Tag Archives: RunAmoc SMOOTH

Original RunAmoc 1 Year Update

Since most reviews stop after their initial testing, leaving the long term performance in question, I wanted to show the full life cycle of my favorite shoe.  The Soft Star RunAmoc SMOOTH has been my primary shoe for the past year.  I have logged about 500 running miles and over 800 walking/hiking miles in the past year in them.  There was never a single time that I wished for a more substantial shoe.  I was concerned many times that I was going to get hurt due to the thin sole, but it never happened.  I carried a 50 lbs pack and a 30 lb 2 year old over crushed granite while backpacking and came out feeling great.

Overall Impression
The RunAmoc is one of the few products I have encountered where its value far exceeds the cost.  My pair has seen daily use for a year.  That is a year of running, hiking, walking, climbing, digging, building, traveling and generally being abused.  I don’t baby these, and they don’t seem to mind the abuse.  A quick wipe with a damp cloth and they are good enough for the office again.  I have raved about these throughout my long term testing so I will leave those thoughts there.  What I want to highlight here is what happened over the year period.  The sole wore out.  Yep, that’s it.  Post done.

Seriously, the shoe is almost exactly the same as it was when it was new.  The leather is perfect, the stitching is still intact, the sole is still attached.  In a couple of months I’m going to have to replace the sole but that is a minor cost compared to buying a new shoe.

Ok, it wasn’t really all unicorns and rainbows.  I did have two issues over the year.  The first was the insole.  Yes, all RunAmoc’s have insoles.  Mine was glued in, and after 7 months the glue started to fail at the heel (Soft Star now stitches the insoles in, fixing the problem).  The second issue I had was with the leather stretching.  Leather has the amazing ability to stretch and take the shape of your foot.  However, this can be a double edged sword.  My pair stretched too much in the heel which allowed my foot to slip back too far.  I fixed this by copying the dash heel cup.  The added piece of leather greatly helped the heel issue.

What I really loved about my RunAmoc’s was how wearable they were.  I could wear them to the office, come home, take them for a run and then wear them to dig post holes.  I have spilled 218 degree boiling sap on them, dumped red paint on them, played in the rain, worked in the mud and literally destroyed them many, many times.  In all cases, a wipe with a damp rag cleaned the leather and a squirt from the garden hose cleaned the sole.  I can’t think of any other shoe that could have survived this type of abuse and continued to look like they were new.

Leather after 14 months of constant use still looks great

Almost worn through the sole

Almost worn through the heel

Heel detail, note that the leather is starting to wear now that the sole is thin



Filed under Long term test, Review, Soft Star RunAmoc Review

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.


Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

RunAmocs have magic powers

RunAmocs have magic powers?  Yes that is the only way I can figure out how they made this shoe work.  Let me digress before I continue.  I spent 3 yrs as a Vasque shoe tester and saw many shoe designs.  All of the designs were attempts to make the shoe more comfortable or to prevent some problem from happening.  There were many attempts designed to hold the foot in the shoe better.  Mainly this consisted of tongue, lacing, or heel cup changes.  All of the design changes eventually made it to production and were generally good but the RunAmocs perform superior to them all.  What blows my mind is that all of the changes to the Vasque shoes were attempts to ADD to the design.  Add support, add padding, add lacing, tension, plastic…….you get the picture.  I have so many good Vasques that they make up my entire outdoor shoe collection, until last year when I tried my first pair of minimalist shoes.

Enough history, on to the magic powers.  Here is what I can’t understand.  The RunAmoc is essentially a flat piece of rubber with enough leather sown on to keep it on your foot.  This shoe should slip and slide and flop all over.  It doesn’t have any of the fancy features of other shoes.  Almost unbelievable it stays put.  It doesn’t slip on steep descents, it doesn’t slip on steep climbs, it doesn’t flop around, and it doesn’t fall off.  From walking to sprinting up or down hills it is magically magnetized to your foot.  Furthermore, it is quiet, comfortable, arguable stylish, and I rarely get trail debris in the cuff even though it is wide open.

I don’t understand it nor do I care to.  I’m just happy to run and enjoy the magic.

(Stay tuned, later in the week I will post lots of RunAmoc style pictures, basically me wearing them with lots of different types of clothes)

1 Comment

Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

Why I chose Soft Star RunAmocs

With so many ‘minimalist’ shoes flooding the market why did I choose the RunAmocs?  I’m a practical person and I don’t have the budget to buy a shoe for every occasion.  I wanted something that was versatile and comfortable.  This was primarily going to be my running shoe but since I didn’t really have a casual shoe either I wanted it to work for both.

Criteria (In this order):

  • Wide roomy toe box
  • Thin flexible sole (no support)
  • Durable
  • Stylish
  • Affordable

The options that made my short list:

  • KSO
  • Trail Glove
  • RunAmocs
  • Evo
  • ZEM

It came down to the KSO and the RunAmocs.  I ruled out the ZEM for durability, the Evo for price, the trail glove, well just because.  The KSO has some durability issues and in the end I really didn’t ‘need’ separate toes.  The RunAmocs didn’t have any strikes against them.  Buyers remorse?  NO WAY!  They have fully lived up to the reviews and my expectations.

Additional benefits I wasn’t expecting that come with the RunAmoc are the comfort and the quiet.

When I say comfort it is on a differnt level than normal shoe comfort.  It is slipper comfy or barefoot comfy.  The first shoe that I didn’t take off to watch a movie comfy.  They are also great to wear before, during and after a run.  No more switching in to flip flops after a run.

Quiet is probably an understatement.  These are ninja quiet.  I was running a long stretch today on asphalt and couldn’t hear my foot hit the asphalt.  Running with bad form can make them slap a bit but with a quick light form they are silent,…..seriously.  It is a bit strange, being almost weightless and silent makes running feel more effortless, like gliding rather than running.  It felt like I was on one of those moving walkways in the airport.

Not being able to feel or hear your shoe has been my favorite unknown benefit of owning the RunAmocs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

Walking in RunAmocs

I have recently been wearing my dress shoes to work and running after work in my RunAmocs.  I have been doing this to keep the leather from absorbing too much foot moisture during the day.  What I noticed was that after wearing nothing but my RunAmocs for a week, that wearing heeled dress shoes felt awkward to walk in.  I had a hard time with my stride being as fluid and smooth as while wearing my RunAmocs.

The reason for this post is that many people have never walked in minimalist shoes and I was reminded today what that was like.  After wearing dress shoes all day I decided it was time to get some fresh air and go for a walk.  I slipped on my RunAmocs and smiled because they felt so good.  As I took my first couple of steps I realized that I felt awkward walking in my RunAmocs.  I quickly regained my fluid, effortless gait but it reminded me of my first walk in minimalist shoes.  So here is what to expect when switching.

You will instinctively misjudge the ground and smash your heel into the pavement.  My first couple of steps caused me to instantly notice my feet and foot placement.  I had never done this before but now it was all I could think about.  1/4 mile later and I thought my heel was getting bruised so I started moving my weight forward.  The problem with this is that you can not take as long of strides and end up looking strange walking on your toes.  Overtime however, you will realize that you can walk heel to toe but you have to relearn the height of your stride.  Think of it this way.  Walking in high heels is not smooth or efficient.  The further you get from heels the smoother you can be.  As soon as you learn to walk in RunAmocs you will never want to walk in “walking shoes” again.  The difference is in the foot placement.  Once you get your stride down you will gently place your heel on the ground and start adding weight while rolling forward.  It feels like you are gliding (similar to cross country skiing) rather than stomping.

If you are a walker and thinking about the RunAmocs I would definitely recommend them.  There will be a transition period where you will be sore and feel awkward but after a month in RunAmocs I guarantee you will toss your walking shoes (mine were redeployed as my mowing shoes).

Leave a comment

Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

Soft Star Runamoc Smooth Review Continued

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As promised I have included some pictures of my Soft Star RunAmoc smooth in action.

Updated review

I have been wearing these for 2 weeks now.  There is mostly good but some bad too.  First the bad.

  • The toe issue on my left foot has not gotten better.  My last run left me with very raw toes on my left foot.  I am going to try a variety of socks to see if that helps.  I think this is a combination of form, socks, and the roughness of the leather footbed.  I think this will get better with more miles and sweat but for now the leather is holding up too well!
  • Sweaty feet.  Now I have to explain this a bit.  I have very sweaty feet.  The RunAmoc actually do a good job of breathing considering they are fully enclosed.  My issue is not that the shoes are too sweaty but after wearing them for 8 hrs straight the leather has absorbed so much moisture that they feel damp and drive me crazy.  If they sit overnight they are better by morning but they feel very wet if I only give them an hour break.  I’m not complaining here.  The fact that the leather is absorbing moisture is keeping my feet dryer, but when they reach their limit I have to get out of them.  I know, they make a perforated version for a reason but I have the smooth version so this review is for that version.  I’m sure I’ll be getting the perforated version eventually for added breathability.
  • Supple leather.  I love the soft supple leather these are made out of.  Trust me I do.  But I have found one annoyance from the suppleness.  Look at the picture below.  I have lightly traced my toes in red.

Toe area

The problem here is that the leather tends to mold to your foot shape.  This is great but I find that I catch the material while running downhill.  I wish I could stiffen the area right around the front a bit to get it to stand up and provide a little room for my toes to move forward.  Right now it lays on the foot bed until my toes cause it to come up.  I try to stuff my socks in the toes each night to get the leather to stand up a bit.  This sort of helps but not enough.

Ok, enough complaining, now for the good.

After wearing these exclusively for a week I started liking them less.  They didn’t feel special they just felt normal.  All that changed when I put my ‘other’ shoes back on.  I didn’t realize how much my toes were able to move and how little pressure there was on my foot.  My other shoes felt tight and confining.  My toes were smashed and I couldn’t stand to be in them.  I instantly longed to wear my RunAmocs again.  They were again promoted to superstar status.

Trail soles

I haven’t tried the street soles but for all around use I can’t fault the trail soles at all.  Soft Star did a great job at picking the perfect thickness to provide ground feel protection and durability.  I have walked on ice, hot pavement, mud, rocks, and everything in between.  The trail sole is thin but rather stiff so stepping on a rock doesn’t hurt as bad as it would barefoot but you can definitely feel that it is there.  While rock hopping across a river I noticed that my toes were actually attempting to grab on which provided lots of stability.


One very noticeable change has occurred while wearing my RunAmocs.  My ability to balance is superb.  Initially I thought it was due to my feet being stronger (I have been wearing minimalist shoes for over a year now).  I decided to conduct a very unscientific test.  I tend to balance on one bare foot while putting my first shoe on then balance on the shod foot to put the second shoe on.  What I noticed is that I never tipped, swayed, or faltered while putting my RunAmocs on.  I felt like I was locked to the ground.  So the test went like this, put on a regular running shoe and try to do the swan yoga pose.  I did it barefoot, in my RunAmocs and in my running shoe.  The RunAmocs made me the most stable followed very closely by barefoot but whoa the running shoes were like balancing on a ball.  I was all over the place.  I noticed that my feet were searching for a solid surface but being smashed as they were the were taken out of the equation.  This made me think about my running balance is with RunAmocs vs running shoes.  Are my toes sore because they have never before been able to provide balance.


My last but favorite trait about the RunAmocs is that they are so wearable.  The match with most everything and can be slipped on and off effortlessly.  To me this is a great design feature that is never talked about.  When on your foot the RunAmoc will not fall off but due to the flexibility of the leather simply collapsing the heel with your hand allows your foot to slip straight out the back.  To put them on slip them back in, pull up the heel and they are on.  The leather is the perfect stiffness no not allow you foot back out unless you want it to.  The laces always stay tied and have never come undone while running.  I Love it.

I plan on doing a lot more running in the next month so I’m hopeful that the leather foot bed will become smoother and my toe issues will subside.  I’ll post after I put some miles on them.


Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review

Soft Star Runamoc Smooth Review

I have been looking for a good pair of minimalist shoes to wear running and hiking and liked the idea of the RunAmocs, but didn’t want the perforated variety.  There was very little out there on the smooth variety so this post will serve to fill that gap.  I will provide as much detail as possible and would be happy to answer any questions.

First off I want to say thank you to the staff at Soft Star and their excellent customer service.  My feet are apparently freakishly tall and the fist pair was too tight over the midfoot.  They made me a second pair that fit perfect.  Thanks

On with the review

Initial impressions

When you first slide your foot in, the leather sandwiches your toes and midfoot.  This feels strange at first, like sliding into a tucked bed.  You will first notice that your big toe is pressing against the leather on top of your toe.  I didn’t like this feeling so I stuffed a rolled sock into the toes of each shoe, let it sit overnight and in the morning the leather stretched just enough so that it was no longer confining.

First Run

I debated running with or without socks for the first run.  I decided on socks to be on the safe side.  I did an easy 3.5 miles up and down hills mostly on paved paths.  My first issue was with the ankle closure being too tight.  I stopped about 4 times to loosen the laces.  Coming from traditional shoes I kept tightening them until snug.  The RunAmocs did not work well being snug.  I found that the looser they were the better they felt.  I was concerned about them falling off but my worries were squashed when they stayed perfectly in place.

My next issue was the socks.  Most foot beds are smooth so the sock stays put on your foot and slides on the foot bed.  The foot bed on the RunAmoc is made of leather which fought my foot for my sock.  After about 1.5 miles my sock had started to ball up under my heel and I stopped and took them off.  Sliding my feet back into the RunAmocs barefoot was a wonderful experience.  The leather was so soft and supple my feet were celebrating.  The rest of the 2 miles were fantastic.  After the run I had two minor issues.  My big toe on my left foot was mildly tender and my ankles itched a bit.  The tender toe is a good sign in my opinion, showing that my toes are getting into the run.  The itchy ankles was due to the leather rubbing with each step sans socks.  I think that both of these issues will go away with time and am happy with my first run.

Casual vs Running vs Hiking

This weekend I lived in my RunAmocs.  I wore them for everything.  We did a great test loop that consisted of running 2 miles to go geocaching.  The geocaching was done in the woods on the side of a steep hill covered with slippery mud, rocks and lots of pickers.  My wife complained about the traction with her KSO’s but I had no slipping or issues at all.  I was also surprised to find that I didn’t get any debris into my shoes and the pickers didn’t poke through my trail soles.  We ran another mile to the next cache and then ran to the store to pick up some dinner.  While walking, the RunAmocs were loose and casual but when running something changed.  They somehow became more comfortable, less floppy and overall better feeling.  I actually stopped and walked several times to compare the difference.  It’s almost like they grab my foot while running and chill out when walking.  Overall I would say they feel the best while running, great for hiking and good for walking.


I have read that some people don’t like the look while others think they are great.  As with all styles we all have our opinion.  Here is mine.  The all black leather  generally don’t stand out while wearing pants.  I think they compliment pants well due to the dressier nature of leather.  I can wear them with jeans, khakis, and black dress pants without looking foolish.  They defiantly have a unique look and anyone that is looking at your feet will notice that they are not standard shoes, however, they do not draw the attention of VFF’s.  I work in a business casual environment (slacks and dress shirt) and wear mine without concern.  I’m a bit more self conscious in shorts though as they are more noticeably different.  I will run in them but may opt for other shoes while wearing shorts and relaxing.  They will most definitely give you the hippie appearance of wearing moccasins in shorts.  Not bad, just not my favorite style.

I will continue reviewing the RunAmocs each week until I have no more to say about them.  I will include pictures next post so stay tuned.


Filed under Soft Star RunAmoc Review