Comment from: Greg [Visitor]  
Greg

Nice review. There's one other point that struck me when trying on the Hawthorne Chukka at the SoftStar showroom in Oregon a few weeks ago - the stiffness of the leather upper around the ankle. Normally I wear the Dash, which doesn't cover the ankle bone. The Chukka rises above the ankle bone with a monolithic leather wrap that trends to tip and chafe when you flex your ankle/foot. Perhaps this is unavoidable with the high-rise leather design? When I shortened up my gait it became less noticeable.

10/14/15 @ 14:31
Comment from: Craig [Visitor]
Craig

As a die-hard Bullhide RunAmoc Dash fan, I agree with this review. Good work. I think you should list price in the "Cons", though. $190 is outrageous an everyday shoe. But the dealbreaker for me is the thick sole.

Now I know how the original Runamoc fans must've felt when the Dash came out.

10/14/15 @ 22:12
Comment from: [Member]

Craig,

I would agree and say that, for me, the thick sole is not my cup of tea. However, it would definitely be perfect for a wide range of people.

Because prices fluctuate, I tend to leave the prices out of my reviews, but I'll consider putting them in for future reviews.

10/16/15 @ 11:55
Comment from: Kay [Visitor]
Kay

My Hawthornes arrived yesterday. I have to agree; the toebox is quite narrow in comparison to previous models. The leather is stiffer, but I think this makes for a good form of the shoe. I wore it all day today and stood for a two hour presentation with no socks - absolute comfort. It may be due to my narrow size 7 lady foot...but I'd be inclined to purchase another pair, even at $190 a pop. 0_o

These shoes are extremely well built and every detail was considered. I mostly like the option to have the shoe resoled. Gotta love Soft Star for always getting me to buy a pair of shoes that stands a significant amount of wear and tear.

10/16/15 @ 14:49
Comment from: Ray [Visitor]
Ray

You went into a little comparison with the Gobi, but which would you prefer outright? I love my Soft Stars and had been looking at Gobis when I got an email about the Hawthorne, so now I'm torn. I feel like Soft Star is probably much higher quality.

10/18/15 @ 13:04
Comment from: [Member]

Kay,

Glad you like them!
I've always been a fan of Soft Star Shoes!

Ray,
I'm looking to picking up a pair of Vivobarefoot Porto to do a more in depth comparison, which will include the cheaper Gobi shoe as well.

Soft Star is probably the pinnacle of shoe craftsmanship in my opinion, but I cannot confirm that until I get the Porto. Stay tuned!

10/18/15 @ 14:44
Comment from: Mats [Visitor]
Mats

Isn't there a good chance the leather mid-sole will break in and soften up after a few months of use?

I'm holding off any judgement or purchase until I've seen a long term review.

10/20/15 @ 04:50
Comment from: Daniel [Visitor]  
Daniel

Also found the fit disappointingly tight in toebox width and height. Finding a "dress shoe" has been quite the challenge. I am wondering what alternatives you consider that meet the following criteria:

_wide/high toebox
_water repellent enough to be worn in Portland, OR rainy weather
_classy enough to pass as business casual
_as minimalist as possible

10/22/15 @ 12:42
Comment from: [Member]

Mats,

I can confirm that the leather midsole does soften up over time. I have also called Soft Star to confirm this!

Daniel,

I found that the toebox is a bit snug for my wide feet, but the leather does stretch over time. I would suggest walking around with them indoors for a while and see if the fit improves for you. If not, it's an easy return!

I would highly suggest Vivobarefoot Dharma, Jay, Mata, Ra, or Gobi. They are my favorite minimalist dress shoes. I am also a huge fan of the options from Tune Footwear.

Those are all highly attractive, minimalist, and flexible. We have reviews of these on birthdayshoes, but feel free to ask me any other questions!

Also check out the Soft Star Runamoc (especially the one with the Bullhide sole!) But they cannot handle wet weather.

-Jarvis

10/29/15 @ 11:25
Comment from: Mats [Visitor]  
Mats

@Jarvis

OK, that's nice to know. I hope you will make an updated section in the review in a few months time.
If these shoes are meant to be resoled and last for years, a long term review is essential.

10/30/15 @ 05:15
Comment from: Graham [Visitor]
Graham

Great review!

Any review out there on the kuuva3 you mentioned? Looking for a wide toe box zero drop hiking boot, waterproof a plus. Any suggestions?

Cheers

11/05/15 @ 01:21
Comment from: [Member]

Graham,

I reviewed the Kuuva 3 during the Boston snow storm!
https://birthdayshoes.com/feelmax-kuuva-3-boot-review

It's my favorite TRULY winter minimalist boot.

11/05/15 @ 06:40
Comment from: Graham [Visitor]
Graham

Thanks Jarvis!

Yeah I am looking into the Kuuva 3 and VivoB "off the road" . Really need a nice waterproof booth for longer hikes and it needs to have lots of room in the toe box. In your review you make it sound like its plenty wide but I wonder how it compares to the Off the road as far as width.

11/05/15 @ 22:50
Comment from: Brandon [Visitor]
Brandon

What color are the Hawthornes in your pictures? They appear dark brown, but I don't see that color on the Soft Star site.

11/06/15 @ 22:32
Comment from: [Member]

Graham,

The Hawthorne is not quite as wide as the Kuuva 3, but is more than adequate for most feet. My feet push a bit to the sides, but the leather will stretch over time.

A tad less wide than the Vivo toebox, but still pretty wide overall.

Brandon, the color is black for mine.

-Jarvis

02/24/16 @ 15:51
Comment from: Kristin Piljay [Visitor]  
Kristin Piljay

Do you wear a wide or regular in this shoe and is it the same size as your dashes? I've been considering ordering this shoe, but was concerned with the fit. I have a pair of dash runamocs in 7U narrow and they are perfect with thin socks. Then I ordered the Metro MJ in the same size with bullhide sole (and wanted to wear it without socks) and it was too loose in the heel and midfoot (but fit with iniji toe merino socks, which are quite thick). So I sent that back and tried the ballerines in the same size but medium width and they were too short and tight in the toe box and smashed my toes and made my feet cramp, but was loose in the heel. The sole is much shorter than my dash sole. So....here I am with a third try and would love these in the red, but don't want to send shoes back a third time. I would try 7U narrow but worry that the toe box will be too tapered or too low in depth. I plan to wear these with socks and would be great if the toe socks fit in them. Also, a sheep fur would be nice too. The dashes were tight on the tops of my big toes at first, but I stretched them. I really don't like my toes to be constricted, but want it narrow in the mid-foot and heel as otherwise it flops around too much. But the leather in these looks like it is much thicker than the dashes. My dashes are with the trail sole.

I know I should just ask the elves at Soft Star about the sizing, but just wondered how you would compare the sizing/fit to the dashes (although maybe the bullhide sole changes the fit a bit)?

07/07/16 @ 01:13
Comment from: [Member]

Kristin!

I'm a standard 9U on in Soft Star's sizing (which is odd, since my feet are very wide)

Naturally, shoes will differ a bit in terms of size and volume, depending on their design. I actually found the Bullhide RunAmocs to be more accommodating than the stiffer Hawthornes.

The bullhide sole DOES stretch over time and is one of my favorite shoes because of how it has molded to my feet. The dressier Hawthorne is a bit more cramped in the pinky toe, but that could also be due to the fact that the RunAmoc's have stretched, and can stretch, more.

I would say that the shape and sizing of the Hawthorne and the Dash are pretty close.

07/07/16 @ 08:59
Comment from: Kristin Piljay [Visitor]  
Kristin Piljay

I called them and they suggested to order an 8U narrow instead. That way my toes will be given more room and the 8U will be a bit wider than the 7U, but the narrow width will take into account the narrowness of my foot. Since you wear a regular width in SS, it made me realize that I should really order the narrow as you stated you have really wide feet and I have the opposite problem of long and narrow feet, but the shoes are unisex, so men and women with the same length feet would wear the same shoe. The elf I spoke to said she worried if I got the regular width that I would pull the laces all the way to the tightest and it might not be tight enough (and probably that area will stretch too).

I would love to try the dash with a bullhide sole, but I have already spent too much money on shoes recently (basically re-buying all the footwear I need), so I will wait (and they would only work in summer for a short time as I live in the rainy PNW). I do have some SS roos with a leather sole as house shoes though.

I noticed no one seems to talk about custom shoes on this site. I also am getting custom moccasin boots made for myself. When I went to the studio to have my foot cast, I saw other boots made for other customers and I noticed that all the toe boxes were different AND they were all foot-shaped - NOT like any of the shoes you see in stores these days. People do NOT have pointy feet!

07/07/16 @ 14:43
Comment from: [Member]

General update: After a year of casual wear, the Hawthorne has held up quite well. The leather used in the Hawthorne is very similar to the full grain leather used in the RunAmoc Bullhide, but because the sole is standard rubber instead of leather, there is less splitting and cracking.

My bullhide runamocs are going to need replacing, while the Hawthorne is still perhaps about 6 months from needing to visit a cobbler--resolability was one of the Hawthorne's selling points. I will probably go for a Vibram Newflex sole, when the time comes.

12/21/16 @ 10:29
Comment from: Kerstin [Visitor]
Kerstin

Just a quick comment - I have owned my Hawthorne Chukkas in the red leather for about a year now and love them! While I do wear them with socks, I am not necessarily looking for a true barefoot feel; however, they provide a nice minimalist shoe with no heel rise, toe spring, or arch support - and by having the laces, they feel attached to my feet. And the leather very quickly softened to be truly comfortable and soft! I have not worn them in deep snow, but they have held up well with any rainy weather we have had, and made my trip to Europe very enjoyable. I am starting to show a wear pattern on the soles now, but still am a way from needing to resole them.
Overall, I absolutely love these shoes!

11/16/17 @ 10:50
Comment from: [Member]

Kerstin,

Awesome that you love them and they have been good to you for over a year!

Another excellent design from Soft Star!

11/17/17 @ 08:35


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