Custom Soft Star Dash

I finally had some time this weekend to work on my latest project.  It has been in the works for months and is a little embarrassing that it took this long.  But let me back up and tell the whole story.

When I first started on this minimalist journey I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them so I picked the cheapest option I could find.

Feiyue's have a supple and very soft rubber sole

Feiyue – Pronounced (Fay-you), like Tina Fey and hey you, yeah I’m talking to you.  Anyway, Feiyue’s are a bit narrow for my feet and I haven’t worn them much in the past year.  I have been wearing my RunAmoc’s or Luna’s almost exclusively.  The Luna’s are really the one that got this ball rolling.  I tried a pair of their Equus sandals and they were stiff and thin.  I didn’t like stiff at all so I removed the rubber sole and used just the cordovan leather and it was better.  A half dozen coats of leather conditioner and they were better yet.

Ok, so we have established that I like soft, so what.  Well, one day awhile ago I pulled my old Feiyue’s out and took a walk and my feet were exhausted.  I have been running in nothing but Luna’s all summer and wearing my RunAmoc’s to work, how could my feet be weak?  The Feiyue’s sole is soft, softer than any vibram product out there.  It isn’t all that thin but being so soft really made a difference.

Enter the Tough Mudder

After I signed up my first thought was shoes……I don’t have any shoes…….what am I going to wear?!  Panic sort of set in because I really only have 4 pairs of shoes.  Luna sandals, Soft Star RunAmoc SMOOTH, Vivo Dharmas, and some black dress shoes.  Dress shoes are obviously out and my RunAmoc’s are not perforated so they would be like running the race with muddy water balloons tied to my ankles.  I seriously considered the Luna’s but that much mud made be rethink it.  I searched through all of the recommended options and discussed them with many people that actually ran the Tough Mudder.  Here were my options

Regular shoes – 12 miles is not an option in regular shoes
Five Fingers – My feet are weird shaped and don’t fit them well
Inov8 – These could work but I don’t know that I would wear them beside for the race
Soft Star Dash – Based on my success with my originals, this seemed like the clear choice.  Thanks Ryan B. you help was priceless.

Soft Star has done a great job with their shoes but they only offer two choices for soles.  I didn’t want to go with the street sole due to the slippery mud factor and the trail sole is just a bit stiffer than the newflex sole I used in my huarache’s.  The tread and flexibility of the newflex would be the perfect sole if it were combined with the dash.

I have a special relationship with Soft Star and after a quick call they agreed to send me a soleless Dash RunAmoc to test on (thanks Soft Star).  I have never worn these before and the first thing I noticed was that without a sole they fit like a sock.  The laces pull the leather up and around the foot without any gaps anywhere.  The next thing I noticed was the arch.

Dash pulls up around the arch

The arch would not like to be pulled down and glued to the sole.  I took a look at the wear on my original RunAmoc’s and noticed the wear pattern.

RunAmoc Original trail sole with 500+ miles and no wear in the arch area

I decided to lighten the shoe and increase its flexibility by removing the arch since it wasn’t needed anyway and would cause me gluing problems.

Rough cut sole

I hacked a rough shape out, using my originals as a template.  Then came the messy part.  The belt sander.

Cleaning up the edges

Final sole shape

At this point I was starting to feel confident that this was going to work.  I was taking my time and had not made any mistakes.  I wanted these to last so I was going to do it right.  I stopped and made a fancy gluing press.

Homeade gluing press

My plan was to slip this inside the shoe to provide a flat hard surface to press the sole to.

Shoe with gluing press inserted

Ready to glue


The sole was the right size, I was sure of it, but the gluing board had stretched the leather bottom so the shoe was now way too big.  I tossed all my hard work making the perfect gluing board out the window and just decided to glue them.

Gluing time

Pound it, beat it, hammer it, just make sure it is on good

Top of the line "Shoe press 2000" in action

So in the end my fancy shoe press was sent to the trash but my trusty “Shoe press 2000” was ready and available.  I took my Luna’s and used them to help spread the pressure and just clamped it everywhere.  I’m going to let it sit for 3 days to make sure it has had sufficient time to cure.  I can’t wait to see how they turned out.  I’m excited and a bit nervous.  See the finished shoe HERE.



Filed under Custom Shoe, Dash, Running, Soft Star

2 responses to “Custom Soft Star Dash

  1. i really enjoy your blog! i love how thourough your reviews of different shoes are. i have a pair of clarks desert treks and i love them but since i switched over to vff’s for hiking, walking and starting to transition to minimalist running anything with too much sole hurts my feet! i was thinking of taking them to a shoe re-soler with some vibram cherry and having them rip off the sole and replace with that. but now having read about this project i’m curious about the newflex. where did you get the newflex from? thanks! and keep up the great work with your blog!

    • Thanks, I appreciate your kind words. The easiest place to get materials from is cobbler supply They have a wide assortment of sheet goods as well as a good selection of glue. I’m a bit of opportunist and just happened to have a friend that had ordered some from cobbler supply and had some left over (thanks TJ). Message boards can also help you connect with people that have some extra since a sheet is quite large.

      Resoling the Clarks should be fairly straight forward once you get the sole off. I would recommend using the Newflex over the cherry material. The trick is getting the sole off and a cobbler will come in handy here.

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