Mehrere Hände, die aus verschiedenen Richtungen zur Bildmitte gestreckt werden und aufeinander liegen: ganz kleine und große Hände, in unterschiedlichen Positionen und unterschiedlichen Hautfarben.

Diversity and belonging at Wildling Shoes

Wildling Shoes seeks to be a place where everyone feels welcome and is viewed in light of their own unique strengths and abilities – entirely irrespective of age, gender identity, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, and other factors our society uses as a basis to structurally discriminate against people. This is what the terms diversity and belonging stand for.

In our corporate purpose, we have stated: “We want to take responsibility and champion solutions to the elemental challenges of our time – climate change and global injustice – which are intricately intertwined.”

Taking a decisive stance

What is it that we need – not only at Wildling Shoes, but across all of society – to advance these solutions? A wide range of perspectives. Because we can only overcome the issues of climate change and global injustice by harnessing the potential that a diverse society holds. That’s why the objective that we – as a company – aim to achieve in terms of diversity is for the Wildling Shoes team to be representative of the diversity of society as a whole and, by the same token, to specifically include people who suffer structural discrimination.

As an organization, we will create an inclusive, feminist, anti-racist space for this – a space for diversity, justice, balance, and fair, meaningful work. To move people. Wildling Shoes is helping to break down barriers by supporting profound awareness of racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination, both within the team and by taking a firm stance externally.  

Four adults who differ in body shape, skin color, clothing style, and age, stand side by side holding hands on a kind of stage against an industrial backdrop – all looking resolutely toward the camera.

Image: Sarah Pabst / Wildling Shoes


How do we put diversity and belonging into practice?

Our commitment

In a team commitment, we have defined how this can and should look – as the basis, as a reminder of cooperation and mutual interaction and togetherness. And of course as something that everyone who is a part of Wildling Shoes can spread to the world.

Valuing diversity and acknowledging differences

We deliberately strive to achieve diversity by accommodating a variety of life circumstances – both when filling vacant positions and within the existing team. We make sure that everyone feels welcome and, most importantly, is viewed in light of their strengths and abilities – regardless of age, gender identity, heritage, disabilities, sexual orientation, and other factors our society uses as a basis to structurally discriminate against people.

We focus on what each of us brings to the table as an individual, the things that characterize us. To achieve this, we create a common understanding that includes an appreciation of diversity. As a company, we strive to make a difference and provide a space where everyone can contribute to the big picture by leveraging their strengths. And alongside our diversity and differences, we celebrate and value the common ground that has brought us together. Because ultimately, we are all united by a single objective: to create a regenerative company.

Two people stand on a black floor decorated with chalk. Only their legs and feet are in the picture. On the floor it says: “We are not supposed to do life alone”.

Image: Nora Tabel / Wildling Shoes


Learning together – from each other and about each other

We learn together, and by sharing and listening to each other, we also learn from and about each other, about the levels at which direct and structural discrimination takes place, about the prejudices that shape our everyday lives, and about how we can respond to our differing life experiences in a responsible way. It’s okay to make mistakes – they are part of any learning process. We discuss mistakes as equals and view them as an opportunity and as the basis for continued growth.

We are conscious of our privileges and mindful of the fact that it can be highly stressful for people who are at a disadvantage in a discriminatory system to do educational work for those who are not affected. That’s why we all take ownership and proactively acquire knowledge about discrimination structures and social inequality, and always do our best to be supportive as allies. That means: Wherever we ourselves are not affected by a particular form of social discrimination, we stand in solidarity with those who are – as allies.

There are five people in the image wearing dark clothes in front of a dark backdrop: an adult kneeling on the floor, a baby crawling, and three children of different ages. One child sits in a wheelchair, one on the floor, one is standing. The black floor and the clothing are partially decorated with chalk. Everyone seems very exuberant.

Image: Nora Tabel / Wildling Shoes


Creating space and structures

Diversity and belonging are integral parts of our corporate culture and its evolution. We use them as the lens through which we examine all our processes and departments, modifying them wherever we need to and can. Together, we work to provide accessibility, an inclusive space, and to give everyone not only the ability to participate, but the feeling that they are free to express themselves and grow. We cultivate fair and lasting relationships among equals, and offer opportunities for personal development and prospects for the future.

We provide the structures and the atmosphere that make it easy to address potential or existing discrimination without fear and to take action against discrimination. Our shoes are unisex by conviction and we work to offer shoes that are accessible to as many people as possible.

We are part of the Re:generation.


Cover image: Sarah Pabst / Wildling Shoes