About a year ago I started being troubled by pain from osteoarthritis of the big toe joint (i.e., Hallux limitus / rigidus). This meant I had to abandon my collection of beautiful but narrow-toed English formal shoes (which, no doubt, had played a role in causing the problem). I now needed shoes with a wide toe box, and room for orthotics to reduce pronation. Birkenstocks were comfortable for my toe, and were fine for casual wear, but with suits they looked silly and clown-like.
Carets are the only shoe I have seen that provides the wide toe box, with the looks of a proper formal shoe. The clever ‘fake’ heel not only provides part of that formal look, but also gives a shoe with zero drop and more room for orthotics.
I was a little hesitant buying the shoes without trying them on first, but Mountain was exceptionally prompt and helpful in answering questions by email, and in providing detailed, personalised sizing advice.
The shoes are incredibly comfortable from the first wearing, and look great with suits. I can be on my feet all day in them, without any pain or stiffness in the toe joint. I’m more than happy with the purchase.
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.
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.