Moving Forward in Mexico

Moving Forward in Mexico

May 19, 2017 0 Comments

(To get monthly news updates like these, straight to your inbox, Sign Up Here.)

Dear Primal Professional,

In my last update, I talked about my trip to Mexico, and everything we were able to get done in less than a week.

In this newsletter, I'll go into:
#1 Shoe Samples
#2 Moving Lasts to Mexico
#3 Remaking Outsole Molds & Outsoles in Mexico
#4 Moving Forward

#1 Shoe Samples 

I was expecting to have finalized samples by now, and photos of them to share with you. The shoemaker made a mistake with the transfer label information, so they had to order a new one. It's a bummer, but not a bottleneck, because other tooling and materials are still being made.

Can't wait to see these samples finished. I'm very stoked about the oxblood leather we found.

#2 Moving Lasts to Mexico

That blue plastic "foot" on the right is a "last". Basically, a shoe's upper and bottom are wrapped around the last, and the last gives the shoe its shape. The 4 barrels are filled with my lasts.

These 4 barrels of lasts were a surprising source of stress. When our first shoemaker finished our final production run with them last year, they packed these up, and asked me where to ship them. If things were to work out with our second shoemaker, we would have shipped them to Brasil. But just to be safe, I asked the first shoemaker to hold onto them for a bit, until I know for sure. As months passed and barely any progress was being made with the second shoemaker, the first told me they really had to get rid of them, because their warehouse is getting crowded. Eventually, they gave me an ultimatum: tell them where to ship the barrels, or they were going to dump the barrels. The best idea I could come up with was to ship it to my office. Since I'm in a shared office, and I've taken up quite a bit of common area already, I stored these in the yard with a weatherproof tarp over.

Now, moving these down to Mexico. After much more paperwork, fees, and coordination than I expected, these are now in Mexico. It took a month from when I contacted the freight forwarder and customs broker until these finally reached their destination. Whew, I'm glad I didn't send these to Brasil, that would have been more than double the trouble.

 

#3 Remaking Outsole Molds & Outsoles in Mexico

My sourcing agent, and the shoemakers he connected me with, they all recommended I make our outsoles in Mexico. At first, I was pretty neutral about the idea. Our Missouri-based outsole maker did a good enough job, so why fix what ain't broke? 

My sourcing agent said it would increase quality, reduce costs, and reduce delivery time. I saw the potential for increased quality when the outsole and shoe makers were discussing ways to improve the bond. We could reduce costs, while maintaining material quality, because of how close the outsole and the shoe factories are to each other, and this of course reduces delivery time.

I paid for the outsole molds in Missouri so I own them, but they aren't compatible with the outsole machines in Mexico. We can't just plug-and-play. And we can't just make a new mold by copying an outsole either. Polyurethane outsoles cool and shrink after they come out of the mold, and ours shrink about 1.5%. There is a great deal of accuracy and precision involved.

Since lasts and outsoles go hand-in-hand (foot-in-foot?), now that the lasts are in Mexico we can move forward with remaking outsole molds.

 

#4 Moving Forward

After writing this update, I feel like everything is "in-progress." It's slightly unnerving, as I'd prefer it to be "completed." But then again, isn't life and nature in a perpetual state of "in-progress"? Is "completion" perhaps an arbitrary human invention? Anyway, before I get too philosophical, what I'm trying to say is I can't wait to write the next newsletter and share more progress!

Thank you.

Best Regards,

Mountain Evan Chang
Founder

(To get monthly news updates like these, straight to your inbox, Sign Up Here.)




Also in News

Moving Barefoot Improves Your Mental and Emotional Fitness too? An Interview with Dr. Emily Splichal
Moving Barefoot Improves Your Mental and Emotional Fitness too? An Interview with Dr. Emily Splichal

May 25, 2018 0 Comments

Outlet Store Restocked, with add'l Discount (expires Apr 1)
Outlet Store Restocked, with add'l Discount (expires Apr 1)

March 28, 2018 0 Comments

In this newsletter, I'll go into:
I. April Shipment: On-Time, w/ Generic Shoe Trees
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)
HIRING: Outlet Store Manager (Work From Home, Set Own Hours)

March 25, 2018 0 Comments

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.