Just over 11 months ago, while Meagan and I were perusing the internet for new topics to write about, we stumbled across a start-up called the Primal Professional. The owner of this start-up, Mountain, was in need of an investment to get his dreams of creating a minimalist dress shoes off the ground. Although he wasn’t able to raise all of the funds needed through Indiegogo, the amount he was able to raise, and the enthusiasm from those who did donate, inspired him to keep moving forward with the project. Since then, Mountain and I have been in touch on a very consistent basis regarding release dates and, more importantly, prototypes.
As I mentioned in my original post about Primal Professionals, even though they are not running shoes, they make an appearance on our site because of their close relation to another important part of my life. When I’m not busy running, blogging, or playing video games, I have a full-time day job. My job is to recruit IT professionals for contract and contract-to-hire opportunities for Robert Half Technology. What this means for everyone not interested in staffing, or IT, is that I have to be professionally dressed every day and have to be prepared to coach candidates on interview technique, phone screen technique, and dress. After making the switch to minimalist running, I quickly found myself wanting to wear minimalist shoes all the time. Unfortunately, most dress shoes, which I spend more than 10 hours a day wearing, are virtually the antithesis of what is healthy for your feet, and the minimalist dress shoe options that do exist are often not as professional-looking as I need them to be for my work. That is, until I found Mountain and the Primal Professional.
I should mention, before I get into details, that the prototypes I have received are a 12W, which is not actually my size. Mountain was in need of a tester to determine if these were a true-to-size 12W, and I volunteered the foot of a co-worker who consistently wears 12 wide. That said, my foot does fit well enough for me to get a feel for how the shoe feels and looks with a pair of dress pants. This isn’t the first prototype we received. Earlier this year, I was sent the first 12W prototype, which I definitely noticed had some issues that needed to be addressed. To Mountain’s credit, he took the issues raised by myself and other testers back to his manufacturer, and, in the most recent prototype, they have been resolved. For example, the toe box now has a more elegant shape and the leather is significantly softer and more comfortable. I should note that the prototype does not yet have the outsole cover that so cleverly disguises the flat, minimal nature of the sole and makes it look like a more traditional dress shoe with a heel lift.
Although I’ll be saving my full review for the finished product, I have to say that with what we’ve seen thus far, I feel that this barefoot dress shoe (assuming the final design of the outsole is as awesome as I think it will be) is going to be a tier above the rest. In regard to professionalism, I fully intend to wear my Primal Professionals to work every day and I would definitely suggest this pair of shoes to people looking for a minimalist dress shoe for a professional, business setting.
Steve is an Executive Recruiter at Robert Half Executive Search in Madison, WI with a business degree in Information Systems and E-Commerce from the University of Toledo. Steve loves spending his time away from work; running, gaming, watching movies, checking out new social networking tools/sites/start-ups and blogging.