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The terra plana button looks like it may work with a suit/tie. I am tempted to try but aweful pricey. I use vibram dress shoes - they have a heel but are fairly roomy and comfortable.
sanuk. boardroom model. look them up
I've gotta be honest, I've looked at all of these suggestions and I just haven't found anything that fits what i'm looking for. I think a market would exist for a dress shoe with a really nice polished leather upper, no raised heel, and a softer and thinner rubber sole. Essentially it would be a fancy slip on loafer.
I saw a guy somewhere on the interwebs that just took his shoes and cut off the raised heel. A lot closer to barefoot. Not a perfect solution but affordable and available.
this model (Pritchard) from Vans OTW collection in a store last week:
They are quite comfortable and have a semi-soft sole. As with all skate shoes, they are flat and pretty "close to the ground" (or board, as they prefer it). I think the faux heal is a really nice solution to make it more dressy but still maintain a flat sole.
I'm not sure how they would go with a suit, but they work very well with jeans/khakis and a dress shirt. I use mine as a dressier alternative to the Adidas Gazelle (which is also a great minimalist shoe, but the white stripes are not always suitable...).
I also think this model (Woessner) looks quite nice (I also saw it in the store):
My only objection to it is the white sole. If it had a black/dark sole I would have bought it also.
It's a shame that white sole sides is in fashion these days, because if they weren't, there would be so many models of skate shoes that would be perfect for "minimalist" footwear. I guess we just have to wait for the trends to change...
Norak's Primal Journal:
2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"
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I admire your initiative and would love to have a pair, but $300 is just ludicrous and out of my budget.
You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes