General Questions

Find answers to a variety of common questions about Softstar shoes.

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.