V4 Quality Looking Great! Shipping in Nov

V4 Quality Looking Great! Shipping in Nov

November 06, 2017 0 Comments

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Dear Primal Professional,

In my last update, I gave production updates, talked about a big to-do list for my trip to Mexico, and asked you guys a couple questions about boots. 

In this newsletter, I'll go into:
I. Production Updates
II. Why I'm Calm This Time, Despite Delays
III. Side Zippers & Removable Footbeds

I. Production Updates

In my last newsletter, we were expecting the shoemaker to finish my entire order by Oct 22. There was a week's delay from waiting for the new tannery to make and deliver black leather to our shoemaker, then another when the shoemaker caught an issue with insoles. 

Normally, Quality Control only checks a percentage of production. But since this is our first run, Mexico Footwear Agency's quality professionals will check 100% of the run for us. As of today, they've checked half of the run and found a defect rate of 5.1%. They've been doing spot checks throughout production. The quality has gotten better, and it'll keep getting better as they better understand our product. All defective shoes were repaired or remade. 

The new estimate for when our shoes will ship out from the factory is November 10. My apologies for the wait. We are getting really close. 

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. Why I'm Calm This Time, Despite Delays

A customer Daniel wrote in:
I am more concerned since there have been multiple quality delays. Each time I receive the same comment of essentially "you should get it this month", but I have get to receive anything. Is there something that can be done from your side to reduce my frustration/concern?

This was my reply:
Yea sure! Well, I've been at this for over 7 years now. Delays in development and production have been a given throughout, unfortunately. This has been the same experience for everyone in footwear I've talked to, particularly small brands like mine. However, there is something qualitatively different about our delays now with our 3rd shoemaker, versus delays with the other 2 before. Before, I'd get pretty nervous and angry with delays, more so than my customers, because my livelihood depends on this. [My livelihood still depends on this] But now, I'm pretty calm about it. There are 3 reasons for this.

1) Can-Do Attitude (and Capability)

When I first made contact with this shoemaker, I sent them a list of quality issues I had with previous shoemakers. They said, "Okay we can prevent these by doing these things instead," and then they proved it with their first sample. They've meticulously followed all our instructions. And they also offer ideas and suggestions, such as the huge redesign we got with v4. 

You know how I include shoe trees and shoe bags with every pair of shoes? My 1st shoemaker refused to pack these together for me. I said, "Wait, but I'll pay you more!" They said, "Sorry, the union won't do it." And they would only put shoelaces through a MAX of 2 eyelets. My shoemaker now will pack the accessories for me, and lace the entire shoe in any way I ask them to. 

Yea, there was a delay due to the quality of the leather. How did they respond to it? First, they didn't turn that bad quality leather into bad quality shoes, which is a start. They rejected it, and told the tannery to send better quality. When the tannery sent a second batch of bad leather, the shoemaker rejected it again, and then found a better leather at a better tannery. How can I be mad at that?

2) Pickier Eyes Than Mine

While down here in Mexico, I got a chance to review audit reports and attend meetings. Mexico Footwear Agency meticulously photographs and documents everything, and the shoemaker actually takes note and improves. Both the shoemaker and the agency's Quality professionals have pickier eyes than mine, catching things that I wouldn't have. Since this is our first shipment, they're performing a check of 100% of the order. Yea, it's later than I expected, but it's going to be great quality. I did not have that level of assurance before with other shoemakers.

3) Well-Managed

When I was working directly with shoemakers, I would have points of contact within their staff. But I don't pay them directly, and so I'm not a priority. Now, I pay Mexico Footwear Agency directly for their services. They visit our shoemaker about twice a week. This is also because they have other clients working with this shoemaker, but the frequency keeps things moving along for everyone. They get back to me within a day, and have answers to harder questions within a week. 

That was a good question, Daniel, that made me think about and appreciate my new team of suppliers. I hope I gave you a good answer. Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns!

III. Side Zippers and Removable Footbeds

In the last newsletter, I asked what you guys thought of side zippers on boots and removable footbed thickness. At least 20 people replied about side zippers, with 2 in favor and everyone else against, the main reason being aesthetics. So, our first style of dress boots will NOT have a side zipper.

As far as removable footbeds, I got fewer replies, but it seems like 3-4mm is a good thickness. 

QUESTION: Do you have any experience with perforated removable footbeds? I imagine they would provide better ventilation. Are there any downsides to them? Just hit REPLY!


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

Best Regards,

Mountain Evan Chang

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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.