• barefootshoereview

Episode 46: Wildling Winter Heath Boot


Introduction:

Frequent readers of our blog would know Wildling quite well and, that we love this brand in our household. Wildling are based in Germany and create an excellent range of barefoot shoes from sneakers to boots for adults and children. They incorporate recycled materials and innovative designs to bring unique shoes to the barefoot market. They also have a strong ethos when it comes to sustainable manufacturing, having a transparent supply chain, supporting manufacturers and suppliers and corporate responsibility.


Alex and I were approached to test their winter boot release and I opted for their new Winter Heath boot which comes in a lovely Rosewood colour. I loved the colour and speckled sole, and thought this would suit my style and wardrobe the best. Couldn't wait to test run this new style since I didn't have a boot of this kind in my collection.


My first shoe from Wildling was in a 39 which had a bit of room in the toe box. Although I wear them a lot and am completely comfortable with the extra room, I wanted to try a size down for my next shoe. I chose a 38 in the Winter Heath Boot and it fit but felt snug.


The Winter Heath is available for purchase on the Wildling website. It is priced at 108,40 €, and is available in sizes EU 23-48.


(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. ”

Manufacturing and Sustainability:

Wilding state clearly on their website that they look to strengthen the connection between people and the environment. This is one of their major pillars and something that drives their decisions when it comes to manufacturing. They are very committed to reducing their ecological footprint by using recycled materials, working closely with manufacturers and suppliers to ensure their supply chain is transparent and by being open to change and development.


See more information here.


Shipping:

Shipment to: Germany Shipping option: DHL Delivery time: Up to 7 days * Shipping costs:€4.90 inc. VAT Shipment to: International Shipping option: DHL Express ** delivery to Russia via DHL Delivery time: Up to 7 days * if not specified otherwise in the product description Shipping costs: €8.90 inc. VAT


From €200 shipping is free.


For more information about shipping, click here.


Returns:

Extended return period of 30 days as of now, with your first return to us being free of charge. For each additional return we charge a shipping fee of €3.50 for returns from Germany and €8.90 worldwide. This fee will be retained from refunds. If you return the complete order the shipping costs of €4.90 (Germany) or €8.90 (international) paid in the webshop will be refunded.


For more information about returns, click here.

First Impressions:

  • The mix of upper fabrics is interesting and varied (100% Cotton Canvas with a microfibre edging)

  • The sole is flexible in numerous direction with grooves to grip when walking

  • Wide with out appearing slow, has a slick skinny appearance.

  • First time I tried them they felt snug in the mid-foot, but by loosening the laces I found this easily adjustable

  • Skilled manufacturing, it has a seamless look

  • Soft inner which felt really nice on your skin, you could wear these with out long socks

  • Great colour for autumn

Sizing and Fit:

**My foot is approximately 235mm, with my 1st toe being the longest. At the time that I measured my foot, the width was approximately 95 mm. **


As mentioned before, my first pair of Wildling Shoes which were the Nebula are a size 39, has some extra room in the front. I still wear these a few times a week but wanted to size down for my next pair. The Winter Heath boot has a thicker inner than their sneakers in the way of a 100% virgin felted wool. The 38 fits great, at first I found the mid-foot to bit a little snug, but it was easily solved by adjusting the laces giving my foot plenty of wiggle room which was great. If you live in a country where it is colder in the winter months and you need to wear thick socks, I may suggest sizing up.


I have an narrow to average width for a foot, if you have a particular wide foot I would also size up. I am usually a 38 in most barefoot brands.


Wildling have a thorough sizing guide with a printable where you can measure your foot against and work out your size. I would say the sizing for the boot is a little different to the sneakers due to the thicker lining. Head to this page for a comprehensive size guide, they even have Youtube tutorials on how to follow their size guide.

1. Upper and lining:

  • Canvas (100% recycled cotton) – rosewood

  • Microfibre edging (90% polyamide, 10% polyurethane) – walnut

  • 100% Virgin felted wool

  • I like that I can put these on in the colder months to run errands with out massive socks knowing I can keep my feet warm with out chunky shoes.

  • The thicker felt provides good cushioning in the footbed

  • It feels as if it has a microfibre heel cap on the inside

  • Toe-box is generous always for good movement but the appearance is slick and natural looking

  • Width in the mid-foot is the smallest part but still comfortable

  • As with all Wildlings it has a tab at the back to easily pull on

2. Sole:

  • 80% synthetic rubber with 50% recycled content, 20% cork; 2.5 mm – Bordeaux

  • The edge of the sole is rounded

  • I like that the sole is both tough and flexible at the same time, I prefer shoes to have a sole than can still protect your foot well but allows for good movement

3. Weight and movement:

  • For a boot I would say that it's lightweight

  • It has great flexibility in all directions due to the shape of the sole

  • The upper material is soft and malleable, it doesn't crease easily making it easy to move around in

  • Great grip when walking in wet weather conditions

4. Packaging and Extras:

  • Standard cardboard box and tissue wrapping

Technical Specifications:

Upper: Canvas (100% recycled cotton) – rosewood

Membrane: 100% polyester keeping the moisture at bay during wet days

Interior lining/mid-sole: felted wool (100% virgin wool)

Edging: Microfiber (100% polyamide) – walnut

Outsole: 80% synthetic rubber with 50% recycled content, 20% cork;

Weight: N/A

Stack Height: 2.5 mm (36–41)

Available sizes: 23-48

Price: 108,40 € inc. VAT plus shipping (adult sizing)


Care instructions:

We recommend thoroughly waterproofing the shoes before first-time wear as well as periodic follow-up treatments. The best way to clean soiled shoes is by brushing them gently when they are dry or by wiping them with a damp cloth. Not machine washable.

We recommend removing the insoles from the shoes every day to air them out and avoid stagnant moisture accumulation.


You can find shoe care products for your Wildling here.


Video tutorials explaining how to waterproof, cleaning and care, and how to insert the elastic laces are available on the Wildling Shoes YouTube channel.


Future Improvements:

None at all, I am always really blown away with the level of quality. I work in product development and fashion, and have an eye for quality assessment. You can feel and see how well made Wildling shoes are when you take them out from the box.


Where and how to wear:

Because I feel that boots sometimes cut me off since I'm a short person, I prefer to wear these boots with long blue jeans and a nice knit jumper. I've been loving earthy colours and tones at the moment which works really well with the rosewood colour.

Conclusion:

Time and time again I love to see what Wildling come up with, the quality of the material they use, the unique design and trendy colours all contribute to their current success.


It's great to see how passionate they are about sustainability and it feels good knowing that you are wearing a well made shoe that has been made out of recycled materials. It's great that we can support brands that are environmentally conscious and considerate.


I'm so happy to have this boot as part of my winter range. Unfortunately last year when I received these we were in lockdown in Melbourne and didn't get to venture out camping. I can't wait to actually take these out into the country side for some off road walking in the colder months. It doesn't snow where we live, so they are perfect for hikes.


Overall a great comfortable shoes, a wonderful earthy colour, soft cushioned inner and highly flexible sole for some big walks whilst looking and feeling good.


-TBSR, Jade