Barefoot Shoes

Soft Star RunAmoc with Bullhide Soles Review

This shoe is a game changer.

That was a bold statement—especially since we are talking about the minimalist market, which is known for innovations and “game-changers”—but this is no ordinary shoe.

The Soft Star RunAmoc Dash with the bullhide sole is…

This shoe is a game changer. That was a bold statement—especially since we are talking about the minimalist market, which is known for innovations and “game-changers”—but this is no ordinary shoe. The Soft Star RunAmoc Dash with the bullhide sole is nothing short of a miracle in the most simplistic sense of the word. It has become my favorite shoe for leisure, work, and enjoying my day. There is no shoe in my collection that even comes close to being as comfortable or as flexible and none are quite as unique and quirky-looking as well. Intrigued? Read on and find out what makes this shoe so special.

The Shoe

The Soft Star RunAmoc Dash with the bullhide sole (shortened to RunAmoc BH for the remainder of this review) is made entirely of quality leather, is super lightweight, collapsible, durable, and stylish.
This particular review is for the Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc DYO (design your own) model, which has custom colors and stitching options, but this review is representative of all RunAmoc Dash shoes from Soft Star with the bullhide leather sole. As luck would have it, Soft Star has some Bullhide Dash RunAmocs on sale (for now!) here, which is 20% off. What Soft Star says:
Our natural bullhide leather sole is extremely flexible, pliable and durable for outdoor use. This shoe adapts to the shape of your foot to allow maximum freedom of movement when you flex and bend your feet. Perfect for barefoot enthusiasts who want maximum ground feel in a shoe that offers simple protection from the elements.
  • Lightweight (5.7 oz for a mens size 9)
  • Breathable
  • The most comfortable shoes that I own
  • The leather sole provides amazing ground feel
  • The leather construction accommodates a wide range of feet shapes
  • Quirky good looks
  • Limited traction with the leather sole
The RunAmoc BH is a quirky, yet cool, looking shoe. Vaguely elf-like, but with a style all its own, the shoe is very versatile from a fashion point of view and works well with a nice pair of jeans or a well-matched suit. The version I received from Soft Star was a Design Your Own model with very nice blue stitching and accents and everything is well executed in a classy way, especially with the supple leather all around the shoe. The overall design really grew on me throughout the review process I now wear them everywhere.

The Sole

The sole is amazing and, yes, it is comprised of a single piece of durable, high quality bull leather. Honestly, more shoemakers should use leather for their soles because it provides many benefits, especially for barefoot and minimalist enthusiasts. It goes without saying that the flexibility in a leather sole is tremendous. There are very few minimalist shoes that allow for a downward toe flex, let alone those in the “lifestyle” category of minimalist shoes, but these babies flex with every movement of my foot (See Exhibit A). They provide just enough protection from even rocks on sandy trails, but provide an uncompromising barefoot experience. In fact, the flexibility and great feel of these shoes made them fantastic rock climbing shoes. I was able to get my toes into tiny footholds that would be nearly impossible in most other shoes, even Vibram Fivefingers. The sole is also very durable! After three weeks of walking around the urban jungle of Boston and hiking around Pike’s Peak in Colorado (with some rock climbing thrown in!), the sole is still good-as-new and barely has a scuff to tell of my adventures in rock climbing and monkeying around. E.g.:
The leather molds itself to your unique foot shape in very little time—yes, even my wide duck feet! Initially, I felt that the shoes might have been a little too narrow for my feet, but in less than a day, they have essentially become leather socks that have molded to my foot. There really is nothing quite like it. While other shoemakers do the best they can with the uppers of their shoes, the last (shoe platform) and sole are typically ridged and will not stretch or mold like the other materials of the shoe. The only way to enhance that aspect of the shoe is to make the sole thinner, which increases flexibility and ground feel, but even the thinnest rubber sole does have the same pliability and feel as these leather soles. They truly are in a class of their own. I feel like I’m wearing super protective socks, rather than an actual shoe, and that’s a good thing.
Having so much flexibility and ground feel truly provides an actual barefoot experience. With this amazing bullhide sole, I can feel individual cracks in the sidewalk, the fine gravel on a hiking trail, and other small details of the world. Despite this incredible ground feel, the leather is thick and durable enough to provide a fair bit of protection from the elements. I was able to bound around some Colorado canyons with little fear of rocks and pebbles. I would say that bullhide sole provides about the same protection as 6mm of Vibram Morflex or 5mm of Vibram Newflex, but with better flexibility and ground feel, of course. The only issue I had with the sole is that it provides very little traction due to the lack of any tread whatsoever. With a running start, I was able to perform a Risky-Business style 4-foot powerslide on the freshly cleaned floors at Denver International Airport (though I had a little bit od dust on my soles from an earlier hike). In fact, Soft Star’s website makes sure to let you know that these shoes do not have great traction at the time of purchase. Despite that one aside, I find that the leather sole is superior to a traditional rubber sole in just about any situation. One thing worth noting is that Soft Star added a small cushioned section on the inside of the shoe where the back of the heel would normally rub. This little bit of padding makes a big difference in helping your foot stay in the shoe and is very comfortable. Few minimalist lifestyle shoes have that little bit of extra security in the rear of the heel, which can cause some rubbing and make the shoe move around a bit too much while walking around.


While I believe the RunAmoc BH is best as a lifestyle shoe, it works great for running as well. I ran with them for about 20 miles over the course of a week and found the ground feel to be excellent and they do live up to the name “RunAmoc”. In comparing the RunAmoc BH with other lifestyle shoes in my collection, the RunAmoc absolutely blows them away in terms of flexibility and ground feel. I alternated the RunAmoc against the Jay and Dharma from Vivobarefoot, and the Advocate Stitch from Patagonia for a few days. After wearing the RunAmoc BH, these other shoes felt heavy and stiff, even though I’ve completely broken all of them in over a year ago. There truly is no comparison. Even with socks on, my feet are still cool in the Colorado heat, while in the past, I would find myself having to air out my feet with the other shoes from time to time when standing still for a while, especially in an office or teaching setting.


In summary, I absolutely adore these shoes. They have become my favorite shoes for day-to-day use and they can also work very well if you need to dash or hike in a pinch. I get lots of compliments on them and I love telling people about the bullhide leather sole. They are, without a doubt, my favorite shoes to wear around town because of their unequaled comfort and flexibility. They are a barefoot enthusiast’s dream. If you’re new to Soft Stars, you might check out other Soft Star reviews as they are long-time perennial favorites at BirthdayShoes. Meanwhile, (while supplies last) SoftStar has some Bullhide RunAmoc Dash available on sale right now here (as of mid-November 2014). The Bullhide Dash is usually $109 but on sale for $87.20.
A huge thanks goes out to Soft Star Shoes for sending me a pair of the DYO RunAmoc with a bullhide sole for me to review. They put a lot of thought—and a little bit of magic—in their shoes and I look forward to seeing what else they come out with in the future.

By Jarvis

Minimalist ultra-marathon runner with flat dinosaur feet.

50K Ultra-Marathon Runner

I hold a PhD in Political Science.
You can follow my photography adventures at and Instagram at

26 replies on “Soft Star RunAmoc with Bullhide Soles Review”


The Bullhide leather sole has a bit more “give” to it than the 2mm Vibram sole, but not quite as much as the 6mm Vibram Morflex sole that you may find in a variety of running sandals and shoes.

It’s a very interesting sole–as you can see from the review. Super flexible, transfers a lot of information on temperature and textures, and the entire shoe molds itself beautifully to your foot.

Again, I was a little unsure about the fit because they seemed too narrow at first, but now they are–easily–the most comfortable shoes that I have.

There is absolutely zero structure in this shoe, which lends itself to it a high degree of minimalist/barefoot credibility.


I am not sure about innersoles of other DYO RunAmocs, but the bullhide sole in this version is stitched into the shoe and there is no innersole that can be removed. The entire shoe is very light, comfortable, and a joy to wear.

I own several pairs of these shows with the bullhide sole. The review is spot on, and the shoes are without a doubt the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. The review leaves out one very important detail however. Being that the sole is leather, the shoes perform very poorly on a wet pavement. The issue is not so much the traction, but that the shoes will become soaked with water pretty fast, and after their soaked, they take a while to dry. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and consider this a summer shoe. But these shoes cannot be worn on a rainy day (unless the rain is a very light mist or drizzle) unless you don’t mind walking around in soggy feet.


I really liked the way you wrote the review.
I’m thinking of using these shoes for everything, including running, parkour, work, etc. Two things bother me though:
1) I heard it is not really good to wash leather – when sweating in them, they will probably stink up pretty fast – this would definitely be a minus right?
2) the leather sole, as they say (which is really kind of them!) is slippery on wet surfaces. Is it generally more slippery than rubber? What if you run on concrete with them to make little abrasions, might that increase the traction? I would really appreciate your opinion 🙂

Hey Matt!

I think these shoes would do quite well for parkour and are perfect for leisure due to their flexibility and comfort.

For whatever reason, these shoes are pretty breathable and my feet have stayed pretty cool despite all of my adventures. My guess is the flexibility and the lack of structure helps with stink. Care instructions say that you can wipe them with a dump cloth, but I would not recommend washing them. Leather itself is pretty good about not picking up extra odors, compared to many other materials, despite being porous.

I’ve worn mine for a couple of months now and there is no stink to be found 🙂

The leather sole is really fantastic! but it’s not a good idea for slippery or wet surfaces. It is definitely more slipper than leather. We’re not talking “sock-level” sliding, but these shoes lack any tread and will not give you a ton of grip.

So, while the flexibility would be great for parkour, you may not be able to quite grab on to walls as you are used to with rubber soles.

I believe you are correct in that as the sole wears, it may increase its grip, but just by a small margin.

I have already noticed that the bottoms of the soles have tiny circles from where my toes land, it’s incredibly cool!

Thanks, you definitely convinced me 🙂
I ordered a pair!

So those circles are like the ones on your toes? You use the shoes without socks?


I do wear socks with casual shoes, but never with anything I run with.

However, while I do wear socks, the pressure from above is applied from each individual toe.

It makes for some interesting sole wear with the bullhide leather!

I’ve just received my 2 pairs of RunAmoc.
First pair I tried have 5mm soles.
Very comfortable. Great grip on pavements with rotten leaves.
Tried the bullhide version and found in spite of the no traction disclaimer I had total grip walking on pavement, stones, pub carpets, tiles.
Realised very soon that you do not want to tie the laces tight – comfort is determined by tieing the laces to exactly fit your foot width. Much better feel than the 5mm soled shoes, but I will need the extra grip at times in the winter.
During the evening I had to look at my feet a couple of times to check that I was wearing shoes.

Good job shoes were on sale, I had to go for priority air mail to get my shoes in time for an xmas do. Annoyingly it took a week for the UK courier to get the customs charge notice to me, but I got the shoes a day after I’d paid the £24+£8 charge – sale reduction pretty much wiped out with delivery and custom charges – but IMO worth it even at full price.

Thanks so much for publishing your positive review! I am so glad that I got some of these shoes 🙂

Ian Gough


I really feel obliged to give some feedback.
After 3 weeks, my shoes finally came to Germany, because of the slow German customs administration. Like snedger, I had to pay an additional charge, but I have to say – it was TOTALLY worth it!

The shoes are awesome. And that sentence speaks for itself.

I ordered a wide 13U version, and they fit me perfectly. I’ve never felt so good in a shoe that is not Vibram FiveFingers. And I can wear them to work, without damaging my work flow.

After I got them, I wanted to test the things people were pointing out to be a disadvantage. So I took them out on a cold (0 degrees), wet day in Berlin. I haven’t noticed them being any more slippery than New Balance minimus, or like any other usual shoes. I have no trouble at all walking on slippery pavement. And they’re not soaking through while walking on wet pavement.
Jarvis, as you said, they are really breathable. I have no idea why, but it gives a really really good feel. While I was waiting for the metro, I noticed that my shoes would leave warm prints on cold pavement, not in shape of the shoe, but in exact shape of the foot. My feet usually sweat alot, and this just lets the steam through. And still keeps my feet warm!

My feet are quite wide, and I can still move my pinky! And it almost feels like wearing absolutely nothing. The sole is thin, and I have to walk with caution, not slamming my heel into the cement, which is really good, as it helps strengthen my ankles, legs and posture. I am really happy.

And the best part is that the shoe looks really good. And it is really designed and made with heart. I have to say, good job, SoftStar!

I’m enjoying them very much right now 🙂

Many many thanks for pointing them out to me 🙂

Great review- make me want them bad!

How do these (Dash) compare to the original RunAmoc DYO?
Like one of the previous commenters, I live in the Pacific NW- Portland, exactly.

Love the Unshoes Uinta sandals for summer but for winter I need: a) shoes that will pass as business casual, and b) waterproof boots for walking the dog.

My sense is that these would not meet either need. Do you agree?


These shoes are great for business casual, but they are certainly NOT waterproof. In fact, the leather will actually soak up water until it gets to bottom of your feet, so even wet grass is a no no.

However, I absolutely love these shoes.


These are not appropriate for rain or winter because the sole is leather and will absorb water. However, the non-leather versions will fair slightly better. Regardless, they are so low-profile and the leather construction makes for wet feet in the rain.

Hi, thanks for the great review.

I’d would have 2 questions, please:

– what is the width you have bought (wide, narrow, regular)

– the main color is black or dark blue?

Thanks 🙂

I got these shoes with the trail sole about a month ago. I love them! So comfortable. I am curious how different the leather sole would feel, although they might not be as useful for me as I live in the rainy Pacific NW. I did order the SSS merry jane metro with a bullhide sole, but unfortunately the shoe did not fit me well (even in the same size as the dash), so I sadly had to send it back. I thought it would be a good summer shoe (when there’s less rain). But I exchanged it for a ballerine with a sports strap, so I’m hoping that will work (will hopefully arrive tomorrow). Also ordered a moccasin (Roo) that was on sale. I’m going nuts over Soft Star Shoes and now I can’t wear my “normal” shoes anymore. I actually sold or gave most of my old shoes.

Here’s a review I did on the dash runamocs with the trail sole:


These soles are NOT waterproof, so they are only good for non-rainy days.

My mother is a big fan of their ballerine.

I would also recommend the Vivobarefoot Jing’s (they are having a sale right now!)

Awesome review! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog in the future! Looks like you had such an adventure!

Let me know what you think of their sport strap.

…I also cannot wear any “normal” shoes anymore.
I went bowling the other day and I kept clacking the thick heel of the rented shoes as I walked around the non-carpeted area.


Best shoes and comfort I’ve ever had. Bullhide soles are the way to go. Like you say, why more shoe companies don’t use it is a mystery. I paid $140 in 2017 and it was worth every penny. Softstar also sells an R.L.Tabor moccosin that is comparable. Hope you review that one someday.


Glad to hear you love them as much as I do. I considered them such a big breath of fresh air.

I’ve purchased a couple of extra pairs in my own custom colors and enjoy them on….dry days.

I’ll email Softstar about the Moc!

Thanks for the heads up!

Hypothetically, if both the Dash and the Primal were offered with the leather sole option, which one would you choose for outdoor/indoor dry weather activities?

Hi Pauline!

I prefer the Primal over the Dash because of the wider toebox and other improvements. They are very similar, but I find that the Primal is more geared towards aggressive activities, while the Dash is more of a leisure shoe.

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