Frequently Asked Questions

  • Customer Service

    How do I check for fit when my shoes arrive?

    When your shoes arrive, please try them on indoors and make sure your shoes fit well before deciding to keep them as we only accept returns on shoes still in brand new condition. This means that the innersole, outer sole and leather can show no signs of dirt or wear.

     

    Our shoes are made with a non-lasted technique, meaning the leather will lay softly over the foot instead of being molded into a rigid and smooth toe box. The natural contours of your toes will show through the leather and this is normal. If your shoes are a little snug at first in the toe box area, you can stretch them by stuffing the toe box with a DRY rag. Push the cloth tightly into the front of the shoe—don't worry, you cannot hurt them and it does not impact your ability to return them. Let the shoes sit stuffed overnight to stretch and try them on for size again.

     

    Pulling your heel to the back of the shoe, you should have approximately the width of your index  finger of extra space in front of your toes and the front seam of the shoe. For young children, this can be up to a 1/2 inch extra for shoes or even 1 inch for moccasins to account for extra growing room.

    What is your repair policy?

    We hope our shoes will have a long and happy life on your feet. With regular use, all shoes will eventually show signs of wear. 

     

    Although our workshop is equipped to make new shoes, repairing soles is a process that requires a different set of skills and tools. We recommend seeking a local cobbler in your area for your needs. 

     

    If you do not have a local cobbler, we are happy to try and perform shoe repairs when possible, but please be aware that some repairs are beyond our ability. We know you love our shoes, but after many cycles of wear… well, it just might be time to retire those puppies!

     

    We perform these limited repairs for a minimal $5 return shipping charge (some exceptions apply). Please read below to see which types of repairs we can do.  If you are unsure if we can repair them, sometimes it is most cost effective to email us a photo with your repair question before you ship your shoes to us.

     

    Shoes sent for repair must be clean, or we will return them to you for cleaning.  Our sewing machines and seamstresses require it!   

     

    To request a repair, please print our repair form and include it with your shoes:

     

    Download/Print Repair Request Form

     

    Our most common repairs involve re-sewing shoes to soles when stitching has come undone. We can easily replace the elastic closure in our moccasins and Ramblers, but unfortunately not for child sandals or Playtimes (because the elastic is stitched-in).

     

    We are sorry to say that there are very few repairs we can perform on our RunAmoc shoes; we cannot repair holes worn through the leather near the RunAmoc sole and we cannot replace or re-glue RunAmoc soles. We are also unable to repair holes worn through the soles on any of our shoes. If you have questions about whether or not a repair is possible, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Do you make single shoes?

    Wearing a cast? Lost one shoe? Fido enjoyed your moccasin as tasty treat? We understand... our leather is delicious (and non-toxic). Fear not, since we handcraft all of our shoes we can easily make a single shoe for you at half the price of a pair. Order a single shoe now!

    Can you rush my order?

    Please call us if you have a special date you would like your order by and we will see if it is possible to get them made in time. In general, we do not have a "rush order" charge as we try to make everyone's shoes as quickly as possible and in the order received.

     

    We do have a lot of great one-of-a-kind shoes on hand that can often be shipped same day, so please call us if you are looking for something to ship fast and ask what we might have already made and available to meet your needs. You can also search our Sole Mate category to see shoes that are ready to ship immediately.

     

    In general we do not rush any orders at holiday time as our shoemaking resources are already stressed and we are working hard to get everyone's order out as soon as possible..

    Product

    Are "custom" shoes the same as special requests or made-to-measure shoes?

    No. Custom shoes are part of the fun we have every day. You do pay extra to pick your own colors and motifs as it requires more labor to make them, but they are not what we consider "special requests" or "made-to-measure" work. Here is how we use those terms:

     

    • Special Requests are simple alterations we can offer on our shoes for no extra charge, such as making the elastic in your moccasins a bit longer. Shoes made with these requests are still fully refundable.
    • Made-to-Measure shoes usually involve more hands-on design work that may incur extra fees and are non-refundable. We only offer select services in this category.

     

    Click Here for the complete list of special requests and made-to-measure services we offer.

    Can I request special color stars, rockets or stitching if I don't see it as a custom option?

    Yes! For some of the shoes in our Custom Category, you will see dropdown menus that will allow you to specify the colors you would like for motifs (e.g., stars, rockets, moons), thread or elastic color. To keep things simple, we do not show these options for every part of every custom shoe. If there is a thread or motif color you would like us to use on your shoe, feel free to let us know in the "Additional Notes" field when you place your order. Please note that we can only do requests like this for custom shoes, not our current collection colors.

    Can I wash my shoes?

    For our vegan shoes: yes! Wash away!

     

    For our leather shoes: we don't recommend frequent washing of any leather product as it strips the leather of its natural oils and tends to dry stiffer, but if needed, you can hand wash your leather shoes using a gentle shampoo and cool water. 

     

    We are often asked if our shoes can be washed in a washing machine. While not recommended as a normal course of action, when in dire straits, the Elves have been known to toss a pair of leather shoes in the machine with generally good results. Just don't mix them with any other item because of color bleeding, and do NOT put your Softstar shoes the dryer. Shoes with sheepskin can take 3-4 days to air dry if fully submerged in water. You can speed up the drying by stuffing with old newspapers and replacing the paper twice dailyy.;

    Help! Color from my shoes is all over my feet!

    Softstar Shoes are made from eco-friendly, tanned in USA leathers. Because we use natural food-grade dyes in our leather (instead of chemical fixatives) there is often some initial color transference to your socks or skin if your shoes become damp. This is natural will decrease with use.

    How do your moccasins compare to Robeez or Bobux shoes?

    Softstar Moccasins have been made with the same great fitting design since 1989. Robeez and Bobux shoes were introduced later, and adopted our elastic closure system. However, the similarities stop there.

     

    Softstars are the only shoes with soft, moisture absorbing natural sheepskin soles. The sheepskin sole wicks away moisture and also provides more cushiony protection against toys, gravel or other objects under your toddler's toes. 

     

    Our shoes are handcrafted here in the USA by our elves, unlike other children's shoes. All of our leathers come from US based tanneries, which have stringent rules and regulations for worker safety and environmental standards. No formaldehyde is used in the tanning of our leathers (not the case with many imported leathers and shoes).

     

    Finally, our moccasin sizes don't stop at age 4 like the competitors—we make them for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, youths and adults!

    How long will a pair of Softstar shoes last?

    The glove-like properties of our shoes promotes healthy foot development, balance and body awareness, but the shoes are not going to be as abrasion resistant as a thick rubber soled shoe made with layers of adhesives and materials. Sofstar shoes will last anywhere from 3 months to 10 years depending on the individual and how the shoes are treated.

     

    We have customers who have put over 600 miles on their RunAmocs and customers who pass down their children's shoes 3 or 4 times. Within the shop we even have a few well-loved pairs that are 15 years old and counting !

     

    Check out this blog post about a customer's 22-year-old moccasins.

     

    That being said, durability does vary greatly from person to person. Some customers wear through their shoes quickly when using them as outdoor shoes in rough conditions or when the pair is too small. The soft leather design is susceptible to tears or holes if used for scrambling or toes are dragged on pavement. They will not have the same durability as synthetic running shoes with thick soles (on the other hand, our minimalist soles are so thin they do not need to be replaced for unevenly-worn soles that lead to sever pronation or supination, like conventional shoes). Our shoes can last you years and years depending on your usage and wear habits. Think of them as leather gloves for your feet!

    What colors are available?

    We have many leather and vegan colors available for our shoes. To see the complete list, or to order swatches to be mailed to you, visit our color swatch page. We also have a color-crayon matching guide you can use to match our colors to popular Crayola Crayon colors—with free printouts for kids to color their own shoes!

    What materials are used to make your shoes?

    Click here for descriptions of the materials we use.

    Do you make custom shoes?

    If you are looking to make our existing shoe styles with your own custom colors and motifs, then yes! Since we make all of our shoes by hand, this is a service we're happy to offer. You can see all of our custom shoe options here.

    If you are looking for special requests beyond our regular shoe designs, or made-to-measure shoes, then we do offer limited services Please visit our special request page for more information.

    What's up with the tassels?

    You may have noticed leather tassels among our adult accessories. These tassels were developed by one of our talented elves and we think they're spectacular! Although they aren't shoes, they are still made with the same high quality craftsmanship and leather materials as our footwear and we are proud to sell them on our site.

    Sizing

    Do you have extra wide shoes for adults?

    Not exactly, but we do offer a Wide XL width for our Adult Original RunAmocs. While this option is the same width as our normal wide option, it has extra material in the front upper section of the shoe (known as the vamp). Wide XL is ideal for people with very thick feet. To order this option, simply choose "Wide XL Width" from the width dropdown menu for our Original RunAmoc.

     

    Curious about other specialized work we offer? Please click here for a summary of special request polices and options that we do and do not offer..

    Do you have extra wide shoes for children?

    Yes! Although you can only select "wide" for width on our site, we do offer even wider shoes by special request. Please see this guide for how our extra wide children's shoes compare to other brands, as well as how to order.

    I can see the outline of my toes. Do my shoes fit?

    Our shoes are made with a non-lasted technique, meaning the leather will lay softly over the foot instead of being molded into a rigid and smooth toe box. The natural contours of your toes will show through the leather and this is normal.

    My child has outgrown your youth sizes. What do I do?

    Fear not, we have shoes to fit! Our youth sizes blend into our adult sizes seamlessly, so that our size 5Y is the same as our size 5U, 6Y is the same as 6U, etc. If your child needs a size larger than what we have available in our Youth Shoes category, then you should be able to find the next size up in our Adult Shoes. For a complete look at how our sizes compare, check out our sizing chart.

    What does the "U" mean in Softstar adult sizes?

    "U" stands for Unisex sizing for our adult shoes. 

    What you need to know about the free form nature of moccasin sizing

    Softstar moccasins are beloved for their genuine sheepskin soles and ultra-comfortable feel. They have an free form nature that allows them to fit many different sizes and shapes of feet with ease. People often order a size bigger in moccasins for the extra roomy comfort, and because the design allows your foot to move to the front easily. Extra length ends up behind your heel, and not in front of your toes which makes it comfortable for walking. This is also handy with children as they can "grow into" bigger sizes with ease.

    When you first get a pair of moccasins, you might find it is hard to tell apart the right from the left. The size tags will be on your inner ankles. They may also may look slightly different from right to left. Keep in mind that your new shoes will "mold" into your foot shape within a few hours after which you should have no problems telling them apart and/or feeling seams.

    What's the biggest shoe you've ever made?

    To date, the biggest shoe was an adult size 17 Original RunAmoc, and you can see a photo of it on our blog. No job is too big or too small for the elves!

    Why does my new pair fit differently than the old?

    At Softstar we take consistency very seriously. We invest a lot in training and equipment to minimize differences from shoe to shoe. Most of our patterns are die cut, or traced to aluminum patterns to ensure uniformity. However, the soft style construction we use can have a lot of variability that your sensitive foot may notice. There are three key reasons that a new pair may differ in feel from another:

     

    1. New shoes vs. worn shoes: Our shoes are so soft and natural that they will stretch and form to your feet over time. Typically, new shoes feel tighter than the ones you have become accustomed to.

     

    2. Leather: softness, thickness and texture of natural leather will vary slightly from hide to hide. No two cows are exactly the same!  Perforated leather also  feels and sews differently from smooth or shiny or suede leather. All of our leather will eventually form to your foot, but two pairs of shoes made on the same day by the same elf may feel different when you first slip them on due solely to leather.

     

    3. Soles for RunAmocs and Hawthorne Chukkas: These shoes are also die cut to the same size each and every time, but have an extra process to adhere the Vibram rubber or leather outer soles. This soling process involves hand trimming the final product, so the shape and length of the outer sole will change from shoe to shoe. However, the innersole and interior shape and volume of the shoe will be consistent. Therefore, if you hold up 2 different pairs in the same size you may see the outer soles may not match up exactly, but the upper and inside volume and interior length are all cut identically. Also, heat will cause Vibram soles to shrink over time. Campfires, heaters and even just a hot sidewalk will result in some minor shrinkage over time, meaning further discrepancies in length between old and new pairs.

     

    Finally, if you are in the process of switching from more traditional shoes to minimal shoes then you may find that over time your feet are spreading out more and getting wider and longer as they get healthier and stronger.

    Placing an Order

    How secure is your site?

    Our Softstar Shoes website is hosted on a dedicated, state-of-the-art server owned by Nexcess with both APF software and hardware firewalls. This facility is staffed 24x7 to provide the most immediate and quality support in the event of web issues. We are fully PCI compliant and use the most up-to-date secure, encrypted processes for transmitting order information. We do not store your credit card information, so even in the very unlikely event that our server would be compromised there is no financial data stored. Our server is not susceptible to the SSL Heartbeat bug.

    Do you offer coupons or discounts? What about sales events?

    We occasionally offer discounts or coupons through our monthly email newsletter.

     

    We also partner with Waldorf and Montessori schools for classroom shoe discounts during back-to-school season and schools are welcome to call for more information. We also offer bulk order discounts for large orders if shipping within the USA.

    My login doesn't work!

    If your password is not working, please select the option "request a new password" to have one emailed to you, or contact us directly for assistance.

    What type of payments do you accept?

    We accept VISA or Mastercard on all orders. We also accept PayPal, money orders or personal checks by mail. When you checkout online, you will have the option of either entering your credit card, going to PayPal or you can select the "pay offline" option instead for sending checks. The "pay offline" option can also be used to submit your order without payment. This is handy if for some reason your credit card is not working, or if you want to provide your credit card number by phone.  

    Shipping Information

    Shipping Rates and Methods

    We ship all shoes via USPS First Class mail with an option to upgrade to USPS Priority Mail. Click here to see domestic and international shipping rates.

     

    If needed by special request,  we can do UPS Express and overnight shipping  for additional fees. Contact us to discuss rates and times

    Where do you ship?

    Softstar ships to most countries that offer postal delivery services. You will see the choices in the drop down boxes when you order. Expect up to 3-4 weeks delivery for destinations outside the USA. Please note: you will be responsible for any import taxes, or custom duties on your package.

     

    Some countries are not listed in the drop down box—sorry, but this is because we have not had success sending packages there in the past via the standard mail services. If the country you desire is not listed, please email or call us for a cutsom quote to send via UPS for guaranteed delivery.

    How long before I get my shoes? I live in the USA.

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or busy times of the year. All our shoes are handmade.

     

    We normally have most of our annual collection shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width. If we need to make your pair, turnaround will be 1-4 days plus shipping (longer during back-to-school or holiday seasons). If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

     

    Once your shoes leave our shop:

     

    • US First class mail arrives within  2-9 days in the 48 contiguous states
    • US Prioriy mail arrives within 2-3 days (this is not a guaranteed service)

    If you need your shoes by a certain date, please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color, you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

    How long before I get my shoes? I live in Canada

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or busy times of year. All of our shoes are handmade. We do have most of our annual collection shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width. If we need to make your pair, turnaround is usually 1-4 days plus shipping (longer during busy back-to school or holiday seasons). If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

     

    Once your shoes leave our shop, shipping via First Class to Canada may take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks  depending on customs processing. Because our product is sourced and made in the USA, you should not have to pay any import duties under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).  We identify our packages as subject to NAFTA regulations on the outer package and invoice. 

     

    Canadian orders are considered international shipments and all international rules and regulations apply, including import duties and taxes. You are responsible for these additional charges once the shipment reaches your country.

     

    If you need your shoes by a certain date, please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color, you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

    How long before I get my shoes if I live in a country other than the US or Canada?

    On average, we ship most shoes within 1-4 business days of receiving your order, but please plan on up to 2 weeks lead time before we ship to account for material delays, custom soling or extremely busy times of year. All our shoes are handmade to order. We do have most stock shoes readily available, but not always in every size and width. If we need to make your pair, turnaround will be 1-14 days plus shipping. If you are in a hurry, please call to confirm we can ship same day or ask what we have on hand in the sizes you need. Some shoes take longer to make than others. For example, RunAmocs take more time for us to prepare because we are attaching a custom sole per your request.

     

    If you need your shoes by a certain date then please contact our customer service elves to verify the expected shipping time. If you are in a hurry to get your shoes and are not particular about the color then you can call and ask if we have any one-of-a-kind shoes in your size on hand to ship immediately.

     

    Once your shoes leave our shop, shipping to international destinations via FIRST CLASS INT'L mail typically takes 2-3 weeks to arrive, but this time could be extended by several weeks depending on your country's postal system and customs policies. Please allow a maximum of 45 days for delivery from the ship date (that is the minimum amount of time we must wait before filing an insurance claim on the pacakge). Please note that the tracking information provided when your shoes via FIRST CLASS INT'L only tracks the package until it leaves US borders; we have no way of tracking a package outside the United States.

     

    We also offer PRIORITY INTERNATIONAL shipping for a higher rate, which takes an estimated 6-10 days for delivery to most countries and provides international tracking information beyond US borders.

     

    For international shipments, all international rules and regulations apply, including import duties and taxes. You are responsible for these additional charges once the shipment reaches your country.

    What do I do if my package doesn't arrive?

    Fortunately, this is extremely rare! If you do think your package was lost in the mail, please contact us. We can verify the shipping address and trace tracking information on all domestic shipments. If the package does not show up within 12 days after the shipment date in the USA or within 45 days after shipment date to international locations then we will file an insurance claim. Once filed, we will send a new order to you.

    Returns and Exchanges

    Softstar Return / Exchange Policy

    Softstar shoes that are still in brand new condition may be returned for any reason within 45 days of receipt. This also applies to shoes that you design yourself from our custom category. We will refund the full cost of the shoes, but customers are responsible for all return shipping charges.

     

    There are a couple exceptions to this policy: clearance sale items and made-to-order shoes are non-returnable.

     

    Please let us know if you need help with a return or exchange.

    How do I exchange my shoes?

    For exchanges of shoes that are still in brand new condition, simply ship your shoes back to us for a full refund or store credit as you prefer.

     

    IMPORTANT: Remember to include your name and order number with all returns. Exchanges cannot be issued if we don't know where the shoes came from!

     

    There is a return label on the back of your invoice with a mailing address for your convenience.

     

    Lost your invoice? Click here to print the form

     

    Customers are responsible for return shipping costs. We strongly recommend getting a tracking number when you ship your shoes back to us in case there are any problems with the delivery service.

     

    You can place a new order for your new sizes or colors either online or by phone.  Please call or email us to assist with any sizing questions you might have.

     

    Note to international customers: If you place an exchange order online, we recommend leaving a note in the comments field of the checkout process to tell us it is an exchange. Doing so may save you customs fees upon delivery (depending on your country's postal guidelines).

    How do I return my shoes?

    Shoes that are still in brand new condition may be returned for any reason within 45 days of receipt. We will refund the full cost of the shoes, but customers are responsible for return shipping charges. Shoes returned 45 to 90 days after purchase can be exchanged for store credit. Sorry, but we do not accept returns or exchanges after 90 days.

     

    IMPORTANT: Remember to include your name and order number with all returns. Refunds cannot be issued if we don't know where the shoes came from!

     

    There is a return label on the back of your invoice with a mailing address for your convenience.

     

    Lost your invoice? Click here to print the form

     

    We strongly recommend getting a tracking number when you ship your shoes back to us in case there are any problems with the delivery service.

    Do I pay shipping on exchanges or returns?

    Yes, unless we made an error with your order. If there is an error then we will send you a return shipping label.

    Availability

    Where can I buy Sofstar shoes?

    Softstar shoes are only sold directly from our Oregon workshop. We do not offer our product in retail stores. You can place your orders online, over the phone, by mail, fax or from our local showroom in Philomath, Oregon, USA.

     

    Visit our wholesale information page for more details on why wo do not offer wholesale distribution.

    Does Softstar offer wholesale or dropship services?

    Sorry, but no. Check out our wholesale information page for more information on why we currently do not offer wholesale or dropshipping distribution.

    Can I resell Softstar shoes?

    Softstar does not offer wholesale packaging, support or services. Please see our wholesale policy for more details. 

     

    Customers are welcome to resell their shoes through channels such as Ebay or Craigslist, and our Resale page is intended to help facilitate the buying and selling of secondhand Softstar shoes that are still in wearable condition.

     

    Approved brick and mortar stores may resell Softstar shoes, but we do not offer wholesale prices. The purchase price from Softstar Shoes will be our normal retail prices (the one exception would be an order qualifying for our bulk discount). 

    General Questions

    Why are the folks at Softstar called elves?

    We love to make shoes! If you would like to know the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker, click here.

    Does Softstar design made-to-measure shoes for unusual feet?

    Yes we do, but we are limited in the work we can take on. Please see our special request page for more information.

    What research is there on healthy kids shoes?

    Plenty! Growing feet are very susceptible to permanent damage from ill-fitting or stiff shoes.  Whether you choose Softstar shoes or another brand, please see this summary of general research and tips for selecting quality footwear for your children.

    How can I enter your photo contest?

    Each month we randomly select two winners, one adult and one child, to win a $25 Softstar gift certificate. Photos must show Softstar shoes and be family friendly. To enter, submit your photo by using the entry form on our fan photo page:


    Enter Fan Photo Contest

    I have plantar fasciitis. Are your shoes good for me?

    While we cannot provide medical advice, many people suffering from plantar fasciitis and plantar fibroma have found relief and even elimination of their symptoms by gradually transitioning to minimal footwear or barefoot practices. Also, some studies have shown that improving flexibility with stretching exercises may alleviate symptoms. We recommend consulting your doctor for professional medical advice before starting any stretching, exercise or treatment program.

    Are flat feet bad?

    For toddlers flat feet are not unusual and rarely cause for concern. For adults, studies suggest foot flexibility is far more important than arch height in avoidance of injury. Click here for more details.

    How do I find Softstar coupons?

    We occasionally offer discounts or coupons through our monthly email newsletter.

     

    We also partner with Waldorf and Montessori schools for classroom shoe discounts during back-to-school season and schools are welcome to call for more information. We also offer bulk order discounts for large orders if shipping within the USA.

    Do you have an affiliate or ambassador program?

    You may have heard of our affiliate program in the past, but we regret to say it was discontinued in 2016 due to changing tax laws.

     

    Our ambassador program, on the other hand, is still active! This program enrolls people interested in talking about our shoes in person to their friends and acquaintances. For more information, click here.