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Review: Soft Star Shoes for Children

by Brian Patterson » on Jul 08, 2011 6

Over the past few weeks we’ve had the pleasure of putting a pair of Toddler shoes from Soft Star Shoes to the test.  Or, more specifically, my 2 year old super-active daughter has put them through the wringer.  But what are Soft Star Shoes, you might be asking yourself?

About Soft Star Shoes

Soft Star Shoes is a popular niche shoe company that hand-makes each pair of shoes they sell.  They only use natural, flexible materials, and they focus specifically on thin, minimalist soles that closely mimic being barefoot.  As all of our regular readers know, these principals are the same reason we love FiveFingers and many other minimalist shoes.

If you watch the video below, you’ll really see how passionate their founder and co-owners are about:

  • Using incredibly high-quality materials
  • Handmaking shoes to ensure that each is exactly how they would want it (as opposed to factory produced shoes where they wouldn’t be able to hold each pair in their hands)
  • Making really comfortable shoes
  • Connecting with their customers and building personal relationships
  • Being environmentally conscious and friendly (include using solar and wind power for their workshop)

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A Review of the Laguna Sandal Tidals

Unlike our typical reviews where we can provide a lot of information and feedback because we can wear them and get a good feel for them… we can’t really do that here.  My 2 year old, Ella, is a pretty good talker but she has no concept of ‘ground feel’, ‘heel drops’ or anything of the sort.  So we are going to keep this review short, sweet, and include lots of photos. Here’s the first of Ella modeling the shoes:

Wearing the Laguna Sandal Tidals (and stickers)

The shoes that she wore are the Laguna Sandal Tidals ($30 from Soft Star Shoes)

As you might imagine, the quality of these shoes is simply great.  Typically children’s shoes aren’t made with the highest quality materials because kids outgrow and beat up shoes so fast that the cost/benefit ratio just isn’t there for neither manufacturers making the shoes nor parents buying the shoes.  So, when we received a high quality pair of kids shoes, it sort of caught us off guard because its just not what we’re used to.

The leather is really soft and plyable.  With some leather, you’d worry about stiff cut edges being next to skin because of blistering from rubbing, but that’s not the case here. The sole is very thin but durable.  I thought it looked like a Vibram sole, and on the Soft Star website it mentions that they do use Vibram soles, but looking further into it I actually think its not Vibram (I’m sure someone from Soft Star can chime in and let us know definitively).  For smaller shoes, Soft Star reference another, thinner sole and I think that is what goes into these.  Quality-wise, I’d say the sole is right there with Vibrams, so no points deducted.

All in all, these shoes are great.  No crazy heal lifts and no excessive and unnecessary support.  As for ground feel, only Ella knows for sure and she ain’t saying… but I like to think, based on my experience, that I’m a pretty good judge of such things and these look pretty minimalist to me so it should be good ground feel.  I think Soft Star lives up to their goal with these of making shoes for people that like to be barefoot.

We like them.

But How Do They Look?

My wife says that the shoes look great.  I’m not really into little girl’s fashion, but she seems to be and she really liked the way these look, “cool and girly” as she put it.  Some of the shoes on the site weren’t really suited to our taste, such as some of the moccasins, but they may make a lot of sense to some others in colder climates (we just don’t see them much around here).

Front View of the Fuchsia Laguna Sandal Tidals with Star Laces

Side view of the sandals

Close-up side view

Hanging out on the dock

Thats it for the review. Ella really likes the shoes and so do her parents.  I think we’ll be looking at Soft Star in the future for other pairs of shoes for her and her little sister.

Disclaimer:  Soft Star Shoes provided a few pairs of shoes for us to review, free of charge.  However, this has not influenced our review – if we didn’t like them, we would have said so.  My wife says she would absolutely buy these shoes for our daughter all over again, and she is already checking out the Soft Star Shoes website to see what she wants to buy next.

Submitted Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say that we LOVE soft star shoes. My daughter is 5, almost 6. She’s quite small for her age and has some health issues. Due to that, she’s very much a kid focused on comfort. She has 6 pairs of Soft Star, and we always get compliments. Even if we didn’t though, she’d still be rocking her soft stars!

  2. Claudia says:

    My daughter Lily is 20 months old and she too loves her soft star shoes!! :)

  3. Lexie says:

    My Goddaughter and her brother, now 7 and 9, have always had soft stars at our house and love them. They call them their ‘comfy’ shoes. I also own several pairs of their slippers and mocs as well as a pair of ramblers and Keita shoes which are awesome for snow and slush. The kids have never been able to wear their shoes out, despite hard wear including hiking and camping, before they grew out of them.

  4. SinCityShopper says:

    How do you feel the sizing runs for this brand. I’d love to order my baby girl a pair but the size chart shows that I should order a 6 wide and she has been wearing a 5 or 5.5 in other brands and a 21 euro. Thanks.

  5. Lexie says:

    Print out their shoe fit chart and order based on their sizing. It’s always been accurate for us.

  6. Caleb says:

    I have owned 3 pair of Softstar Run Amok’s
    VERY high quality and very well made
    I like how over time, the sole of the shoe molds to fit your foot

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