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Saturday
Apr282012

Soft Star runamoc DASH

I may have mentioned before, but all my running is done in minimalist shoes. In fact, these days I don't wear any 'proper' shoes at all. They feel so heavy, let alone the whole toe-squishing thing. (For what it's worth, I'm an over-pronator who suffered from plantar do-whatsit. Not been a problem since I switched.) I found out about Soft Star Shoes online, and being a sucker for the small company thing - and the fact that they were rather cheaper than the Vivo Barefoot shoes I was looking at - I went with a couple of pairs of their Runamoc DASH.
Softstar shoes Runamoc DASH lite
These are my running shoes. They were the standard model when I ordered them, complete with an offer which made them even better value. I went with the 5mm trail soles in these. I haven't taken a photo of the other pair. They look pretty similar, except in smooth brown leather with red semi-circles and the 2mm smooth sole. If you've seen me recently, chances are I've been wearing them, because they are my day-to-day shoe.

They are extremely soft leather, nicely made. Clarkie thinks they look a bit weird, but they don't get a second look when I'm out and about n them. But they have not been without their trials!

First up there was the sizing. Being from the UK I don't have a 'usual' US shoe size, so I kind of had to guess a bit. Turns out my shoe size is between US shoe sizes. A 6.5 U would be perfect, but Soft Star don't make 'em. I decided to go down a size, and fretted until they arrived. As it turns out, the solid ones did feel really a bit tight. They seemed long enough, but the leather had no toe space so they felt a bit cramped. I emailed the elves. The response I got surprised me. Try leaving them with a damp towel in overnight, then bashing them on a broom handle to provide some give. Yeah. Anyway, I did it. It worked, provided I don't wear thick socks.

The running shoes seemed a little bigger, and I can actually fit a thicker sock than I could (comfortably) in my Vivo Evos. My problem with them was much more surprising: they gave me blisters! Thing is, they gave me blisters on the ball of my foot. There was nothing in the shoe that would rub there, it was just my foot on the shoe liner. Now, I can be stubborn, and I wanted these shoes to work, so I gave it a bit of thought. Eventually I decided that clearly my foot must be sliding in the shoe, which would explain the blister. But, if I was running with 'good barefoot form' (which I kind of hoped after 500+ trauma free miles in my Evos I might be) that shouldn't be happening. A process of deduction meant that I wasn't running with good form, and actually my experience on the ice and snow over the winter sort of bears that out. If I really concentrated I could run without slipping, but it wasn't my normal running style.

So, I've worked on it. And I've got it! I was pushing off, not lifting up. I have now done around 60 miles in them, and the blisters are a thing of the past. Interestingly, some other long term patches of rough skin on the ends of my toes seem to be healing too. So yeah, liking them! The only thing I'd change is the sole which now feels rather thick, but I can definitely live with that. For what it's worth, I think the difference between these and the Evos is that the Runamocs are less tightly held on, so my foot could move more in them than the Evos, hence the blisters from my poor form.
14-April-2012
That's me wearing them at Brighton & Hove parkrun a couple of weeks ago. Fingers crossed for many more happy miles in them!

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Reader Comments (1)

Interesting! These are cute shoes without that whole Vibram five-finger toe thing which I don't love the look of. Thanks for the links. And good on you!

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

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