Let's face it: we don't wear boots ALL the time. Sure, they are comfortable for a lot of us, provide good support and protection and we've gotten used to whatever level of maintenance they require. But you can't wear boots (allegedly) with dress uniforms and they don't look quite right with casual business attire. So, what do you do then? I don't like wearing my low-quarters all the time and they require polishing. Enter the Altama Panamoc slip-on shoes. Casual enough for the boat but dressy enough for "casual Friday".
Now please understand that it took me awhile to embrace slip-on shoes. I've never understood my children when they tie their tennis shoes so that they can slip them on and off. In my mind - probably due to my up-bringing, military and law enforcement background, shoes were meant to be tied onto your feet securely. Securely means sufficiently snug enough that they won't come off when you're running as hard as you can or when you step into mud and the mud-suction is trying to pull your footwear off as you lift your foot out of the muck. As I've matured (another way of saying "aged") I've come to appreciate the occasional convenience of slip-on shoes. For instance, when going through security at the airport, these are MUCH easier and quicker than boots. That said, I've also realized there are different quality slip-ons just like everything else. The Altama Panamoc, now that I've wear-tested them, I'd put in the higher quality bracket.
My previous experience with this style of slip-on was with lower cost brands from various outlet stores. The elastic on either side of the "tongue" frayed quickly and the shoes stretched out so that within a month or two they were quite comfortable - which also meant my foot was moving around inside them. I spoke with the representative of Altama at SHOT Show and we talked about some testing of their new products and products they wanted to call attention to. Altama is well known and respected for their boots but not many people realized they had anything else. So, a week or so later I received a pair of Altama Panamoc shoes for T&E.
Shown above right, the Panamoc comes in a variety of colors and you can have it with or without a treatment around the toe that protects from wear and tear. The treatment, when applied, looks decent but adds another black color accent around the toe perimeter and gives the shoe a more outdoorsy look. Based on my experience with those lower-quality brands, the Panamoc is also cut more precisely. When I've tried on shoes in the past I've discovered that in the same shoe design, off the same shelf, the same size can fluctuate from there's no way this is going on my foot to how many feet am I supposed to put in here?. The Panamocs I received fit snug but weren't binding. After a couple days of wear they loosened up just enough to not feel restrictive or hugging but sufficiently to be comfortable. I'd prefer this to shoes that are immediately comfortable and then loosen up to floating on my foot a couple days later.
I'd call the leather uppers on the shoes "suede" but the published material says it is "Mountain Brown Water Resisting Nubuck Leather". The "water resisting" part does matter on rainy days and to test it out I actually stood in a puddle for about five minutes (do you know how weird it feels to just stand still in a puddle for a few minutes?) where the water was deep enough to come up the leather uppers about 1/2". I didn't feel any water seeping into the shoe but the leather was obviously saturated when I was done and I could tell that eventually water would seep through. That wouldn't be a negative comment on the shoes. They weren't designed to be waterPROOF.
The tread / sole pattern is called "Sand Shark Lug" and is pretty aggressive. I ddin't feel like my footing was unsure or slipper, even on wet smooth concrete. Traction on the few hills I tried was very good although mud is slippery on a slope no matter what shoe you're wearing.
As with most quality footwear today there are three soles:
- The Outsole: or tread. In this case described as "high abrasion, slip, oil and acid resistant, non marking rubber
- The Midsole: between the outsole and the part your foot actually touches. In this case described as "shock absorbing lower density polyurethane
- The Innersole: or foot bed as I've always thought of it. In this case it's removable and described as "dual density polyurethane with TPU support cradle"
MSRP is $99.99 but internet searches can find them for less. In my mind, as I compare these quality shoes to the lower-quality store brand slip-ons I've worn, I'd happily pay the MSRP for a more comfortable, more durable and higher quality shoe. Wouldn't you?
For more information visit Altama online.