Having recently eclipsed 500 miles on my Soft Star RunAmocs, I figured it was time for an update post soon. The timing also worked out well to talk about another pair of Soft Stars that has been my most heavily used shoe so far this summer. And just as I putting both of those ideas together, I received an e-mail from the company announcing a contest opportunity to win free mocs for life* (*well … most of it, anyway). All of which meant it was time to get going on the post.
This is also a good time to mention that I don’t just review complimentary pairs of Soft Stars that are given to me – I also spend my own actual money (shocking, I know) on shoes and slippers that have become my absolute favorites over the past year.
A good case in point is my chocolate suede RunAmocs, which I purchased with no intention of using as a running shoe. Rather, they’ve been my general all-purpose shoes just about every day over the spring and summer so far. I’ve worn them to restaurants and museums and amusement parks and college campuses, for shopping and hiking and even shooting baskets on the playground.
I consider them a perfect combination of minimalism (with just a 2mm outsole), durability, and comfort, and I also have to admit that I simply love the style of them. I know that the moccasin look isn’t for everyone – insert your elf or hobbit joke here – but there’s just something very native and "back to basics" about it that I find simply charming. And if that sounds like a little too much fondness for a pair of shoes, so be it.
Truth be told, I have an almost equal amount of love for my ventilated leather RunAmoc Lites that I use for – get this! – running. It’s no secret that I’ve tested a lot of minimalist running shoes around these parts, but time and again I find myself reaching for my RunAmocs before the longest or most ambitious runs. (The Evo is also very high on my list; those two have been duking it out quite a bit as my favorites lately.)
Sadly, after more than 500 miles, they’re starting to show signs of age. On the outsole, the heel areas have worn down to the point where I am definitely sacrificing some traction on really challenging terrain like steep hills with loose dirt, so I now have to be a little bit selective about where I wear them. I’ve also discovered a minor weakness in one particular portion of the upper, which I’ll describe in more detail in an upcoming post.
I have to say though, 500 miles is a very reasonable lifespan in my opinion; it certainly is comparable to the longevity of a standard pair of running shoes. It’s not quite on par with the durability of Vibram’s FiveFinger outsole, but both Vibram and VivoBarefoot have some structural integrity concerns that I’ll write about in the near future as well (Don’t worry - I’ll be sure to copy you).
For now, instead of replacing them, I’m just going to keep running in the pair I have – partly because I still prefer them to most other running shoes, and partly out of curiosity to see how much more I can beat them up before I finally feel like they’re unusable.
And now for the contest: Soft Star is marking its 25th anniversary this year, and they’re celebrating by conducting a sweepstakes that doubles as a community video project.
Here’s the deal: create and submit a short (20 seconds to 3 minutes) video portrait that meets two criteria:
1) Includes a single written word that describes how it feels to wear Soft Star shoes, and
2) Answers the question, “Where have your Soft Star shoes taken you?”
The winner will receive one $60 gift certificate per year for 20 years. While it’s not exactly a trip to Mont-Blanc, it’s certainly enough to keep you supplied with my favorite moccasins for a very, very long time. And you’ll make your feet extremely happy.
Better yet, your chances of winning this contest are pretty good. How good? Consider this line from an e-mail the company sent out earlier this month:
You have an EXCELLENT chance of winning the grand prize: No one has sent anything in yet despite the contest being out since April! We are looking forward to seeing the faces of many of our customers from around the world.
Obviously, the contest favors people who are already Soft Star owners. There’s still a lot of time left, though, so you could potentially go shopping for a pair now and enter the contest before the August 15th deadline. Or maybe you could borrow a pair from a friend and try your luck. Whatever you decide, click here for full contest details.
I have a video idea in mind that I might enter; the only question is whether I’ll ever have time to actually go out and film it. If not, I’ll keep racking up the miles on the Soft Stars I already have, running and walking and slipper-ing to my heart’s content.