Read real user feedback...
In no particular order...
- "It took a long time to get them into production because Mountain wanted to do it right. American labor. Sustainable sourcing. Cut no corners. He kept all his investors informed along the way, at every heartbreaking misstep and back-to-the-drawing board turn of events. And because he was totally transparent about it, I felt happy waiting, knowing that when these things finally got into the wild it would be awesome. And they are. Thank you, Mountain." (full review on BradRourke.com) - Brad Rourke, Barefoot Athlete, Paleo Yogi, and Foundation Program Director, Rockville MD
- "It was like I was wearing slippers, but nobody knew it." (full review on Toe Salad) - Glen Van Peski, City Engineer & Founder Gossamer Gear, Carlsbad CA
- "As soon as I put them on, I knew I was going to like them. You know how most dress shoes are pretty uncomfortable until you break them in? Not the case with these—they felt great right from the start. It was honestly a little disorienting, because I don’t associate dress shoes with comfort at all, and these Primal Professionals were really easy to wear." (full review on ChrisKresser.com) - Chris Kresser, L.Ac, Berkeley, CA
- "In my opinion, there is almost no comparison – my suits are dying for them!" (full review on Minimalist Running Shoes) - Nicholas Pang, San Mateo CA
- "I have to say that with what we’ve seen thus far, I feel that this barefoot dress shoe...is going to be a tier above the rest." (full review on Technically Running) - Steve Ankney, Division Director at Robert Half Technology, Madison WI,
- "The leather is incredibly uniform and supple, the stitching is perfect, and it just looks sexy." (full review on In Search of Badass) - Matt, 36, German Teacher, Nordic ski coach / Parkour athlete / Minimalist Trail Runner, St. Paul MN
- "Through it all, as is the sign of any good shoe, I never noticed they were there. Perhaps more importantly, nobody else did either." (full review on BirthdayShoes) - Randall Crowley, Programmer & Crossfitter, St. Louis MO,
- "I generally am very casually dressed for work, but on those occasions when I need to look professional, I have been wearing them - especially when I expect to be on my feet a lot. I ignored your warning to resist the urge to run, and I seriously think I could do a legit 1-2 mile run in these! I ran back to an office as we were rushing between meetings, because I left my briefcase at the last meeting. At the end of the day, it really was nice not to have any fatigue or discomfort in my knees, which typically happens after a day in dress shoes. The reason the knee thing is so important to me is because my whole life I could not run without knee pain. I am up to running 5 miles without it feeling like I climbed Mount Everest - and I have not had a single moment of knee pain whatsoever. That's why I got so excited when I found out about your shoes and why I'm such a believer in minimalist footwear." - Mark C., 46, Wayne PA
- "I love the shoes. The toe box is huge which is awesome once you get used to it." - Robert Collins, Airline Pilot, Charleston SC
"Just wanted to say thanks for a great professional shoe that is good for my feet! I use a standing desk at work, so it is even more important that I have a proper shoe." - John T, Software Engineering Manager
"Great work! Good luck! And look forward to more interesting designs." - Sriram, 41, Boston MA
"Mountain, I received my shoes yesterday. They're beautiful, comfortable, and everything you promised. Definitely worth the [18-month] wait. The Primal Professional are the first zero-drop, natural dress shoes I've found that actually look good enough to wear in a courtroom." - Jeff Lisson, Attorney, San Angelo TX.
"I received my size 7 smooth-toe Primals today. They are everything I hoped for - beautifully made, comfortable and handsome. I wore the shoes out for the first time and they are absolutely fantastic! Played violin for a wedding, had to stand for about 90 min. and they were unbelievably comfy, both for the feet and for the back, (spinal alignment not messed up by heel rise). Congrats on a great product! The zero drop, stealth heel is the best! Even a 1/4 in. of heel rise bothers my back after a while. Brilliant!" - Philip D. Pan, 51, Concertmaster Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Alpine Skiier and barefoot runner, Jacksonville FL
"You're the man! I waited so long for these things that most days I even forgot I ordered them, so when they showed up at the door it was like an unexpected Christmas. The shoes are amazing. I can't believe they look this good and still feel amazing. Such a good buy. I've recommended yours to countless people by now!" - Edd Duran, 24, Music Educator/Performer and Outdoors Enthusiast, Huntington NY
- "The materials and craftsmanship are those found on much higher end than shoe competitors in the US. The styling is perfect for Europeans and those looking for the European look. Look into the European and Asian markets if you choose to start a small store or showcase in high end fashion districts. My female friends and relatives are asking for shoes that fit their style as well." - David Leung, 27, Engineer & Co-Founder CounterSpace Garage, San Diego CA
- "I've worn the Primal Professional's consistently to work and recently to a 3-day conference where I was on/off my feet for 12+ hours/day. They felt comfortable from day 1 and the longer I wore them, the better they felt. Not to mention they look (and smell) good! The shoe trees and bags are wonderful for travelling." - E-Fann Saung, 27, Design Engineer & Triathlete, San Diego, CA
"Dear Mr. Chang, I just got back yesterday from a grueling month of fieldwork in Africa to your spectacular shoes! Many thanks. They are gorgeous and beautifully made and designed...I can tell right now these are going to become my favorite shoes." - Dan, Professor
- My initial impression of the Primal Professional Zetone is that they are even better than I expected. The leather is very smooth, soft and of the highest quality. The coloring is deep and even while responding well to cordova polish. The sizing is, as described, quite generous and comfortable. What is most satisfying is the true barefoot feel to these handsome dress shoes. While giving the full appearance of a traditional dress shoe, the feel is authentically primal! The cloth bags, tongue pads, shoe trees and shoe horn are great accessories as well. This the way to "over-deliver"! - Tim Haffner, 41, Kettlebell trainer and military officer.
- My reaction to slipping on a pair of the Primal Professional for the first time was "I can't believe how comfortable these are!" as they ushered me to my courthouse wedding. A week later, for a visit to Japan, I packed the #PriPro with a pair of high performance boots. While walking around Ginza, the Beverly Hills of Tokyo, I felt my bulky hiking shoes didn't fit in, so the PriPro's came in nicely. Then, after obliterating my feet and legs in hiking shoes on a Mount Fuji summit (12,388 feet / 3,776 meters), I was able to truly appreciate how comfortable the PriPro's were. I started preferring them to the hiking shoes. Even in the midst of a record-setting heatwave this summer, my PriPro's exhibited absolutely no foul odor. More so, it's now my footwear of choice for travel, whether scuttling about terminals and train stations burdened with luggage, waiting in lines, standing in the train during peak hours, or rushing to catch a connection. Unbelievably, these dress shoes met my torturous performance standards. I plan to purchase a pair as a gift for someone who has never even considered barefoot shoes because of the high level of comfort and style the Primal Professional provides. - Stephen Sasaki-Perez, 27, Frequent Traveler and Quality Control Chemist
- I shattered my ankle a year ago in a hiking accident and my ankle is easily sprained, so I have to be careful with my footwear. I love my Primal Pros! They fit and feel like both a dress shoe and a barefoot shoe, and I'm able to walk all day without discomfort. I'd highly recommend these to anyone who hunts/gathers in the professional jungle. - Tim Bailey, Engineer and Crossfitter, Seattle, WA
- The shoe care accessories are a SOLID contributor to the value and speak of the focus on quality. I've never had shoe trees...it's suitable that I'd get my first pair with these. I love the shoes, love the amount of space in them (the whole fit in general). Way outside my typical price point, but I took a chance and it was CERTAINLY worth the investment (and the wait). The Primal Professionals are more supple and resilient than any other dress shoe I have. I'm also really happy about the rubber outsole soft enough to bend from flexing the toes from the inside of the shoe, a very pleasant surprise (I was expecting a hard leather outsole). Great stuff! Awesome work. - Brandon Arakaki, 37, Corporate IT and Independent Leadership Professional, CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Holder, USA Weightlifting masters competitor, Beverly MA (Hawaii born and raised, grew up in bare feet!)
- BEST SHOE EVER!!! I can not begin to thank you enough for creating such an enjoyable shoe to wear. I will never forget what it felt like the first time I put them on. It felt as if I was wearing nothing, only realizing I was actually in dress shoes when I looked down. My only regret is not preordering 2 pairs. I look forward to future models, hopefully brown, maybe a monk strap. I don't think I will ever be able to buy any other brand of dress shoes. - William Fernandez Jr., 26, Proud Owner, North Jersey NJ
- Ever since I began wearing barefoot shoes two years ago, I've dreamed of a barefoot dress shoe that I could wear not only on the occasional formal event, but also on a daily basis for my career as a high school teacher. While I still have a year left of college, I am required to attend three semesters of teaching internships (currently on my third) and one semester of student teaching. Thus, I needed to wear my traditionally uncomfortable dress shoes on a daily basis, which unfortunately led me to dread my internship days. With my Pri-Pros, I now start off my teaching days with a smile, the way it's meant to be. You made a future teacher's dream come true. I cannot thank-you enough. "The Primal Professional. The Most Comfortable Dress Shoe on the Planet. Period." -Jose, 21, Senior in College, Future Teacher of English & Spanish, Barefoot Runner, Yogi, Phoenix AZ
- I received my shoes the other day. They lived up to my every expectation! Couldn't be happier. -J. L., Software Engineer, Boston MA
25 Reasons to Choose the Primal Professional
- We only choose styles that have withstood the test of time, so your shoes will never go out of style. Look at Cary Grant. The guy could walk out of a 1950’s movie and he would still look great walking down New York City in the year 2011.” - Antonio Centeno. The Primal Professional is about Timeless Style. Here, you will not find shoes that are excessively blunt nor excessively pointy, no loud colorways or textures, and just the staples, no matter what the flavor of the season may be. We’re not interested in chasing fads. As you read further, you’ll learn that these shoes are made to last you a long time. We want you to be able to wear them years from now and still be as styling as the day you bought them.
- We take on the hard-to-make styles because making you look good is worth the extra work. We want you to look good. And I mean really good. See, everyone else these days is making an open-laced blucher derby. Very few take on a closed-lace balmoral oxford, like we do. Maybe they’re too afraid, or too lazy, or they think nobody cares about style anymore. We make shoes for people who do. Even though it’s harder to get the fit right, and the cut and stitching are more complicated, we know it’s worth the extra time and effort so you can look sharp.
- Just one of our shoes will work with multiple outfits, both formal and casual, thanks to versatile style. This designs we’ve carefully selected to start our collection--and the only designs that we will even consider making in the future--are universally recognized as the most classic and can be worn in almost any occasion. It’s much easier and impressive to dress a formal piece down (e.g. Oxfords with denim), than it is to dress a casual piece up (e.g. sneakers with suits).And, you’re going to want to wear our shoes as often as you can, because...
- We offer all this style, PLUS comfort and performance. Yes, there are many other shoe companies that have #1-3. And, let's face it, we will never be as stylish as the likes of John Lobb of London. But NONE of them offer these with the level of comfort and performance that we do. Read on..
- Say goodbye to the *clunk*. Just like your favorite pair of sandals or canvas sneakers, our shoes are completely FLAT from heel-to-toe. Women know heels are uncomfortable. Many men don’t know that the smaller heel on their shoes also cause discomfort. We use a hollow heel design to allow for style and comfort. Your foot appears to sit atop the heel of a classically styled dress shoe. But your foot is actually resting comfortably flat *inside* the heel. Also, this reduces the weight!
- At only 11.5oz / 330 g in size 9, our shoe is so LIGHT that if it was a piece of paper, you could mail it with just a stamp! Lightweight means less restriction, less strain, and more mobility. Pro runners know to wear lighter weight shoes, because every bit of extra weight works against you. Plus, wearing lightweight shoes (or no shoes at all!) is just more fun. It’s easier to move in, makes you feel more agile, and thus encourages more movement.
- Our shoes are FLEXIBLE, moving freely with your foot. You don’t want to be fighting your shoe with every step you take! Our shoes are FLEXIBLE, moving freely with your foot.
- Even though they don’t look like it, our shoes are SO ROOMY in the toebox that you can wiggle your toes freely. Because you aren’t truly free unless you can wiggle your toes, right? In order to give you this roomy toebox while preserving the sleek dress shoe style, we used a strategic taper. We identified where the toes are within the toebox, allowed ample space for them up to that point, then tapered the remainder into a dressy tip.
- We give you all this comfort, PLUS style. Yes, there are many other shoe companies that have #5-8. And, let's face it, we will never be as comfortable as the likes of Xero Shoes. But NONE of them offer these with the level of style that we do. Our shoes don’t just look for a comfort shoe. They look good, period.
HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE:
- Our shoes are completely FLAT so they don’t mess up good posture, because good posture is necessary for your comfort, health, and appearance. The single most worthless and harmful feature of footwear is the raised heel. All a thick heel does is screw up our posture. Your body isn’t made to stand and walk on a downward ramp all the time. The imbalance will cause your body to compensate in unhealthy ways: shortening a muscle here, tightening a tendon there, etc. And because of how everything in our body is interconnected, a raised heel may be responsible for pain anywhere from head to toe. Good posture also looks good. You remember Reason #2? I want you to look good. And I mean really good.
- Our shoes are completely FLAT so your toes don’t jam into the front, which not only hurts but may deform your feet over time. What do you get when you jam your toes into a shoe that’s shaped like bunion-plagued feet? Answer: Bunion-plagued feet. NOTE: We use a hollow heel design to allow for style and comfort. Your foot appears to sit atop the heel of a classically styled dress shoe. But your foot is actually resting comfortably flat *inside* the heel.
- Even though they don’t look like it, our shoes are ROOMY in the toebox, so your feet can naturally spread out. Acting as shock absorbers, our feet naturally contract and expand upon lifting and landing. However, most shoes, especially dress shoes, are so narrow that it prevents this natural wonder from occurring. In order to give you this roomy toebox while preserving the sleek dress shoe style, we used a strategic taper. We identified where the toes are within the toebox, allowed ample space for them up to that point, then tapered the remainder into a dressy tip.
- No arch support, so your feet can grow strong. But if you need to use your custom insert, there’s plenty of room for it. Arch support is a hotly-contested issue. Those who argue against having arch support say that an arch is the strongest geometric shape. It is meant to bear weight, and being composed of muscle, will grow stronger with progressive loading. An arch needs no support, and support will not only hinder growth but destroy it, as upwards pressure is how arches in buildings are disassembled. However, those who argue for arch support say that there are those who, whether due to genetics or a lifetime of bad shoes, simply cannot rebuild a proper arch and must wear support. Therefore, we deliberately built our shoes without arch support, but provide room for custom inserts if you choose to use them.
- Our highly FLEXIBLE and flat shoes allow for natural walking. As we learn more about human anatomy and biomechanics, we are seeing tide shift in favor of forefoot running (where the balls of your feet touch the floor first) over heel striking (where the heels of your feet touch the ground first). But what about walking? You know, that activity that’s even more commonplace than running? In his book A Simple Guide to the Forefoot Step, Dirk Beckmann argues that forefoot walking, similar to forefoot running, is the natural, healthy, low-impact way we should walk. However, you can’t do the forefoot step without a flexible and flat shoe. Thankfully, we make just that!
- We give you all this health and performance, PLUS style. Yes, there are many other shoe companies that have #10-14. And, let's face it, we will never perform quite as well as the likes of Xero Shoes. But NONE of them offer these with the level of style that we do. Our shoes don’t just look for performance wear. They look good, period.
- Our SLIP-RESIST outsoles provide added safety for everyone.
- Our polyurethane outsoles are light yet highly abrasion-resistant. Polyurethane is the preferred outsole compound for the tough workboots that our manufacturer also produce. It’s meant to be walked on, and frequently. While it’s more expensive, our desire to bring you the strongest and most long-lasting properties easily outweigh the costs.
- We only use the highest quality leather: full-grain. It not only looks the best but it feels the best and wears the best. Full-grain leather refers to hides that have not been sanded or buffed, keeping it in it’s most natural (and durable) state. The fully intact fibers in full-grain leather provide more strength. Without the plastic coating and finish that you find on top-grain or corrected-grain, full-grain leather also breathes much better. And finally, one of the best things about owning a full-grain leather product is aging it beautifully with a patina.
- Leather lining surrounds your foot in 360 degrees of smooth softness that gets better with age. Whereas synthetic materials will break down quickly, leather will shape to your foot and get even more comfortable with time.
- Our Shoemaker’s Heritage: 120 years of quality, tested and proven. For most businesses, deciding on a manufacturer is a difficult decision. For us, it was easy. Since 1892, Weinbrenner Shoe Company has been a leading manufacturer and pioneering force in the American footwear industry, initiating many of the significant safety and job-fitted design elements that are common today. As an employee-owned company, Weinbrenner craftsmen work hard to provide hardworking men and women with the best, most comfortable boots and shoes around.
- Our shoes are Made in the USA, where workers are paid and treated fairly, and environmental protections are written in law. I consider myself a global citizen, so this is not a case of “us vs them.” I chose to make my shoes in the United States because I want to be able to sleep easy at night, knowing that the shoes I made weren’t causing harm.
- Our shoemaker doesn’t just make any shoes, but the toughest shoes for the toughest jobs. I’m talking about things like their firefighter boots. Heat-resistant, slip-resistant, water-resistant, and puncture-resistant, while still allowing the wearer to move in and out of a burning building or blazing wildfire with speed and agility. Today, they continue to innovate by working with the Primal Professional to provide natural-feel shoes in classic styling. Working together, we’ve flipped the dial from heavyweight to lightweight for our designs while paying strict attention to durable construction.
- RESOLEABLE = For just a fraction of the original price, you can replace our outsole with a new one in a process called resoling. For most shoes, and especially for thin and light shoes, the sole is the first thing to wear out. What good is all that full-grain leather and careful stitching if the bottom is worn through? When your pair of the Primal Professional needs a new sole, send it in to us. We’ll remove the old sole and attach a new one. Not only that, but we’ll also refinish the upper, fix any stitching that may have come loose, and replace the laces. For a fraction of the price, your shoes will be good as new.
- Complimentary shoe bags made of 100% cotton protect your shoes from your luggage, and your luggage from your shoes. When you leave town on business, you want to easily pack your shoes. You don’t want to worry about them getting scuffed, and you also don’t want dirt from the bottom of your shoe getting on everything else. Our high-nap flannel cotton shoe bags do all this, plus they can be used as a polishing cloth to make any last-minute touch-ups before your big meeting.
- Complimentary aromatic cedar shoe trees smooth out creases, maintain and restore shoe shape, and draw out moisture, so your shoes look better and last longer. The Native Americans have known about the many uses of Juniperus virginiana, aka aromatic cedar, for centuries. It is the best material to use for shoe trees, as the wood is very light, very durable, and the aromatic properties not only keep your shoes fresh, they also keep away pests that may damage your shoes. Last but not least, aromatic cedar is harvested sustainably in North America, where it grows in abundance.