• barefootshoereview

Episode 24 : Wildling Nebula

Updated: Oct 7


Introduction:

Wildlings are a shoe company based in Germany. I was introduced to them by Alex who pointed out their whimsical Japanese inspired design. I love how their branding was also whimsical and woodland like, it really creates this fun story which makes you want to go adventuring in these shoes. In fact, Alex and I did go adventuring in our Wildling's to road test how they'd go. I tested out the Nebula - the word for an interstellar cloud. I love these interesting names that really take you into a fantasy land. Their website can be accessed here.

(Disclaimer: These shoes were given to me to review, however my opinion is my own).

Company Overview: Anna and Ran and their three children are the starting point and inspiration for this exciting and exciting journey. This is their story: “We lived in Israel for 12 years and our children were born there. They grew up barefoot in their first years of life and have always impressed us - with their agile, confident and powerful movements. In 2013 we moved back to Germany. The first shoes had to be bought in autumn, but we could not find a pair, even among the most expensive children's shoes, that our children could continue to walk with and that they wanted to wear with their usual feet. There seemed to be something fundamentally wrong with traditional children's shoes. A look at the statistics confirmed our fears - 98% of all children are born with healthy feet, but only a few adults still have healthy feet. This is usually due to poorly fitting and incorrectly designed shoes. High time for a new concept and a new generation of children's shoes! As a sports therapist, trainer and passionate barefoot runner, Ran has always been a fanatic when it comes to natural movement and biomechanical backgrounds. Anna loves the challenge of implementing new ideas and giving Wildling Shoes its very own identity through appropriate communication. Together with last builders, shoe designers and modellers, we have developed a shoe that offers a completely new concept from the fit over the materials to the sole. In contrast to conventional approaches, which assume that the foot must be held, supported and guided, we are convinced that the foot is naturally healthy and only needs the opportunity to develop vigorously. That is why our shoe leaves the foot as undisturbed as possible - like a second skin that protects against injuries and weather influences, but otherwise has no influence on the foot and its functions. ”

Initial Impressions:

  • Very light weight

  • They looked long at first

  • I was concerned that the knit would be tight on the top of my foot but they were so soft they instantly accommodated my toes.

  • Modern, sleek and unique look

  • Well cushioned soles

Sizing and Fit: My foot is approximately 235mm and by big toe flicks up. Because of this I like a shoe with both decent height and width to make room for my big toe. I chose a size 39, and there is a fair bit of room in the front. Usually I like this but this was a little bit longer than I would usually buy if I was able to try them on first. I have however kept these because they're still wearable and very comfortable for daily wear. If you have a similar size foot you could go for a 38. Measurement guide is available Here. The Nebula is slightly triangular shaped in the foot from the bridge of the foot towards the toe which allows for ease of toe splaying.

Materials:

  • The upper is made from a knitted Merino mix (55% polyester, 31% pure new wool IVN Best). The knit is so intricate that it allows for the shoe to move freely, flex up and down.

  • The insole is all made from Wash (75 % paper, 25 % polyester), but has a removable insole made of Lunatar foam- a mixture of EVA and walnut shells.

  • The sole is split diagonally and is modelled on a Japanese Ninja shoe. Its made from synthetic rubber (50% recycled) and 20% cork. As the sole does not run over the base of the shoe completely and is split through the middle it really does allow you to move in which ever way. I think this also allows a good amount of grip if you were adventuring outdoors, you foot can naturally grip due to this movement.

Performance: I wear the Nebula on weekends before they have a bit more of a athletic look for me. They're so comfortable and I'll generally wear them if I have a big day of running errands because I know they'll see me through the day. These shoes have a great amount of cushioning in them that is focused exactly wear it is important, on the heel and ball of your foot. Due to their foam sole, as well as foam inner sole not only do they feel very light but are also able to absorb a good amount of shock when walking. In saying this, they still feel barefoot, so I'd say they've struck a good medium here. Alex and I took them to the mountain to see how they felt in the outdoors. Although I like the idea of the Nebula's split sole, I was often worried about getting the sole dirty because a lot of the upper was exposed to the ground when walking. They're too nice to get all muddy. However, we've both found that they clean and dry fairly easily, so it's good to have this in mind and not worry too much about wearing them in the elements.

Technical Specifications: Upper: Knitted Merino mix (55% polyester, 31% pure new wool IVN Best). Sole: 80% synthetic rubber with 50% recycled content, 20% cork Insole: Washi (75% paper, 25% polyester) and Lunatur (80% EVA * and 20% walnut shells) 2.5mm thick Weight: 129g size 40 Drop: 0 mm Stack Height: 2.5 mm (36 - 41), 3.5 mm (42 - 48) outsole + 2.5mm Washi insole

Conclusion: The look of these barefoot shoes are really unique and unlike any other. I think Wildlings have really set themselves apart in this way. On top of that, they're very comfortable, the soles feel like clouds but you still feel connected to the ground. I love the range of movement you get in them because of the split sole they almost feel like you're wearing a ballet slipper. I definitely recommend giving these a go if you're looking for a funky casual shoe.

- The Barefoot Shoe Review, Jade


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Melbourne, Australia

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