Sizing Demystified: What's Up with the U?

Sizing Demystified: What's Up with the U?

We elves very much enjoy the connections we have with our customers. It makes our work more satisfying and rewarding, but it also helps us grow as a company. As a small Oregon-based business, we don’t have an advanced testing facility or a team of researchers analyzing data. Instead, we rely on our customers’ feedback for ideas on how to improve our shoe designs, our website and our services. We collect and discuss all the feedback we receive, and when we launched our new website last week we thought it was a good time to initiate some of the changes you’ve told us you wanted to see:

Sizing, From A to U

If you’ve ordered from Soft Star before, then you may notice a new look in our sizing notation. In the past, we used the letter “A” to denote adult unisex sizes. This made sense in our shop because our seamstresses could tell at a glance whether they were making a moccasin in a child’s size 9 or an adult size 9A (two very different shoes). For customers, however, this system created some confusion. New customers often wondered if the “A” referred to a special width, and many people told us that it was not apparent our sizing was unisex. To help clarify this, we have now switched the “A” to “U” and list both the corresponding standard men’s and women’s sizes in parenthesis. We have not otherwise altered our adult sizing scale, so if you ordered a size 9A in the past then rest assured 9U will still be the same.

Soft Star Unisex Shoe Sizes

More Youth Options

We have also received several requests for more youth size options. For many years, we offered youth shoes only in small, medium, large and x-large. Although this worked well for most people, we still heard from customers who found that one size was too small while the next size up was way too large. After a bit of work on our shoe patterns by our talented production elves, we now offer the full range of sizes for all of our youth shoes:

  • Youth 1 (previously small)
  • Youth 2
  • Youth 3 (previously medium)
  • Youth 4
  • Youth 5 (previously large)

Please note: if your child grows beyond a Youth 5, then an adult 6U will be the next size up. And if you previously ordered a Youth X-Large, that equals our size 7U.

Soft Star Youth Shoe Sizes

Customer feedback has led to many other changes in our workshop, such as the option to omit reflective tabs when you design your own RunAmoc Dash, the development of our kids’ suede Rambler and a preliminary design of a vegan running shoe (now being tested by some of our roughest runners).

We hope you’ll appreciate the new changes and continue to let us know what you think of our product and our company. Remember, you’re always welcome to send an email to


  1. shaman
    How about just dropping the letter from the website? And Women's sizes should be +1.5 higher not just 1. I love your shoes but this is just weird.
    1. LiveBare
      Hi Shaman. Thanks for your feedback, but we need to have some letter to distinguish adult sizes from children's sizes. Most shoe companies just use "Mens" or "Womens" categories, but since we make unisex shoes we need a different method to avoid sizing confusion. Also, there are a couple different scales for converting between men's and women's shoes. One does calculate women's sizes by adding 1.5 to the men's size, but another has women's at just one size larger. We've found the latter to be more accurate with our customers and more helpful in finding a good fit for women. Thanks for your interest in our shoes!
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