Find answers to questions about Softstar shoe sizing.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.