Welcome to Running and Rambling! Stay updated on product reviews and all new articles as soon as they're posted by subscribing here.

January 27, 2011

Patagonia Advocate Moccasin Review

In his wonderful autobiography Let My People Go Surfing, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard explains how the design of his company’s gear and apparel will never be dictated simply by fashion trends. Instead, it is created to serve the performance needs of a specifically targeted group of outdoor enthusiasts – rock climbers, skiers, hikers, windsurfers, etc – and if the general population coincidentally latches onto a particular product because of its styling, so much the better.


Patagonia Advocate


With that in mind, it should be pointed out that the company introduced their Advocate moccasin last year as “the ultimate travel shoe”: a lightweight accessory that is easily stowed in a backpack or camp bag, to be used as a comfy post-activity slipper after removing your feet from ski boots or hiking shoes. However, the “coincidental” group that should be latching onto it is the minimalist footwear crowd, because Patagonia has quietly captured what many of us are looking for: comfort, durability, and outstanding ground feel in a style that’s perfectly capable of all-purpose everyday use. All in a shoe that weighs less than 5 ounces. Sounds pretty great, right?


Ultra lightweight and super flexible


As you should expect from Patagonia, the benefit of these shoes extends beyond the consumer: the Advocate moccasin is part of the company’s 1% For the Planet program, which directs a percentage of certain product sales to various environmental protection programs. So buying a pair is good for you, and good for the planet - but for now we’ll focus on you, or rather, what Patagonia’s Advocate provides you.

Like any good moccasins, the Advocate is a model of simplicity: a synthetic leather upper with stretch bands for easy on/off without the need for lacing, on top of a flat, flexible outsole for natural foot movement. There’s no midsole, no heel, and no unnecessary features. Overall weight is 130g (4.6 oz), and it’s even lighter if you remove the insole (which I did - see below).


Brushed synthetic leather uppers

The Advocate’s upper is made of 100% synthetic leather, which is smooth on the interior surface to make it comfortable against bare feet. The outer surface has a brushed face to give it a bit of resistance from scuff marks. The leather is extremely thin, yet holds its shape quite well even after being rolled up or folded or otherwise mashed and mangled. There’s a rear pull loop to help get your heel into the shoe if the elastic on either side of the tongue area isn’t stretchy enough.


Removable insoles; heel loops at top; elastic on either side of tongue

Patagonia describes the moc as having a full toe box, but I found the box to be slightly snug, both on top and on the sides. Thankfully, the 2-mm thick insole is removable, which provided all the room I needed in the toe box, and also improves the outstanding ground feel of these moccasins even further.


Armadillo outsole


Below the upper is a moderately rugged “armadillo” outsole that’s more than adequate for basic hiking or street wear, but might be a little sketchy on uncertain terrain. Thickness of the outsole is only 3mm, so if you wear these without the insole, the Advocate offers what might be the best ground feel of any minimalist shoes on the market.

The only suggestions I’d have are to offer half sizes of the shoe, which currently is only offered in full sizes. If you’re in between whole sizes, it’s probably best to size up rather than down on account of the toe box situation, unless you’re planning on wearing these with the insole in place while wearing thick socks.

Another notable point if you’re considering purchase is that since the time I received my sample pair in the late fall, the Patagonia website has been updated to exclude the color combination you see in this review. I’ve provided links below to both the company website, which has current color schemes, and to Endless.com and Amazon.com, which have last season’s colors discounted in limited sizes.

Although Patagonia didn’t specifically set out to make the ideal minimalist shoe, they made a pretty darn compelling option with the Advocate. Whether you use it for its original intention as a travel shoe, or adopt it for your own multi-purpose minimalist use is up to you – and despite what he said in his book, I’m guessing that Yvon Chouinard won’t mind either way.

Best of all – and somewhat unexpectedly when it comes to Patagonia – is that the Advocate is very affordably priced in comparison to most everyday footwear on the market. The Patagonia Advocate moccasin retails for $55 from the company website.


*Product provided by Patagonia
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.




Get updates as soon as they're posted! Click here to subscribe to Running and Rambling.
Check out the Running Life book for a collection of our most popular columns.

6 comments:

Turi 1/27/11, 8:26 PM  

I read Let My People Go Surfing not long after it came out, about 5 years ago, and ever since I've purchased clothing only from Patagonia (lucky to have an outlet store at the warehouse here in Reno) and from thrift stores. Shoes are a different story, of course - but these I'd actually give a shot. Unfortunately, as with most of Patagonia's shoes, I don't really like the color selection...

sonja,  1/28/11, 5:10 AM  

Have you checked out Smartwool's Mocaroon Slipper? It has a very similar look to the Patagonia Advocate and also has a removable insole that leaves you with a 2mm-3mm flat outer sole. I picked up a pair at REI last fall.

Dominique de Rooij 1/28/11, 6:16 AM  

Its sleek design and lightweight characteristics sure does give it a plus.

Meg T 1/28/11, 6:31 AM  

Any idea on how these would perform in water? Like if you had to cross a stream?

Anonymous,  1/28/11, 8:21 AM  

watched the movie about Patagonia founders last night - 180 degrees South. pretty hard to imagine doing what these guys did and continue to do. but inspiring it is.
thanks for highlighting Patagonia Inc in this and your other pieces.
richard cv

Donald 1/28/11, 5:20 PM  

Meg: water resistance probably isn't great, but I haven't worn them in the rain or crossing a stream to know for sure. There isn't a DWR coating or any other water-repellent treatment, so the uppers would probably act similar to suede, which means slow drying.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP