Final RunAmoc SMOOTH Review

View my 1 Year Review

After almost 3 months of constant use I feel that I have learned as much as possible about my RunAmoc’s.  The past 3 month experience has been exciting and enlightening.  I’m not going to say that they are my favorite shoes ever because everyone says that when they buy something new.  A more objective statement is that my RunAmoc’s are the most versatile, useful, and comfortable shoe that I have worn, seen or heard of.  Put it this way; if I were to pick one shoe to wear for the rest of my life, my RunAmoc’s wold be the clear choice.

RunAmoc Summary

My RunAmoc’s have made me look at the function of a shoe and the role technology plays in supporting that design.  Fashion aside, a shoe has one primary purpose – protect the foot.  I remember a quote that said “It is easy to make something function better with more but it is an art to make it function better with less”.  This quote seems to embody exactly what I found to be true of the RunAmoc’s.  I remember thinking how can this “shoe” work so well when there are shoes with microprocessors controlling them based on millions of dollars of R&D.

The RunAmoc is so simple but works so amazingly well.  Here is a list of what has made my RunAmoc’s my choice for running, hiking, walking, and general wear.

  • Wide toe box – Allows your toes unlimited movement
  • Flat foot bed – You won’t know how amazing this is until go back to regular shoes after wearing RunAmoc’s for awhile.
  • Leather – One of my “favorite things”.  Leather is clean, tough, warm on cool days, cool on warm days, non-odor retaining, feels great on your skin, and all around beautiful.
  • Flexible – Ground feel has been perfect.  You can feel everything without having the pain that comes from feeling everything. (See picture below)
  • Comfort – the first shoe that is truly comfortable to wear.  No pressure points, no rubbing, no blisters, no seams, no discomfort at all.  One very unusual but pleasing benefit is when you kick your calf while running, it is a soft caress of leather rather than the harsh bite of the sole.
  • Wearable – Slips on, slips off, but stays on when on.  This is part of the RunAmoc “magic”.  They are so easy to take on and off but stay on like they were glued to your foot.  Added benefits are that they can stay on while changing cloths as they do not get snagged on shorts, pants, underwear, etc like regular shoes.
  • Durability – I have about 200 miles on mine and have worn the nubs down 1/4 way under the ball of my foot.  The leather shows no wear.  I expect to wear these for the next 5 years at least.  I’m assuming after 1,000 miles the sole will be smooth but the shoe will still be fully functional. (See picture below)
  • Protection – VFF wearers constantly complain about stubbed toes.  This doesn’t happen in RunAmoc’s.  Also the smooth leather provides additional unexpected protection (continue reading for the full story)
  • Breathable – I have complained about this before but compared to my other shoes the RunAmoc’s actually handle my super sweaty feet better than all my other shoes. (See picture below)
  • Light – I can’t express how freeing light shoes have been.  Other shoes feel like you taped sand bags to your feet.  You feel more energetic, happy, light, springy, and enthusiastic to be out and about.

RunAmoc’s for running

Most people seem to use their RunAmoc’s for running, which they are very well suited.  They work great on asphalt, dirt trails, rocks and even snow and ice.  I found that they seemed to auto fit to my feet while running.  Like in the 2nd Back To The Future movie.  While running slow or fast they stayed perfectly in place.  During hard sprinting I did notice a little slipping.  I laughed that the “magic powers” couldn’t hold on to my sprinting speed.  Although you could easily run a 5 min mile pace in these without issue.

The lightness of the RunAmoc’s is really appreciated towards the end of my runs.  Have you ever stopped running and had a really hard time starting again?  I attribute this to foot pain and heavy shoes.  This literally has never happened to me since switching to my RunAmoc’s.

Overall, fit is fantastic.  The leather is thin and melts around your feet.  I like the fact that they fit a little big as it gives my toe room on the downhills.  Transitioning from other minimalist shoes to RunAmoc’s would require little to no break in.  RunAmoc’s would be great for anyone that runs.  If you are a recreational runner doing a mile at a time or an ultra runner, RunAmoc’s would make you happy, I promise.

My top 5 reasons to run in RunAmoc’s

  1. Light
  2. Barefoot properties
  3. Quiet
  4. Comfort
  5. Protection

RunAmoc’s for walking

Since getting my RunAmoc’s I haven’t wanted to take them off so I did most other activities in them too.  Conclusion, they are terrific walking and hiking shoes.  After  long walks my feet never hurt.  They actually tingle.  Not a numb tingle but more like a foot massage tingle.  A long day at the mall gave me fresh tingly feet.  Weird I know.  I think it has something to do with circulation, I’m not really sure but what I do know is that walking feels so good, I often take a detour to lengthen my route because it feel so good.

I also notice that my stride had changed.  Walking in RunAmoc’s is more natural and efficient than in other shoes.  This is due to the zero drop heel.  Anyone that walks in these will likely feel strange at first but once your gait changes you will never go back to walking in regular shoes.  Think of walking 10k in high heels.  This is how normal shoes feel after walking in RunAmoc’s.  Interestingly enough walking in my RunAmoc’s is way more natural than in my Vivo Barefoot Dharma’s and Feiyue’s  I don’t know why, they just are.

Top 5 reasons to walk in RunAmoc’s

  1. Light – this is always good no matter what you do
  2. Barefoot properties – strengthens you feet and makes you feel better
  3. Versatile – Walking or hiking on roads, trails or through the woods your feet will be protected, comfortable and happy
  4. Comfort – Spend a month walking in RunAmoc’s and you will never be able to walk in anything else.  Seriously, you don’t know what you are missing.
  5. Shape – Wide toe box allows toes to spread.  Material covers foot but does not cause any pressure points.

RunAmoc Sole

I think the sole choice needs some additional attention.  For perspective, I have recently purchased some Vivo Barefoot Dharma’s and have worn Feiyue’s for years.  The RunAmoc’s are much better to walk in than either of these two.  Soles can be thick or thin and stiff or supple.  Soft Star matched the two perfectly in their trail sole.  Think of a thin sheet of steel.  Very thin but not flexible.  Now compare that to a piece of tinfoil.  Very thin and very flexible.  My Feiyue’s were more than twice as thick as my Dharma’s but much less stiff.  Stepping on one of these:

Sweet gum balls

would hurt really bad.  The sole was around 8mm thick but the pressure was all concentrated in one spot and essentially provided no protection.  However, stepping on one of these in my Dharma’s with its 3mm sole didn’t hurt at all.  The stiffness transferred the load to a much larger area.  Ground feel is more a function of flexibility thank thickness.  Soft Star picked a sole that has just enough protection to protect your feet while still providing the necessary ground feel to maintain the barefoot properties.  I wouldn’t be turned off by the thickness of the trail sole.  The flexibility is what they got right, the thickness just means you will be able to enjoy them for much longer.

How barefoot are the RunAmoc trail soles?

Wet RunAmoc print - looks almost barefoot doesn't it

Although the trail sole isn’t the thinnest of the minimalist shoes the flexibility is perfect and really makes it feel like you are barefoot.

Overall Impressions

To sum up my experience with my RunAmoc’s, I would say that these shoes represent the best value in shoes today.  The material quality and craftsmanship are much higher than any other commercially available shoe in the same price range.  The design of the shoe is simple and effective.  Something this comfortable and good for you, not to mention versatile and durable should either cost $500 or be on everyone’s feet.

My RunAmoc’s are my favorite purchase of 2010 and I couldn’t imagine life without them.

I couldn’t review the RunAmoc’s without mentioning the Soft Star elves.  Purchasing Soft Star shoes is more than a purchase it is almost like making a new friend.  Their customer service is beyond outstanding.  They make you feel like family.  I have coined it “Apple Pie Service” because every time I talk to them I feel like they are about to invite me over for a warm slice of fresh baked apple pie.

I promised to include pictures so here you go.  Style was one of my biggest concerns so I hope these pictures help show what these will look like.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This has been a long post but I wanted to share one last story about the unintended benefits of wearing my RunAmoc’s.  Several weeks ago I flew home to help out with the maple syrup process.  (RunAmoc’s are the best travel/airplane shoe ever)  I spent the day in my RunAmoc’s collecting sap.  It was 40 degrees, raining and the ground was still snow and ice covered.  At one point I stepped in a large slushy hole.  I was concerned that I was going to have wet feet but I luckily only went 4″ into it toe first and didn’t get in it deep enough to submerge the side vents.  I came out totally dry and continued the collection in warm dry feet.  The ground feel really helped with balance and traction while carrying 60 lbs of sap out of the woods across uneven and slippery ground.

Later while boiling the sap down we took the syrup which was now at 218 degrees and started the straining process.  My father and I were both next to the strainer when it broke and we were both covered in 218 degree syrup.  My RunAmoc’s protected my feet and I was completely protected.  My father on the other hand had regular shoes that allowed the hot syrup to absorb in and gave him 3rd degree burns on a 4″x3″ portion of his foot.  After tending to his burn I simply took a wet rag and wiped my RunAmoc’s off and they were good as new.

I hope these series of post has helped to answer some of the questions about this great shoe.

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5 Comments

Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

5 responses to “Final RunAmoc SMOOTH Review

  1. Great review! I can’t help but agree with you completely. I’ve had my RunAmoc Lites for a good while now (I’ve run everything from trail 5K to trail marathons in them), and there’s simply nothing like them. I rotate between my RunAmocs and a new pair of Altra Instincts depending on my needs (Instincts are great on pavement).

  2. JimH

    I have the same shoe. I agree with everything you’ve said. Great review. I just wish I could keep mine clean enough to wear casually but the truth is I wear them nearly every day for muddy trail runs. I clean them once a week with a wet sponge and give them a vigorous toothbrush massage with Sno-Seal or Mink Oil to keep them soft and waterproof. I find that I can run though moderately deep puddles and (because I’m on my toes) keep my feet dry. But even after a slosh through ankle deep water the shoes drain almost instantly and my feet never feel wet or weighed down. I hope the elves won’t discontinue this simple SMOOTH shoe. I’m not crazy about the lace up Dash styling. The single lace around the top is all that is needed and it keeps the crap out of my shoes. Nuff said.

  3. I came to your blog because I googled Runamoc Dash. I’ve been wearing Runamoc Smooth in black for work for half a year and I’m no longer in agony at the end of the day. My feet are happy, comfortable and getting stronger without the support of a traditional shoe. They are also changing shape! The one issue I have is that my ankles are so narrow and my toes spread so wide that if I lace them up tight my heel is pushed forward a little and then my pinky toes are ever so slightly squashed. So I wear the lace quite loose round the ankle which is perfect for standing and walking but not so good for running. That said, they are by far the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn on my feet, so I hope that the Dash’s conventional lacing system will address my minor issue and provide me with a secure fit which I can test out on the roads and trails.

  4. Sarah Frey

    I primarily use the Runamoc also for trail running and think it’s a great shoe. I’ve been using the ORIGINAL RunAmoc – LITE for at least a year. I live near Milwaukee though, and am still searching for a shoe to wear in weather 40 degrees and colder. The Runamoc I have with the 2mm sole and holes in the leather don’t make it warm enough. I’ve been using the 6 mm Invisible Shoe huarache and injinji socks in the winter, which works ok. If I love the Ronamoc, would you recommend the Runamoc smooth 5mm trail shoe sized to wear with socks? (I don’t usually wear socks with my original Runamocs).

    • The originals work great in the winter. I ran in Northern WI all winter with or without socks and my feet were always toasty warm. The 5mm helps to insulate from the cold ground and provides some additional traction. The smooth leather is substantially thicker than the perforated leather and therefore much warmer. When it got below 20 degrees I always went for sock, but even in -20 degrees my feet were warm while running. If you like the lite’s you will like these too.

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