• barefootshoereview

Episode 48: Wildling Sabio


It's safe to say that Wildling Shoes don't really need much of an introduction at this stage. Being new to the barefoot scene a few years ago, I was somewhat drawn to every aspect about Wildling - their marketing, aesthetics, material choices, and ethos are truly on point. In my opinion, they tick every box when looking for a barefoot shoe.


Being thoroughly impressed with the previous model I tested (Tanuki Mori), I was excited when they approached us to test their latest Winter range. The first detail that stood out to me was of course the plaid lining on the Sabio model.


Utilising their trademark polyester membrane, in addition with a gusseted tongue - the Sabio is the most waterproof model in their latest Winter range, and with its unique styling, in addition to the aforementioned qualities - it is the perfect shoe for our mild Australian Winter.


The Sabio is available for purchase on the Wildlings website. It is priced at 129,00 € (currently sold out), and is available in sizes EU 23-48. They are a made from a recycled 100% Cotton Canvas, and currently only come in a Sage colour - complete with a multicoloured plaid lining (which I absolutely adore!).


(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 have a strong ethos when it comes to having a transparent supply chain. They have close relationships with their suppliers to ensure they have the best quality and sustainable manufacturing.

  • Their shoes are made to EU standards

  • They often used recycled materials

  • They have a transparent supply chain understanding where each stage of supply occurs

  • They strive to be a low impact and uphold corporate responsibility to the environment

  • Their shoes are handmade and therefore made with precision and care


See more information here.

Shipping:

Shipment to: Germany

Shipping costs: €4.90 inc. VAT


Shipment to: International

Shipping costs: €8.90 inc. VAT


Shipment to: USA/Canada via the US wildlings site

Shipping costs: $9.90


From €200/$200USD shipping is free.


For more information about shipping via the international site, click here.

For additional info via the US site, 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:

  • Numerous different sensations in the upper materials - Soft, smooth and flexible, yet rough and rugged

  • The sole is extremely flexible (like all wildling soles), however it is also thin, yet provides enough cushioning to not hurt your feet. Feels grippy too

  • With the gusseted tongue and high-cut, it has a sock like feel

  • Beautiful colouring, aesthetics and manufacturing - a lot of detail and thought put in

  • Packaging is also some of the best, and it also uses recycled materials

  • The plaid lining is soft and warm

  • The shoe feels as though it fits slightly wider than the Wildling Tanuki

Sizing and Fit:

**Foot: 292mm x 110mm with widest part at the mid-foot. I'm normally an EU47 or US13 in most brands.**


I find Wildling to be true to size (TTS), in addition to being one of the more generous shoes regarding width, toe-box and volume. Wildling have sizing charts available, as well as a printable template. As, I'm familiar with Wildlings already, I chose my usual EU 47; However, If you're not familiar with the company, it could be a good idea to print out a template, thus ensuring that your feet are not only a good match for length and width. One other thing to note, is that my feet do overlap the insole. My feet are 110mm wide, and the insole is about 105mm wide. However, the entire shoe is approx. 115mm wide, and fairly soft and flexible, meaning that they fit with no issues.


With the gusseted tongue, the fit in the upper feels quite glove-like, yet it gives you enough space throughout the shoe. There are no noticeable hard parts on the upper, which could potentially irritate your foot; however, there is a part on the side of the sole (near the pinkie toe), which could irritate your feet if they are sensitive, or if you're dealing with an injury - see image below. Furthermore, I believe the boot opening is suitable for most calf sizes.


For more help on sizing your Wildlings, and if you prefer printable templates, Wildling have a sizing guide if you click here.

(add photos of ruler and feet and rubber bit)

Performance:

1. Upper and lining:

  • Canvas Upper - Soft and flexible, whilst tightly woven and strong, in order to repel moisture

  • Polyester membrane in between the lining and the upper, for increased water protection

  • Warm lining, which would be perfect for mild winters

  • No heel-counter, or any other obstructions such as stitching, which could irritate your feet

  • Utilises a gusseted tongue, which is helpful in repelling moisture

  • Shoe is wide throughout, and has a natural toe-box shape

  • Shoe has a mid-high volume

  • No rough points inside the shoe

  • No pinching on the upper at any point

2. Sole:

  • The sole has a stack height of 2.5mm for sizes 36-41, and 3.5mm for sizes 42-48, with a 2.5mm insole

  • The sole has a diagonal split across it, which would assist it in being one of the most flexible shoes I've come across

  • Although the sole is fairly minimal, it uses a material which is very soft and forgiving

  • The sole is surprisingly flat for a contoured sole, and has a higher bit near the pinkie toe, which could be problematic for some people

3. Weight and movement:

  • The Sabio is very light, and is lighter than some sneakers I own. Possibly the lightest hi-top/boot I've come across

  • Foot is unhindered by any obstructions whatsoever, and moves freely

  • Super flexible sole and upper

  • Feels glove-like

4. Packaging and Extras:

  • Recycled cardboard box with care instruction booklet

  • Comes with reusable sticky-tape

  • Removable insoles

Technical Specifications:

Upper: Canvas (100% recycled cotton) – sage

Membrane: 100% polyester

Interior lining/mid-sole: 100% cotton from certified organic sources

Insole: Lunatur (80% EVA and 20% walnut shell) [removable] 2.5mm in thickness

Edging: Microfiber (100% polyamide) – gray-green

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

Weight: N/A

Stack Height: 2.5 mm (36–41), 3.5 mm (42–48) – light gray + Insole

Available sizes: 23-48

Price: 100,00 € inc. VAT plus shipping


Care instructions:

Wildling recommend thoroughly waterproofing the shoes before first-time wear as well as periodic follow-up treatments, and recommend that the best way to clean soiled shoes is by brushing them gently when they are dry or by wiping them with a damp cloth. They also suggest 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's here. I used the "Wildling" spray, which is priced at 7,48 €. See the videos below for further details on waterproofing and cleaning your Wildlings.

Future Improvements:

Wildling continuously impress me... However, additional colour ranges in the Sabio would be great, or a low-cut Sabio.


Where and how to wear:

Although the Sabio is a Sage coloured shoe, it is still quite a neutral, and doesn't stand out too much. It is Unisex, and can be worn with any clothing you like, which compliments your style. I've worn it mostly with either chino/cargo shorts, or pants.


The Sabio is also water resistant, so you should have no issues wearing them them during a mild winter - keep in mind however, that I live in Australia.

Conclusion:

Hands down, I believe Wildling are the most unique company in the barefoot shoe world. It is truly a pleasure to be able to work with them and test their new range...


The Sabio feels far from an average boot - in which you are usually required to have a bit of an annoying break-in period, and your movement is somewhat compromised during this. Nope, you just slip the Sabio on - they are as light as a feather, and your feet get to move as they should. Furthermore, they're warm, water resistant and made using sustainable materials. The shoe itself is wider than average, has a natural toe box shape, and although they have a fairly thin sole, the rubber compound is incredibly soft and forgiving.


No doubt, the comfiest boot that I own.


-TBSR, Alex