Wildling everyday barefoot shoes: some history
The barefoot shoe brand Wildling is on a mission to make our feet healthy and strong by giving them the exercise and space they deserve.
Anna and Ran lived in Israel, where their kids used to run around barefoot all the time. However, when the family moved to Germany, their feet needed some protection against the weather.
They wanted to give their kids shoes that would sustain the way they used to walk and run. Being barefoot all the time made the muscles strong, gave them a great balance, and allowed their feet to grow without constraints.
However, finding minimalist everyday shoes for kids turned out to be very hard. Regular shoe brands have thick soles and small toe boxes. So they decided to start their own minimal shoe brand.
After years of research, Wildling has now developed shoes that allow natural movement and growth of the feet, protecting them from the weather and injuries at the same time.
Why use barefoot shoes for kids, women, and men
Most of the times, the natural way is the best way.
98% of all children are born with perfectly healthy feet. By the time they reach adulthood, only a tiny part of them still has good foot health. Why?
Because we typically wear shoes that don’t support the natural movement and development of our feet.
The best minimal shoes are designed to give feet the space they need and allow the muscles to become strong. To obtain that, the best barefoot shoes have the following features:
– A wide toe box: everyday barefoot shoes should have enough place for our toes to move around freely. Traditional shoes typically have a narrow tip, not corresponding to the natural shape of our feet.
– A flat or zero drop shoe basis: our feet are naturally flat. Unfortunately, almost all shoes these days have a raised heel or arch support, which causes unnatural movement for our body. Zero drop kids’ shoes are perfect for the natural development of our kids’ feet.
– Flexible and thin soles: thin, so we can still feel the ground. It approves the balance and stability and makes the shoe very lightweight. Flexible so they can bend just like our feet do when we walk barefoot.
Wildling Shoes SupportS small businesses and sustainable relationships
The symbol of Wildling shoes is the fox. First of all, because of the way the fox walks. But also because the company wants to bring people closer to nature and be more healthy.
They want kids and adults to be outside more. And support this by developing minimalist shoes that make us walk more naturally.
This focus on the outdoors and environment translates into the way Wildling shoes chooses its partners. As a manufacturing company, they try to reduce their ecological footprint in every way possible.
They search for local, small businesses with an environmental focus to produce their shoes. Long-term and honest relationships are important to them.
In the selection of their materials, they try to use the most environmentally friendly resources, produced in a sustainable way.
Therefor, by choosing Wildling shoes, you support a whole chain of small and local businesses, all with environmental values.
REVIEW OF The key features of our Wildling shoes
The barefoot shoes of Wildling are made of natural materials, wherever possible.
They want to produce shoes that are environmentally friendly and improve our natural way of walking. So the brand uses a wide variety of natural fabrics, such as wool, linen, hemp, cotton, or washi.
Because they use so many different materials, we could choose a color and style that fits our personality. The kids picked bright colors and patterns, we went for the darker styles.
When we received our shoes, we were surprised by how soft and pleasant their shoes feel. The flexibility clearly translates to their main goal of creating shoes that allow our feet to be free.
Because there aren’t any shaping elements around the toes or heels, it felt a bit strange to wear them, at first. We were so used to regular shoes.
Soon, however, it feels very natural. The brand is right when they say their shoes almost feel like a second skin.
Zero drop shoes
When I first heard this term, zero-drop shoes, I didn’t even know it was a thing.
As explained before, the best minimalist shoes have no raised heel or arch support. It allows our feet to walk flat, just like nature shaped them.
Wildling offers both zero drop sandals as zero drop casual shoes.
When we first used our Wildling minimalist shoes for walking, the zero drop feature felt very natural from the start. Even after long walks, we didn’t have the feeling our feet needed extra support.
The wide toe box of Wildling shoes
The first time I laid eyes on the Wildling shoes, the wide toe box immediately stood out.
It might look a bit strange in the beginning, when you have the shoes in your hand. From the moment you put them on your feet, however, it looks great! And that is because this wide toe box follows the natural shape of your feet.
In contrast to the narrow toe tips of regular shoes, this wide toe box gives our feet space and flexibility. Exactly what they need to walk naturally and create good foot health. The ultimate goal of Wildling shoes.
Therefor, their minimal kids shoes are perfect for the development of our kids’ feet, allowing them to grow naturally.
Now that we have been wearing our minimalist shoes more often, it almost feels unnatural to squeeze our toes back in those narrow toe boxes of other shoes.
The Wilding sole has a unique shape.
The unusual split and extreme flexibility allow our feet to move naturally and freely. The ribbed pattern makes sure we have grip while walking on uneven surfaces.
The sole is only a few millimeters thick, which means walking in Wildling shoes gives the barefoot experience. You can feel the ground you’re walking on, allowing your body to find the perfect balance and making the muscles strong.
During our walks, especially off the beaten track, it was strange in the beginning to feel the uneven surfaces again. But we can see why it is beneficial for our feet. It forces us to use our whole foot to find stability. And after a while, again, it felt very natural!
Wilding shoes size chart: choose the right size for your feet
Wildling shoes are designed to fit both wide and narrow feet.
The wide toe box and anatomical shape of the shoe give wider feet the space they need, unlike regular shoes. But laces and the possibility of an insole, make sure the shoes fit narrow feet as well.
Because you don’t want your minimal shoes to be too small, it’s best to take some time to discover your perfect Wildling shoe size. Luckily, they help you a lot with that.
If you have a printer available, you can print the template for the shoe size you think would be right. After following the steps, it is easy to determine whether this size is perfect for you or if you need a smaller/bigger size.
When you are traveling or haven’t a printer nearby, you can measure your feet and use this Wildling shoes size chart.
Barefoot winter shoes
The Wildling shoes are perfect for winter too.
For their summer collections, they use cotton, hemp, washi, or linen, making the shoes light and airy.
For winter collections, however, they mostly use untreated wool, such as the organic sourced Nordwolle (a landscape conservation project).
Besides the wool fabric, you can create extra warmth by using their felt insoles.
Minimal winter shoes need to be weather-proof as well. The shoes are pre-treated to make them waterproof barefoot shoes.
However, you can repeat this yourself afterward, with their eco-friendly impregnation spray, sold on the Wildling shop. To make your shoes even more water-resistant, you could use wax, such as the Greenland wax of Fjällräven.
We have used our Wildling shoes during our winter trip to Norway. Although they are not suitable to walk in deep snow, we used them in milder winter temperatures and in wet conditions without any problem.
Why Wildling minimalist shoes for kids and adults are perfect for travel
As a full-time travel family, finding the perfect gear is always a challenge. We want our gear to be multifunctional, light, and space-friendly.
Often, shoes are the biggest problem when it comes to traveling light, especially with kids. This is why we love our Wildling shoes so much.
Because of their natural materials and thin sole, they are extremely light. As they are very flexible as well, they don’t take a lot of space and can fit perfectly in any suitcase or backpack.
As a traveling family, we love the outdoors. Especially when we live the van life, our kids are running around in nature all the time. If possible, that would be barefoot. Often that’s not the case, however.
That’s why we love our Wildling shoes so much, both for our kids and ourselves. We use our barefoot shoes for walking in a city, hiking, or around our bus while camping. And we are sure the feet of our kids will develop as healthy as possible.