Soft Star Phoenix Boots
I just wanted to comment on my experience with Phoenix Boots, but they haven't been added as a model in the Directory yet, so I can't post a formal review.
I purchased these boots hoping that they would be my everyday winter boots - suitable for waiting for the bus, walking around town, playing in the backyard, etc.
When they arrived I almost sent them back for a bigger size because they felt quite tight. But I had heard that the sheepskin really compacts a lot, so I decided to keep them and give it a try. I'm glad I didn't go bigger, because the sheepskin compacted so much that now they are too big unless I am wearing very thick socks!
I have had problems with the insoles from day one - they tend to slide backwards, bunching up at the heel and leaving a one-inch gap at the toe. I suppose I could glue them in, but I still wanted to be able to take them out to air dry. I have also not emailed Soft Star to ask if they have any other suggestions for solving this. I have actually taken to wearing my Vivo Barefoot insoles on top of the sheepskin ones so that I don't have to wear such thick socks all the time, and to provide a bit more coverage!
Also, the sheepskin just doesn't seem as thick around the edges of the insole and there are significant wear patches on the heel, even though I have only been wearing them a couple of months. The heel area of the upper doesn't seem very well lined either - I can feel the seams more in that area and it just doesn't seem as "plush".
I have also had problems with the boots getting damp. I treated them with Soft Star's recommended product, but they just can't handle the wet snow that we get here. They quickly get saturated and take a couple of days to fully dry out. And with the removeable insoles, the dampness really seeps in around the edges inside the boot. Furthermore, cleaning off the salt stains has been a constant chore. I don't know how it is in other snowy places, but here in Ontario they really pour on the salt all winter, and it gets everywhere.
Finally, I find that they don't have enough traction for the winters here. If the sidewalks are at all icy, I do slip the odd time.
To say something positive, I do like the shape of the boot (nice roomy toe and adequate height around the instep) and do appreciate what Soft Star is trying to do. Other people have written glowing reviews, but they just aren't working for me!
I have had similar experiences with the child version of the boot, although the insole is not removeable so that solves the sliding insole problem. I bought a pair for my daughter (age 2) and was surprised at how quickly the sheepskin on the insole wore down - there are actual bare patches. We have not had this problem with her Soft Star shoes, so I'm not sure what's going on with the boots. Also, the lack of traction was a problem for her as well.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Hope this is useful for people.
I was going to add them to the directory, but they don't seem to have the adult version listed on their website at the moment, just the youth one. Do you know if they are still making it?
They are still making the Phoenix Boot in adult sizes, but not until later in the month when they get a shipment of a certain type of leather. That's all -- they ran out of supplies.