Look for a great review of our Hawthorne Chukka shoe in the Dec 2015/Jan 2016 issue of Paleo Magazine:
A versatile Handcrafted Leather Boot
WITH EACH PASSING YEAR since Christopher McDougall's groundbreaking book Born to Run was published, the minimalist footwear scene gets more and more sophisticated. Minimalist-shoe wearers have decided that they wanted a comfortable pair of shoes for every setting, and shoe manufacturers have listened. What started out as a very limited selection of awkward-looking athletic shoes has grown into a diverse range of options for every facet of life.
Nowhere has this trend been evidenced more clearly than with Softstar Shoes, a family-owned company out of Corvallis. Oregon. Softstar started out making comfortable moccasins for kids, then expanded their line of mocs to adults. As the demand for minimalist running shoes increased, Softstar started making running moccasins, and not too long after that, they started producing casual shoes for everyday wear. The trend has continued to the present day with Softstar's recent release of the Hawthorne, a comfortable, hip Chukka-style boot.
The Softstar Hawthorne is made with premium bullhide leather, which lends itself well to the classic Chukka look. The classy styling gives the Hawthorne the ability to fit in equally well at the office, the grocery store or a trendy bar. This versatility is important for anyone hoping to maximize the value they get out of a product handmade in the USA with U.S.-sourced materials.
Although the Hawthorne doesn't look like your typical minimalist shoe, it stands up to any measure of minimalist performance. And if a shoe is versatile enough to be worn all day long, it needs the comfort to match. The Hawthorne certainly doesn't disappoint, with a deceptively roomy toe-box, an ultra-flexible sole, no heel-toe height differential and no arch support to be found. Softstar also did a good job compromising on comfort and ground feel with a 12-millimeter stack height, giving you just enough cushion for the concrete jungle without rendering the thousands of nerves on your feet useless.
The Hawthorne is available in black, brown or red leather exclusively at Softstar's website, SoftStarShoes.com. They retail for $190, which is in line with most luxury footwear prices, but still quite expensive for most people. Buying an expensive pair of shoes like the Hawthorne necessitates two mental leaps for most consumers. The first is buying for the long haul, with an intention to keep the purchase for a long time. The second is understanding the externalities of a purchase by following the product from the source materials to the factory to your feet. If you are prepared to take those two mental leaps and are in the market for a pair of versatile, stylish boots, check out the Softstar Hawthorne.