As we kick off 2019 with gusto, all of us here at Softstar want to thank you for an amazing 2018. We couldn’t keep making these handcrafted leather shoes we’re so passionate about without our incredible customers. So cheers to you!
We’ve been reflecting on some of the highlights of the year behind us, from a new website and new shoe styles to a fun onsite workshop and a really cool award we’re honored to have won. Before we launch full steam into the New Year, let’s take a look back as some of these exciting changes, events and accomplishments.
Much to the delight of our fans with little ones, we launched the new Scout moccasins in 2018. This adorable moccasin is our most simple, minimal style for children, with soft, smooth leather uppers and a suede sole. It comes in four cute color combos and is a great, everyday value.
We greatly expanded our options for Primal RunAmocs, offering custom colors, new widths, new soling options, and youth sizes. It was our first full year of making this groundbreaking athletic shoe that we launched in 2017, and it’s been so heartening to hear your feedback.
“I have never had a pair of ready-made shoes fit me before. My whole life has been a search for shoes that don’t hurt … I will enjoy my Primal RunAmocs, which fit me like perfect, soft gloves.” ~ Karen
“I cannot say enough good things about Softstar’s Primal RunAmoc. Despite the extremely roomy toe box they are perfectly snug around the heel and arch. When I walk I often experience the peculiar sensation of my toes ‘grabbing’ the ground beneath my feet, almost as if I were walking on a second pair of hands … Once my feet and calves grew accustomed to the changes in sensation, in balance, and in posture, my whole body has responded in positive ways. I tire less easily and am able to walk longer distances. I've even experienced a reduction in hip pain that has troubled me the last few years. In short, these shoes are not just comfortable; for me they have been positively healing and restorative!” ~Scott
Thanks to everyone who has passed along feedback about our
Primals! We continue to be very excited about offering a handmade minimal shoe with the most roomy toe box on the market.
In other fun shoe happenings for the year, we created a limited-edition Team USA shoe to celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics. We also launched a youth Solstice sandal in spring and introduced the new Artichoke Chukka color in fall (aptly nicknamed the Artichukka!).
Perhaps the biggest change of the year was the launch of our brand new website in May. Our team worked for months on a new design and features to make softstar.com easy and enjoyable to use and ensure that the site provides the fastest, most secure shopping experience for our customers. We were able to tackle this project thanks in large part to a business development grant we were awarded from Business Oregon’s Strategic Reserve Fund.
Also new on the website in early 2018: We added our popular visualizers for EVERY custom shoe for kids and adults! The visualizers are so much fun to play around with, allowing you to mix-and-match leather colors to suit your style or the season.
In the spring, we welcomed biomechanist and author Katy Bowman and an enthusiastic group of 30 participants to Softstar for a Movement Retreat. Katy, founder of Nutritious Movement, has been a great friend of Softstar over the years and we were honored to welcome her and her crew to our workshop. Throughout the weekend retreat, the group participated in lots of movement classes led by Katy, worked with our team to make their own moccasins from start to finish, and went on a 16-mile hike through MacDonald Forest. Hosting this kind of large-scale, hands-on event was a first for us, and we had such a blast!
A major highlight of our year was being honored as the 2018 winner of Restore Oregon’s annual DeMuro Awards, which celebrate and honor exceptional historic rehabilitation and architectural preservation projects across the state of Oregon. Softstar won the award for restoring an old 1950s roller rink into the company’s revamped workshop and retail location on Philomath’s Main Street. We’re so grateful to our designer and contractor, Alan Ayres, for his visionary work in transforming this building with us.
Thanks to our team’s continued dedication to sustainability and waste-reduction, we came in at No. 11 on the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list for 2018.
With another year under our belts in our new workshop in Philomath, we feel even more at home here. Throughout the year, we continued to make adjustments to the layout of our shoe-making equipment, supplies and work stations to boost our production flow. We also incorporated lean production methods into our shoe-making process to increase our efficiency and get shoes out the door faster and onto the feet of our wonderful customers.
In fall of 2018, we broke ground on our new office garden. After getting feedback from everyone on our team about what they’d most like to see in the garden, our building contractor Alan Ayres teamed up with landscape architect Bill Peterson to envision and start building the space. This garden will be a beautiful and tranquil place for members of the team to recharge during the day, and it will include lots of perennials, edibles and herbs. We can’t wait to share more details and photos of the new garden when it comes to life this spring!
Whew... what a year it has been! Thank you from the bottom of our soles for your support of our company. While these retrospectives prove just how much things grow and change every year, there will always be one constant: We will continue to handcraft the best minimal shoes for you right here in our Oregon workshop. Happy New Year, everyone!