Meet Omniflex, Our New Favorite RunAmoc Sole
A Decade of Adventures
It’s hard for us to believe, but with 2020 comes the 10-year anniversary of Softstar’s RunAmoc. Not only was the Original RunAmoc our first athletic shoe, but it was also the shoe that unexpectedly exploded in popularity and introduced Softstar to grown-ups. Although we were dominantly a baby and child shoe company before the spring of 2010, we now have a full line of adult footwear and cater to all ages who seek out healthy, happy feet… all thanks to someone’s crazy idea of gluing a running sole onto our lightweight leather moccasins.
It was you, the fans, who were responsible for this innovation. We don’t know who first ran a race in our Roo moccasins, but word sure got out fast and we found ourselves bombarded with emails and phone messages begging us to make the suede moccasin sole more durable for distance running. After a little trial and error, the RunAmoc was born and we were surprised again that it was worn not only for short races, but became a favorite for marathoners and even ultrarunners—not to mention hikers, dancers, golfers, classical musicians, circus performers... you name it!
Ever since that first RunAmoc was introduced, we have offered the same two standard rubber sole options for our athletic shoes: a 2mm Street sole and a 6.4mm Trail sole, both made by VibramTM (many of you may remember it as a 5mm Trail sole, but at some point the manufacturer surprised us by adding a little thickness to it). We offered both of these options because they fit two different needs—a thinner sole for fans who want to be as close to the earth as possible and a thicker sole with tread for better traction on rough surfaces, as well as a little extra thickness to help ease-in those new to minimalist shoes.
We have long dreamed of discovering a rubber sole that would be the best of both worlds, and now we finally found it. We are excited to announce the latest improvement to our RunAmocs: the Omniflex sole!
What is Omniflex?
Omniflex, also made by VibramTM, is a zero-drop 5mm sole that features a zig-zag tread pattern. You may recognize this pattern from the 4mm Lightning sole on our adult Phoenix boots, but although the treads of both soles looks identical the 5mm Omniflex sole is actually made from a different rubber compound. We thoroughly tested this new sole on Dash and Primal RunAmocs and are happy to say that it exceeded our expectations.
Although it is a little thinner than our 6.4mm Trail sole, the material used to make Omniflex has been tested to show the same level of durability as the thicker sole.
Omniflex, at 5mm thick, hits the sweet spot between the Street and Trail soles. Fans of our 2mm Street sole may be concerned that Omniflex is slightly thicker, but fear not! The Street sole is made from dense solid rubber, which is necessary for such a thin sole to be durable enough for a practical lifespan of athletic use. While that sole was thin, the density of the rubber made it less pliable overall. Omniflex, however, is made from a rubber compound that bends and folds more easily to “wrap” around the surfaces beneath it (hence the name OMNI-flex, as it flexes fluidly in all directions). We think our barefoot-loving customers will be very happy with the level of groundfeel and proprioception this sole provides, yet it is still thick enough to protect feet from sharp or jagged objects.
Our 2mm Street sole has a flat surface with no tread, but a rubbery texture that provides a subtle “stickiness” to smooth surfaces. Our 6.4mm Trail sole has less of that stick, but boasts a pattern of nubs that provide a little grip when running over rocks or uneven ground. Omniflex, however, incorporates both of these features. Its rubber composition allows a natural stick on smooth floors–even more than the Street sole–and the zig-zag tread helps cling to rugged surfaces in nature.
As many of our fans know, RunAmocs are not just for trails. Our all-black Dash RunAmoc has become a favorite shoe for formal occasions, but outfitting it with a rugged 6.4mm Trail sole can make it look less dressy. Omniflex doesn’t show its tread so obviously when viewed from above or from the side. This means you can wear this versatile sole to your friend’s wedding ceremony and still look classy… and then go on a trail run afterwards!
Questions and Answers
We're sure this news raises some questions. Here are a few we can answer right away.
What’s Going to Happen to the Street and Trail Soles?
Eventually, Omniflex will become our only standard sole option for Dash and Primal RunAmocs. The Trail sole will be dicontinued completely and the Street sole will remain available as an option when you customize these shoes.
If you are worried about losing your favorite Street or Trail soles then you still have time to order them. Here is a timeline of how this change will take effect (see chart below):
Update February 2020: the release of our new collection colors has been postponed until March.
- January to
Mid-FebruaryMarch 2020: all three soles—Street, Trail and Omniflex—will be available for adult Dash and Primal RunAmocs, whether they are part of our annual collection or customized with your favorite colors.
Note that Youth Primal RunAmocs, which were previously only made with the Trail sole, are now only available with Omniflex.
Mid-FebruaryMarch to Summer 2020: when we introduce our 2020 collection colors in March, only Omniflex will be available on Dash and Primal RunAmocs in our annual collection, but Street and Trail soles will still be available as options when you customize these shoes.
- Summer 2020 and Beyond: in the summer of 2020 we will discontinue the Trail sole on Dash and Primal RunAmocs altogether. The exact date will be announced as the time nears. The Street sole will still remain available as an option when you customize these shoes.
What About the Moc3?
The Moc3 RunAmoc, our slip-on athletic shoe, can only be made with the 2mm Street sole. No changes will be made to the Moc3 and it will continue to be made with the Street sole.
What About Bullhide Leather Soles?
No changes will be made to our bullhide leather soles and they will continue to be offered as a special option for customized Dash RunAmocs.
Omniflex is available now, but that’s not the only new sole we’ll be offering this year. Here’s what else you can expect to see in 2020:
Tundra Boot Sole
Adult and Youth Phoenix boots are getting a makeover, but only on the underside. The 4mm Lightning sole used for these boots will soon be replaced with our new 4mm Tundra sole. Tundra is the same thickness as the Lightning sole and is made from the same material, but features a different tread pattern for improved traction in winter conditions. You can expect to see the Tundra sole introduced with our 2020 collection shoes in mid-February.
New Rugged Sole
Many of our customers have extra-adventurous kids who wear through shoes quickly, and that’s why we introduced our Rugged Rambler with it’s extra-thick 9mm Rugged sole. This was basically our 5mm Trail sole glued to a 4mm midsole for added durability. Unfortunately, that thickness impaired the groundfeel and minimal qualities that we like to see in our shoes. The good news is we have a solution: Flexgrip! Flexgrip is a new sole that is thinner and more flexible than the 9mm Rugged sole, but just as durable, We know this firsthand from testing the roughest-playing little elves from our shop. We'll share more information about Flexgrip in the coming weeks.
New RunAmoc Hiking Sole
This one is still in the early stages of development, but we are testing a new hiking sole, currently dubbed the “Rock Sole.” This sole has extra-thick lugs that will allow our RunAmocs to traverse even the toughest and muddiest backcountry trails. If all goes well, then we hope to release a special edition RunAmoc with this sole later in the year. More info to come…