2015 Year in Review
We hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season! As 2015 winds down to an end, we're all looking forward to a festive New Year's Eve and an exciting 2016... but not before looking back on what the past year has brought to our lives. It's been a busy and surprising 12 months at the Softstar workshop, full of celebrations, big news and fancy shoes. Who could ask for more?
Here are some highlights from 2015:
1. Softstar Turns 30!
Hard to believe but 2015 marks the 30th year since Tim Oliver began handcrafting Softstar Shoes in on old school bus (see our history timeline here). We've certainly come a long way since then, and Tim is still at it every day in our workshop! We had many celebrations throughout 2015, but the biggest was a trip to Oaks Amusement Park with all our staff and families!
The Softstar staff with their families at Oaks Amusement Park
2. Creative Shoes
We were sad to bid farewell to Elf Keoni this year, who came up with many artistic shoes for us... but that hasn't stopped our creative elves from coming up with some amazing handcrafted designs. From Transformer shoes to Thanksgiving shoes to Day of the Dead shoes, there is no shortage of imagination in our workshop.
3. Memorable Visitors
We love it when fans visit our workshop! We had many special guests this year (most recently the Lincoln Lion Choir), but we were especially honored when author and biomechanist Katy Bowman stopped by to buy shoes for her family. We're big fans of all of Katy's books and were thrilled to give her a shop tour.
Biomechanist Katy Bowman gives Softstar the thumbs up!
Another impressive visit came from one of our biggest fans on the other side of the world. Mikko lives in Finland and has been such a loyal and friendly customer that all of our CS elves know and love him. He traveled across the west coast on his way to the Caballo Blanco Ultra and made a special stop in Corvallis to see our workshop and give us a special gift.
Mikko and Elf Martin
5. Caballo Blanco Ultra Cancelled
No, it wasn't all happiness in 2015. Sadly for Mikko and many other runners, the epic Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon was cancelled this year due to cartel-related crimes that occurred near the course just before the race. Made popular by the book Born to Run, this race not only brought attention to the benefits of minimal footwear, but inspired countless people to move past their physical limits and connect with each other—and the secluded Tarahumara tribe—based on a mutual love of running. Our hearts go out to all of our friends affected by the cancellation.
5. Chukka is Here!
We introduced many new leather colors and shoe updates this year, but nothing made as big a splash as our new Hawthorne Chukka. Our fans have been demanding a chukka-style ankle boot from us for a long time, and designer Elf Keita worked hard with our production team to create a design that not only meets our standards for minimal footwear and sustainable materials, but is also resoleable!
6. NO the Band in Softstars
A pleasant surprise came our way last summer when NO drummer Tim Jarzabek called our workshop to say he and his bandmates loved our shoes and wore them on their latest ABC performance! All of the band members now sport a pair of shiny Dash RunAmocs in different colors.
Shiny Dash RunAmocs for members of the band NO.
7. Special Edition Shoes
We often come across unique leather materials available in limited quantities, which unfortunately prevents us from adding them to our permanent collection options. This year, however, we decided to use these materials for special edition shoes that are only available while supplies last... and it turns out you love them! Our special edition shoes for 2015 included Ponyhair Cheetah-Print Sandals, Black Mamba Snakeskin Ballerines and Buttercups and the fan favorite Toasted Marshmallow Moccasins, which sold out within a couple hours of their release. Don't worry, we promise to have more special edition shoes—and more Marshmallow Moccasins—in 2016. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to receive first notice!
8. Softstar is Moving!
Naturally, we saved the biggest and best for last: the Softstar workshop is moving! While we love our quaint shop in Corvallis, Oregon, we've been growing and adding too many sewing stations to fit in the tiny space. After over a year of scouting, owners Tricia and Larkin finally found an ideal new location for us in the neighboring town of Philomath, Oregon. Originally a roller skating rink in the 1950s, the historic building has been an abandoned and crumbling eyesore for many years. We're currently renovating it to restore it's former glory and plan to move in next year. If you haven't seen it already, then check out the video from our (literal) roof-raising party, when our staff took a day off to help with the work:
There you have it! All in all, 2015 was a pretty good year. We can't wait to see what 2016 has to offer...