For all intents and purposes, Minnetonka is a moccasin company. Even their boots are made of soft leather and plenty of fringe. Comprehensively, they’re an American heritage footwear brand that’s casual and comfort-focused.
If you’re curious about Minnetonka, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll share my hands-on experience with two pairs of moccasins: a soft-soled pair, which are mostly for indoor use, and a rubber-soled pair, which I mainly used outdoors.
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Minnetonka: The Brand
Minnetonka was founded in Minneapolis in 1946 as a regional souvenir and gift shop. Their Native American-inspired moccasins became their most popular item, then eventually, their focus.
When it comes to brand identity, Minnetonka leans heavily into their Americana heritage, which gives them a lot of crossover appeal. They were popular with hippies in the ‘60s and offered driving shoes in the ‘80s.
Today, their fringes go well with the camp-collared California-cool style, and their suede slip-ons can effectively round out preppy looks. What your Minnetonka shoes say about you really depends on how you style them.
The company is family-run, and is currently under fourth-generation leadership. Their tannery in the Dominican Republic is gold-certified by the Leather Working Group for environmental best practices, and their tannery in Mexicos is silver-certified. They also use a tannery in China that isn’t certified.
Minnetonka Pile Lined Softsole Slippers
I’ve been wearing these around the house for a few weeks now. Spoiler alert: They’ve become my go-to house slippers.
The Softsoles have a traditional moccasin build and silhouette, with a straightforward upper. The tawny brown suede looks rich, which gives it a casual luxury look. According to Minnetonka, their suede is high-quality genuine cow, which certainly looks like the case.
The top of the upper is stiffly sewn to the sides with rawhide lace, creating a hard edge, but not a tight fit, since the suede is so soft and pliable. The raised stitching adds an arty hand-sewn design accent, which is the only hard line in the slipper’s mostly soft-structured design.
The hard back, soft insole, and flexible collar also add structure. The strategic combination of loose and stiff points make the slipper easy to take on and off, and it allows the shape to adapt to your foot.
The pile lining helps with this too, which is my favorite part of these shoes. It’s a super soft, comfortable faux white fur with a pretty luxe aesthetic.
The padding in between the fur lining and suede bottom feels great, but it’s a little thin. I only noticed this when I first put it on though since the pile lining adds balance, comfortably hugging the sides of your foot in place.
Comfort and Fit
The comfort factor scores this slipper most of its points. Minnetonka says that the pile lining is warming, but in my experience, that’s even a humble description. This lining might even be temperature regulating.
I’ve been wearing them around the house throughout June and July, with the AC on and off, on heatwave days and regular days, and I never felt overheated.
As mentioned, the padding at the bottom is a bit thin. And again, the fur lining does a good job of fixing any potential discomfort from this. I’m not sure if Minnetonka means for the thin padding and thick lining to work together this way, but I also don’t have especially wide or thin feet.
After some research, it turns out that there are a few wide-footed gents out there who think the insole is too thin when they wear the slippers in their regular size. Their quick and easy solution is to simply size up.
Initially, I could feel the rawhide stitching that attaches the top upper to the sides from the inside of the shoe. After wearing the slippers for just a few minutes though, they’re easy to forget about and will eventually move aside when the shoe conforms to your foot shape.
Price-wise, no pair of Minnetonka shoes falls into the super expensive range. These Softsoles aren’t shockingly cheap since you can find indoor moccasins for $20 at your local Walgreens, but they’re obviously in a different universe when it comes to quality. I’d call these medium-priced and fair.
Pros and Cons
Here are the Pros and Cons of the Minnetonka Pile Lined Softsole Slippers.
The lining is exceedingly comfortable and they never get too hot. Minnetonka uses different tanneries with different environmental certifications, but these are made in the Dominican, which is their gold-certified tannery.
Overall, it’s convenient to have a pair of house slippers that are nice enough that I don’t have to swap them out for a more public-facing shoe when I’m running out to toss the trash or check my mail.
On days I work in the office, I actually wear these when I’m sitting at my desk or casually strolling over to the kitchen (naturally, I changed back into my regular dress shoes for meetings). You can probably even wear these on the grass at the park on leisurely, non-athletic days.
The insole padding is super thin, which can be solved by sizing up. The top stitching can be felt from the inside, which might bother you depending on where it lands on your foot.
After some research, I’ve seen some people complain about the top seams busting. However, it looks like Minnetonka responds to each and every one of these reviews with refunds or new pairs.
Minnetonka Classic Moc
This simple and versatile slip-on has a lightweight rubber sole and is one of Minnetonka’s best-sellers.
One of the Classic Moc’s biggest strengths is that you can just place it by your front door and hop in and out of them as needed. The top upper is attached to the sides with a lighter, more understated twine than the rawhide stitching of the Softsoles, and the rubber outsole is thin and tucks under the shoe.
In the most convenient way possible, this shoe just blends into your outfit. They also only come in black, brown, and taupe, so these definitely aren’t the shoe for you if you’re looking for a statement piece.
Like the Softsoles, these guys are made in Minnetonka’s environmentally-friendly Dominican Republic tannery. The suede looks and feels supple, and my taupe-colored moccasins have a really buttery quality to them. It also smells like high-quality leather, even after weeks of use.
The lightweight outsole features cleats and is made of a gum-like rubber. They’re slip-resistant, provide excellent traction, and they’re actually just as bendy as my soccer cleats. These outsoles are an effective way to turn an indoor shoe into an outdoor shoe, while maintaining the comfort.
My only very minor complaint is they seem to make my feet look much longer. Compared to my Sperrys, they’re not actually longer, but skinnier. This is a fully subjective preference. I have thinner legs and I’m always worried a visually long shoe will make my lower silhouette look clown-like.
Comfort and Fit
I missed the note that these run a half size large and ordered my regular size 8s. However, I found them to be perfectly comfortable, fit-wise. In fact, they’re definitely my most comfortable pair of non-athletic shoes.
I wonder if I had sized down per Minnetonka’s suggestion, that they’d be more to my taste length-wise, and if that would be worth sacrificing this great fit.
Like the Softsoles, the Classic Mocs have super thin outsoles. This might present more of an issue than it does with the Softsoles.
The Classic Mocs don’t have a pile interior that flexibly fills in the gap between the shoe’s collar and your foot. For me, the loose collar caused by the thin insole is fixed by simply tightening the laces.
These are pretty bang-for-buck. They’re cheaper than the average real suede moc, and are fully worth the price.
Pros and Cons
Here are the Pros and Cons for the Minnetonka Classic Mocs.
They’re a versatile style that goes with most combinations, and they’re comfortable right out of the box. The suede is handsome and looks more expensive than it is. Relatedly, it’s definitely a more affordable moccasin, in general.
The bendy rubber sole provides an athletic lightness in weight and is great on slippery and uneven surfaces.
Super thin outsoles seem to be a style choice with Minnetonka. At times, this causes the collar to spread open as you move, which looks floppy. If you size down to prevent the collar looseness, you’ll be presented with an even thinner sole.
If you size up for a thicker sole, then you sacrifice collar fit. Again, I fixed this by simply wearing the laces tightly, so this may take some experimenting.
While I’ve read reviews of men sizing up when the soles feel too thin, I’m not sure that this would work with non-lined, more structured outdoor moccasins. Minnetonka may not be the brand for men with extra wide feet.
If you have the kind of personal style that can incorporate Americana pieces, they’re an effective and affordable brand for casual outfits. Even if it isn’t your style, the indoor slipper is a comfortable and worthwhile purchase, if you don’t care what you look like when you’re alone.
Overall, if you can find your size and you’re a moccasin-lover, Minnetonka is a good bet.