Frequently Asked Questions

  • Product

    Are Design-Your-Own shoes the same as custom shoes?

    No. Design-Your-Own shoes are part of the fun we have every day. You do pay extra to pick your own colors and motifs as it takes us longer to make them, but they are not what we consider custom. For information on custom shoes, click here.

    Can I request special color stars, rockets or stitching?

    Yes, on Design-Your-Own shoes!  You can specify the colors you would like for stars, rockets, moons, etc.. as well as thread color for contrasting stitching, elastic and Velcro colors. Simply make a note in the "additional notes" section when ordering your product. Usually these decisions are made by our skilled sewing elves with an eye to aesthetics, but we are happy to accommodate your request on these details. 

    Can I wash my shoes?

    For our Vegan shoes: yes! Wash away!

    For our leather shoes: we don't recommend frequent washing of any leather product as it strips the leather of it's natural oils and tends to dry stiffer, but if needed, you can hand wash your leather shoes using a gentle shampoo and cool water. 

    We are often asked if our shoes can be washed in a washing machine. While not recommended as a normal course of action, when in dire straits the Elves have been known to toss a pair of leather shoes in the machine and generally have had good results. Just don't mix them with any other item because of color bleeding, and do NOT put shoes the dryer. Shoes with sheepskin can take 3-4 days to air dry if fully submerged in water. You can speed up the drying by stuffing with old newspapers and replacing the paper twice a day. 

    Help! Color from my shoes is all over my feet!!!

    Soft Star Shoes are made from eco-friendly, tanned in USA leathers. Because we use natural food-grade dyes in our leather (instead of chemical fixatives)  there will likely be some initial color transference to your socks or skin if your shoes become damp - this is natural will decrease with use.

    How do your moccasins compare to Robeez or Bobux shoes?

    Soft Star Moccasins have been made with the same great fitting design since 1989. Robeez and Bobux shoes were introduced later, and adopted our elastic closure system. However, the similarities stop there.

    Soft Stars are the only shoes with soft, moisture absorbing natural sheepskin soles. The sheepskin sole wicks away moisture and also provides more cushiony protection against toys, gravel or other objects under your toddler's toes. 

    Our shoes are handcrafted here in the USA by our elves, unlike other children's shoes. All of our leathers come from US based tanneries, which have stringent rules and regulations for worker safety and environmental standards. No formaldehyde is used in the tanning of our leathers (not the case with many imported leathers and shoes).

    Finally, our moccasin sizes don't stop at age 4 like the competitors—we make them for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, youths and adults!

    How long will a pair of Soft Star shoes last?

    The glove-like properties of our shoes promotes healthy foot development, balance and body awareness - but the shoes are not going to be as abrasion resistant as a thick rubber soled shoe made with layers of adhesives and materials.  Soft Stars will last anywhere from 3 months to 10 years depending on the individual and how the shoes are treated.

    We have customers who have put over 600 miles on their RunAmocs, and customers who pass down their children's shoes 3 or 4 times.  Within the shop we have a few well loved pairs that are 15 years old and counting!  

    THAT BEING SAID.... durability varies greatly from person to person. Some customers on occasion have worn through their shoes quite quickly when using them as outdoor shoes in rough conditions or when the pair is too small.  The soft leather design is susceptible to tears or holes if used for scrambling or toes are dragged on pavement.  They will not have the same durability as a synthetic running shoe - but can last you years and years depending on your usage and wear habits. Think of them as leather gloves for your feet!

    What colors are available?

    We have many leather and vegan colors available for our shoes. To see the complete list, or to order swatches to be mailed to you, visit our color swatch page. We also have a color-crayon matching guide you can use to match our colors to popular Crayola Crayon colors—with free printouts for kids to color their own shoes!

    What materials are used to make your shoes?

    Click here for descriptions of the materials we use.

    Do you make custom shoes?

    Yes we do - but are limited in our resources and the work we can take on.  Please see our custom request page for more information.

    Do you have shoes for earthing that are grounded?

    Yes.  Our moccasins and shoes with leather soles will work once moisture is present in the sole from the environment and/or perspiration. For more information and for a complete list of shoes that allow Earthing/Grounding conductivity, visit our earthing Shoes page. Please note that these shoes are not designed to meet specifications for clean room applications or laboratory environments that require electro-static discharge (ESD) straps.

    Sizing

    Do you have extra wide shoes for adults?

    At this time, we only offer adult shoes in a narrow, regular and wide width.   Please click here for a summary of custom work policies.

    Do you have extra wide shoes for children?

    Yes!  Although you can only select "wides" on our site, we do offer even wider shoes by special request. Please see this guide for how our extra wide children's shoes compare to other brands, as well as how to order.

    I can see the outline of my toes. Do my shoes fit?

    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.

    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 Soft Star adult sizes?

    "U" stands for Unisex sizing for our adult shoes. 

    What's the biggest shoe you've ever made?

    To date, the biggest shoe was an adult size 17 Original RunAmoc, and you can see a photo of it on our blog. No job is too big or too small for the elves!

    Why does my new pair fit differently than the old?

    At Soft Star we take consistency very seriously. We invest a lot in training and equipment to minimize differences from shoe to shoe. Most of our patterns are die cut, or traced to aluminum patterns to ensure uniformity. However, the soft style construction we use can have a lot of variability that your sensitive foot may notice. There are three key reasons that a new pair may differ in feel from another:

    1. New shoes vs. worn shoes: Our shoes are so soft and natural that they will stretch and form to your feet over time. Typically, new shoes feel tighter than the ones you have become accustomed to.

    2. Leather:  Leather softness, thickness and texture will change from hide to hide. No two cows are the same!  Perforated leather also  feels and sews differently from smooth or shiny or suede leather. All of our leather will eventually form to your foot, but two pairs of shoes made on the same day by the same elf may feel different when you first slip them on due solely to leather.

    3. Soles for RunAmocs and Merry Janes:  These shoes are also die cut to the same size each and every time, but have an extra process to adhere the Vibram rubber or leather outer soles.  This soling process involves hand trimming the final product, so the shape and length of the outer sole will change from shoe to shoe.  However, the innersole and interior shape and volume of the shoe will be consistent. Therefore, if you hold up 2 different pairs in the same size you may see the outer soles may not match up exactly, but the upper and inside volume and interior length are all cut identically. Also, heat will cause Vibram soles to shrink over time.  Campfires, heaters and even just a hot sidewalk will result in some minor shrinkage over time, meaning further discrepancies in length between old and new pairs.

    Finally, if you are in the process of switching from more traditional 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.

    Customer Service

    How do I check for fit when my shoes arrive?

    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 in new, saleable 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 slightly damp 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 in front of 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.

    What is your repair policy?

    We hope our shoes will have a long and happy life on your feet. With regular use, all shoes will eventually show signs of wear. 

    Although our workshop is equipped to make new shoes, repairing soles is a process that requires a different set of skills and tools. If you are in need of repairs or resoling that are beyond our ability, we recommend seeking a local cobbler in your area. Experienced cobblers know many tricks of the trade and may be able to perform more complex repairs than our elves.

    If you do not have a local cobbler, we are happy to try and perform shoe repairs when possible, but please be aware that some repairs are beyond our ability. We know you love our shoes, but after many cycles of wear… well, it just might be time to retire those puppies!

    Our most common repairs involve re-sewing shoes to soles when stitching has come undone. Sometimes we can repair holes worn through the leather of our moccasins, but there is always a chance that patching a hole may change the shoe's size, or the repair may be a visible patch.

    We are sorry to say that there are very few repairs we can perform on our RunAmoc shoes; we cannot repair holes worn through the leather near the RunAmoc sole and we cannot replace or re-glue RunAmoc soles. We are also unable to repair holes worn through the soles on any of our shoes. If you have questions about whether or not a repair is possible, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    We usually perform repairs for free (some exceptions apply), but the customer is expected to pay for shipping. Our standard shipping rates apply.

    Shoes sent for repair must be clean, or we will return them to you for cleaning.  Our sewing machines and seamstresses require it!   

    To request a repair, please print out this form and include with your shoes.

    Do you make single shoes?

    Lost one shoe?

    Fido enjoyed it as tasty treat? We understand... our leather is delicious (and non-toxic).

    We will remake the match for you at half the price of the original pair! Contact us to arrange.

    Can you rush my order?

    Please call us if you have a special date you would like your order by and we will see if it is possible to get them made in time.  In general, we do not have a "rush order" charge as we try to make everyone's shoes as quickly as possible and in the order recieved.

    We do have a lot of great one-of-a-kind shoes on hand that can often be shipped same day, so please call us if you are looking for something to ship fast and ask what we might have already made and available to meet your needs.

    In general we do not rush ANY orders at holiday time as resources are stressed and we are trying to get everyone's order out by the holiday.

    Placing an Order

    How secure is your site?

    Our Soft Star Shoes website is hosted on a dedicated, state-of-the-art server owned by Nexcess with both APF software and hardware firewalls.  This facility is staffed 24x7 to provide the most immediate and quality support in the event of web issues.  We are fully PCI compliant and use the most up-to-date secure, encrypted processes for transmitting order information.  We do not store your credit card information, so even in the very unlikely event that our server would be compromised, there is no financial data stored. Update 4/9/14:  Our server is compliant / patched and not susceptible to the SSL Heartbeat bug.

    Do you offer coupons or discounts? What about sales events?

    As a general rule, Soft Star does not discount our shoes. There are two exceptions to this:

    1. Limited Quantity Stock Shoes:  Each year we introduce new "stock" colors.  When the stock color is finished and we have a limited selection of sizes left, we do put these on sale between 15% and 35% off.

    2. February Clearance Sale: We have a single big clearance sale in February of each year where we put all the one-of-a-kind shoes on sale.  These are custom shoes that are sold at great discount with no returns/exchanges. 

    You can find out in advance about these, or other specials like free DYO or new shoe launches by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.  We try to keep our newsletter frequency to 10-12 times a year and fill it with interesting content, so we hope you will find it relevant. 

    We also partner with Waldorf and Montessori schools for classroom shoe discounts during back-to-school season and schools are welcome to call for more information. We also offer bulk order discounts for large orders if shipping within the USA.

    My login doesn't work!

    If your password is not working, please select the option "request a new password" to have one emailed to you, or contact us directly for assistance.

    What type of payments do you accept?

    We accept VISA or Mastercard on all orders.  We also accept PayPal, money orders or personal checks by mail. When you checkout online, you will have the option of either entering your credit card, going to PayPal or you can select the "pay offline" option instead for sending checks.  The "pay offline" option can also be used to submit your order without payment - this is handy if for some reason your credit card is not working, or if you want to provide your credit card number by phone.  

    Do you offer group or bulk discounts?

    Yes,  if shipping within the USA.  Please see our group discount page for details.

    Shipping Information

    Shipping Rates and Methods

    We ship all shoes via USPS First Class mail with an option to upgrade to USPS Priority Mail. Click here to see domestic and international shipping rates.

    If needed by special request,  we can do UPS Express and overnight shipping  for additional fees. Contact us to discuss rates and times

    Where do you ship?

    Soft Star Shoes ships to most countries that offer postal delivery services - you will see the choices in the drop down boxes when you order. Expect 3-4 weeks delivery. Please note - you will be responsible for any import taxes, or custom duties on your package.

    Some countries are not listed in the drop down box - sorry, this is because we have not had success sending packages there in the past via the standard mail services. If the country you desire is not listed, please email or call us for a cusomt quote to send via UPS for guaranteed delivery.

    How long before I get my shoes? I live in the USA.

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or busy times of the year. All our shoes are handmade. We do have most of our annual collection shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width. If we need to make your pair, turnaround will be 1-14 days plus shipping. If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

    Once your shoes leave our shop:

    • First class mail arrives within  2-9 days in the 48 contiguous states
    • Prioriy mail arrives within 2-3 days (this is not a guaranteed service)

    If you need your shoes by a certain date, please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color, you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

    How long before I get my shoes? I live in Canada

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or busy times of year.  All our shoes are handmade. We do have most of our annual collection shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width.   If we need to make your pair, turnaround will be 1-14 days plus shipping. If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

    Once your shoes leave our shop, shipping via First Class to Canada takes anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks (maximum) depending on customs processing. Because our product is sourced and made in the USA, you should not have to pay any import duties under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).  We identify our packages as subject to NAFTA regulations on the outer package and invoice. 

    Canadian orders are considered international shipments and all international rules and regulations apply, including import duties and taxes. You are responsible for these additional charges once the shipment reaches your country.

    If you need your shoes by a certain date, please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color, you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

    How long before I get my shoes if I live in a country other than the US or Canada?

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days of receiving your order, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or extremely busy times of year. All our shoes are handmade to order. We do have most stock shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width. If we need to make your pair, turnaround will be 1-14 days plus shipping. If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

    If you need your shoes by a certain date then please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color then you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

    Once your shoes leave our shop, shipping to international destinations via FIRST CLASS INT'L mail typically takes 2-3 weeks to arrive, but this time could be extended by several weeks depending on your country's postal system and customs policies. Please allow a maximum of 45 days for delivery from the ship date (that is the minimum amount of time we must wait before filing an insurance claim on the pacakge). Please note that the tracking information provided when your shoes via FIRST CLASS INT'L only tracks the package until it leaves US borders; we have no way of tracking a package outside the United States.

    We also offer PRIORITY INTERNATIONAL shipping for a higher rate, which takes an estimated 6-10 days for delivery to most countries and provides international tracking information beyond US borders.

    For international shipments, all international rules and regulations apply, including import duties and taxes. You are responsible for these additional charges once the shipment reaches your country.

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

    Happily this does not occur very often!  If this should occur, please contact us if your package does not arrive when expected. There is tracking information on all domestic shipments we can trace for you.   We will also want to double check the shipping address, so please have your order information on hand.   If the package does not show up within 12 days after shipment in the USA or within 45 days after shipment internationally, we will need to file an insurance claim which we will send to you.  Once filed, we will send a new order to you.

    Returns and Exchanges

    Policy

    We are happy to help you with returns or exchanges, even on Design-Your-Own shoes that are in like-new, saleable condition. There are a few exceptions to this policy: February clearance sale items and special custom requests are non-returnable. Otherwise, any shoes in like-new condition may be returned for any reason within 45 days of receipt. We will refund the full cost of the shoes, but customers are responsible for all shipping charges.

    How do I exchange my shoes?

    For exchanges of shoes in new, saleable condition - simply ship your shoes back to us for a full refund or store credit as you prefer.  There is a return label on the back of your invoice with a mailing address for your convenience, as well as more information about how to get a free shipping bonus if you opt for store credit on your exchange.

    You can place a new order for your new sizes or colors either online or by phone.  Please call or email us to assist with any sizing questions you might have.

     Exchanges can be sent to:

    Soft Star Shoes
    521 SW Second Street, #201
    Corvallis, OR 97333
    USA

    How do I return my shoes?

    Shoes in like-new condition may be returned for any reason within 45 days of receipt. We will refund the full cost of the shoes, but customers are responsible for all shipping charges.

    Shoes returned 45 to 90 days after purchase can be exchanged for store credit. Sorry, but we do not accept returns or exchanges after 90 days.

    IMPORTANT: Remember to include your name and order number in all returns. Refunds cannot be issued if we don't know where the shoes came from!

    There is a return label on the back of your invoice with a mailing address for your convenience. Returns can be sent to:

    Soft Star Shoes
    521 SW Second Street, #201
    Corvallis, OR 97333
    USA

    Do I pay shipping on exchanges or returns?

    Yes.  In order to offer free shipping we would need to artificially inflate the price of our shoes. We like to keep things transparent.

    To help the reduce the costs of processing returns/exchanges, you can opt to receive a store credit instead of getting cash back. Because this saves on credit card processing fees, we can pass on the savings to you in the form of a store credit to you to help offset the shipping costs of your next order. This credit (both for your shoes and the first class shipping for a comparable product) will appear in your online account when we receive your returned shoes and can be used easily on your next checkout. You must have an online account with Soft Star Shoes to use this option.

    Availability

    Where can I buy Soft Star shoes?

    Soft Star shoes are only available directly from the Elves - we do not offer our product in retail stores.  You can place your order over the phone,  via our website, by mail, fax or in our local showroom in Corvallis, Oregon, USA.  We do not sell our shoes in other stores. Visit our wholesale information page for more details on why wo do not offer wholesale distribution.

    Does Soft Star offer wholesale or dropship services?

    No. Check out our wholesale information page for more information on why we currently do not offer wholesale or dropshipping distribution. If you are interested in promoting our products for a commission, then we encourage you to join our free affiliate program.

    Can I resell Soft Star shoes?

    Approved brick and mortar stores may resell Soft Star shoes, but the purchase price from Soft Star Shoes will be our normal retail prices. Stores may request a bulk discount, but Soft Star does not offer wholesale packaging, support or services. Please see our wholesale policy for more details.  

    General Questions

    Why are the folks at Soft Star called elves?

    We love to make shoes!  If you would like to know the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker, click here.

    Does Soft Star make custom shoes for unusual feet?

    Yes we do, but we are limited in the custom work we can take on. Please see our custom request page for more information.

    What research is there on healthy kids shoes?

    Plenty!  Growing feet are very susceptible to permanent damage from ill-fitting or stiff shoes.  Whether you choose Soft Star Shoes or another brand, please see this summary of general research and tips for selecting quality footwear for your children.

    How can I enter your photo contest?

    Please email photos to fan_photos@softstarshoes.com. Include your name, location and a caption for the photo. Please note that by submitting photos, you are giving Soft Star permission to post your photos on our website, social media outlets and newsletters. For privacy reasons, last names will not be shared. Each month we randomly select a photo. The person who submitted the selected photo will win a $50 Soft Star gift certificate. Photos are eligible to win for up to one year from the date of submission. Visit our Fan Photo page for more information, or to see other customer photos.

    I have plantar fasciitis. Are your shoes good for me?

    While we cannot provide medical advice, many people suffering from plantar fasciitis and plantar fibroma have found relief and even elimination of their symptoms by gradually transitioning to minimal footwear or barefoot practices. Also, some studies have shown that improving flexibility with stretching exercises may alleviate symptoms. We recommend consulting your doctor for professional medical advice before starting any stretching, exercise or treatment program.

    Are flat feet bad?

    For toddlers flat feet are completely normal!  For adults, foot flexibility is far more important that arch height in avoidance of injury. Click here for more details.

    What are product tags?

    Use product tags when you would like to mark a product with a key word or identifier that you can refer to later, or which will help you (or other users) sort or search through products.  

    If you have a user account and are logged in, you can go to "My Account" and view the tags you add over time.   Clicking on the tag in your account will bring you back to the product. This might be helpful, for instance, if you want to add a tag specific to each person you are buying for (e.g. Mom, Charlie, Gloria) ... then you can go back and see the history of items you selected and tagged for each person. 

    Tags you add will also be visible publically to all users who visit the Soft Star Shoes website.  These tags are also "searchable".  For instance - if someone added the tag "navy" to navy shoes on our website... clicking on "navy" would return all products any customer tagged as "navy". 

    How do I find Soft Star coupons?

    As a general rule, Soft Star does not discount our shoes. There are two exceptions to this:

    1. Limited Quantity Stock Shoes:  Each year we introduce new "stock" colors.  When the stock color is finished and we have a limited selection of sizes left, we do put these on sale between 15% and 35% off.

    2. February Clearance Sale: We have a single big clearance sale in February of each year where we put all the one-of-a-kind shoes on sale. These are custom shoes that are sold at great discount with no returns/exchanges.  

    You can find out in advance about these, or other specials like free DYO or new shoe launches by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.  We try to keep our newsletter frequency to 10-12 times a year and fill it with interesting content, so we hope you will find it interesting. 

    We also partner with Waldorf and Montessori schools for classroom shoe discounts during back-to-school season and schools are welcome to call for more information. We also offer bulk order discounts for large orders if shipping within the USA.

    Do you have an affiliate or ambassador program?

    Yes we do—both!

    Our affiliate program allows you to receive a commission when someone uses links on your webpage to visit our site and make a purchase. For more information on our affiliate program, click here

    Our ambassador program is for people interested in talking about our shoes in person to their friends and acquaintences. For more information on our ambassador program, click here.

About Soft Star

25Anniversary Rafting Trip
 

Learn more about the elves, the company, and the shoes we make!

How We Make Them

Made in USA
 

Handmade to order with eco-friendly leathers, sheepskin and genuine Vibram™ soles.

Connect With Us

866-763-2525 (toll free)

elves@softstarshoes.com

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