Robbins & Brooks Hayden Black
Missionaries have always wanted shoes that feel just like their favorite running/basketball shoes, so we designed a great looking dress shoe that feels like your favorite pair of sneakers. After many months of research, samples, and testing, we found the perfect manufacturer who has made shoes for the top comfort/dress shoe brands for the last 25 years. The comfort dress shoe they make usually sell for $250-$350 under the most well known brands, so they know exactly what they are doing when it comes to making the most comfortable and best looking men's dress shoes on the planet!
Our criteria for this shoe was comfort first, so to achieve superior comfort we use a direct injection moulding process to permanently fuse the sole to the upper of the shoe with no glue or stitching involved-- a process borrowed from the construction of ultra-marathon running shoes. This creates a very comfortable shoe that moulds to your foot and flexes unlike any other dress shoe. One of our initial tests was to simply have one of our strongest employees try to break the shoe. Over several hours of bending and twisting the shoe in every conceivable manner, the shoe just kept bouncing back undamaged-- no sole separation and no leather cracking!
Besides being incredibly comfortable and feeling like really nice running shoes, the direct injection moulding process also permanently bonds the full-grain leather upper to the sole and creates a water-tight seal. We've learned over the years that while waterproofing is important, the ability of a shoe to recover after being submerged is THE most important attribute a missionary shoe can have. All of the waterproofing technology in the world won't help when you step in a puddle that is deeper than the shoe itself! If you submerge these shoes in water, just remove the insoles and dry the shoes out over a heater vent. If you are submerging them often, make sure to use a good shoe cream, mink oil, or bear grease to nourish the leather and keep it soft and supple.
One of the most important items that contributes to comfort on a shoe is the insole, and we use an orthotic grade dual density foam insole that is topped with leather for durability. It is one of the most comfortable yet lightweight insoles we've ever seen on a men's dress shoe!
This shoe uses a European comfort fit concept. Unlike shoes that fit to the heel and toes of the foot, the fit on this shoe is meant to fit the arch and top of the foot with a wider toe-box that doesn't squeeze the toes to allow your feet the freedom to spread out over many miles of walking and prevent hotspots and blisters, so when you try them on, pay more attention to the fit of the arch and the top of the foot rather than the position of the toes in the toe box.
Since these shoes are specifically designed for missionaries, we also use a rubber blend sole material that has been the most successful on our two year guarantee. We use a sole design that has a less aggressive tread and a greater surface area which helps the soles wear longer and be more appropriate for walking many, many miles per day without getting rocks stuck in them or wearing out the tread pattern (aggressive tread patterns give less surface area and wear out quicker when used to walk many, many miles per day). The only downside is that while these shoes are fantastic for walking in almost any weather condition, the high surface area tread pattern won't do well in snow or ice (similar to the running shoes on which it is based) so if you are going to a snowy mission, plan on using these in the spring, summer, and fall, but look at a traction enhancing device, winter boots with an aggressive tread, the Robbins and Brooks Oliver/Owen, or the Dansko "W" shoes.