When I opened the box it smelled like some kind of chemical adhesive. These shoes were handmade, recently finished, and now they were in a cardboard box in my living room. They are so much uglier in person than I thought they’d be . . . I’ve needed new work shoes for a while now, and I’ve been on the hunt for something that would not draw too much attention in my business casual workplace. I had heard some rumblings about Sense of Motion’s latest footwear offerings and their all black SP-L3 seemed to be just what I was looking for. If old school converse had a love child with SWAT-style combat boots, the SP-L3 would be the by product. These shoes won’t win any beauty contests, and I’ve yet to receive any compliments, but I think that is because nobody notices them at all. They tend to blend in the work place because they are all black and don’t have any crazy colors or reflective patterns that you’d find with most minimalist zero drop shoes. The fit on the SP-L3 is good and wide (especially the toe box), and since I began this zero drop journey about 5 years ago, my foot seems to have gotten wider. The SP-L3s are quite clearly zero drop and have a nice Vibram sole. The outer material is made of durable Cordura (think military grade back pack like GORUCK or Maxpedition) and on the inside of the shoe is gentle foam mesh. I don’t really think this is a sockless type shoe, but they are certainly comfortable enough to be worn that way. I’m sure you could take this on a nice long hiking excursion, but the treads on the bottom are really meant more for the city. I’ve done a fair amount of walking on concrete, grass, carpet and other urban conditions and found the shoe to be quite comfortable. The ground feel is pretty decent, but if you are looking for that “feel every grain of sand” experience, this isn’t it. As for style, I’d say you can wear these just about anywhere you can wear Converse. They work well in my office paired with some khakis and they would equally be fine with some jeans too. I really enjoyed the fact that they were all black with only a small logo on the back, but they do have an array of different fabric patterns available to choose from. If you are looking for something that pairs well with a suit and tie, this might be pushing the limits a bit. I picked up a 10.5, and they fit true to size. There is a small insole on the inside which does a nice job of cupping the heel. They are removable, but I really liked having them in. I’m not a big fan of the thick round laces, and it seemed to me they came undone a little more than the flat laces on most of my other minimalist shoes. At $128, this is a little more than I like to spend on shoes, but the value is certainly there. They are well built with quality materials and made in the USA. When I purchased my pair about two months ago, shipping was $15. These weren’t being shipped from some remote village in Europe, this was from their HQ in Colorado to my Southern California home via USPS. Amazon Prime has clearly spoiled me from shopping anywhere else… There is a promo offering free shipping right now so if you’re thinking about picking one up I wouldn’t wait. Should you get a pair? Sense of Motion is a great company with good customer service. I like that their stuff is made in the USA, and this style of “urban” and/or “business casual” is one that is quite underrepresented in the minimalist market place. Despite the fact that these shoes are just a little bit ugly, I really like them and I think you will too. Head over to SOM Footwear to learn more and see their full line up.
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