourists who would buy new suitcases to fill up with their outlet purchases. Their walls had a good variety but turnover of merchandise was brisk. I went there three times and each time, new (different) items took the place of bought items.

I was hoping for some great finds at Long Beach since this location is somewhat isolated even though the mall is trying to develop the shopping area. This location is smaller than Desert Hills and didn’t have great stuff at the time, but I did spot a Kobe 11 Black History Month but in a size 11.

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Lots of KD8 and more clearance Kobe X at Long Beach, but you could have found these online as well.

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Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much at the Anaheim factory store at the Outlets at Orange. With close proximity to Disneyland, I was guessing that frequent visitors would wipe out the store, and I was correct. Bigger than Long Beach but I think smaller than Desert Hills, there were a lot of shoppers going through an okay selection. I thought I had a find with these LeBron 13 All Stars. There was only one on the wall, but I checked online and sure enough, I saw that the LeBron 13 ASG had been added to the clearance section. So not a find, and they didn’t fit well so back to the wall they went.

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Amazingly, with several trips to three different Nike Factory Stores, I still walked away kicks-less. I loved that Easter-themed Kobe X, especially since Easter of 2016 was coming and this pair was reduced to $109, but I was too slow to buy them. The other Kobe colorways were okay but not good enough to pay $140. Now I just gotta hope I can find any pair of the elusive Kobe X at a Ross at a great price. 😉

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