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October 31, 2010

Catching Up With Soft Star; Cold-Weather Minimalist Running, Year-Old Slipper Updates, and Video Contest Winner

OK, that's an awfully long title ... and as the name implies, it features a few odds and ends about the Soft Star company, who I haven’t written much about recently, but who still factors quite prominently in promoting happy feet for my entire family. It’s also a precursor to another product review later in the week – but for the time being, we start with the benefits of being a slacker.

* During the summer I helped promote Soft Star’s 25th Anniversary video contest, and hinted that I might take a stab at entering the contest myself, since the grand prize - one free pair of moccasins per year for 20 years – was totally sweet. Predictably, I procrastinated about getting around to actually putting something together, and ended up not entering.

Well, in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t – because there’s no WAY I could have topped the winning entry. Some dude and his expectant wife made this artsy/cool video that nicely captures Soft Star’s laid back vibe, and even features an original song. I may have a handful of gifts, but trust me - singing’s definitely not one of them. And there’s no way I could top the voter appeal of a soon-to-be-born baby, so it was clearly a great call by me to sit this one out.

Anyway, here’s the winning video:

"I'll Go Anywhere in My Soft Star Shoes" (click to play):




* Normally when I write about Soft Star nowadays, it’s to promote the RunAmoc, which remains my favorite everyday running shoe. However, attentive readers may recall that this whole relationship started with a pair of slippers – specifically, my grippy suede Roos, which I’ve worn for almost a year and a half now –in the summer as well as the winter - and which I love every bit as much today as the day we met. They’re super comfortable, but also durable and versatile enough to use as an everyday inside/outside slipper.


Grippy suede Roo after about 16 months of wear


After about 16 months, it’s apparent that the life-limiting aspect of the slippers will be the T-Rex outsole, which provides great traction in a variety of conditions, but becomes a bit slick once it gets worn down smooth in the heel and forefoot. I’ll probably stick with them through one more winter, then get myself another pair.

The only complaint I have about them is that the all-chocolate color which used to be standard has been replaced by a brown and green model; you can still get them in all brown, but it costs a little bit extra as a custom order. Knowing how much use I’ll get out of them, I won’t mind spending a few extra bucks when the time comes.

* I mentioned at the top that Soft Star has become a family favorite; we’ve bought a few children’s moccasins, and my wife has a couple pairs of her own that she’s crazy about: one is the Tesla slipper, and the other will be the topic of its own review later this week.

* Back to the RunAmoc: now that the weather is turning colder, several people have asked my recommendation for a cold-weather minimalist running shoe. Almost invariably, my answer is to combine a good winter sock (such as my personal favorite, Drymax) with the suede RunAmoc. Temperature-wise, you’re probably good to go well below the freezing level with this setup; your main problem will be rain or slush. The RunAmoc’s suede isn’t waterproof, but it’s resistant enough to get you through the last few miles before your toes get too frosty. So if you're looking for something to keep you minimal as we head towards December, that’s what I’d recommend – at least until Soft Star’s winter RunAmoc is released, that is. (**UPDATED: They're not doing the winter RunAmoc. Maybe next year.)

* Finally, on the subject of new developments, there’s this: last month I received the following e-mail from my contact person at Soft Star:

We are working with a designer on a VERY different minimal running shoe. We’ll be looking for testers to put some miles on them mid-Novemberish… are you interested?

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I don’t have anything in hand yet – but as soon as I’m allowed to test or talk about anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.



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4 comments:

Anonymous,  11/1/10, 8:14 AM  

Hi Donald,

Have you tested the Vivo Barefoot Evo II which is water resistant and could be the ideal winter running shoe?

RH Averett 11/1/10, 10:32 AM  

You should have entered the contest. The winning video didn't do anything for me.

Donald 11/1/10, 11:07 AM  

Anon: Funny you should ask ... I'm supposed to be receiving some this week. That sounds like a great option as well.

RH: Nah ... still glad I sat it out. But maybe I'll start working on my 30th anniversary campaign soon.

Boris Terzic 11/1/10, 7:06 PM  

The winning video wasn't the greatest, you should have done one!

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