Each new shoe season starts after the samples are shown to the Munro American sales team. These men and women are gathered from around the country, semi-annually, to review the new shoes from our designers & engineers. With the sales team’s input our lead designer decides upon which shoe designs and colors will move forward to begin the next phase of becoming a Munro American shoe.
There are 3 criteria for all Munro shoes: fit, quality, and comfort. No style is ever adopted if it can’t provide these 3 key elements to our customers. Quality goes without saying, but you can’t have comfort if you don’t have fit. Ron Harris is a Certified Pedorthist* and our Director of Product Integrity and Manufacturing Standards. He is responsible for insuring the fit of all Munro shoes and does this at all levels of the shoe making process, from design to final manufacturing.
It begins with a “benchmark” fit test. A sample is made of a new style and given to the engineers and Ron to evaluate. They look at the shoe on one of our 8M ‘fit models’ (female employees who have a perfect sized foot in a specific size and width based on our specifications) as she stands and walks. They change the dimensions of the shoe based on the tester’s feedback and what they see. A new sample is made with these adjustments and the fit test is done again. The process is repeated as often as necessary until the shoe gets the green light from Ron. At that point additional sizes are made and put through same testing procedure on different fit models. A shoe may go through as many as 15 adjustments before being approved for final production.
I am lucky enough to be one of the Fit Models. I am a size 9E. Munro American manufactures W/D & WW/EE widths so I am a “tweener”. This means I will wear a 9W in some shoes but a 9WW in others, depending upon the type: sandal, closed up shoe, or boot, and the construction: open vamp (like a pump or ballerina) or closed vamp (like a lace-up, Velcro, or double gore).
Prototypes are made for each of us Fit Models to “wear test”. This means we wear the shoe under specific conditions for specific lengths of time so it can be evaluated under real world conditions. Last winter I wore the Ramie loafer and put it through its paces, which included long walks in the rain to test the suede’s water resistance. It came through with flying colors and we look forward to making the terrific loafer available to our customers this fall.
*“one that may provide the application of a pedorthic devise for the prevention or betterment of painful and/or disabling conditions of the foot and ankle” www.pedorthics.org