Minimal Running & Casual Shoes

Why Minimalist Shoes?

For decades, it was commonly believed that adding more cushioning and rigid “motion control technology” to shoes made them safer, healthier and kept foot pain at bay. In recent years, however, many doctors have spoken up to disagree with this view. New studies continually emerge that suggest less cushioning and more flexibility in shoes may not only be healthier, but may also relieve foot pain and treat or even cure foot ailments that were previously thought to require orthotics or surgery (scroll down for a list of these studies).

The idea is simple: shoes that force your feet into tight spaces and fixed positions can cause pain. Adding a plush pad of orthotic cushioning under your feet may feel great at first, but it may also prevent you from using and exercising all of your foot muscles as nature intended. Over time, this may cause those muscles to weaken and possibly atrophy. The result? More foot pain, which is often treated with thicker orthotics, which leads to more pain, which leads to thicker orthotics, and so on and so on.

It’s time to stop the cycle! Countless Softstar customers have told us they were able to throw away their orthotics completely and walk pain free after a careful transition to minimal shoes… or even better, going barefoot.

We believe that going barefoot is often the best path to strong and healthy feet. Unfortunately, we live in a world where shoes are usually required, and that’s where Softstar comes in. Our shoes are designed to mimic barefoot movement as closely as possible while keeping your feet protected from the elements. Unlike conventional footwear, which often uses thick and rigid designs that force your foot into the shape of a shoe, all Softstar shoes are designed to be thin and flexible with leather that stretches naturally. The more you wear our shoes, the more they take the shape of your feet.

By allowing feet to move freely we believe we allow them to develop and strengthen naturally. And since your feet are the foundation of your whole body, healthy feet are the first steps to an active and healthy lifestyle... strong from the ground up!

Need more evidence of the benefits of minimalist shoes? Check out the articles and studies below, or read the customer reviews and testimonials on our product pages—they speak for themselves!

A word of caution: if you are new to minimalist shoes then we strongly recommend a slow and careful transition from your old shoes. Since our shoes activate foot muscles, tendons and ligaments that may have grown weak after years of wearing conventional shoes, it is often necessary to gradually build up their strength to avoid injury. For more info, read our tips for safe transition:


Features of Minimalist Shoes

All Softstar shoes are designed with the following features. Expand these topics for more information:


Treating Foot Problems Naturally

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Just a reminder: we're shoemakers, not doctors, and we cannot prescribe medical advice. We do, however, have access to many articles on foot health written by doctors who believe it is best to treat foot problems by restoring natural function, rather than resorting to orthotics or surgery. We have posted many of these articles on our blog and are happy to share the most popular posts below, though any treatment plan you undertake is done at your own risk and we make no promises about results.

One of our favorite tools for treating foot pain naturally is Correct Toes. Invented by podiatrist Dr. Ray McClanahan DPM, these simple silicon toe spacers have proven to be effective in helping many people treat foot problems such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, neuromas, capsulitis, knee pain and more. We are proud to sell Correct Toes on our website, as they are mentioned often in the articles below.

Not finding the information you need? The Correct Toes website has a comprehensive directory of foot ailments with suggestions for natural, non-invasive treatment:


Need a Professional Opinion?

Of course, we always recommend seeking the opinion of a trained medical professional. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to find a doctor in your area who supports the idea of treating foot pain by restoring natural foot function, instead of simply prescribing orthotics or surgery. If you have trouble finding a pro-barefoot doctor in your town then you may benefit from a remote online consultation with Dr. Ray McClanahan's clinic in Portland, Oregon. Click here for more info.


Sources

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We are always on the lookout for articles and studies on the benefits of minimalist shoes. Here are some that we've found to be very informative: