Fred, meant no disrespect, but dodgy ones do get through. Your comment on checking the shoes indoors is a good one--I'd add also to check them outdoors [or as close to the window as possible] in natural light. Perhaps my experience as a 9D is different than others, as that is the size of display models and thus more subject to wear and abuse and unven color wear due to one shoe being left out in the shop and the other in the box...I did conduct interviews with others besides the AE folks. In addition, I mined the online forums (this one included) for lots of opinions. In addition, I own some 8-10 pairs of AE seconds and have my own experience. Nonetheless, it is good to have your perspective. Frankly, the suggestion to concentrate on seconds that you actually seen is a good one. Alternately, check out the shoes indoors and -- with the exception of seconds on closeout from eBay or the stores -- seconds can be returned to AE.