Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dash RunAmoc Minimalist Shoe

One of the shoes I used to train for my half marathon at Fall Creek Falls State Park was the Dash RunAmoc from Soft Star Shoes.

I predominantly run in Vibram Five Fingers, but as all VFF enthusiasts know, they do little to protect your feet from the cold, and a walk through dewy grass in them results in instantly soggy toes. So last August I started searching for a solution for winter running. After much research, I found the Dash RunAmoc with 5mm trail sole (rather than the 2mm option) and decided it was the shoe for me.

Having used this shoe for six months, I'm ready to give a review of the long term use of this shoe.

Reasons I Originally Chose This Shoe

I chose this shoe for several reasons:

It keeps feet dry on dewy or rainy mornings, (and the rare Kentucky snow).
Since I could wear any type of socks with it, I knew I would be able to keep my feet warm.
It looks good. It passes for a casual shoe, and with a little care as a quasi dress shoe (try that with a VFF).
I liked Soft Star's commitment to their community and to the environment.

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed was just how nice this shoe looked, then I put it on sockless and noticed just how good it felt. The soft leather upper felt so indescribably good on my foot. I felt like I was being pampered. I had had some concerns over the idea of leather rubbing against my skin, but once I felt it all concerns were allayed.

There is a double layer of leather on the tongue, giving a little more thickness under the shoe laces, this is a great feature of this shoe. There is a very slight heel cup sewn in to the back of the shoe. this prevents the back of the shoe from feeling floppy. The 5mm sole had these little nubs built in, They don't give aggressive traction, but it has been enough for most of my purposes so far. This structure in the sole also allows more flexibility than 5mm of smooth rubber would have.

First Run

I took them out for a spin, and loved them. The feel of the upper was looser than I was accustomed to thanks to the glove like feel of VFFs, but after about a half mile I stopped noticing. Ground feel was more muted than my VFF Bikilas, more similar to my TrekSports, with the exception of all the toes being in one toebox. The Dash toebox has plenty of room for toe splay, I was simply used to the toes moving with the shoe.

Long Term Impressions

What a fabulous shoe! Good ground feel, (which would be even better with the 2mm sole), lightweight, long wearing, good looking, and so comfortable. When the house is cold, I wear them like a slipper, they keep my feet dry on dewy mornings or on a rainy run. I've worn them for the last six months running on muddy trails, salty roads, in cold weather and in warm weather. Even without socks they keep my feet warm in temperatures down to 20 degrees, (it didn't get much colder than that here this winter), but also feel fine in the warmer weather. They are easy to take care of, mine still look good, and if I want to wear them somewhere nice, I just clean them up a bit. I wore them to my wife's graduation and on an 11 mile run that included asphalt, gravel, and muddy trails and am duly impressed with the performance of this shoe.

The best feature of this shoe. My VFFs came shaped like a foot, whereas my Dash RunAmoc, after a couple of months was shaped like MY foot.

The one thing I would change would to be adding another pair of eyelets for the laces so I could snug the back of the shoe a little more without tightening the rest of the shoe.