Started in 1946, Minnetonka is a family owned footwear company based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota and currently operated by CEO, David Miller, the grandson of co-founder Philip W. Miller. The Midwestern shoe company has made the moccasin the cornerstone of their business, with a myriad of styles and variations available, ranging from pieces with traditional Native American design details to modern boots, slippers and more. As a side note, in the Fall of 2020, Minnetonka issued a statement speaking to their history and their commitment to Native populations and cultural sensitivity. We encourage our audience to read it at this link.
Now, on to the shoes.
The P.W. Driving Moc Summary
Got somewhere to be? Here are the nuts and bolts of this review.
- Thick, durable, full grain leather
- Soft yet supportive insole
- Clean, even stitching throughout
- Wide range of sizes and widths
- Moccasin design language is not for everyone
- Shoe fits very snug in the toe when new
- Significantly higher price than other shoes
The P.W. Driving Moc
The moccasin is the cornerstone of Minnetonka’s designs, and the driving shoe is the pinnacle of their offerings. Each shoe is handmade to order, using rather thick Horween leather throughout. Due to the individual nature of the shoe, it is available in a dizzying array of options, from laced and loafers to different color combinations, over 20 in all. The stitching throughout is nothing short of immaculate, with only the tiniest variations betraying the hand craftsmanship.
The insole of the P.W. Driving Moc is perhaps the best part of the shoe. It is a thick, padded, soft, yet still somehow sturdy insole with the same pebbled leather utilized in the rest of the shoe. While the sides of the shoe may need a bit breaking in (more on that in a moment) the insole is instantly comfortable and feels like walking on air.
The pair sent along from Minnetonka is the elegant, all black, pebbled Horween leather with matching black laces. It’s a simple and monotone colorway that feels tasteful, but not boring. By contrast, some of the other combinations of colors available run the risk of feeling gaudy. The moccasin aesthetic can be a bit polarizing, and that moccasin design is very present here, emphasized by the stitching along the rounded toe box.
Arguably the most important part of a driving shoe is the sole. Here the P.W. Driving Moc is fantastic. The underside of the shoe is soft, yet durable, rubber nubs throughout. These provide support along the front of the foot and wrap up behind the heel, providing grip whilst driving. It’s subtle and functional. Far too many driving loafers have flashy souls that cover the heel in an attempt at stylistic statement. More often than not such details are overwhelming. The only branding present is a subtle rubber nameplate on the back of the heel in matching black color.
[Learn more: Red Wing vs Thorogood, the moc toe boot showdown]
Minnetonka P.W. Driving Moccasin Sizing and Comfort
The P.W. Driving Moccasin is the premier shoe offered by Minnetonka and therefore is made to order according to your specified Brannock device sizing, ranging from size 6 through 16, 3 different widths (narrow, wide, and regular), and split sizing to boot! It’s a very nice option if you require an irregular size or have grown tired of young companies that don’t even offer half sizes.
The shoes are made to size, but due to the loafer-esque nature of the driving mocs (even on the laced option) the shoe is rather snug along the front of the toe box. Undoubtedly, this is accentuated by the very thick Horween leather used in the construction of the shoe. With time and regular wear, the uppers will likely stretch enough to make room. Given the option, I would’ve preferred a touch more room in the toe but a slightly tighter opening to ensure a secure fit.
In terms of overall comfort, the insole is like a dream, soft and supportive. Thick EVA foam is covered with a layer of the same pebbled leather used elsewhere in the shoe. After a few weeks of regular wear, the foam still feels as plush and uncompressed as when they were first new. This is a great sign as foam inserts are often the first thing to wear out in a shoe.
When used for its expressed purpose, as a driving shoe, the P.W. Driving Moc is great. The nub pattern along the outsole is comfortable, grippy, and supportive, even after a three plus hour drive. The insole is supportive, yet not so thick that you lose contact with the pedals.
Minnetonka P.W. Driving Moccasin Price
At $190, the P.W. Driving Moc is not an inexpensive shoe. Indeed, as far as Minnetonka’s offerings are concerned, it is the most expensive shoe that they offer. With that having been said, the quality of the leather used is exceptional. Frequent readers of Stridewise and leather enthusiasts will already be very familiar with Horween’s reputation, but for the uninitiated, the American tannery is among the highest quality and most respected sources of leather in the world. While the moccasin aesthetic may not be to everyone’s taste, the comfort and quality construction absolutely justify the price.
The driving shoe is an intentionally leisured object – it should be comfortable, elegant, and functional. The P.W. Driving Moccasin from Minnetonka certainly fits the bill. The high quality leather, comfortable insole and nubbed outsole, and hand crafting is exceptional throughout. The iconic design language of the moccasin combined with the comfort and function of a driving shoe, makes for a lovely slip on inside and out.
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