Barefoot Shoes

Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc Dash for Work Review

I work for a company in Southern California where the dress code for men is slacks and a dress shirt with a tie being optional. I needed to find some barefoot/minimalist zero-drop shoes that still looked professional. But where?

Guest post by Dan Finkelstein

I’ve been an avid “zero drop” (neutral sole height from heel to forefoot) shoe proponent for many years. My first pair of Vibram KSOs ruined me for all “normal” footwear, and when I started a new corporate job I needed something more professional.

Zero drop shoes for work?

I work for a company in Southern California that works very closely with local law enforcement agencies and fire departments. Our customers come from a paramilitary culture and things like dress code are very important. The dress code for men in my office is slacks and a dress shirt with a tie being optional. I needed to find some shoes that still looked professional, but were still zero drop.

I read the Run Amoc DASH review and thought I may have found a great solution. I opted for the smooth black leather on the body of the shoe and the black suede leather for the saddle portion (You can actually build your own combination on Soft Star’s site). On the Soft Star website they almost look grey, but in real life in is two shades of black.

Ordering the shoes

Soft Star Shoes has some of the best customer service I’ve ever experienced. I called to ask a sizing question and I was told about a sale that would be starting in a few days. They gave me the sale price even the sale wasn’t active yet, and told me a little known secret that they do offer half sizes which aren’t listed on the website. My foot felt like it was right in between the 10.5 and 11 so I ended up ordering both with a promise from customer service that I could send back the pair that didn’t fit for a refund (they made good on this promise when I returned the 11s.).

So how’d the do? Read on to find out!

First impressions

The RunAmoc DASH arrived a few days later and I was impressed with how they blended simplicity and quality in a great looking shoe. They are quite comfortable, and I didn’t feel any hotspots or points of wear. The foot bed of this shoe was unlike any of my previous shoes. Soft and comfy (made of leather I think?) yet I still had a good amount of ground feel. I’m a huge fan of Vibram soles and chose the slightly thicker “trail” at 5mm thick.

There is an extra piece of leather that is sewn in near the heel. At first glance I assumed there was no way the shoe wouldn’t slip and flip flop around. Surprisingly, the heels didn’t slip up at all and the fit was fantastic. My only real complaint out of the box was the length of the laces. Even when double knotted the bows were close to dragging on the ground.

Safe for Wear to Work?

On the left, dressed for work in the RunAmoc Dash! On the right—one of the law enforcement agencies my company works with left behind some riot gear, and it made for a great photo!

My wife gave them the seal of approval and after wearing them around the house for a bit, I was ready to try them out at work. Dress code is important at my office (we don’t even have a casual Friday policy), and I had high hopes that they would suffice in the corporate world.

Remember that scene from Shawshank Redemption where Andy steals the warden’s shoes? This was one of the key things he needed for escaping from prison (spoiler alert, but it’s been out for almost 20 years) and taking care of business after he got out. Here’s a quote from Red: “Andy did like he was told, buffed those shoes to a high mirror shine. The guard simply didn’t notice. Neither did I…I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man’s shoes?”

This was my philosophy “How often do you really look at a man’s shoes?” I wanted zero drop shoes, but not something that would stand out and draw attention to my feet. The RunAmoc DASH don’t really have any shape to them. The leather is quite soft and there isn’t stitching going over the toes. Thus when the shoes are worn you can see your toes under the leather kind of like small indentations. This in no way affects comfort rather it just looks different and could draw some extra attention.

So how did they do in the office?

When I wore my new RunAmoc DASH to work no one really noticed for the first week or so, and then a few people asked about them. I gave them the same zero drop lifestyle pitch that I give to people who approach me about the five fingers I wear outside of the office. They pair surprisingly well with slacks and a dress shirt, and despite a few comments about seeing the toes under the leather I received several compliments.

I mainly wear them around the office, but I’ve attended a few trade shows sporting the DASH. Tradeshows typically mean a long walk to and from the car to the convention center, and then standing all day in a booth. After about nine hours of standing my feet felt a little tired (as they would in any shoe), but I can’t think of anything else I would have rather worn. I’ve also paired the RunAmocs with a suit to a few different weddings, and yes they are quite easy to dance with!

Concluding thoughts

In the six months I’ve had them I’ve noticed a little bit of wear. The foot beds on the inside have worn comfortably to the shape of my feet. I’ve got a few little scratches in the leather, but that is to be expected. The Vibram sole seems to be wearing faster than I expected for just walking around the office on carpet and a little concrete. The main leather body is showing some wear lines, but it adds character like a broken in leather jacket.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the RunAmoc DASH. Very comfortable, stylish, and great if you work in a place that requires professional attire and footwear. I think I’ll probably get an additional pair for hiking and the outdoors that I don’t mind getting dirty.

I highly recommend the Soft Star RunAmoc DASH. They look great, and still maintain that zero drop minimalist style.

Dan Finkelstein is a guest writer reviewing the RunAmoc Dash. He blogs at which covers firearms and movies.

By Dan

Dan Finkelstein blogs at [url=]My Name is Foxtrot[/url], which covers firearms and movies.

14 replies on “Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc Dash for Work Review”

Ironically, I was just looking at the DYO section for the Dash. I would use them for fitness walking on the street so I thought I should get the street sole. You think the trail sole is a better option then? I was surprised to read that you chose that option.

Glad they worked for you! I’m in a similar boat, working at a credit union we’re expected to wear dress shoes four days a week. I picked up a pair of the same model you have and have been happily wearing them since. The closest thing to a negative comment I’ve heard is “Why are your shoes floppy?” I can deal with that for the comfort level over standard dress shoes!

I love the Shawshank reference. I, too, have slipped Dashes under the radar in various settings where I didn’t want my shoes to attract any undue attention. At the intermission of a formal music performance, I crossed my legs as I was chatting with a neighbor, drawing interest in the thin soles of my shoes. As usual, this person was absolutely astonished to learn that these are also my running shoes.

I was actually just shown these today by the Priest at my daughter’s Catholic school. He showed his to me after noticing my Vibram five fingers. I told him how my husband was wanting a “barefoot” shoe to wear to church and with a suit. Fun that they were on here today and I saw a pair in real life. He said that he is on his second pair of them because he wears them all day everyday and LOVES them.

I am glad that Soft Star makes the Merry Jane too. When I re-enter the workforce as a teacher eventually (when my kids go to school), I think I will have many pairs of this shoe in different colors to wear to work. I can’t imagine ever wearing heels again! I’m glad there are more casual models being made, that people can wear apart from sports/fitness activities!

I’ve had my pair almost a year, and I’ve never been asked about them at work. I get them without EVA in the insole, better for ground feel.

I’m tempted to buy a pair of these as an office shoe, but they seem to taper in the front (which I loathe – Huaraches and VSS KSO are the only shoes I’ve found that don’t). Do they custom make them according to your foot outline?

Thanks for the review Dan. I’ve always been curious about the RunAmocs, but worried about the lack of structure at the toe (and what looks like the material flattening out). But they look good on your feet.

Another work option I’m looking forward to is the Dress Oxford from Stem/Leming in 2013. Won’t be quite as thin soled as the RunAmocs, but another great option with a little more structure.

I LOVE my softstars. I ordered a custom pair with a blue front/top, purple back and bright green half moon at the arch, all in smooth leather. I work for the court system and wear them often, especially on days when I know I can’t get away with my VFFs. Even with my somewhat wild colors, they blend in– at least when I’m standing.

They do customize these shoes to fit your feet, it costs more of course. I ordered a size up and have no problem with the “taper” at the toe area, it resulted in having a little extra length though. These shoes generally pass under the radar, but I do get a few questions about them because they are so flat looking. I definitely get more questions from my VFF’s though.

I just got a pair of these myself. I’m known at work for wearing minimalist shoes (I can get by in Lemings, VFFs for casual Friday), but I still was ridiculed for the Dashes. It didn’t bother me too much, and I’m looking forward to wearing these when the weather gets a bit colder around here.

These look great, but I’m concerned about one thing: did you notice any problems with the hems of your pants dragging on the ground/getting caught under the shoe?

With my KSOs, as you know, you can attach an S-biner to the back and use it to hook your pants and keep them from dragging. These seem like if you are pants are just slightly too long, you’ll be stepping on them all day.

Thanks for the great review!

Hi Dan – could you please tell me what width you went for (and was it prior to the recent width changes – new wide similar to old regular etc) as your shoes look like the kind of proportions i am after – i know i’m doing this by sight but i reckon they would work in that width.


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