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: