The Primal Professional

Interview with Mountain Evan Chang Creator of the Paleo Professional Shoe

I’ve got something special for you guys today! I got a chance to chat with Mountain Evan Chang the creator of the Primal Professional Shoe. The primal professional is a shoe designed for those of us who prefer a minimal shoe but have to wear a dress shoe at work. I would be much more comfortable wearing my skeletoes or my Chuck’s to work. Which in the case of the Chuck’s I sneak them in on occasion. The Skeletoes though would be out of the question. I’ve always preferred a flatter minimal shoe. Anytime I’ve worn shoes with lot’s of arch I’ve ended the day limping with feet pain. For me when i learned about the Primal Professional I immediately fell in love.  It had the styling of a beautiful dress shoe combined with no arch, very minimal sole, made in America and made sustainably. To me in encompassed the perfect dress shoe. I’m ready to get this interview started!
Primal Professional Banner
Primal Professional Banner

 

 

James Sicone Burnette

 

So Mountain for those that don’t know who you are tell me a bit about who you are, how you got into the paleo/primal lifestyle?

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

I’m the inventor of the Primal Professional, a barefoot dress shoe that fits every definition of those words. In 2010, I started exploring a couple different things that were all Paleo-related: compound strength training, barefoot running, intermittent fasting, and organic food. That last one unfortunately led me to a half-year stint of weekday veganism, haha. But everything else made a whole lot of sense. My girlfriend had had gut issues her whole life. She felt better after cutting out gluten, but something was still upsetting her from time to time while we were vegan. We went to a naturopath and she tested positive for fructose malabsorption. So she went on an elimination diet: rice, meat, and leafy greens. Soon after, I saw a video on youtube about Paleo. And I said to her, “Hey, look, I guess you’re on Paleo.” And I started going down that rabbit hole. The evolutionary model perfectly tied together all those separate concepts that I was already convinced on

The Primal Professional
The Primal Professional

 

James Sicone Burnette

 

Haha Glad to hear you came back from veganisim. What prompted you to create the primal professional?

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

 After discovering barefoot running, I trained for and completed a full marathon without footwear[1]  . From that, there was no turning back. But I still had to wear dress shoes 5 days a week as a corporate accountant. I actually took a saw to the heel of my dress shoes and ruined them. Browsing online, there were no good options out there. They were either not barefoot enough, not dressy enough, or both. So, I decided to make my own.

 

James Sicone Burnette

I’ve ran into the same issues. I prefer a very flat minimal shoe and have had hard times finding work shoes that fit the business look while being comfortable to me. Work would freak out if I came in wearing Vibrams.

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

Yea, I had that last experience at my workplace, haha.The term “casual” Friday is misleading. Or I just have no sense of social norms.

 

 

James Sicone Burnette

 

So tell me about the design of the Primal Professional? What features does it have and what makes it special?

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

Design started with a 2-column list. One column was “barefoot” and had zero-drop, thin sole, no arch, and wide toebox. The other column was “dress” with a stacked heel, visible sole, arch, and narrow toebox. At first glance, it seems unreconcilable. But creativity blooms under constraint. To the first three issues, I decided to make the heel hollow, so the foot is flat inside the heel while still maintaining the appearance of a lift.

Exray
Xray

For the arch, my designer Steven used an angled cut that gives an illusion of an arch when viewed from above (which is how most people see shoes). For the toebox, we identified where my toes are, allowed ample space up that point, then dramatically tapered the remaining space.

 

Inside Look
Inside Look

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

The template we chose to build this first shoe on (black leather, round-toe, closed-lace, cap-toe Oxford) was selected for maximum versatility. If you want to learn a bit about dress shoe styles through history, check out my write-up here.

 

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

Something I feel the minimalist shoe market has been lacking is refinement. Thin soles wear out fast, you know. Our shoe is strong and supple full-grain leather, built by Weinbrenner Shoe Company in Wisconsin, and they make some of the most durable footwear in the world. You had a blog post about not buying cheap shit, and we make shoes that last. Throw-away fashion is wrong on so many levels, especially for the consumer.

 

James Sicone Burnette

 

I agree with so much of what you just said. I liked when I read about the Primal Professional about the leather bottom. It was like why has it taken this long to come up with this great an idea?How did it fare in testing. It seems that you nailed the look but comfort wise and durability?

 

 

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 

Oh yea, it’s comfortable. Before you put it on, you’ll be surprised how light it is, because the traditional look suggests otherwise. As soon as your foot’s inside, you notice you’re standing flat and firm, your arch can operate without interference, and your toes can wiggle and breakdance inside. You won’t get the same groundfeel as FiveFingers because we chose a dense polyurethane for longevity. I would compare the feel to wearing skate shoes without insoles. I can’t speak much about durability because I’ve only worn test pairs for a few months at a time, but they’ve held up. Our manufacturer runs extensive quality tests under ISO and government contract standards, and PriPros will be put through the same.

Side Shot
Side Shot

James Sicone Burnette

 

Sounds great I wear Chuck Taylor All stars when not working for the flat sole on them. I’ve been interested and following your progress since I heard Robb Wolf mention them on his podcast and have been planning on buying a pair when they release.

 

Mountain Evan Chang

One thing that will be a key benefit is the ability to resole. It’s something old school shoes had, that a lot of new ones don’t. The sole will be the first thing to wear out, but if you can replace it, the life of the shoe extends many times over. I’ve contacted the folks at www.resole.com and they said they could absolutely do it for PriPros. I have a sample on its way over to them just so they can super-confirm it.

 

 

James Sicone Burnette

I like the sustainability that adds to the shoe. It could be the last shoe you ever own.

 

 

Mountain Evan Chang

Could be! I care so much about these shoes that I’m including free shoe horns and cedar shoe trees with every pair, as these are essential to proper care and maintenance.

 

James Sicone Burnette

That’s awesome. So When can folks get the primal professional?

 

Mountain Evan Chang

They can actually pre-order it right now on our website, http://theprimalprofessional.com/ The first production run will be very limited, so a pre-order is advised to guarantee a pair. You can also save $30-$50 with the various promotions we have until Dec 31st.

As far as ship date, outsole molds will finish by Jan 18th. Based on our manufacturer’s 12-week production cycle, assembly completes Apr 12th, then give us a week or two for distribution.

 

James Sicone Burnette

I can’t wait to buy a pair and put it through its paces. I’ve been waiting for a long time to get my hands on a pair. I’m going to wrap this up thanks for chatting Mountain how can people get in touch with you?

 

Mountain Evan Chang

 One last note…a lot of our customers come from athletic or outdoorsy backgrounds and will be tempted to use our shoes for those purposes. Though we have a lot of advantages over traditional dress shoes, keep in mind it is still a dress shoe. There are other shoes much better suited for running, hiking, parkour, etc.

 

https://www.facebook.com/thePrimalProfessional

https://twitter.com/priproshoes

http://eepurl.com/i2egb

http://www.mtnevan.com/

And if they want to get in touch with me outside of PriPros, my personal profiles are here http://about.me/mtnevan

 

It’s a shoe for surviving formal occasions, not TEOTWAWKI

 

Xray Top
Xray Top

 

James Sicone Burnette

I can understand the temptation but those are too beautiful to destroy in the mud lol.

 

Mountain Evan Chang

Formal occasions might just be TEOTWAWKI for some people though…haha.

 

James Sicone Burnette

I’m not real fond of them myself.

 

I appreciate Mountain Stopping by and chatting. I’m excited to see such innovation coming from young entrepreneurs like Mountain. To me it gives hope that even in a murky future with creativity we can build a bright future. If your like me and like a good minimal shoe but still have to wear a dress shoe at work check out the primal professional.

 

What do you think of the Primal Professional minimal dress shoe? Whats your go to dress shoe? Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Today’s article brought to you by the great folks over at Survivalgearbags.com home to all your Bug out bag and tactical needs. Help support Survivalpunk by supporting the great folks at Survival Gear bags.

 

 

 



   
       

8 thoughts to “Interview with Mountain Evan Chang Creator of the Paleo Professional Shoe”

  1. Yeah, I’m in the same boat. Casual is not so casual as it sounds. So I wear Sketchers right now. THESE would be an incredible shoe to buy for the whole Business Casual look.

  2. Have always been a big fan of Doc. Marten’s. I own and wear a pair of lace to toe mountain style work boots which are very comfortable for heavy outdoor work, but really too heavy to wear all day. I also wear Doc Marten dress shoes (When I rarely dress for event or occasion). and i like to wear a flat bottom Doc Marten ‘moccascin’ style pull on’s when hangin’ out around the farm. My typical everyday work shoe is a french made, light weight canvas ‘Palladium’ desert boot (Like the French foreign legion and Israeli ‘IDF’ desert boots). These are extremely comfortable for all day wear. (These have been a pleasant surprise as they are extremely comfortable (for me) and have worn like iron. Being canvas they are NOT waterproof but have stood up to everything i have thrown at them.
    I have always felt good foot wear is very important. without good shoes/ boots, your feet hurt. you can never be at optimal performance when your feet hurt.
    Tin

    1. Tinman I’ve been a long struggle to find shoes that were comfortable.When I do find something I tend to stick with it. Also I’m starting to learn that cheap made shoes I used to buy are not worth even their price. They wear down quickly and leave my feed in pain.

  3. you had me right up until i saw the price. $310 is about three times what i would be willing to pay. get them made in some third world sweat shop instead of a union ran factory and i will buy one black pair and one brown. just my opinion 🙂

    1. The price is up there. If you consider though that those sweat shop shoes will probably not make it a single calender year and these US made shoes that can be re-soled might just last a lifetime then is the price really that bad?I used to have the same mentality. I ended up buying the same things over and over. Now I tend to buy quality items meant to last. Testing SOE gear has taught me that made in the USA is more than a label and a location.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *