Giveaways Reviews

The Best Minimal Sandals for the Whole Family {Win a $100 Gift Card}

A couple of days ago we all went to the fair. We spent close to 12 hours there, and over the course of the day I put 19,800 steps on my pedometer. That’s about 12.8 kilometres or 8 miles! When I’m doing that kind of walking, I wouldn’t dream of wearing any shoes other than my Solstice Sandals from Softstar Shoes.

Yes, I’ve talked about these sandals before, but I love them so much I’m talking about them again! Year after year, they’re hands down the most comfortable shoes I own, and now that Softstar makes sandals for every age from babies right up to adults, I think they’re the best minimal sandals for the whole family.

Unlike pretty much every other pair of shoes I own, these don’t need any kind of “breaking in”. From the first time I put them on, they conformed to my feet with no blisters, chafing, or pinching, and they allowed me to spend the entire day walking around the fairgrounds in complete comfort.

Every pair of Softstar shoes is handcrafted in their Oregon workshop from breathable, formaldehyde-free leather. Their sandals use ultra durable and ultra thin rubber Vibram soles which mimic barefoot walking, making them ideal for children’s developing feet. They’re unbelievably comfortable for moms on their feet all day long too!

Previous pairs of Solstice Sandals were made with a yellow leather insole, but it looks like Softstar has changed that. I really like that our new sandals came with a darker, more neutral brown insole that better matches the leather upper. I don’t know yet how the darker colour will show dirt and sweat stains over time, but I can’t help but think this new colour will hold up better.

Softstar carries both standard Solstice Sandals ($95) and custom Solstice Sandals ($115+). With 17 colours of buttery soft leather to choose from, I love that I can create my perfect pair. My latest sandals are made from shiny platinum leather with a pretty turquoise leather flower applique.

September may be almost here, but we’ve still got summer weather and I intend to enjoy it for as long as I possibly can. Most years I can wear my sandals into November, and that’s the plan this year as well!

Solstice Sandals Now Come in Youth Sizes

The last few years, Tee has been disappointed not to have her own pair of sandals like mine. Not any more! I was so pleased to see that Softstar now makes my favourite sandals in youth sizes. That means Tee finally gets to try her own pair of Solstice Sandals.

Like the adult version, Softstar offers both youth Solstice Sandals in standard colours ($65) as well as the option to create your own custom sandals ($80+). The aged whiskey leather in Tee’s sandals is such a pretty colour, yet neutral enough to go with any of her clothes. She really loves that flower applique in her favourite pink flamingo colour.

Tee’s Solstice Sandals are perfect for running around the playground, biking around the neighbourhood, spending the day at the fair, or just hanging out in the back yard.

Softstar Laguna Sandals

For younger children, there’s Softstar’s child Laguna Sandals ($55). They’re a different style than the Solstice sandal, but made from the same buttery soft, formaldehyde-free leather and rubber Vibram soles so they’re just as soft, lightweight, and comfortable. The toe openings are designed to be small enough that little feet don’t slip through the front, and since they’re made for babies and younger children, they fasten with Velcro instead of buckles.

And yes, there is a custom Laguna Sandals ($65+) option if you want to create your own style. Kay chose this pair in shiny silver leather with a turquoise/flamingo leather flower and matching turquoise strap.

Like all our other Softstar sandals, these are amazingly comfortable, and the thin, flexible soles allows for natural foot movement that mimics barefoot walking and supports the normal development of the foot bones and arch.

Natural Solutions for Stinky Shoes

Not only are Softstar sandals the ultimate in comfort, they’re the ultimate in durability too. My first pair of sandals are now four years old, and while they’re pretty battle-scarred and stained, they’re still totally wearable. Every stitch is still good. The leather has no cracks or tears. The thin, rubber soles still have plenty of wear left in them. The only problem? They’re kinda stinky.

I know I can’t be the only one with smelly leather shoes, so I asked the shoe elves at Softstar what can be done to minimize the stank. Here’s what they recommended:

  • Keep Feet Clean: Washing your feet every day with soap will go a long way in ridding your feet of odour-producing bacteria, and by extension, your shoes.
  • Stay Dry: Make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on your socks or shoes, especially if you just stepped out of the shower. Bacteria thrives in warm, damp places so do your best to keep things as dry as possible.
  • Give It a Rest: Don’t wear the same pair of shoes day after day. If you let them dry out and air out for 24 hours before wearing them again, much of the bacteria will die.
  • Wicking Socks: Okay, I’m not a socks and sandals person, but for other shoes, socks made from wicking fabric will push sweat away from feet so it can evaporate. Good wicking materials are merino wool, olefin or microfiber blends.
  • Mask the Smell: If the smell isn’t too bad, sometimes adding a more pleasant odor will be enough. Softstar suggests citrus peels, tea bags, lavender, or other herbs. Simply stuff your preferred good smell in your shoes, especially around the ball and toe areas, and let them sit overnight.
  • Baking Soda: Try sprinkling a couple teaspoons of baking soda into your shoes overnight to help reduce the smell. You could also try applying deodorant with a baking soda base directly to your feet before putting your shoes on.
  • Vinegar Spray: Mix up a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar then spray it into your shoes to kill stink-producing bacteria. Allow your shoes to dry for at least 30 minutes before wearing them. (Note: vinegar could discolor some shoe dye so be careful not to spray the outside of your shoes.)

If these remedies don’t work or if your leather insoles are exceptionally dirty, Softstar suggests gently scrubbing the insoles with a soft fingernail brush and mild soap, then letting them air dry. (In case you were wondering, washing mine with a mild dishwashing solution definitely helped, and I’ve started using the baking powder trick too.)


Softstar makes minimal sandals for babies/toddlers, children (sizes 6-12), youth (sizes 1-4), and adults (sizes 5-12), and in regular, wide, and narrow widths to fit the whole family.

Shipping is free within the US and starts at $8 to Canada. Canadian friends, you should know that Softstar adds a NAFTA sticker to each box heading to Canada so you won’t be surprised by duty charges at delivery. (You’re still responsible for GST and any service charges if applicable.)

Connect with Softstar on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Win a $100 Softstar Gift Card

I’m really excited to give one of my readers a $100 gift card to pick up a pair of Softstar sandals or shoes of their own. I know you’ll love them as much as we do! Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.

Click here to check out my other open giveaways and be sure to follow me on Facebook!


Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.

Leave a Comment