Patagonia introduced the Advocate Moc with two ideas in mind. First, the company wanted simply to offer people a lightweight, packable shoe for traveling or to wear around camp after a long day on the trail. Second, Patagonia wanted to raise the profile of its 1% For the Planet program, which directs a portion of product sales to groups protecting the environment.
Dealers that carry the Advocate Moc choose a local environmental organization, Patagonia Footwear will donate 20 percent of Advocate Moc sales ($10) and $10 per pair on all Patagonia footwear to local conservation efforts. Because the SNEWS® crew really digs this concept—and really appreciates a good camp shoe—we decided to put the Advocate through its paces.
After months of wearing the Advocate on business trips, overnight paddling trips and backcountry hikes, we’ve found it has become a frequently desired travel companion. The shoe is not only extremely lightweight, adding little to your overall load, but also packable—you can literally fold the shoes in half and stuff them in a backpack or travel bag.
The shoe upper is made of synthetic leather, with an outer face that is brushed, which helps prevent the shoe from getting scuffed. The material is very pliable and does not tend to crinkle, so our shoes still appear to be in good shape after months of wear. We also found that the material was easy to brush or wipe clean after wearing the shoes in dusty campsites.
Our only concern with the upper is that it’s not really water-resistant. When our Advocates got wet during a downpour on a paddling trip, they did not dry quickly. The shoes either need some sort of water-repellent treatment, or users just have to be sure to put them away in less-than-dry conditions.
The interior of the shoe is lined with smooth, soft leather, so it feels comfortable against your feet if you choose to wear them without socks. There is also a removable footbed, which can be tossed it in the washing machine when the shoes get stinky. We should note that the footbed is made of soft foam and provides a bit of cushioning, but it adds very little support, so folks may want to add another footbed. Also, the shoes do not have a midsole (so you can fold them easily), so you probably don’t want to stand in them or walk in them for hours on end—unless you’re into the whole barefoot trend.
We tested the shoes in warm weather, and in the backcountry we actually preferred to wear the shoes without socks. This was primarily because the fit was pretty snug, and we would have been able to use only very thin socks, which our testers rarely pack into the field. Our testers wear size 10.5 shoes, and they tested size 10 Advocates (they’re available only in whole sizes), so maybe that contributed to the snug fit. With thin socks, or no socks, the shoes fit well, but it would be nice if there were half sizes to allow room for socks in cooler weather. When we wore the shoes while traveling, we wore a thin dress sock, because we figured the TSA people didn’t want us tramping through security in bare feet – as if they really notice?
In keeping with the rest of the design, the sole of the shoe is very simple--just a flat piece of rubber that allows the shoe to be folded easily. The sole has small, round nubs at the toe area and heel area, as well a triangle-shaped pattern at the midfoot, to provide a small amount of traction—not much, but it's better than a smooth sole. Also, the rubber has held up well, with little wear, after months of use.
As with any product, you give a little to get a little. With the Advocate, you give up some support and cushioning, but get something that you can pack along for just about any type of trip. Whether you’re sitting in an airplane or relaxing at the end of a long trek in the backcountry, it’s a wonderful luxury to slip on a shoe that’s not clunky or hot. And when you consider that your purchase will also help a local environmental group, well, the Advocate provides a little comfort for your soul, as well as your feet.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $50
For more information:www.patagonia.com