Detailed Look at Artemis, our Point-Toe D’Orsay Mary Jane
Introducing the Artemis
Our company’s first product was a men’s cap-toe oxford, the most formal dress shoe for men. It’s in our DNA to take on the most formal and challenging styles, make them barefoot, and retain as much of the original external aesthetic as possible. Of course we would do the same for women.
While I was surveying the product landscape, our CEO Darius was busy interviewing women about their dress shoe needs. Though we had different methods, we came to the same conclusion: we need to make pumps, AKA court shoes.
(Side note: a common misconception is that “pumps” means “high heels”, because they “pump” you up to a taller height. The actual definition of a pump, AKA court shoe, is a shoe with a low-cut vamp. The etymology of “pumps” for footwear actually dates back to the 16th century Dutch, and many styles for both men and women have carried this name since.)
This made sense. Our company’s first product was a men’s cap-toe oxford, the most formal dress shoe for men. It’s in our DNA to take on the most formal and challenging styles, make them barefoot, and retain as much of the original external aesthetic as possible. Of course we would do the same for women.
Now that the base style was determined, I began R&D on the details. Let’s dive right into what makes the Artemis the dressiest women’s barefoot dress shoe, shall we?
Consulting San Diego’s Top Personal Stylist
When I first started developing the Artemis, I already had a good understanding of barefoot shoes, and men’s dress shoes, but I knew little about the wide world of women’s pumps. To fill in that knowledge and experience gap, I worked with Vanessa Valiente, San Diego’s top personal stylist. Some of the following features were her ideas, and all of them got her stamp of approval.
Toe Shape for Style
We started off with the question, what should the toe shape be? Square, Round, Almond, or Point?
While there are exceptions, it can generally be said that these toe shapes exist on a spectrum: from most comfortable and least formal (square), to most formal and least comfortable (pointed). True to Carets’ ambitious nature, I chose to make an exceptional shoe: a point toe, made as comfortable as possible.
Designed for Bare FeetMany design issues I encountered were because pumps are usually worn with bare feet (i.e. without socks).
Socks do so much- they hide toe cleavage, protect our sensitive skin from hot spots that rub, or sharp edges that dig, and let us customize fit.
When designing footwear for bare feet, the margin of error is much slimmer, and the consequences of error much greater.
Thanks to years of rigorous testing, we were able to identify and eliminate hot spots, sharp edges, and fit issues for most wearers.
The end result is a truly comfortable “barefoot” dress shoe. Women everywhere know how rare it is to find comfortable dress shoes - and we’ve put in a ton of work to get this right.
Want to help us test new prototypes? Sign up here: Women’s / Men’s
D’Orsay Style (Open Arch) for Flair + Air Flow
Another thing about socks: they absorb sweat. Wearing shoes without socks is a sweatier experience.
One thing that can help with this is an opening at the arch. This style of shoe is called D’Orsay, after the 19th-century Count of D’Orsay.
In addition to better ventilation, the opening of the D’Orsay shows off the foot’s arches, arguably the most sensual parts of the feet.
Dark Leather Liners for Visual ResiliencePumps typically have a light-colored liner, like cream. However, wearing shoes barefoot will inevitably leave a dark footprint inside. This dark footprint stands out much more in contrast against a light-colored liner. For this reason, Vanessa suggested we use dark-colored leather liners.
For our black colorways, we chose a black liner. This way, if you want to rock an all-black outfit, you know there won’t be another color even peeking through.
Suede Footbeds for ComfortFor the footbed, we thoughtfully decided on using suede leather liners. The soft nap of suede offers friction for more stability, while the textured surface of suede also offers more air flow and sweat absorption, making our pumps a lot more comfortable.
Sheep & Goat Leather for Luxurious SoftnessThe smooth leather upper and liner are made from full-grain sheep. The suede leather liner is made from goat suede.
Compared to conventional cowhide, sheep and goat are much more soft. This leather makes it feel like a more premium shoe.
Leg “Lengthening” Strap: Integrated & Diagonal
Now that we’ve decided to have a strap, what kind will we use?
Ankle straps will keep you from losing the entire shoe, but they won’t really keep the shoe in the right place as you walk. They also visually break your leg at the ankle, making your legs look shorter than all the other straps. A strap over the instep provides better security and style. Normally, straps over the instep are perpendicular to the foot. For the Artemis, we began the strap in the toe cover, and stretched it diagonally toward the outside of the ankle.
The strap for the Artemis appears as an extension of the toe cover, creating a clean, uninterrupted ray from front to back. The way the toe cover dramatically yet smoothly thins out and becomes the strap is reminiscent of an artist’s brush strokes.
The strap runs diagonally from inside to outside, hugging and accenting the curves of the foot.
The diagonal configuration not only looks great, but it provides multidimensional security, i.e. both front-to-back, and side-to-side.
In spite of the security the Artemis strap offers, this design is still easy to slip in and out of, when you want to!
Modular Buckles, for Matching Metals
The strap ends below the ankle, where it meets a special set of buckles.
Our shoemaker asked us what type of finish we wanted for the buckles. In our research, we found that some brands change the finish to compliment the upper, but most brands use the same finish of buckles with all their uppers. At some point, I wondered, "What if we could change the buckles?"
Imagine this. You're about to head out for something important. You have your whole outfit put together: top, bottom, jacket, earrings, necklace, belt, and bag. You look in the mirror, and you are impeccable. You decide a pair of pumps (barefoot of course) would be the perfect finishing touch to this outfit! You're about to put them on, when suddenly, you notice... the buckles are a warm gold, and it does NOT match the cool silver of your jewelry and outfit’s hardware!
You would have to change shoes, change accessories, maybe even change the whole outfit!
But, if you had Modular Buckles on your barefoot pumps, all you have to do is change the buckles.
To enable this modularity, we added a snap button. Snap it open, and you can release the buckle and change it out for another one. You can see how this works in the video below. Because of its size and placement, the button is neither felt nor seen.
High-Performance TPU OutsoleFor the Artemis’s outsole, we chose Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), the same material as our Aurelius Collection’s outsoles. TPU is both a plastic and a rubber, combining the elasticity of rubber with the workability of plastic. When comparing against other soling materials such as PU and rubber, TPU scores high in all categories: abrasion resistance, crack resistance, and slip resistance. It’s one of the most expensive, and arguably the best.
The outsole has a base thickness of 3.0 mm, with treads 0.5 mm tall.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Artemis. It’s a pointed-toe, D’Orsay Mary Jane with a diagonal strap, made to fill a gap in women’s barefoot dress shoes, i.e. the upper edge of formality.
We’ve poured years of hard work and tested it relentlessly, to give you the most dressy and comfortable women’s barefoot dress shoe to date.
Pre-order now for delivery in June 2023 here (for either the women you love, or yourself)
Happy New Year!
Founder & Designer