Shown in the photo below is my newest footwear from Soft Star Shoes. These are a custom pair of Soft Star’s original RunAmoc running moccasins. They’re size 11 in the wide width with flint-colored leather for the front and back of the shoe and black leather for the saddle. The laces are used to cinch the foot opening closed around the ankle. There are three different sole options available for this shoe: Trail (5mm Vibram), Street (2mm Vibram), or Bullhide leather. I chose the 5mm Vibram Trail sole for these moccasins.
I own several other pairs of Soft Star shoes, including a number of pairs of the Dash RunAmoc (which looks more like a conventional shoe), a pair of Roo moccasins, and a pair of Hawthorne Chukkas. I had originally dismissed the original RunAmoc as too weird looking. However, after purchasing Roo moccasins for myself and several members of my family, I began to wonder what it’d be like to hike with them. The Roo moccasins have a suede leather sole and stain very easily when worn outside. I decided to reserve my Roo mocs for inside use and got a pair of original RunAmocs for outdoor use. Of course, now I’m wondering what it’d be like to hike with a pair having the bullhide sole. (I may test this by doing a hike in my Dash RunAmocs with the bullhide leather sole.)
On the day that I took this photo, I hiked nine miles with the RunAmocs shown in the picture. I especially enjoyed the rocky ridge line of the Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Park – walking over the rocks provides a marvelous foot massage. I had previously worn them for a 2.25 mile (test) hike on the day that I got them. Despite being kind of baggy in the heel area, it didn’t cause me any problems or blisters (anywhere).
I have a lot of experience hiking with the Dash RunAmoc. Hiking with the original RunAmoc is quite similar, though I do feel as though there’s more room in the shoe for my toes. The toe area of the Dash RunAmoc is quite tight when new, though within a few uses the leather stretches to conform to your toes. The fact that the laces pull the opening around the ankles closed in the original RunAmoc also helps to keep rocks and sand from entering. When I wear my Dash RunAmocs, I wear trail running gaiters to help prevent this from happening.
Based on my experience with the Dash RunAmoc, I expect that the original RunAmocs will (also):
- Resist thorns in both the soles and the uppers. The soles are among the thinnest of any of the minimalist shoes that I own, but are, in my experience, the most thorn resistant. With regard to the uppers, I have found that jumping cholla do not stick to the smooth leather uppers. (This is why I did not choose suede for the uppers. While I do think that suede would have a more outdoorsy look, they’re both harder to keep clean and will more readily allow thorned plants to stick to the upper.)
- Keep my feet from getting dusty. When it gets hot and dry in Arizona, certain trails get churned up to the point where it looks like cake mix. This fine clay dust easily sifts through mesh uppers of other outdoor shoes that I own. The relatively solid leather of these moccasins will keep the dust out.
- Provide good traction on loose surfaces. The Vibram trail soles on these shoes perform the best of all of the stock soles of all of the minimalist shoes that I own. The only ones which are better are the shoes which I’ve had resoled with 5.10 Stealth rubber.
- Not stink. My various Soft Star shoes have all remained pleasant smelling regardless of age.