Frequently Asked Questions

Softstar FAQ

Search below to find answers to our most common questions. If you still can't find the answer you're looking for then contact our friendly customer service elves and we'll be happy to help!

How do I find the best shoe size for my feet?

We understand it can be worrisome to order shoes online if you can't try them on first. That's why we developed our handy measuring guide and sizing chart. Follow the directions on our sizing page to measure your feet (or your child's feet), then check the chart to find the best fit:

How do I know if my shoes fit properly? Is it OK to see the outline of my toes?

When your shoes arrive, please try them on indoors and make sure your shoes fit well before deciding to keep them as we only accept returns on shoes still in brand new condition. This means that the innersole, outer sole and leather can show no signs of dirt or wear.

Our shoes are made with a non-lasted technique, meaning the leather will lay softly over the foot instead of being molded into a rigid and smooth toe box. The natural contours of your toes will show through the leather and this is normal.

If your shoes are a little snug at first in the toe box area, you can stretch them by stuffing the toe box with a DRY rag. Push the cloth tightly into the front of the shoe—don't worry, you cannot hurt them and it does not impact your ability to return them. Let the shoes sit stuffed overnight to stretch and try them on for size again.

Pulling your heel to the back of the shoe, you should have approximately the width of your index finger of extra space between your toes and the front seam of the shoe. For young children, this can be up to a 1/2 inch extra for shoes or even 1 inch for moccasins to account for extra growing room.

Do you sell extra-extra wide shoes?

For Children: Yes! We offer XWIDE width as an option for select children's shoes. Please visit this guide to see how our extra wide children's shoes compare to other brands, as well as how to order.

For Adults: Our Primal shoes were designed with an extra wide toe box for people who have a naturally wide toe splay. If you have thick feet that need more room around the instep of a shoe, then please contact us to discuss which style will fit you best.

Sometimes we can make simple modifications to shoes to allow more room, such as adding longer elastic closures to our Roo moccasins and Ramblers. Please click here for a summary of special request policies and options that we do and do not offer.

My child has outgrown your youth sizes. What do I do?

Fear not, we have shoes to fit! Our youth sizes blend into our adult sizes seamlessly, so that our size 5Y is the same as our size 5U, 6Y is the same as 6U, etc. If your child needs a size larger than what we have available in our Youth Shoes category, then you should be able to find the next size up in our Adult Shoes.

For a complete look at how our sizes compare, check out our sizing chart.

What does the "U" mean in Softstar adult shoe sizes?

The "U" stands for unisex sizing for our adult shoes.

Most Softstar shoe styles are unisex and are made for both men and women. This is why we do not separate our shoe categories by gender (even though some styles like Ballerine flats or Merry Janes are commonly seen as women's shoes). To keep our sizing consistent among unisex styles, we introduced the U sizing scale.

The "U" size generally matches a standard US men's shoe size, so a size 9U corresponds to a US men's size 9. This is simply because we have learned that most women know their men's US shoe size, but few men know their women's shoe size.

If you have any doubts about which size to order then check out our measuring tips and consult the chart on our sizing page:

Why does my new pair of Softstar shoes fit differently from my last pair?

At Softstar we make consistency a top priority. We invest a lot in training and equipment to minimize differences from shoe to shoe. Most of our patterns are die cut (stamped out from metal cookie-cutter-like patterns) to ensure uniformity. However, the handcrafted construction of soft leather that we use can sometimes lead to small variations that your sensitive foot may notice.

There are a few key reasons that a new pair of our shoes may differ in feel from your old pair:

1. New Shoes vs. Worn Shoes: our natural leather will stretch and form to your feet over time. Typically, new shoes feel tighter than the ones you have broken in over several weeks, months or years.

2. Leather: softness, thickness and texture of natural leather will vary slightly from hide to hide... no two cows are exactly the same! Perforated leather also feels and sews differently from smooth or shiny or suede leather. As it breaks in, all of our different types of leather will start to fit similarly after they break-in and form to your foot.

3. Soles for RunAmocs and Hawthorne Chukkas: gluing soles to RunAmocs and Chukkas involves hand trimming the final product, so the shape and of the outer sole can have subtle variations from shoe to shoe. However, the innersole and interior shape and volume of the shoe will be the same since they are die cut to consistent patterns. This means that if you hold up two different pairs of RunAmocs in the same size sole-to-sole then you might see that the outer soles do not match up perfectly, but the uppers, inside volume and interior length are all cut identically.

4. Rubber Sole Shrinkage: prolonged exposure to heat may cause rubber soles to shrink over time. This applies to shoes of all brands that use rubber soles. We see this happening most often when shoes are tossed into high heat laundry dryers, left in cars on hot days or left next to campfires or heaters. This shrinkage will rarely be enough to change the shoe size and may be so gradual that you do not notice, but the difference will be more apparent when you try on a new pair.

5. Upgraded Design: Over time, we may make changes to improve the design of a shoe. If such changes affect the fit of that style then we will add a notice on the product page to make sure past customers are notified of the change before ordering a new pair.

6. Changing Feet: Keep in mind that if you are in the process of switching from more traditional cushioned shoes to minimal shoes then you may find that over time your feet are spreading out more and getting wider and longer as they get healthier and stronger.

How do different width options compare to each other?

Use our Sole Shape Comparison Tool to visualize how the Regular vs. Wide widths differ between many of our adult styles including the Dash, Hawthorne, Merry Jane, Oxford, Phoenix, Solstice, Switchback, Primal Merry Jane, Primal RunAmoc, and Primal Sawyer.

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Return Policy
What is Softstar's return policy?

Softstar shoes that are still in brand new condition may be returned for a refund for any reason within 45 days of receipt from any country in the world. This also applies to shoes that you customized with your own unique colors and motifs. We will refund the full cost of the shoes, but customers are responsible for all return shipping charges.

Visit our returns page to learn more.

There are some exceptions to this policy: shoes treated with leather care products, shoes purchased from our biannual clearance sales and shoes made with advanced requests are non-returnable.

Your refund will be applied after the shoes arrive at our shop. If you would like to exchange your shoes for a different size/color/style then you can simply place a new order at your convenience.

Please let us know if you need help with a return. Softstar also has a Happy Feet Guarantee which outlines replacements/returns for workmanship, fit or durability concerns. 

How do I return my shoes?

Simply ship your shoes back to us for a full refund. You can either print a prepaid shipping label or coordinate your own return shipping. Customers are responsible for all return shipping fees.

Visit this page for more information about returns or to print return shipping labels:

If you would like to exchange your shoes for a different size, color or style then you may go ahead and place a new order online at your convenience. You may also call us to place your new order over the phone. The refund for your returned shoes will be processed once they arrive at our workshop.

Can Softstar repair my shoes?

We are happy to perform repairs on Softstar shoes, when possible. For more details on the kinds of repairs we can perform and for instructions on requesting a repair, visit our Happy Feet Guarantee page.

Do I pay the shipping fees to return my shoes?

Yes, unless we made an error with your order then you are responsible for paying the the shipping fees to return your shoes. If you are returning shoes due to an error we made then we will send you a prepaid return shipping label.

Does Softstar guarantee their handcrafted shoes?

We 100% guarantee we will repair or replace any defects in leather, sheepskin or workmanship free of charge within 30 days of receiving your shoes. This does not cover wear and tear or misuse on behalf of the consumer. Wear and tear is damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal use.

We stand by our product and will send you a return shipping label and either repair or replace your shoes if they fail for durability as described below:

  • Peeling of leather finish or print within the first 6 weeks, excluding our shiny leathers which naturally scuff and/or develop patina appearance with normal wear.
  • Stitching defects within first 3 months.
  • Heel support detachment within 3 months.
  • Innersole bunching, coming loose or developing bald spot within 3 months.
  • Sole delamination within 3 months.
  • Leather inlays coming loose within 6 months.
  • Non-functional closures (VelcroTM, buckles, elastic failures, zippers) within 12 months.

Click here for more details about our guarantee.

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When will my order be ready to ship?

It is our goal to ship our handmade shoes within one week of receiving your order, but it could take up to three weeks during busy times of the year, especially during the holiday season.

We do our best to keep our collection shoes in stock and ready to ship immediately, but it is always possible we will run out of the size and color you want to order. In that case, we will need to make the shoe before we can ship your order. Customized shoes made with your own color choices always require time to be made. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we need an additional day to glue soles to the shoes.

If you are in a hurry and need your order to ship immediately then please contact our friendly customer service team. They can check to see which shoes are available to ship right away. Also, shoes in our clearance categories are always ready to ship within three business days.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes, we ship to almost every country in the world!

If you are shipping outside the USA then click the flag icon in the header of our website to select your destination country:

Select Destination Country

Once a non-USA country is selected, our prices will automatically convert to your local currency based on current exchange rates. When you checkout you will see shipping options and fees specific to your country.

Returns & exchanges are easy for international customers! Please see our return policy for details and return shipping labels. 

Customers are responsible for paying all required duties and taxes required by the destination country. You may be given the choice to either prepay duties and taxes upon checkout or pay them when the package arrives. For some countries, the cost of duties and taxes will automatically be included in the total cost of the order. These options will vary depending on the destination country.

How are duties and taxes handled?

For destinations within USA:

Some states require us to charge sales tax for online purchases shipping to locations within their borders. The tax amount varies between states, cities and counties. After you enter your shipping address in our online checkout process, our website will automatically determine if sales tax is required for your destination and will add that amount, if any, to your final cost. This tax will be paid to your state government. 

For all other countries:

It depends on the destination country! For many countries, the cost of duties and taxes will automatically be included in the total cost of the order. If duties and taxes are NOT included in the total cost of the order, you will see them appear as a separate line item in your cart. If duties and taxes are owed, you may be given the choice to either prepay duties and taxes upon checkout or pay them when the package arrives. Refer to the table below to see whether taxes and duties are included or if they are added at checkout for your country. You can change your destination country and convert prices to your local currency by clicking on the flag icon at the top of our website.

Canada: Duty Free! Taxes Added at Checkout
Duties and Taxes Included: Duties and Taxes Added at Checkout:
United Kingdom
New Zealand
Hong Kong
Korea (South)
Ireland (Republic of)
Czech Republic
Slovak Republic
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
South Africa
Costa Rica
Can my order be rushed for faster delivery?

Call us if you need your order by a certain date and we will see what we can do to get your shoes made and shipped in time. We do not have a standard rush order service as we try to make everyone's shoes as quickly as possible and in the order received, but if you have a special occasion coming up then we'll do our best to help.

Please understand that during certain times of the year, such as busy holiday seasons, we cannot give special treatment to any orders since there are so many that need to ship out quickly.

We do our best to keep an inventory of our annual collection shoes in stock and ready to ship immediately, but we cannot guarantee we will have them in the size and width you need. If you would like to order our collection shoes for quick delivery then you may contact us to find out which colors and sizes are currently available. Alternatively, all shoes in our clearance categories are already made and ready for immediate shipping.


What should I do if my package doesn't arrive?

Fortunately, this is extremely rare. If you do think your package was lost in the mail, please contact us. When possible, we will verify the shipping address and trace tracking information. If the package does not show up after the appropriate wait time (after the shipment date) then we will file an insurance claim. Once filed, we will send a new order to you.

These are the times we are required to wait before filing insurance claims for missing or stolen packages:

  • USPS First Class shipments to USA locations: 20 days
  • USPS Priority Mail shipments to USA locations: 15 days
  • USPS Priority Mail shipments to APO/FPO/DPO addresses: 45 days
  • First Class International Destinations: 40 days

Depending on the shipping service used, the customer may need to return a signed affidavit before a replacement order or refund can be initiated.

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Placing Orders Online
What should I do if my login doesn't work?

If your password is not working, please select the option "Forgot your password?" under our sign in form to have a new password emailed to you.

Alternatively, you can try logging in with Google or Facebook using the buttons under our sign in form. If the email address from your social account matches the email address on your Softstar account then you will automatically be logged into your existing Softstar account. If the email addresses do not match, then a new Softstar account will be created.

If you continue to have problems logging in then you can contact us directly for assistance.

What should I do if I experience website errors while trying to check out?

We certainly don't want to keep you away from your new shoes! If you experience website errors then please contact us to let us know right away and we will do our best to resolve the problem quickly. You can also try the tip below for refreshing your browser cache to see if that solves the problem.

If we can't find an immediate solution to the error then we can place your order for you and leave it in pending status until we receive payment. In that case, you can pay by either giving us your credit card information over the phone or we can email you a link to a Paypal invoice (requires a Paypal account). Once your payment is received we will proceed with your order.

For security reasons, do not send credit card information through email.

Tip: Try Refreshing Your Browser Cache

Many website errors result from browser caches that needs to be refreshed. Sometimes, after major website updates are applied, your browser will retain information from a previous visit to the site and have trouble processing the new code. In this case, the browser cache needs to be refreshed to fix the problem.

The good news is that this refresh will eventually happen automatically, but this could take days or weeks depending on your browser settings. You can make this refresh happen right away by following a few simple steps. As a side effect, this might also help your device run a little faster, too.

Click here for instructions to refresh browsers on desktop computers:

Click here for instructions to refresh browsers on Apple IOS mobile devices (iPads & iPhones):

Click here for instructions to refresh browsers on Android mobile devices:

Does Softstar have sales, coupons or group discounts?

Yes, we periodically host sales and offer promo code discounts for our shoes. Most of our discounts are shared through our monthly email newsletter. Our newsletter followers receive exclusive promo codes, although sometimes we offer exclusive deals through our social media accounts, especially Instagram and Facebook.

Our biggest sales of the year are our biannual clearance sales. Twice a year, usually in the spring and winter, all of our one-of-a-kind clearance shoes are heavily discounted. Followers of our newsletter receive early notice of these sale dates.

We also discount classroom shoes during back-to-school season suitable for Waldorf and Montessori schools.

Sorry, but we do not offer group or bulk discounts.

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Special Requests for Custom Shoes
Does Softstar customize shoes?

It depends on what you mean...

If you want one of our existing shoe styles made with your own unique color combinations and motifs, then YES! You can choose these custom options for any style that shows the swirly "CUSTOMIZABLE" rainbow icon in the upper right corner. When you are selecting colors for these shoes you will see a "Customize Your Colors" button below our collection color options.

This is part of our everyday fun to see what creations you design as we handcraft each pair for you here in our Oregon workshop. These custom shoes are also fully returnable according to the terms of our return policy.

If you are looking for customization beyond the shoe shoe designs, colors, or sizes available on our website then we do offer limited services for special requests. Special requests such as longer straps, special motif colors, split sizes or single pairs can often be done. Click here for more details.

Can I buy a single left or right shoe?

Uh oh... did Fido enjoyed your moccasin as tasty treat? Now you need a replacement for just one shoe and don't want to buy a whole pair?

We understand, our leather is delicious (and non-toxic). Since we handcraft all of our shoes we can easily make a single shoe for you at half the price of a pair! Contact our customer service elves to place the order. Single shoe orders are non-refundable, but we'll make sure it matches the shoe that was lost.

If you are purchasing from us for the first time and only need one shoe due to a medical condition then we will gladly help you find the right size and style for your needs. Our super friendly customer service team has a lot of experience with this.

Do you make shoes for AFO or DAFO braces?

No, but some of our customers have reported that our XWIDE Ramblers and Moccasins will work with AFO or DAFO braces.

If our shoes do not work for your child's braces or if you prefer shoes made specifically for AFOs or DAFOs then we recommend checking out footwear from these companies:

Can I request special color motifs or thread colors if they are not available on the shoes I want?

In most cases, yes.

When you customize a shoe on our website, you will see dropdown menus that allow you to specify the colors you would like for motifs (e.g., stars, rockets, moons), thread or elastic color. To keep things simple, we do not show options for every part of every custom shoe. For example, we will not show thread color options for some styles if we feel it does not make a significant difference in that shoe's appearance.

If you see a thread or motif color on one of our shoes and would like it on a shoe that does not show it as an option, then feel free to let us know in the "Additional Notes" field when you place your order (found below the size and width options on the product page). We will contact you if we think there is a legitimate reason it will not work well for the shoe you selected.

Please note that we can only do requests like this for custom shoes, not our current collection shoes. Changing the motif or thread color on a collection shoe turns it into a custom shoe and it will be sold at the price of a custom shoe.

If you would like us to make a shoe with a motif that is not from another shoe on our site and not normally used by Softstar then please first contact our customer service elves to see if it is possible.

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General Questions
How should I clean my Softstar shoes?

With a little love and care, Softstar shoes will look new for a long time. Also, caring for leather will help extend its life. We use several different types of leather, wool and vegan materials in our workshop, so consult our shoe care tips for info on cleaning and caring for your specific shoe style.

Why are the employees at Softstar called elves?

Because we love to make shoes!

The elf reference comes from the Brothers Grim fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker. If you are not familiar with the story then you can read it here or watch the read along video below.

Is it normal for colors from my shoes to bleed onto my socks and feet?

Softstar Shoes are made from eco-friendly leathers that are colored with natural, non-toxic food grade dyes. These natural dyes do not "fix" colors in place as well as synthetic, less safe chemicals. This means there can be some initial color transference to your socks or skin when your shoes are new, particularly if your shoes or feet become damp. This color transfer is harmless and will decrease with use.

Where can I buy Softstar shoes? Are they sold in stores?

New Softstar shoes are only sold directly from our Oregon workshop, where they are made. You can purchase our shoes from our website, over the phone or by visiting our workshop's showroom in person. In some cases we may sell them through other online marketplaces, such as Etsy, but they are still sold from our workshop and for the same prices.

Looking for used/secondhand Softstar shoes? Check out our Resale page for some helpful resources.

Our desire to manufacture and source materials locally in the USA is what drives our direct-to-customer strategy. Our labor costs are 15-25x higher than that of the average footwear manufacturer and our environmentally responsible material costs are 3-5x higher. The only way Softstar could participate in the wholesale market while locally sourcing our labor and materials would be to greatly increase our current prices. As devoted shoemakers, we do not want to make shoes that we ourselves could never afford. In order to offer reasonable retail prices, Softstar shoes are only sold directly from our workshop.

Happily for us, Softstar is not just about a bottom line—it is our lives' work and we want our work to embody our values. When we looked at exporting our manufacturing or using cheaper materials, we saw how it would compromise our values by participating in markets that exploit workforces, ignore cultural preservation, degrade environments and spiral increases in inequality. We are proud to handcraft a product that is rooted in fair trade and green initiatives. We also very much enjoy working directly with our customers to offer high standards of customer service and customization that would not be practical if our shoes were outsourced or sold by another party. Read more information on our core values and the people behind our workshop.

Does Softstar make shoes with grounding or earthing conductivity?

Yes! While we don't claim to be experts in this field, customers have tested our leather-soled shoes for grounding and told us they develop high levels of conductivity after a few days of wear. For more information and to see all Softstar shoes that fit this category, visit our Grounding and Earthing category page for more info.

Where are Softstar shoes made?

All Softstar shoes are 100% designed and handcrafted at our workshop in Philomath, Oregon, USA. We don't outsource any of our manufacturing processes, but instead do it all under one roof. All of our order fulfillment and shipping happens directly from our workshop, too. For more information and to see how our shoes are made, visit this page.

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