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Our shoes

Why minimal shoes?

A whopping 98% of all children are born with healthy feet. Unfortunately, only 20% maintain that foot health into adulthood. Foot muscles grow strong when feet are able to develop and move freely as they grow. But in conventional shoes, there isn't enough space for that. Typically, a shoe’s toe box tends to taper to a point in exactly the area where the foot itself actually gets wider and thus needs more room. In addition, thick, stiff soles and footbeds prevent foot muscles from getting the exercise they need to build up strength. Wearing conventional, poorly fitting shoes eventually leads to misshapen toes and insufficiently developed foot muscles in adult feet.
That’s what we’re here to change.

A whopping 98% of all children are born with healthy feet. Unfortunately, only 20% maintain that foot health into adulthood. Foot muscles grow strong when feet are able to develop and move freely as they grow. But in conventional shoes, there isn't enough space for that. Typically, a shoe’s toe box tends to taper to a point in exactly the area where the foot itself actually gets wider and thus needs more room. In addition, thick, stiff soles and footbeds prevent foot muscles from getting the exercise they need to build up strength. Wearing conventional, poorly fitting shoes eventually leads to misshapen toes and insufficiently developed foot muscles in adult feet.
That’s what we’re here to change.

WALKING RE-IMAGINED

Walking in minimal shoes encourages our muscles to start doing their job again. Feet that have become inflexible are called back into action. Over the long term, feet become stronger, once again able to move freely and flexibly.

 

Close contact with the ground also leads to better balance and stability, as the body is able to adjust precisely to conditions underfoot.

 

That means that you can walk in harmony with the way your body was designed to walk. Joints can move freely and naturally, doing their job efficiently and unhindered. With strong, healthy feet you can experience the joy of being active.

THE WILDLING LOOK

Wildling shoes will soon become your favorite footwear. They encourage novice and experienced walkers alike to rediscover a pleasant, natural walking experience. And anyone can be a Wildling – the shoes are gender neutral and can be worn by people of all ages.

 

From featherweight washi fabric to robust Nordwolle wool, in muted hues or vibrant tones – your new favorite pair of Wildlings are just waiting to be discovered by you and eager to accentuate your unique personal style.

How – The functionality

After nearly two years of intensive development work, we finally reached our goal: a shoe that protects feet from injuries and weather while minimizing restriction to their natural movement and healthy growth to the greatest degree possible.

After nearly two years of intensive development work, we finally reached our goal: a shoe that protects feet from injuries and weather while minimizing restriction to their natural movement and healthy growth to the greatest degree possible.

ANATOMICAL FIT

The Wildling lasts – the basic models for our shoes – are based on an anatomical foot shape with a natural width, designed to mirror the shape of a strong, healthy foot. This gives feet the space they need to develop in a healthy way.

Whether your feet are narrow or wide – the shoe fits! Thanks to their healthy width, our shoes inherently fit wider feet that are usually restricted in conventional shoes. And the placement of the laces is arranged in a way that allows the wearer to adjust the width in order to accommodate a slimmer foot, too. For particularly narrow feet, we also recommend adding an insole (available in the shop) to ensure a snug fit.

SOLE MATES

When you see the bottom of a Wildling shoe for the first time, you might be surprised by the unusual shape of the sole. It was inspired by Japanese ninja boots, which protect feet while providing them with the necessary flexibility and freedom of movement.

The characteristic split in the sole ensures that all parts of the foot that need to move can do so freely. The ribbed tread pattern, inspired by (you guessed it!) a fox’s paw, provides grip without being bulky or cumbersome.

A FEELING LIKE BAREFOOT

With a depth of between 1.5 and 4.5mm, the Wildling sole allows the wearer to regain a conscious awareness of the ground beneath their feet.

When wearing conventional shoes, we usually take long, hard strides, scarcely noticing how the ground underfoot really feels. Walking in minimal shoes actually causes us to instinctively adjust our gait.

Our stride becomes shorter and gentler, we walk more mindfully, and our movements are softened by the body's natural shock-absorbing mechanism. At the same time, we intuitively train our balance and develop a much better feel for our surroundings.

TRAINING FOR OUR FEET

To encourage the muscles of the foot to work with every step, Wildling shoes are deliberately designed without a footbed. Rather than having a rest, the muscles are challenged to adjust to different surfaces and compensate for changing terrain. This mobilizes the foot muscles and makes them stronger. And as they get stronger, the foot widens again, the toes straighten, and the foot arch becomes more pronounced. The difference when compared to regular shoes is particularly striking in the toe area.
 
The foot’s “big toes” need this space in order to take on their natural angle and perform the essential task of providing more leverage and a more even distribution of body weight as we push off the ground, along with developing a stronger arch. Walking naturally

What - the materials

“The leg is akin to a pendulum, and the greater the weight at the end of the pendulum, the more energy is required to swing it.” David Epstein, The Sports Gene.

Made of flexible and predominantly natural materials, Wildlings are especially light, allowing unrestricted freedom of movement and the liberating feeling of walking barefoot.

“The leg is akin to a pendulum, and the greater the weight at the end of the pendulum, the more energy is required to swing it.” David Epstein, The Sports Gene.

Made of flexible and predominantly natural materials, Wildlings are especially light, allowing unrestricted freedom of movement and the liberating feeling of walking barefoot.

SLIP THEM ON AND FEEL THE DIFFERENCE

Cotton, hemp, wool, linen, and cork – wherever possible, we choose all natural materials for our Wildlings. The textiles we use are soft and flexible so there's never any pinching or chafing. We deliberately avoid using shaping elements such as toe and heel caps. That way, the shoe can adjust to fit the foot – and not the other way around..

 

A shoe that envelops the foot like a second skin, perhaps crinkling a bit here and there, might take a bit of getting used to. But the fact that your Wildling adapts to become your foot’s unique, personalized companion doesn't mean that its quality decreases in any way. Quite the opposite: The high level of flexibility and adaptability not only make Wildings comfortable to wear, but also improve foot health.

NATURAL FABRICS AND INNOVATIVE MATERIALS

At Wildling, naturalness goes beyond how you feel when you’re walking. That’s why we use purely natural materials wherever possible.

 

With uppers made of cotton, washi, hemp, and linen, our summer models are correspondingly light and airy. They keep your feet comfortably cool, even in higher temperatures. The materials are primarily from certified organic sources, and we use natural pigments when dyeing the shoes.

WARM FEET EVEN IN WILD WINTER

In winter, we like to leverage the thermal properties of untreated wool. We've established strict criteria for sourcing all our raw materials, and we use them as the basis for choosing our suppliers.

For example, we use wool from certified organic livestock and from landscape conservation projects, such as Nordwolle.

 

To make our winter Wildlings even more weather-proof, we pre-treat them with an environmentally friendly impregnation spray. That means they’re both water-resistant and breathable, which makes them an ideal alternative to leather or synthetic shoes.

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