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Soft Star RunAmoc DASH Smooth Is a Great Minimalist Work (and Running) Shoe

  • Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 01:52 AM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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Soft Star Shoes recently released new models of running moccasins, the RunAmoc DASH Smooth and the RunAmoc DASH LITE. These shoes are different than previous RunAmocs in that they have a true shoe lacing mechanism. I bought a pair of the DASH Smooth to become my new work shoe since my Sanuk Overboard sandal shoes were starting to wear out. It is actually fairly difficult to find shoes suitable for work that do not have a raised heel.

The DASH Lite are perforated in the same way as the original RunAmoc Lite. For work shoes I decided to go with the DASH Smooth model.

I have owned the shoes for about three weeks and as they mold to my foot shape they become more comfortable each day. I had a few days of break-in period where I felt uncomfortable pressure on my big toe nails. To help this process I just crammed a balled-up sock into each shoe overnight. I can now wear even my thick socks and not feel like my toes are being squeezed, but for a while it also helped to wear thin socks. They are great sockless, too.

What I most like is that I can snug them around the ankle/midfoot and then the toes are free to do whatever they want up front. This seems like the perfect shoe fitting strategy... secure it to the foot and don't hinder the toes. If I were a super-hero, these are the type of shoes I would wear since I wouldn't have to change shoes to go crime-fighting. With the DASH, Soft Star has resolved all of my complaints about previous RunAmocs... mostly related to the sloppy heel fit. The DASH fit snugly to my foot and don't slide around at all and the laces allow me to adjust the fit as needed.

Even though I bought them to be work shoes, I just *had* to try them out on some runs to give a proper review. When I put them on, I feel like it is early 1950s and I'm about to go run a mile of the century. They remind me of those famous leather track spikes pictured on the cover of The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. I like them enough that I am considering the RunAmoc DASH Lite as my next minimalist running shoe purchase.

Here is a photo of my DASH Smooth shoes:

These are the default black color scheme with the 5mm trail sole. During my testing, that particular sole seems to be absolutely perfect for running on grass. The sole works fine on other surfaces too (paved and trail), but the grip on grass made an impression on me. It seems like the RunAmoc DASH would make a great Cross Country shoe for high school or college runners who don't want a conventional shoe or can't fit into normal XC racing flats which tend to be narrow.

You can see here that the RunAmoc Smooth upper is very pliable but without much built-in vertical height:

As some other minimalist shoe fans have mentioned, the RunAmoc has a thicker sole than Vibram FiveFingers or various other highly minimal shoes. There appears to be at least 3 layers of material between the foot and the ground: the outsole, some kind of middle layer, and the thin (but soft) footbed. This might be too much shoe for some minimalists, but on my test runs I find it is just right for protecting the bottom of the foot from everything including tree roots, pine cones, and sweet gum balls. There is no extra techno-stuff in the construction to impede natural foot movement, no arch support, no medial post, etc.

The RunAmoc DASH are heavier than some minimalist shoes, the weight feels just about on par with my New Balance Minimus Road. The benefit of the RunAmoc is of course the zero drop from heel to forefoot. NB has announced a zero drop version of the Minimus but last I heard it would not be available until 2012.

Here is a picture of the RunAmoc DASH Smooth at work while wearing jeans:

For those interested in a more traditional style of moccasin or prefer the slip-on style, Soft Star Shoes just announced the upcoming Moc3. I will probably stick with the DASH since I like the fit adjustments that shoe laces allow.
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