Urban Gorilla Seeks Minimalist Moccasin With Moxie
June 1, 2010 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I loved these moccasin boots, but they died on me hella fast. Help me find ones like them that can stand up to my life in the city. I'm 6'1", ~210 pounds, active, and generally hard on my gear, especially footwear.

Those Minnetonkas were some of the most stylish, comfortable shoes I'd ever worn. And especially after reading this article and giving up my hard-sole shoes almost completely (I'm a catering bartender so I need "dress" shoes for work), I'm absolutely sold on the minimalist footwear lifestyle.

The problem with the Minnetonkas was all in the sole. Not only did it lose all traction on smooth, wet surfaces like freshly rained on polished marble, but daily wear on the concrete of the Bay Area had me wearing holes through them distressingly quickly. Like, within months I was slapping duct tape on the soles.

What I'm looking for is the Last of the Mohicans upper shoe with a ultra-thin, flexible sole that can still stand up to 210 lbs of city life for an active monkey and not get holes worn through unreasonably quickly. And better traction on wet surfaces.

Ideally they wouldn't be ultra $pendy so I could get two and rotate them to make them last longer. I already live in my Vibram Fivefingers. But some days you just don't want to give the Yes, they're the most comfortable things ever, I get them at X, no there's no arch support, your feet just get stronger and healthier, the Footwear-Industrial-Complex is lying to you speech for the 18th time this week when someone starts staring at your weird shoes with toes.

As far as stylistic range, sure, sure, oh, HELL no

Please tell me it's possible to add a little style to my wardrobe while maintaining the activity, agility, foot/knee health I've gotten used to without having to treat my footwear as borderline disposable. Minnetonka isn't the only moccasin make out there. Point a monkey in the right direction.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have a pair of low-rise moccasins [ring boot] by these folks. They also make a more bootlike thing as well as some nicer looking shoe type mocs. The ones I have have incredibly thick soles [double thick THICK leather] and so should hold up more than regular mocs. I think I might even consider, if I were you, getting a pair and having a cobbler stitch a thin traction sole on the bottom of them.
posted by jessamyn at 11:20 AM on June 1, 2010

Go to the cobbler and get them to reinforce the soles so they're strong enough to withstand a daily beating and acceptably "minimalist'. They should be able to give you a number of different options. I have a feeling you'll have to compromise a little, but they'll last much longer, and you'll have the shoes you want.
posted by Lizsterr at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not the same style, but I am wearing a pair of these right now, and they are my favorite shoes ever. Super thin moccasin-type sole that is kevlar and rubber. They get somewhat smooth, but I am wearing my current pair for the second summer and there is no sign they are wearing out.
posted by procrastination at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2010

Terra Plana makes 'Vivo Barefoot' shoes. These have exceedingly thin soles, which are basically a sheet of kevlar bonded to very thin rubber outsoles. They have quite good grip and are still respectable for everyday wear. I've not worn 5 fingers, but I have held them in the store -- they feel pretty similar in terms of thickness, though the vivo's I wore were even more giving (you can definitely feel a finger tip on from the bottom of the shoe).

The only problem is that they don't make moccasins. Here's the closest model I could find: Oak
posted by zpousman at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: One of my friends who makes deerskin moccasins uses caulking on the soles for waterproofing, which he then scores for traction. If the caulking wears down, he just adds a new layer.

Being lazy and poor, I bought some Payless Airwalk Moccasins. Bad= not leather, so not as breathable. Good = thin flexible sole, only cost $16, and I didn't wear the sole away. If I get a better job I would get the Vivo Barefoot.
posted by melissam at 11:51 AM on June 1, 2010

Best answer: You could order some custom moccasins (such as Russell or Walking Liberty), which I have read are more durable than Minnetonkas. (I haven't tried them myself, as they're a little pricey for my budget).

Another option would be use a coating for the sole like the one Walking Liberty uses, a mixture of Barge's cement and ground rubber, on the Minnetonkas.

Or if you get really ambitious, sew your own.
posted by fogovonslack at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried these yet, but my metaphorical finger is hovering over the "order" button. Run Amoc sells moccasins designed for running with either 2mm or 5mm Vibram soles, so they're probably pretty durable.
posted by workerant at 4:49 PM on June 1, 2010

Ask the Stegers: http://www.mukluks.com/more_product_info/about_steger_mukluks.html

Sounds like they use rubber for their soles; would one of their smaller models work for you?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:11 AM on June 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'm really drawn to the "slap some goo on it your own monkeyself" solutions.

Plus, the Terra Plana Dharmas are looking like my next work shoe.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2010

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