Eine stabile Beziehung: das Wildling Repair Center

A stable relationship: the Wildling Shoes Repair Center

Repairing well-worn footwear favorites ensures fewer resources are used for production and less waste is generated. Therefore the newly launched Wildling Shoes Repair Center is truly a labor of love. Here’s how the project got started and what’s coming up next.  


Necessary repairs to Wildling minimal shoes that come up during the warranty period can be conducted at the Repair Center.

Wildling's Customer Service is happy to help with any repair enquiries.


Gradually stepping away from that urge to always own the very latest things and instead using what we already have for as long as possible: This can free up headspace, but most importantly, it helps to require fewer new resources. Especially if a favorite item doesn’t have to be thrown out right when it breaks – but easily gets repaired. Wildling Shoes has now taken a big step in this direction. Previously having Wildling shoes repaired has been possible with third-party service providers. But expanding and simplifying repairs to our minimal shoes has been a long-held wish at Wildling Shoes. And not just for sentimental reasons – repairing favorite items suffering from the wear and tear of frequent use is an important step: fewer resources are used for new production, and waste prevention is promoted. Making this not-so-small contribution to the Re:generation a reality requires a great deal of preparation.  


Two pictures placed side by side. The first shows the hands of a person repairing a gray Wildling shoe with needle and thread. The second picture shows the same person from further away, against the background of a workshop of the Repair Center.

Image: Kayla Kauffman


What (and who) is behind the Repair Center

Four to six people at Wildling Shoes are involved in a single repair – Customer Service registers the repair request and gets the ball rolling, another person repairs the shoe, the Logistics team logs the returned shoes (and of course sends them back once they’re fixed) – and none of this would even be possible without the IT team processing the whole procedure. So the employees who fulfill these roles come from different teams where each member has to know what to do within their area of responsibility.  

“Quality Management works with all the coworkers involved in the journey a Wildling shoe takes to be repaired from the moment the customer requests that repair,” explains Julian, who as the Team Lead in Wildling Shoes’ Quality Management has been involved in setting up the Repair Center right from the start. “This even includes the production facilities in Portugal, since larger repairs wouldn’t be possible without having their machinery on site.” That brings the total number of people involved in setting up the Repair Center to around 50. And since the whole thing is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, this development is happening on multiple levels. work is already in progress for the next improvements and expansion phases while the first version of the Repair Center has now kicked off its work for all to see.


Two pictures side by side. The left picture shows a person who is part of the Repair Center team. The right picture shows a close-up of the person repairing a yellow wildling.


Image: Kayla Kauffman



Warranty repairs and how it all works 

That’s right: The time has come for necessary repairs to Wildling minimal shoes within the warranty period, they can be tackled via the Repair Center. "And we absolutely want that," says Julian, "to ensure the longevity of Wildling shoes. After all, any shoe that’s sent back worn and defective can no longer be sold and can only be donated or used internally, for example, for recycling projects or internal testing." 

There are many options available at the Repair Center already: in Engelskirchen, its main location, for instance, eyelets can be repaired or re-set and outsoles repaired. 

Step by step to more than just warranties 

A lot is possible already, but there's still room for improvement. All the steps that make the repair centre even more customer-friendly continue to be fine-tuned. Furthermore, the entire project is already heading towards the next important goal: "The plan is that eventually, all repairs can be carried out and not only warranties will be covered," says Julian.  


Two pictures side by side. The one on the left shows in a close-up how a person with tools is working on the side seam of a brown wildling. The right picture shows in a close-up how a red wildling is repaired on a table.


Image: Kayla Kauffman


The Repair Center project is thus driven by big (and achievable!) ambitions – and in that regard, it's also flexible. Back when the initial planning began, Wildling Shoes' quality management anticipated more types of repairs than we’re actually in need of because the quality of newly produced shoes is constantly improving. This has made the planning process substantially easier. What remains is: everyone at Wildling Shoes is eager to get the Repair Center up and running with its full range of services after kicking it off with warranty repairs. "We experience an incredible amount of support, from other teams within Wildling Shoes too," Julian confirms, "it's still a passion project." And after a little pause, he adds with a laugh: "Even though I've since moved from the initial crush-phase to a stable, long-term relationship with the Repair Center." Perhaps that's a pretty good allegory for the feeling that emerges when a much-worn pair of favorite shoes breaks, and you neither want nor need to let go (yay!).


 Header-Image: Kayla Kauffman