Newsletter--News from Production, Good and Bad

August 16, 2012 0 Comments


Hi Primal People,

The good news is that the Primal Professional will be lined 100% with full-grain leather, rather than the fabric you saw in the pictures. #Swag.

Now, the bad news. When we last wrote, we were grading up our last sizes and seeking testers to evaluate fit. Soon after, I received this message:

The factory had a very hard time lasting the larger sizes. The last is so wide in the forepart that it does not fit into our lasting machines. This is a big red flag. We have been lasting cement constructed shoes for over 50 years and have never had this difficult a time. I am very anxious to see how they fit. I hope we hear that they are way too wide. If not we may have a real problem. I am hoping that a mistake was made in the grading to these larger sizes of the lasts. If not I don’t think we will be able to make shoes with them.

It hit me like a baseball bat. A baseball bat made of gluten. Ironically, we were all hoping a mistake was made.

So far, we've heard back from our 12W tester, our friends at Technically Running who know minimalist shoes and proper office attire. He agreed that it was too wide. Our 14W is being worn right now, and the 10W is in transit, so we're anxiously waiting.

What does this all mean going forward? They've identified the widest last bottom they could make, and will be grading down from there. They plan on keeping the same circumference over the toes, so however much width is decreased, height will be increased. Keeping the same circumference also means that we can still use the same uppers that they've painstakingly crafted. I believe my toes (or my preferences) are pretty wide, even by barefooter standards. I had to go with custom  Luna Sandals because my toes spill over the edge of the pre-cuts, and in choosing  Lemings, which are quite possibly the widest, most comfortable shoes out there right now, I still chose a size 8 rather than a 7. In the end, this shoe will have to pass the strict standards of our testers. I will make sure the true spirit of these shoes is not compromised over a manufacturing issue.

Arrangements have already been made to expedite next steps, e.g. having all the uppers ready to go as soon as the lasts arrive, and making a 3rd shoe so it can be sent to outsole production as soon as testers approve. All told, this bump in the road will set us back one more month. I spent the last week tossing and turning over this issue. I know that, by making a shoe unlike any other, really the first of its kind, there will be issues. But still, it frustrates me to keep you guys waiting any longer. I thank you all for your continued patience and support.

Lastly, I will be collecting the various messages and posts on facebook from you guys (names trimmed for anonymity) to show my manufacturers the exploding interest in these shoes, despite zero marketing since year. The sooner they get things done, the sooner they can earn your business, and all of us stand to benefit. If there's something you'd like to add, just hit reply.

Best Regards,


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In this newsletter, I'll go into:
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II. Dress Boot Prototype 02
III. Have Ideas for New Outsole Tread?
IV. Outlet Store Restocked, with Limited Time Discount
V. HIRING: Outlet Store Manager
VI. Reviewed on Free The Animal
VII. Austin for PaleoFX! 4/26 - 4/29
HIRING: Outlet Store Manager (Work From Home, Set Own Hours)
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I think this job would be ideal for a Stay-at-Home Parent with a spare bedroom who wants a part-time job that they can do from home and at their own pace. Or, a shoe repair shop with extra storage space.

Sizing, Fit, & Feel

I. Sizing

  1. Let's start by asking: What shoe size (US Men's) normally fits you best? To convert from other sizing standards, see this chart.
  2. Is that a Narrow width? Go one size down for our shoes.
  3. Is that a Medium width? Depending on how roomy you like the toebox, go one size down OR order the same size.
  4. Is that a Wide width? Order the same size for our shoes.
  5. Don’t know the width of your shoes? They’re most likely Medium. 

II. Fit & Feel

This image shows roughly how/where your feet should sit inside a pair of Carets, at right. 

At left is a typical dress shoe, same size and same Wide width. You can see that it is still 1 or 2 cm longer than ours. Most sleeker dress shoes have a fair amount of unoccupied space in the front. We took advantage of that and used it to give you a wide toebox without looking like it. Dress shoes get even longer if we start looking at chisel-toe and pointy-toe styles. But even though these conventional dress shoes are longer, you still feel cramped because of the heel lift and the fact that their shoes are widest at the ball of the foot. Ours are widest at the toes, as a foot naturally is.

If the widest part of your feet (i.e. your toes) occupies the widest part of our shoes, then you are wearing the right size.

Regarding groundfeel, Carets' outsole is 4mm thick, with another 4mm of leather and cork between that and your feet. The polyurethane we use for the outsole was selected for durability, which is more important than groundfeel in a shoe like this. The 2-part (polyurethane + leather/cork) design allows for the shoes to be resoled like good dress shoes and unlike most minimalist shoes.

Expect Carets to feel less like FiveFingers and more like flat-bottomed skate shoes with the insoles removed.

In the end, what matters most is that you are happy with your shoes! We will gladly take them back (365-day free returns and exchanges, click for details) and I am honored that you gave us a shot.