Soft Star Moc3 Minimalist Running Shoe Review

Soft Star Moc3 Minimalist Running Shoe Review.

Minimalist Running Shoe

I hate the term “barefoot shoe”. At any rate, a couple years ago I was having a little knee pain while running. One thing led to another and, for better or worse, I now mostly run barefoot. Not “barefoot”, but real barefoot. Not Five Fingers “barefoot”, not Nike Free “barefoot”, but real barefoot. I like the feeling. I like the freedom. Some claim there might be better connection to the planet – some magical hippie-dippy fairy dust that lines the road in front of you as you run barefoot. While I can’t necessarily confirm that, I might not quite deny it either. I dream in barefoot now. Weird.

Here’s a short video review of this shoe – the reading / photo version continues below.

Minimalist Running Shoe

As much as I like being barefoot, I do live in rural Utah. It’s bitter cold in the winter (14 below zero this morning) and last summer a company did a shoddy and very rough job of chipsealing the roads around my house. While I can usually run several miles barefoot on trails, concrete, or even decent asphalt, the roads nearest my home are now rough and miserable after only a mile or two.

I needed a minimalist shoe that was easy to carry so after I’d hamburgered my feet around the neighborhood I could slip them on and make my way home. I tried the Merrell Trail Glove and found it too shoe-like. I tried some neoprene booties from a local store, but they wore out quickly and were too hot. I finally found Soft Star. I  started out with the Original RunAmoc LIte, and found it to be decent but a little floppy. It was difficult to put on because it has to be tied. I kept watching the SoftStar website waiting for another option and in late summer 2011 they announced the Moc3 RunAmoc. I ordered a pair immediately.

Minimalist Running Shoe

I love these shoes. They’re light, flexible, breathable. The sole is so thin it’s as close as I’ve come to being barefoot while in a shoe. They slip on in seconds. I’ve had them 18 months and they’ve lasted me over 500 miles of trails and asphalt and they show almost no wear. I can slip them in the wasitband of my shorts or hold them in my hands for the first few miles of rough road and then slip them on quickly and keep running. While nothing can replace the comfort of being truly barefoot, these are close. They don’t get in the way of barefoot form, and they let my toes spread out and do their job.

Minimalist Running Shoe

I’ve run to the Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon and done the Upheaval Dome trail. I’ve been to the Confluence Overlook and back. They don’t fill up with sand as much as I thought they would.

Minimalist Running Shoe

Minimalist Running Shoe


Minimalist Running Shoe

I’ve added a little dab of shoe-goo in a spot on outside of the sole where they were beginning to show a little wear, but this was largely preventative; there was no hole at all. The inner footbed is leather and has broken-in very nice.

Minimalist Running Shoe

Although the Soft Star website claims they’re more well-suited to mild trail running, I’ve run some pretty rugged trails in them and never had a complaint. In fact they’ve held up better than I thought they would from the outset. It’s a shoe I’m glad to have purchased. On top of that they’re made in the USA.

Minimalist Running Shoe

Minimalist Running Shoe

If there’s a downside, they look like slippers. I’m pretty conservative, and while I don’t think they’re as ugly as the Five Fingers, I’m a little hesitant to wear them in public. Luckily, I have the Arrow Moccasin Lace Boot and I have the Arrow Two-Eye Tie Moc, which I love. They look a little more normal, and I’ll review them sometime soon and maybe I’ll compare them to the Soft Star Rogues I got a couple months ago…

Minimalist Running Shoe

Minimalist Running Shoe




I’ve written and illustrated two children’s books that are now available in print and digital versions; Coyote Life, and The Cat’s Glasses. If you’ve got kids, check them out. If you enjoy them, please leave a review, tell your friends, etc. Thanks.

The Cat's Glasses

Kid’s Books: The Cat’s Glasses

Does your cat need glasses? How do you know? Follow one little boy as he tries to find out in The Cat’s Glasses by Quinn Hall

Find out more on MagCloud

Coyote Life by Quinn Hall

Kid’s Books: Coyote Life by Quinn Hall

Coyote Life is a short, rhyming children’s book about coyotes in the Southwest.

Find out more on MagCloud


Don’t forget to check out some of the fine art prints for sale in my Etsy shop.


My wife Leah also makes and sells some pretty cool leather stuff like minimalist wallets and camera straps. Check out her Etsy store for some cool gear. minimalist leather handstitched walletCamera Strap by Aestus Gear

Photography T Shirts and Stickers at Redbubble:

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7 thoughts on “Soft Star Moc3 Minimalist Running Shoe Review

  1. Charles

    I enjoyed your review on these shoes! I was considering a purchase, I guess you’ve sold me. I hope I can get as many miles out of mine as you have yours! Cheers!

  2. strayfoto

    NIce! I’m really happy with mine. Although I claim to be too conservative to wear them out much, I did wear them for a few days at a famous theme park in Southern California last fall. They were great.

  3. Corey

    I don’t know if I would call these a “Shoe”, they look more like a sock! (lol). How are they when your feet hit pointy rocks? The terrain in your photos, in comparison to the soles are your shoes dont look very forgiving.

    Is this your Primary running shoe? Have you done any running with the NB Trail Running shoes? – Personally they’re my favorite so far, what is your opinion?

  4. strayfoto


    Yes, I use the Moc3 as my main running shoe, although weather and terrain permitting, I generally run barefoot. If I have to use shoes, I use the Moc3.

    You’re right, they wear a lot like socks actually. I’ve found them to be totally adequate over some pretty rough terrain. I pay attention, run cautiously, and I’ve never had a problem with pointy rocks. I thought it would be an issue at first, but it’s not at all.

    I’ve run in the NB MT101 and the Merrell Trail Glove, both of which I kind of half-like. I liked the MT101 as far as structured shoe goes. I find the Merrell Trail Gloves to fit a little funny – they’re just great for the shape of my foot.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Jen

    Hello, I came across this post while researching minimalist shoes for a thru-hike of the Appalachian trail and was hoping you wouldn’t mind a question or two. I too normally go actually-barefoot-barefoot, but I do it in Southeast Texas, and have zero experience in snow. I really want something that feels shoe-less, and these look incredibly comfortable, but I’m a bit worried that I will end up with black frostbitten stumps for toes. I see that you wear them on-road in very cold weather, but I was wondering if you could give me some insight into how they hold up on snowy trails? I’ll probably be starting the trail northbound in mid-March, and guides say to expect some snow in the mountains. Thanks!

  6. Quinn Hall Post author

    I love the shoes… I still run in them almost daily and I’m on my second pair now; they seem to last forever. As much as I love them, I opt for something else even in light rain. They get real wet real quick. When wet they’re heavy and they take forever to dry out. With a pair of socks they’re pretty warm even in quite cool weather, but water is not the friend of the Moc3. If I was planning on being in snow, I’d go for something else – or at least have a second option with me. If you’re looking something water friendly and very minimalist, I’d recommend the Luna Mono. I wear them regularly in the summer and they dry very fast, are flat, and super lightweight. Of course, they’re not going to be anywhere near as warm as the Moc3. Hope that helps a little. Thanks for asking.

  7. Jen

    Thanks for your reply! Disappointing that the Moc3 does not do well in wet conditions, but that pretty much just confirms my suspicions. I will check out the Luna Mono–I never really considered sandals, so that opens up a whole new range of possibilities. Thanks again!

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