I love minimalist footwear. Once I discovered the comfort and more natural feel of wearing thin-soled shoes, I’ve never looked back. But I confess I’ve never been a fan of the “barefoot shoe” look—they’re just not my style. So over the past few years I’ve sought out minimalist shoes that don’t scream “I’m a minimalist shoe!” I had an especially hard time finding shoes I could wear on dressier occasions that didn’t have the typically stiff, thick sole and feel of most formal dress shoes.
This is why I was especially excited when I heard about the Primal Professional shoes. They’re the brainchild of Mountain Evan Chang, an accountant who enjoys “walking, running, lifting, playing, and doing pretty much everything barefoot”. The problem was, he works five days a week in an office as an accountant and didn’t feel comfortable wearing Five Fingers in that environment. So he set out to make a pair of dress shoes that looks professional, but feels like a minimalist shoe.
Mountain was kind enough to send me a pair to try. (They come in two styles, plain-toe and cap-toe Oxfords; I have the plain-toe.) 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.
I also love that they’re made in the U.S., made by a shoemaker with a 120-year heritage, and are completely resoleable and recraftable. What does that mean, you ask? It means when the sole wears down, you can send them back to Primal Professional, and they’ll resole them for you. Not only that, they’ll also refinish the upper, fix any stitching that may have come loose, and replace the laces. As they say on their website, “For a fraction of the price, your shoes will be good as new, and you can do this over and over again.”
If you ever need to dress up and you love minimalist footwear, I suggest you check out these Primal Professional shoes.