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Carets (aka the Primal Professional) Barefoot Dress Shoes

by Brian Patterson » on Apr 16, 2018 0

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Do you guys remember the Primal Professional, the barefoot dress shoe startup we posted about when they were first launching on Indiegogo in 2011? They’ve since rebranded to Carets (what does “Carets” mean?), and upgraded their shoes over 4 iterations. They also have a beautiful rich oxblood color now.

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They’ve provided us with a pair, and a side-by-side comparison of Caret’s older versions with the new version 4! To keep it simple, the previous v3.2 will always be on the left, and the new v4 will always be on the right.

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#1 Proportion of Cap : Vamp : Quarter

The first thing you probably noticed is the change in the cap to vamp to quarter proportions.

#2 Flap

This area in Oxford shoes tends to have a gap between the 2 quarters. It’s usually solved with either stitching or a flap like this. I think this flap would be the more durable out of the 2.

#3 Sharper Lines & Angles

In combination with the longer cap, these sharper lines and angles make the redesign look more masculine.

#4 From 6 Eyelets to 5

I think they removed an eyelet for aesthetic reasons when they shortened the quarters. Functionally, having less lacing makes it easier to slip into the shoes with our elastic laces.

#5 New Stitch Line Detail

I’m not sure if there’s a function to this, but I’ve seen it on other dress shoes and it looks nice.

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#6 More Finished Footbed

I think the stitching looks much better, and it also keeps the 3 components of the insole–leather, Poron, and cellulose board–together.

#7 Gold Heat Stamped Logo

Oh you fancy, huh?

#8 Suede-Lined Heel Counter

Suede has more friction than smooth leather. This should help prevent the back of the foot from slipping up.

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#9 Less Toe Spring

The toe upturn is called toe spring. It’s a useful feature if done right, as it helps you not kick the front of your shoes, especially on dress shoes where there’s extra length in the front. However, it was a bit too much on our versions prior to 4. It’s strange because our last (the plastic mold around which shoes are built) doesn’t have that much toe spring, but the shoes do.

I think the reason why these Mexico-made version 4 shoes have less toe spring has to do with the next point.

#10 Cork Filler Removed

With our USA-made shoes, there was a cork filler between the insole and the outsole. Our Mexican shoemaker asked, “Is this really necessary?” and the answer is no. With the cork filler removed, the shoes are lighter, softer, and more flexible right out the box, and I think it’s the reason why there’s less toe spring.

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes boots oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop paleo fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

#11 Finer Topline

This part tended to bother some people’s ankles. It’s much finer in the redesign and as a result much softer.

#12 Lower Topline

As a further measure to spare people’s ankles, I had them strategically lower the topline.  

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes boots oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop paleo fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

#13 New Heel Counter Design

Thanks to your feedback to our March newsletter, I redesigned our heel counter. This design is most often seen on wingtips, where extra panels allows for the shoe to showcase more of its intricate detailing. I saw it on an Oxford though, and I said Whoa.

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#14 Closer Stitching Rows

The stitching on our shoes got a lot tighter between v2 and v3, as we moved cut-and-sew from Wisconsin to the Dominican.

Between v3 and v4, the individual stitches appear to be the same size. However, the rows of stitching are closer in v4, and what a huge difference that makes in refinement. Everything’s better in Mexico!

#15 Round Elastic Laces

You may have noticed by now that v4 has round elastic laces, which look more traditional. The round laces glide through the eyelets more easily, which makes tightening and loosening them easier. I also expect the round elastic laces to be more durable (think of flat fabric vs rope).

 

As you can see, they’ve been working hard to maintain their status as the most stylish minimalist dress shoe! Carets is offering MyFiveFingers readers $35 towards your purchase. Go to CaretsCo.Com to learn more, and don’t forget to use discount code “1804-myfivefingers” during checkout!


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