Handmade shoes made in Oregon state, from untanned leather with options for both vibram and leather soles. There a also vegan leather options. Styles of shoes range from moccasins to boots to Mary Janes, sandals, shoes appropriate for work, and running shoes. They can be made in any size starting at infant shoes and all the way up past size 14. They come in wide, normal, and narrow sizes, and extra wide shoes can also be ordered. There are also options for customizing the color and design of many of the shoes.
EDIT: the sale is quite over, as this post was from a year ago. But, I'll try to post when there's new sales!
I love these shoes for myself and my two kids, but they are expensive. But, I just got an email today that they are doing their annual clearance sale today. I ordered a new pair of shoes for myself, and for my little baby when she gets a bit older.
The "ramblers" are my go-to gardening shoe for when I'm not doing a lot of digging and the grass isn't horrendously wet or muddy. I love that I can slip these on easily and that I can feel the ground in these--it saves me from tripping all the time on my uneven ground. I also love that the are tanned with non-toxic dyes and are handmade in Oregon. It's best to wear dark socks if wearing these in wetness, as some of the dyes like to bleed. They sell shoes with both vibram or leather soles, the latter being great for those who are interested in being "grounded." They also sell some shoe designs that are great for semi-casual settings (ballerina flats, Mary Jane-styles, chucckas, and running shoes)
Anyway, I figured I'd give a heads up to those out there looking for an ethical, handmade, minimalist shoes....and who can't/don't want to pay full price!
I have multiple pairs of Softstars for both my kids and myself. I use the "Rambler" moccasins for gardening, and they generally last me about a year of hard-wear in rainy weather each before I need to get new ones. I also have a pair of Merry Janes that I wear when shopping/going to church/visiting friends/etc--those have lasted three years and still look as good as new. I've received multiple compliments for my Merry Janes over the years. They are lovely and comfortable and their color hasn't faded at all. All of the Softstar shoes have been great for my posture and gait--I used to walk with my feet pointed out, but once I started wearing minimalist shoes, that stopped occurring. I've also noticed that my flat feet have gained arches, and when I wear these shoes, I no longer need orthopedics. My ankles have also strengthened, and it's been a long time since I've sprained my ankle. I used to sprain and twist my ankles a lot, even when wearing boots.
I also love these shoes for my children--they are the only shoes I want my kids wearing. They allow their foot muscles to develop and they are wide enough that their feet do not get squished. My son last year decided that he wanted to wear rain boots instead of his Softstars, and I recently discovered that his toes were starting to get squished in--from just a few months of wearing something other than Softstars! These shoes also come in lots of different colors, and every so often they have sales on their "Design Your Own" shoes, which is how my son got his red "sparkle shoes" and my daughter her purple "elf" shoes. My daughter is now wearing my son's shoes that he outgrew, as they are still in good condition, albeit a little faded from the rain and sun. My favorite shoes for them are the Roo moccasins for when they are learning to walk and the Ramblers (best for when they've mastered walking).
There's three reasons I knocked an acorn off of my score. (1) They've become more and more expensive over the years, (2) The dye on some of the shoes tends to fade and wear out, especially in wet grass, (3) The quality sometimes seems vary--I've had one shoe where the elastic was way too loose around my ankles and the gap between the front and back leather was really big, meaning I was constantly getting rocks and dirt and water coming in through the side.
Despite these negatives, these are my favorite shoes. I wait anxiously for Softstar's sales to buy shoes for my kids and myself, because otherwise I simply cannot afford them. I love that these shoes are all natural, non-toxic (I'll gladly have them fade a little and know that they are non-toxic, especially for my little ones. )
Below is a picture of the Softstars I could find before it started raining too hard for a picture. You can see my two old pairs of moccasins, as well as me wearing my current pair. You can also see my current pair of Merry Janes (it's a suede corduroy and none of the color has faded) and my old pair of Merry Janes (you can see the faded color on where my big toe was). There's also a bunch of my kids' shoes that they outgrew. We love our Softstars!