Prime Living/Sponsored Feature

Prime Living: Here come the holidays; are your feet up to it?

American-made SAS Shoes lead the industry in comfort, style
Nov 16, 2018
SAS Comfort Shoes owner Jim Pelzel, left, and store manager Jim Pallotta specialize in finding comfortable, stylish shoes for every pair of feet. Made in America, SAS shoes are famous for painstaking craftsmanship and rigorous quality.

‘Tis the season – when your feet cry, “Help!” Whether you’re walking downtown or at the mall looking for that perfect gift, standing on your feet all day during that Christmas job you took for some extra cash, or strolling the neighborhood with your grandkids to look at the festive decorations, chances are your feet aren’t going to like it.

Comfortable, well-crafted shoes are important anytime. But when you’re on your feet even more than usual, such as during the holidays, good shoes can bring pure joy to your sole – both of them.

A third-generation shoe store owner, Jim Pelzel knows shoes. Pelzel owns SAS Comfort Shoes in Lynnwood, across from the Alderwood Mall.

Not surprisingly, he can honestly say you don’t really know good shoes until you’ve walked in a pair of SAS footwear.

But don’t just take his word for it. SAS consistently wins rave reviews.

For example, Wendy Bumgardener, a certified marathon coach, wrote in her Verywell Fit review, “SAS Shoes have been a favorite of volkssport walkers since the 1980s. These comfort shoes are very well cushioned and flexible. They were my personal favorite when I had a stand-up job. They are the only shoes I could wear without having foot pain at the end of the day.”

Another customer wrote, “I have worn SAS shoes for more than 20 years. Let me tell you, they are well worth the price. I work in the restaurant industry, and nothing compares to these shoes. I have tried cheaper shoes many times, but always go back to SAS.”

And a reviewer at VBestSeller.com wrote, “The business philosophy in SAS shoes is ultimate customer satisfaction. There is no promotion that can work wonder as customer satisfaction does. So, the premium quality, hand-crafted models of shoes and sandals from SAS aim in providing the best customer satisfaction, always.”

Millions of satisfied customers have been finding out just that since co-founders Terry Armstrong and Lew Hayden launched San Antonio Shoemakers in that Texas city in 1976.

Countering a national trend of diminishing quality and cheap foreign manufacturing, the partners wanted to craft shoes that would set a new standard in quality footwear.

They achieved that goal, and then some. Today, SAS Shoes are made in America – two factories in Texas – and carried in more than 200 stores and retailers around the world.

Each pair of shoes undergoes painstaking craftsmanship and rigorous quality control. There are 14 primary operations, including leather selection, die-making, cutting, lasting and more. Some 360 sets of hands touch every shoe.

SAS has become the go-to brand for people who are on their feet all day, such as restaurant servers, store clerks and shop foremen, as well as middle age and older people who prize comfort as well as style. Quality features include waterproof materials and slip-resistant soles.

Pelzel was born into the shoe business. His grandfather ran several shoe stores, his father went into the family business as well, and Pelzel and his sister followed suit. “You don’t see many third generation people staying in the family business,” Pelzel noted.

Over the years, the family ran several stores and sold a variety of brands. As a young man, Pelzel himself tended to buy cheap shoes for himself, not concerned much with quality and comfort.

That all changed with his discovery of SAS shoes. Like his faithful customers, Pelzel appreciates that SAS shoes are comfortable, long-lasting, and good to his feet. In fact, with unparalleled fit – SAS offers 88 sizes for women and 104 for men – customers discover they provide astonishing comfort. They’re excellent for people dealing with neuropathies, hammer toe and other foot issues.

Pelzel was so sold on SAS, he and his sister now own stores in Vancouver, B.C. as well as the Lynnwood store.

What goes hand-in-hand with quality footwear? Matchless service, of course. It may seem easy to buy shoes online, until they arrive and don’t fit, or have defects or other problems, and have to be returned.

At SAS Shoes in Lynnwood, they make sure you don’t walk out the door with the wrong shoes.

“You can’t get that old-fashioned feeling of service when you buy online,” Pelzel said. “It’s a relationship, not just clicking a button.”

Store manager Jim Pallotta said the majority of their customers are looking for comfort first, but style is a close second. That’s particularly important to women and professional men.

“You’re not running marathons in SAS shoes,” Pallotta said. “You’re working. You’re shopping.” As styles have evolved, SAS has taken pains not to sacrifice standards while offering shoes that have “a little flair,” he said.

“Our customers know their feet,” Pallotta said. “We don’t let a customer leave with a shoe they’re not happy with.”

With a focus on service, SAS Lynnwood offers a comfortable, casual atmosphere where customers can try on shoes at their leisure, have a cup of coffee or tea or a bottle of water, compare styles and discuss their needs with staff members who know shoes inside and out.

Of course, they also offer a range of accessory products, such as moisture and temperature control socks, shoe polish, cleaners and brushes.

You can visit SAS Comfort Shoes at 18411 Alderwood Mall Pkwy., #B, Lynnwood, call them at 425-672-2772 or email sasalderwood@gmail.com. To learn more about SAS Shoes, visit www.mySASshoes.com.

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