We're Breaking-Up with Grippy
The New Year is fast approaching, marking a time to celebrate the joys and successes of the past year, and also a time of transitions, of letting go of the old and embracing change. Here at the Soft Star workshop, we'll be honoring the spirit of the season by saying farewell to our "Grippy" rubber moccasin soles. The Grippy material has been a part of our product family for nearly a decade, and we know that many Soft Star wearers will be sad to see it go. However, while goodbyes are never easy, they are sometimes necessary. In recent years, we've come to realize that Grippy just isn't there for us in the long run. We believe that our products and our customers have outgrown this relationship, and it's time to move on.
Soft Star began offering moccasin-lovers Grippy soles way back in 2006. Our range of styles was much smaller back then, and moccasins were the only shoe we offered to adults. Our customers loved our mocs, but some found our traditional suede soles a bit low-traction on certain very smooth surfaces (like tile), or wished they could wear their favorite barefoot shoes outdoors without worrying about wet conditions. We explored our options, and decided to try-out a textured rubber soling material nicknamed "Grippy". It was thin enough that we felt we could substitute it into our existing moccasin design with no problems, and it seemed to offer the traction and resiliency our customers were requesting. We put Grippy online, where our customers greeted it with enthusiasm.
Over time, however, we discovered the limitations of our new sole solution. Although thin, the Grippy material was less soft and pliable than our suede soles, making it challenging to sew, snugger to wear, and more likely to strain the shoe seams with wear. Additionally, some wearers found that the soles lost their texture over time, in some cases giving them less purchase on smooth surfaces than our original suede soles; ironically, this problem was made even more likely when a surface was wet.
So we've come to realize that Grippy isn't the ideal solution...but do we have a better one? The fact is, we do. Continuing our quest for an ideal durable, indoor/outdoor shoe, Soft Star crafted the Rambler from our moccasin designs. Made with slightly thicker leather and a high-quality, sewn-on Vibram sole, the Rambler quickly proved itself to be another excellent solution for customers searching water-resistant footwear. In fact, due to its construction and soling material, it actually serves this need longer and better than its Grippy-soled cousins. With an upper design virtually identical to that of the moccasin, we now strongly believe that the Rambler sticks to the task where Grippy soles may slip-up.
And so we'll be parting ways with Grippy for the new year. We'll still offer Grippy soles through early 2016, so there's still plenty of time to stock-up on DYO Grippy mocs if you aren't quite ready to say goodbye just yet. Don't worry though; we have so many wonderful and unique styles to choose from, we're sure you'll soon fall in love with another member of the Soft Star family soon! Our Elves are always here to guide you, so contact us if you need some help finding your new Soft Star "sole" mate.
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This post was posted in In the Workshop, On the Horizon, Special Events/Holidays and was tagged with farewell, minimal shoes, Soft Star history, barefoot shoes, vibram, moccasins, handmade, new year, leather shoes, break ups, breakups, breaking up, new year's resolution, 2016, material, soft shoes, play shoes, indoor shoes