Small Delay for V4... Big To-Do List for Mexico! Side Zippers? Insoles?

Small Delay for V4... Big To-Do List for Mexico! Side Zippers? Insoles?

October 15, 2017 0 Comments

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carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

Dear Primal Professional,

How are you? I'm sending out this month's newsletter a little earlier, and I might send another one in a week or so, because there's a lot going on and I want to keep you in the loop.

In my last update, I talked about our fit test results, announced an October ETA for V4, and discussed the reasons why we're rebranding to Carets. 

In this newsletter, I'll go into:
I. Small Delay for V4
II. Big To-Do List for Mexico: New Last, Trade Show, & New Boots
III. What Do You Think About Side Zippers on Boots?
IV. How Thick Should Our Insoles Be?
V. Overseeing Production


I. Small Delay for V4

In my last newsletter, we were expecting the shoemaker to finish my entire order by Friday, Sep 29. 

Since the last update, my agent told me that our shoemaker rejected 2 shipments of black leather because not all of it was up to quality, so there is a delay. I told my agent that I'm happy to pay more for quality (without raising the price on you; I'll eat the extra cost). Our shoemaker switched to another tannery. They ordered a higher quality leather that will cost a little bit more, but they won’t change the price of the shoe on me either.

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

The oxblood shoes are done, and they'll be shipped at the same time as the black shoes.

The new estimate for when our shoes will ship out from the factory is October 22. My apologies for the delay. We are getting really close to finishing.

Once the shoes are completed and have passed quality, I’ll reach out to you for an address confirmation, as well as an updated ETA. Then, once my fulfillment center has your shoes labeled and shipped, you’ll receive a tracking number. 

II. Big To-Do List for Mexico

As you're reading this right now, I'm probably flying down to Mexico, with a big To-Do List. 

1) New Last

I'll be meeting with the lastmaker first, because it takes about a week to go from computer design to physical product. The last is a mold around which a shoe is constructed. It determines the shape and fit of the shoes.

Here's a list of items I want to change about our last:

Slightly narrower heel, wider middle, sharper taper and tip.

Sharper. Perhaps a chisel toe?


More in the middle.

Room for removeable footbed. 

Higher and/or wider, to prevent the topline of the shoe digging into foot.

These changes will improve both fit AND aesthetics. I'll be developing our new boots (see below) on this new last, and then bringing the new last to our oxfords after. 


2) Trade Show: Leathers, Rubbers, and Other Materials, Galore!

On Wednesday 10/18, I'll be attending ANPIC La Feria de América trade show. It will be good to see what options I have as far as leathers, rubbers, and other materials are available for our current and future products. 


3) Develop Boots

Once our new last design is finalized, I'm going to develop a new boot on it. 

We did some development on a boot back in 2014, but they were on hiatus as all our resources went to getting the black oxfords back in stock, and finishing the oxblood oxfords. Now I can finally revisit the boots. 


Dress Boot vs Work Boot

Back in 2014, when Weinbrenner was our shoemaker, we were leaning towards a more work boot style. Well-known examples in this category would be the Weinbrenner 1892Wolverine 1000 Mile, and Red Wing Iron Ranger.

This time around, I'm thinking more of a dress boot. The #1 reason why you guys choose our shoes over other barefoot dress shoes is because we make the dressiest barefoot dress shoes. It makes sense to play to our strengths by making a dress boot. Well-known examples in this category would be the Alden JumperMeermin 101527, and Viberg Service Boot.

Generally speaking, these are the features that you typically find in dress boots vs work boots:

  1. Sleek toe, vs bulbous toe
  2. Color-matched eyelets or blind eyelets, vs contrasting eyelets
  3. Smoother and/or shinier leather, vs textured and/or matte leather
  4. Tighter stitching, vs looser stitching
  5. Quarters lace closer together, vs further apart

III. What Do You Think About Side Zippers on Boots?

One of the most common complaints about boots is how long they take to put on and take off. The elastic laces, which work well in our Oxfords, don't work as well in boots. The laces have to stretch too far in order for your foot to get past the boot's instep. 

I'm thinking of making our boots with a side zipper, and I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Some questions...

  1. Do you think a side zipper affects aesthetics?
  2. ...comfort?
  3. ...water resistance?
  4. ...longevity?
  5. Are there certain styles of side zippers that you like? Why?
  6. Are there certain styles of side zippers that you do NOT like? Why?

Just hit REPLY =)


IV. How Thick Should Our Insoles Be?

As I mentioned in the "New Last" section above, I want to make room for a removeable footbed, so you guys have more options to tweak fit and add your own orthotics if necessary. 

I reached out to existing and prospective customers who have mentioned using orthotics with our shoes, to ask them how thick of an orthotic they usually use. The answers I got were 15-40mm, 5mm, 1-10mm, and 3mm. 

Lems and Vivobarefoot use 3mm insoles. I think this is probably the ideal thickness. But please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on using your own insoles. Just hit REPLY =)

In the meantime, if you want arch support in our shoes, I recommend Soul Insole, a small sticky gel insert that can fit in a larger range of footwear than traditional inserts.


IV. Overseeing Production

While I'm down there, I'll be able to oversee production. Always a good thing. I'm looking forward to working with the Quality professional that Mexico Footwear Agency's has on staff. I bet I'll learn a lot. 


That's it for now! Thank you for your support and patience!

Best Regards,

Mountain Evan Chang

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Read my notes, and see more photos of the boots, both fresh out the box and ninja-footing through the mud.
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 Chronology, 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, Chronology's 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 Chronology 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.