Initial Impression of Soft Star Shoes Moc3

Published by RunningPoint on Monday, 25 Jul 2011 14:35 EDT

Soft Star Shoes was one of the first companies that I discovered when I started searching for a truly minimal shoe over a year ago. Their products always caught my interest but as a beginning barefoot runner I just couldn't commit to buying a pair of RunAmocs. They were a bit too radical in appearance, minimalism, and honestly price. Now, as a more seasoned barefoot runner I was excited to see that Soft Star was introducing two new models, the DASH RunAmoc and the Moc3. Soft Star graciously offered to provide me with my choice of either model to review and test and encouraged me to explore their website so that I could make the choice that would fit me best. I was very impressed by the Soft Star Shoes “Elves” (as they call themselves) who were nothing but gracious and helpful while I made my tough decision on which model of shoe to choose. I was finally won over by the Moc3 due to the fact that the shoe was a slip-on and that the sole was a 2mm Vibram specially cut to allow extra flexibility while running.


The first thing that struck me about the Moc3 was how they were delivered. They came to me via USPS wrapped very nicely in tissue paper in a mailing bag. Soft Star has eliminated the use of boxes (for everyone and environmental purposes I assume) and I am a big fan of this trend. Why should so called minimal shoes need a big, bulky box? Soft Star included a very nice card explaining their philosophy on shoe making and I was impressed to see their commitment to both minimal footwear and the environment.

Initial Impressions

When I unwrapped the shoes, I was instantly in love with them. I was immediately hit with the smell of real leather and the Vibram rubber soles. They were so soft, supple, and flexible. Quality literally dripped off of them. I spent a fair amount of time just handling the Moc3's, getting to know them and admiring all the extra special details that come along with a handmade shoe.

I knew from Soft Star's website to expect the 2mm Vibram sole material to be cut in a specific shape to allow it to conform to the foot better, and I was extremely impressed with just how intricate some of the placement of the cuts were. The sole looks like a foot and there is hardly any extra material. The sole is glued to an ultra thin layer of a similar rubber and then a layer of what I perceive to be leather is applied on top to create the foot bed of the shoe. I don't really have any way to measure total thickness from bottom of sole to foot bed, but it feels like 3-4mm erring on the thin side. As a comparison, my most minimal shoe is the 4mm Vibram Cherry Invisible Shoes Huarache and the Moc3 feels thinner.

When I was done studying the Moc3, which honestly took me longer than normal due to me being awed by the quality of the shoe, I slipped them on my feet. The inside of the Moc3 is a fully lined Breath-o-Prene (an open cell foam which is breathable and wicks moisture away) bootie with a leather foot bed. The shoe is fitted to the foot, but not at all constrictive. The toe box is ample and allows for plenty of toe movement, but those of us who have gotten accustomed to barefoot or sandal running will find the sensation of the shoe actually touching the foot a bit strange. The feel on my bare feet was heavenly and I immediately had the sensation that there was nothing between my feet and the floor. I felt very connected to the surface I was walking on and I couldn't wait to go for a run.

First Run

As I set out on my first run in the Moc3, I knew right away that this was the most minimal shoe in my collection. I have run so many miles in my huaraches that I was convinced that no other shoe could provide as much ground feel. I was wrong. The Moc3 made it clear to me that I was going to have to revert back to a habit that I had all but abandoned, watching the ground ahead of me for sticks and stones and being careful where I place each foot fall. Please don't mistake this statement as a negative, because to me it is the exact opposite. I love the fact that the Moc3 is so minimal that I have to re-train myself to take care while running and to watch my form. It keeps me on my toes and it allows me to get even closer to running actually barefoot (something I refuse to do for now since I run 100% in an urban setting and don't trust my bare feet to touch whatever is on the road/sidewalks).

I decided to take a short route (since we are in the middle of a heat wave) that includes a section of relatively flat land and a decent hill to climb and descend so that I could put the Moc3 through most of the typical conditions that I run in without giving myself heat stroke. On the flat section, the Moc3 performed beautifully. I was worried that on the hilly portion, there may be some movement in the heel due to the fact that the shoe is a bootie and has no laces or straps. I found that they are rock solid on my feet and I didn't notice any slipping or flopping around. Soft Star seems to have achieved the perfect balance between the shoe being snug enough to stay on the foot, yet it is not tight or constrictive at all. This made me very happy. After running in the Moc3, the only complaint I have is that they get hot fast. The ventilated leather helps a lot while wearing them casually and I found they never even felt warm. After a few minutes of running, they were noticeably hot, but never became so uncomfortable that I wanted to stop. I can't wait to try them in the winter and see how warm my feet stay on a 20 degree run.


The Soft Star Shoes Moc3 is now the most minimal shoe in my collection and I am completely infatuated with the feeling I get when I run in them. They allow me to feel everything I run across and I hardly even notice that they are on my feet. Despite the fact that they get a little warm, I can see these being my top choice for running all year long. I can't wait to put enough miles on these shoes to do a full review!

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