Dress shoes for guys who hate pain

If you're here right now, I'm guessing you're tired of wearing your humid, painful dress shoes - day in and day out.

  • Maybe you deal with clients face to face.
  • Maybe your work requires formal attire.
  • Maybe you love how dress shoes look, but hate how they feel.

Whatever your circumstances, one thing is clear.

Life would be a lot more pleasant if someone would build a dress shoe that looked great and at the end of a long day, didn’t make your feet feel like they’d been flogged.

I'll introduce myself in a second, but before I do - you can see just how much pain we've been able relieve with our customers.

Customers who solved their pain with Carets

Just got my pair about one week ago and I love them! I work in the hospitality industry and am on my feet most of the day always wearing a suit and dress shoes. I've had orthotics for over 20 years and always accepted that I had "bad feet".

I no longer wear orthotics and my feet feel great! These zero-drop dress shoes always have my feet in a comfortable position with no pain while working.

I've looked everywhere for zero drop dress shoes and Carets are truly the only brand that has zero drop dress shoes that actually look like dress shoes. Thank you for making such a wonderful product. It has truly changed my life.

 Scott A


After developing arthritis in my feet in my 40s, I had to rethink my shoe choices. These were just what I needed! The zero drop aspect, combined with the bigger toe box and soft leather means no more pain. I wear these all week to my office job, and just love them. Exactly what I needed.

Don


These are the best ‘formal’ shoes I have ever owned. I’ve been wearing minimalist shoes for the last 3 years. As my feet have widened and restored, I’ve dreaded putting on my expensive dress shoes for work or meetings. I often present for eight hours a day on the training floor and my feet scream for relief.

That relief has now come with Carets. On my first wear, I presented for 3 full days on my feet. The shoes are a dream - comfortable, wide, soft and almost as good as being barefoot (not an option in my job.

I’ve now boxed up all my Church’s and Crocket shoes with the intention of selling them to someone who enjoys the pain of bad design. You have a loyal customer for life.

Mike W


I purchased a pair of FER Cap-Toe Oxfords at the end of 2017. I am so glad I did. Mountain, the owner, was beyond amazing emailing me promptly and lending me advice with any concerns or questions I had.

I wear them very very frequently, as they are my work shoes. I work in events and am on my feet for extremely long periods of time (8+ hours). I am grateful these shoes have started to undo many problems I have had wearing heeled dress shoes for so many years. It was an adjustment and painful at times while my calves and tendons adapted to their natural positions again. Now, I have much less pain after these extremely long shifts.

Marcos from NY


Since the time I participated in high school sports, I have had knee and back pain. Any time I had to wear dress shoes, my joints would start killing me. As I started to make a transition from teacher to administrator and was looking for minimalist dress shoes, I happened to discover Carets.  

I quickly ordered a pair that arrived just before I started as an assistant principal, and provided all the comfort and benefits I had previously encountered wearing minimalist shoes. I am now a principal, and as long as I can keep a pair on hand I will never go back to wearing regular shoes. These shoes have been a lifesaver for my knees and back, and for my career!

Patrick Peabody


At first I wasn't sure, I had never spent this much on a pair of shoes before. It is hard to jump in on strange concept, and relatively new company but I finally decided the potential benefits were worth it.

Man was I right. My feet hurt everyday at work, just walking from parking lot to my desk, or my desk to the break room, even sneakers start to hurt after half a day. I need shoes that look the part working in a large corporation in Finance/Accounting and giving presentations and training's.

These are completely pain free.My only concern is if they stop making these, I will need to put in an order for a few dozen!

Steve from Wisconsin

My name is Mountain. And I'm going to introduce you a new approach to footwear...and your pain.

For years I kept asking myself one question.

When was someone going to make a dress shoe that was *actually* comfortable to wear?

It didn’t seem like a huge ask.

But years came and went. Nothing changed.

No revolutionary new shoe on the market. No breakthroughs in shoe technology that made a real difference.


Then one day I had the book "Born to Run" recommended to me.

If you’ve never read it before, it makes a strong case for humans being exceptionally good at distance running. It's peppered with quotes in favor of minimalist shoes from Harvard researcher/paleoanthropologist Dr. Daniel Lieberman.

It’s easiest to see this in action with the growing popularity of ultra marathons - which start at 31 miles and go all the way up to 3,100 miles in New York’s Sri Chinmoy.

But you can also see this kind of long distance running as a casually accepted part of Rarámuri culture - that is, a native American tribe that runs up to 200 miles (7.2 back to back marathons) in a single session for inter village messages, hunting, or just to get around.

The evidence is clear.

Humans rock at running.

Just one thing. Modern humans get injured like crazy when we run.

The Rarámuri tribe...not so much.

The data seems to point to differences in footwear.

They don’t use padded running shoes.

They do all their running in huaraches - basically a sandal which is made of a thin sole and a strap to hold it in place. Below is a picture of a modern huarache.

Incredibly, this approach to running has been adopted by world class athletes...

Many of them started seeing their usual post run injuries vanish.

With that, my world changed. This was something I needed to try for myself.

I practiced running barefoot around my neighborhood in San Diego.

I loved the feeling of being barefoot, so...I tried to wear my Vibram Five Fingers to work.

That's when I discovered that appearances can matter a lot in the workplace.

As you might guess, this look can damage your reputation in the office.

So I gave in that day. I switched to my regular old black leather dress shoes and hated every minute of it.

My toes felt restricted, sweaty, and humid. Everything I loved about being barefoot had been replaced with what felt like shoe prison.

Later that night, I came home so frustrated with the thick heels on my shoes that I trimmed them down with a hand saw.

That was mistake #2.

The shoes were ruined, and I learned a lesson.

If I was going to show up in the world on my terms, I was going to have to make my own shoes.

Months of research and testing later, Carets was born.
 

What's special about Carets?

Let me be perfectly clear. There's no overwhelming scientific evidence for or against zero drop, minimalist, or barefoot shoes.

All I can offer you are my logic based on the facts available and the raving reviews from our customers. *knock on wood* Until September 5th, 2018, no customer has told us that our shoes have caused an injury. A huge number have told us that we have made their work lives more comfortable and have relieved their pain.

 

There is evidence that a raised heel throws off our alignment and forces more of our weight into our knees and toes.

We see an exaggeration of this effect in one study after another on women’s shoes. The higher the heel, the more pain and potential damage to the toes, ankles, knees, and even the back as the body tries to compensate - even a small heel has a negative effect, especially if you weigh more.* **

The other problem with dress shoes is that our toes get pushed deeper into the narrow toe box, causing pain, conditions like bunions or neuromas, and increasing the risk of plantar fasciitis.*

According to podiatrist Harvey Lemont, the best thing you can do for your toes (and legs!) is to give your toes room to spread out.

“This fixed my problems. I haven't had knee or foot pain in five years. I'm running 70 miles a week, up to 30 on weekends."
- Harvey Lemont, Podiatrist

Finally, the padded soles in most modern shoes stop us from really feeling the ground with our feet, the way we're meant to. This causes unnatural movement and of course, pain.

“People actually land softer when they have less cushioning. [...]Cushioning actually lulls you into thinking you can slam your foot into the ground.”

- Irene S. Davis, PhD, PT, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School & Director of the Spaulding National Running Center.*

You can think of modern shoes like a cast. When we put our arms in casts, they become weaker. It’s no different with our feet and legs. Modern shoes are designed to protect our feet - and credit where credit is due - when it comes to avoiding sharp rocks or shielding your feet from broken glass, they do a great job!

But let’s approach this with simple logic.

Many shoes, especially dress shoes, don’t allow for much movement in your feet. Your toes are pinned down in the narrow toe box. Your foot is rigidly locked into the place between the padded sole, your socks, and the walls of the shoe.

When your foot is in a dress shoe, it can’t flex and adjust the same way it could if you were barefoot. So the muscles in your feet don’t do as much flexing as they normally would.

This is a problem.

The muscles we don’t use tend to grow weaker and weaker - until eventually we suffer from a torn muscle, a sprain, or something worse.

 

I’ve made a point of designing our dress shoes to help you fight back and strengthen your feet.

Each dress shoe comes equipped with a thin and light but durable and hard-wearing polyurethane sole, so you can feel the ground beneath you and move the way you were built to move.

The toe boxes are roomier so you’ll never feel like you’re losing blood flow. Many of our customers also experience the pleasant effect of no longer having to suffer through sweaty feet.

The heel is zero drop - that is, it’s an optical illusion. Your feet lie flat on the ground, instead of slowly sliding further and further into the toe box because of the raised heel. You’ll never feel like your toes are being slowly jammed into a vise like you would on traditional shoes.

Nor will your body try to compensate for the heel by messing with your calves, skewing your posture, or awkwardly loading unnecessary weight into the lower back.

In short, I believe you’ll feel more comfortable in these dress shoes than any other formal shoe you’ve ever owned or worn.

Customer Reviews

I am a physical therapist and on my feet most of the day. The first day I received them, I wore them for 9 hours straight at work. These shoes were comfortable right out of the box. My opinion is that they are an excellent investment for your health. Your foot is the base of your body and should be taken care off. The zero drop and wider toe box are perfect for my feet and my favorite part is the appearance of a heel that gives them a classy look.    

Jordan Cardoza


Frankly, I'm amazed. When they arrived they were incredibly comfortable, but I had not really tested them before leaving town. They are dress shoes after all - there's got to be some discomfort with any dress after you're on your feet for a while, right? Day of wedding I slip them on. First of all, they look great with a suit.

But here's the best part: I forgot all about them until I took them off that evening. I have never been so comfortable at a formal situation before.

Chuck M


I was aware it was not going to be cheap importing these shoes to London, England but I'd heard such good reviews I thought I'd take the risk. I'm so pleased I did. These are by far the most comfortable work shoes I have ever worn, to the point where I would rather wear these than my barefoot trainers.

These look just as good as any other shoes I have worn in my job as a banker. The knee pain I had completely vanished when I made to switch to these shoes. Highly recommended.

Mark R

How do I know they work?

There’s no way to guarantee these shoes will fix your problems. The list of potential causes and cures for aches and pains is just too broad for one piece of gear to them all.

I will say this.

Most Carets shoe owners get exactly what they’re looking for.


I’m confident you’ll love your Carets no matter which shoes you decide on.

If for any reason you don’t love them, I’ll buy them back.

Hassle-free.

In fact, we’ve built out a best in class program for people to test drive our shoes without any risk.

I’ll explain more about that in a second.

I need more time to decide. What if I don’t like the shoes I ordered?

Here’s where things go from good to great.

I know what it’s like shopping for shoes online.

Sometimes things don’t look the way we expect. Sometimes the fit isn’t right. Sometimes the shoes just aren’t for you.

So before you fully commit to your next pair of Carets…I want you to try them risk-free for a FULL 365 days.

When you order any pair of shoes from us, you’ll have an entire year to try them out. Go to work in them. Walk around the park. Attend a wedding.

Do what you need to do - and if they somehow aren’t your new favorite pair of shoes.

Send them back.

Provided you haven’t run them through a wood chipper or gashed up the sides, all you need to do is clean em up and send them to me for a full refund.

More Comfort Reviews

I originally ordered a size 14 but the Fer's were way too big. The exchange to a size 12 was easy and free.

I wear these shoes 4-5 times per month for suit and tie meetings and they look good. I walk a lot in the Chicago Loop and these shoes are very comfortable, even running for a stop light or to catch the train. I recently wore them to an interview for a senior management position at a new company and I got the job.

Ken


I can't wait to find more occasions to wear these shoes. They are by far the most comfortable dress shoes that I have worn, and look excellent (I have received multiple compliments on their appearance while wearing them). I could not be more pleased with them, and I look forward to seeing more colors and styles in the future.

John Kingsley


Extremely pleased with the purchase. Night and day difference in comfort compared to typical dress shoes, coming from someone who works in an office but wears zero drop shoes outside the workplace. From a style perspective, I no qualms about wearing these with a suit and tie (I regularly do). Top marks for customer service as well - Mountain is highly responsive and accommodating.

Nicholas R

On the fence? Shoot us your questions. I make a point of responding to most customer service requests personally. Just email care@caretsco.com

Customer Service Reviews

Just wanted to give you a positive update...After several weeks of wear, I’ve discarded my other dress shoes in favor of my daily worn Carets!

I was originally hesitant purchasing shoes without being able to actually try them on in a storefront; and I’ve never paid that much for a pair of shoes, ever. The fact that I purchased two pair speaks volumes.

JF


I am completely satisfied and then some. I have a standing desk at work, and many of my traditional dress shoes develop pressure points toward the end of the day.

With my Carets shoes, I'm comfortable all day.

I also had a very good customer service experience with the owner, Mountain, who emailed me personally and addressed several of my questions up front. I'm very happy to have found this company and these shoes.

Daniel Zimmerman


The customer service with the company is fantastic. Mountain Chang, the founder, returned my emails within a few minutes. The shoes, both black and oxblood, shine up like new with the recommended polish on the website. I receive almost daily compliments on these shoes. I recommend these for anyone and everyone! Thank you for creating such a great shoe!!

Dr. Tyler Steward


These shoes are well worth the investment. It breathes very well too (I live in a very hot & humid climate) and good ventilation is really important to me.  

Very comfortable as well and excellent customer service. Recommend these to anyone.

Arthur T


I was very impressed with the presentation. The quality and craftmanship of the shoes, shoe trees, and even the laces exuded quality, care and love from the get go.

On top of that, there is great customer service. Patient, caring, and professional. It’s exciting to watch a small company grow and prosper !

Steven Neumann

How do I know these are the right shoes for me? I have other shoes...

The reality is these shoes aren’t for everyone.

  • If style isn’t important to you or you’ve got a job that totally doesn’t care how you dress.

  • If style is the most important thing to you, health and comfort be damned #BeautyIsPain"...

  • If your body is 20, indestructible, and injury prevention is something you just don’t do.

Believe me, I understand. I’ve been there before, too.

But if that’s the case, these shoes aren’t what you want.
 

But if you get it…

If you know that your shoes just don’t work for you anymore.

If you know that if things continue as they are, the pain will just get worse.

If you know that doing what you’ve always done, will get you what you’ve always gotten…

And you’re tired of feeling resigned and resentful whenever you look at your dress shoes...

Carets were made for you.

You can check out our store below by clicking on any of the shoes:

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Or if I can make a recommendation, our best sellers are the Black FER Cap-Toe Oxfords below:

 

To your health,
Mountain
Founder