Softstar Shoes is one of my favorite sneaker brands made in the USA. I've tried their PRIMAL RunAmoc shoes before, so when they released their Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc shoes, I was really eager to try them.
Below is my Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc shoes review with details on my experience with them, some pros and cons, and who they might be a good fit for.
About Softstar Shoes
First off, if you're unfamiliar with Softstar, here is a little bit more about them. You can check out my full interview with them in our Softstar Spotlight Series interview. Softstar was founded in 1985 by Tim and Jeanie Oliver and is based in Philomath, Oregon. They got started because they were unable to find soft, comfortable shoes for their baby daughter and initially focused on filling that need for lots of children's boutiques. Just a few years later, two friends Tricia Salcido and Larkin Holavarri visited Softstar and fell in love with it. They purchased the business and it quickly blossomed into something even bigger after they launched their minimalist running moccasins that they are known for in 2008.
Alright, let's focus on the Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc sneakers that I have been wearing for a couple of months now.
Starting with my initial impressions, the first thing I noticed right off the bat is how lightweight these shoes are, which is no surprise if you're familiar with Softstar shoes or just like minimalist shoes in general. Each shoe comes in at just 4.2 oz. (varies slightly depending on size), making it one of the lightest running shoes in the world.
These shoes are also zero drop, meaning there is no heel and the sole is flat from heel to toe. Paired with the minimal padding, the zero drop feature allows your foot to regain its full range of motion, which is often limited by sneakers with a lot more padding.
Slipping them on for the first time, these shoes are incredibly easy to lace up. I have a pretty wide foot so I really appreciated the custom width that Softstar let me choose on their site. One of the big gripes with a lot of minimalist shoes is how narrow they can be particularly in the toe box. That is definitely not the case with these Softstar DASH shoes, they have a super wide toe box which allowed my foot to lay completely flat inside. Again, that feature helps your foot retain its natural range of motion which actually helps prevent rolled ankles and other little injuries.
Let's talk about construction and durability. As you can see from the photo below, the Softstar DASH shoes have a 5mm Vibram Omniflex rubber sole, which I found to be an appropriate amount of padding and have a lot of grip thanks to the nice tread on the bottom. I've worn these shoes on several runs, including a few trail runs, and they've held up very well.
(Sorry for the dirty soles, as you can see I have been wearing these around a lot!)
The Omniflex technology does basically what it sounds like - these soles are very flexible and the shoe can basically be rolled up into a ball. The benefit for you is that, once again, these shoes allow your foot to flex naturally and achieve that barefoot feeling.
Moving on to the uppers, this part of the shoe is what really separates the DASH shoes from Softstar's PRIMAL shoes and other varieties. The upper fabric is made from Apex mesh, an incredibly breathable fabric that is also quick to dry, much like the name suggests. Most of Softstar's other minimalist sneakers are made with full grain leather uppers, which require more maintenance and are not very quick to dry when they get wet.
So, if you're going on a trail run or a water hike or other adventure, I highly recommend these shoes. Like I mentioned above, I wore them on a couple of trail runs with my dog Deuce where we had to cross a stream and these shoes held up just fine.
You can also wear them with or without socks. I choose to wear them without socks most of the time and these shoes remained really comfortable, even when I got them wet. No chaffing or discomfort anywhere on my feet.
One other use case for these shoes that I will throw out there - lifting weights. For folks who want a minimalist training shoe with zero drop to do barbell work, I think these Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc shoes are a great option. The breathability is also nice when you sweat through them.
Given the minimalist fabric and sole, the other big factor I looked at was durability - are they going to hold up over time from repeated use, especially on rougher trail runs and other activities? My verdict - I think they will hold up. The stitching is really strong around these shoes and I never felt like my foot was going to rip out of them at any time.
What We Like Best
Overall, I was very impressed with the Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc from Softstar. If you like the minimalist, zero drop, barefoot style sneakers then I think these are a great option to consider. They are pretty durable for what they are and my foot feels really natural in them - I wear them around almost every day now.
What We Don't Like
I really couldn't find much wrong with these Softstar Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc shoes. They are slightly expensive for what they are, but these shoes are well constructed, are going to last you a long time, and go towards supporting a great American made business.
I will note as well, as with any minimalist sneaker, if you do a lot of running on pavement and struggle with knee pain, these shoes may not be a great fit because of a lack of padding. However, if you're running on softer surfaces, they are more than likely a great option.
We'll have a full video review of the Softstar Quick Dry DASH RunAmoc shoes coming soon to our YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe! Do you have a pair of Softstar shoes or are you thinking about getting a pair of minimalist sneakers? Let us know what you think of these shoes and of course if y'all have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out.