At Softstar we use only leathers which meet high safety standards both for our customers, tannery workers and for the environment. We know your babies and toddlers (and pets) like to occasionally chew on their shoes, so it is important to us to make them as chemical-free as possible.
Many shoes today are imported from countries using formaldehyde tanning methods. Formaldehyde is not only a potential irritant to your skin and absorbable transdermally, but it also pollutes ground water downstream from tanneries and causes well-documented health issues among tannery employees. It is important to us that we make chemical-free, non-toxic shoes. At Softstar, we only use leather tanned without formaldehyde and colored with non-toxic food grade dye. All of our leather is sourced from ecologically responsible tanneries restricted to countries with strict environmental regulations. When the leather is not available from USA tanneries, we source it from approved tanneries in Italy, Germany, Brazil, South Korea or Mexico that meet ethical labor and environmental standards set by our supplier. We are also proud to offer vegetable tanned leather from the Ecopell tannery in Germany, which we import due to their extremely high standards for sustainability—arguably the most natural and eco-friendly leather in the world.
Many of our Softstars are available with soft and natural sheepskin. Sheepskin is important in wicking away moisture and is naturally homeostatic, meaning it regulates temperature. Unlike synthetic fleece, natural sheepskin keeps feet at a consistent temperature, whether it is a balmy afternoon or a chilly winter day. We source our sheepskin from both the USA and New Zealand.
Some of our ethically made shoes are made with merino wool uppers. Unlike many slippers and clothing items that claim to be "wool rich", yet are mostly made from synthetic materials, we use only 100% merino wool. While we normally try to source our materials locally, we import this wool from Germany since it meets the highest standards we could find for material quality, environmental sustainability and ethical treatment of sheep. Softer than most wool, our merino comes from a specific breed of sheep with ultra-fine 12 micron fibers. Many people who have skin reactions to wool find that this fine merino wool does not irritate them. Our merino wool is also Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, which ensures safety in textiles. The extremely lightweight nature of our wool results in some of the lightest sustainably sourced shoes we make.
Softstar designs shoes to be strong from the ground up! That means selecting the highest quality soles that offer flexible, natural movement for your feet in a zero-drop design. For our rubber soles, we are product to partner with VIBRAMTM, the time-tested industry leader in durable soling material. We also offer a variety of extremely pliable leather soles in select styles for a heritage moccasin experience. We are constantly on the lookout for the latest soling materials that will balance durability with superior proprioception (groundfeel) and balance.
We use a variety of soles because we have found some work better than others for certain shoe styles. For example, some soles can only be stitched to shoes while others can only be bonded with an adhesive, and the shoe design determines which method is used. Visit our soling directory for detailed descriptions of every type of sole used for our ethically made shoes:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I have purchased over 8 pair of 'minimalist' shoes in the past 3 years...none of them felt like walking barefoot to me......until now. Your leather is soft your soles are flat and my foot is relaxed!!!"
"My entire experience with Softstar has been nothing short of an amazing experience from beginning to end. Will not buy any other shoes...my feet no longer hurt at all."
"This shoe is exactly what you would hope it to be. High quality leather and workmanship in a simple, natural stance running shoes made of all natural materials. Glad I found them."
"I've never had shoes that have fit as well as these or received as many compliments… I wish I had found them sooner!"
"There are no other shoes like Softstar - strong, comfortable, pretty - the best choice of minimal shoes one can get. Thank you for making our lives easier and wonderful!"
"I am loving these shoes! They are just lovely to have on the feet. And I am not easily impressed... There's nothing on the market that I know of that allows full toe splay! To me, it's a beautiful thing to let the toes move with absolute freedom in the shoe. I cannot do that with ANY OTHER of the barefoot shoes."
"I spent SO MANY years searching for a shoe to fit my feet. At last, you have given me such a shoe! I am convinced that had I met this shoe 30 years ago, I would not have the deformed feet I have now, nor would I have had surgery done on one of them. Abundant thanks for this design that honors my feet."
"These shoes are absolute perfection… The toe box finally allows my pinky toe and big toe to splay naturally and has taken away all previous foot pain… My feet will accept nothing less now."
"Finally something I will wear to work that is truly foot shaped… I usually take my shoes off as soon as I arrive home. I was so comfortable in these that I didn't think about it, and I left them on for hours into the evening."
"These are fantastic. Softstar showed themselves as the best minimal shoe company on the market with these. Functionally, they are the best fitting shoes I own, and they are the most stylish."
"Blown away. These should be the standard. I work at a physio clinic and see multiple people come in with foot pain (bunions, flat feet, plantar fasciitis) and it's mostly because of the effects of improper footwear over time... These shoes are the perfect solution."
"These are the best shoes I've ever owned. FINALLY A TOE BOX SHAPED LIKE A HEALTHY FOOT… I can wear my toe separators in these without any squishing or pressure against the sides of the shoe. Finally, finally, finally... someone prioritized function over form in creating a shoe that feels great to wear."