Asking the Important Questions


Most of us have a closet floor filled with shoes that are meant for a specific need.  We have walking shoes, running shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes… footwear for every occasion.  But imagine if you were able to throw on a pair of shoes in the morning, confident that they could handle your day no matter where it takes you.  Picture a single pair of versatile shoes that were meant to serve your feet well in most situations.

 Norwood outsideNorwood Bench

In her blog “I Walked Here,” Nastassia in Seattle shares her struggles of replacing a beloved pair of shoes.  When looking for a new pair, she was asked, “What do you wear your shoes for?” to which she responded Everything.

Nastassia’s answer proved to be more confusing than you would think, even for the salespeople at her outdoor store. When she found the right salesperson who understood the need for an “everything shoe,” she was led to minimalist footwear and hasn’t looked back.

In our case, the ‘minimalist’ moniker on our shoes refers to more than just the barefoot qualities of our sneakers.  It is also a nod to the fact that they complement a minimalist lifestyle as well.  When one pair of shoes can serve you well in so many situations, you suddenly don’t need as many shoes.

Barefoot Shoes

We are often asked “What are your shoes for?” and never anticipated how difficult our “just about everything” answer would be. Making shoes that are versatile is sometimes an identity crisis for SOM.  We have yet to find a good way to explain that a single pair of sneakers can be your go-to shoes.  We purposefully designed our sneakers to be versatile because we think a good shoe should fit throughout your lifestyle (minimalist or not). For us, it is important that your shoes be just as comfortable on trails as in an office.  We’d rather our shoes spend more time on your feet than in the back corner of your closet waiting for the perfect occasion. 

An Over-Arching Question

Another question SOM is often asked includes if our shoes have “good arch support.” As a  barefoot inspired shoe, SOMs are designed to encourage the foot’s natural movement and mimic the same stance you would have without shoes.  As our feet begin their retreat from summer sandals into autumn closed toe footwear, we’d like to take a moment to look a little more closely at a small portion of this beautifully designed machine: the arch. 


In reading Dr. Ray McClanahan’s article on arch support we can view our own foot arch as an architectural arch.  The beautiful arches that we see in the landscapes of the Southwest and the ruins of Rome are in the same form as the arch on our little old feet.  These impressive arches around us gain their strength from well built bases on either end.  Similarly, our foot’s arch is structured so that with a healthy base on both ends, it can support itself.

The best arch support a healthy foot can want is focused on those bases at the ball and heel. In concert with that, healthy shoes are ones that provide the tools for the foot to have those strong bases—just like a natural arch would.  We appreciated this comparison so much that we explored it a bit more in our blog.

Manufacturing through US made glasses

We know that back to school times can be a bit hectic for many families, but if you are looking for a good article to wind down your evening, be sure to check out Forbes’ “Manufacturing in the U.S. Is Difficult But Worth It (I Think).” It follows STATE Optical Co.’s journey to making eyeglass frames in the US and their discoveries along the way.  So much of their craft had been forgotten that resources were few if any. Hear more about them revitalizing their craft in the US and the uncertainties that come with it. 

SOM Shoe Factory

Add-on Gear for Your Feet?

If your commute leaves more time for listening than reading, Freakonomics podcast recently released an episode entitled, “These Shoes Are Killing Me” that explores even more questions including: “Why does nature’s most advanced biped need to supplement its own feet with such substantial add-on gear?”  It’s a valid question that Freakonomics looks for answers to in anthropology, biomechanics, and evolutionary biology.  Check it out!

Let the Maintenance Begin


Next week, SOM Footwear begins our annual maintenance.  During this period, our factory and our offices are closed to the public.  We will still be accepting online orders, though they will ship after September 18th.  We appreciate your patience during this time!











  • Chris,

    We’re glad to hear that your SOMs are treating you so well! Remember that we offer resoling to extend the life of your shoes a bit more as well. Looking forward to serving your feet for years to come.

    SOM Team

    SOM Team
  • I am on my second pair of SOM shoes and I love them. I loved my last pair so much that I wore through 2 sets of insoles and eventually the sole it’s self. Many people said just go to Walmart and buy a $20 pair of shoes and I refused to buy anything until I was able to pay for another pair of SOM shoes. I wore my first pair all year and through 2 winter’s in upstate NY managing and maintaining a 44 unit apartment complex in the snow and in the office and out to play with my girls. That is how much I’ve enjoyed wearing my SOM shoes. As to not ruin them prematurely I will be looking for minimalist boots for this coming winter.

    Chris Marlowe
  • Just finished a day going around Mt. Hood after a week on the Oregon Coast for the eclipse. Beach, rocky trails, forest trails and an enjoyable first class restaurant…all in our one par SOM’s. Airports, security, driving, and hanging out were all made more comfortable with our SOM’s. Thanks for the wonderful shoes.

    Greg & Anne Robison

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