My 7-Year Wildling Barefoot Shoes Review | Are They Worth It?

willding shoe review


Danielle Alvarado

Now Trending:
Just For You:
Welcome To SKL!

My name is Danielle and I am a mother of two, wife, CEO, and lover of vintage treasures. I created SKL in 2020 to help our community in their need for well-researched and trust-worthy articles, listicles and guides to live a more sustainable and healthy life. So happy to have you here! (Click to learn more).


Sign Up For Our Free E-mail List That Folks Are Raving About!

Sign Me UP!

Our amazing newsletter is beloved by our SKL community and offers tips on living more sustainable, books to read, podcasts to listen to, inspiring conscious leaders to follow, discount codes from the best brands out there, and more!

SKL is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn affiliate commission. Learn more here.

Looking for an honest and thorough review of Wildling Shoes? Lucky for you, I’ve tried and tested over 10 different pairs of Wildling Shoes (as well as many other zero-drop footwear options) over the last 7 years!

So, if you’re eager to kick off those clunky, conventional shoes and dive feet-first into the world of barefoot shoes, this Wildling barefoot shoes review is for you.

We’ve already shared our favorite kids barefoot shoes, talked about the top-rated barefoot sandals, and even took some great barefoot running shoes for a spin.

For this Wildling Shoes review, I’m not just going to share my personal take on their various footwear options. The SKL team will also break down the materials, types of soles, comfort level, pricing, and of course, style.

Will Wildling Shoes tick all our quality boxes? Read on to find out.

wildling barefoot shoe review

Have you ever truly considered *what* you have been placing your feet into on a daily and consistent basis? Our ancestors, roamed the Earth barefoot, feeling the earth beneath their soles with every step. 

Fast forward to the modern age, and what do we have? Thick-soled, cushioned shoes that separate us from the very ground we walk on.

Luckily for us, and our health, barefoot shoes have been rising in popularity in recent years, as more of us care for our health and want to reconnect with nature.

Minimalist shoes are the perfect way to do both – and they don’t always have to look the same way (you know what we’re talking about – a sporty look you’ll more likely see on a trek than in the city). 

Enter: Wilding barefoot shoes!

Their zero-drop footwear styles are appropriate both for pathways in nature and sidewalks in the city. I have personally worn them all over Europe and the United States – from hiking to city walks – and I recommend them to most folks who share the same lifestyle that I do!

My Personal Wildling Shoes Review

I first found out about Wildling Shoes when I was living in North Italy (South Tyrol) and was on the hunt for the first pair of shoes for my 1-year-old twin boys. Up until that point, I simply had them walk around barefoot (just like their mama) because all the shoes I had come across were way too hard for kids’ feet (in my opinion).

When I found Wildling on Instagram, I was instantly impressed. I knew the shoes would be perfect for my children, the ethics were right on point with my own, and their factory was nearby in Germany (they also have a factory now in the U.S.A.!).

The only thing that held me off a bit was the price tag, to be honest. Our family was living paycheck to paycheck in those days, and shelling out 80 euros (a piece) for shoes that would only fit my children for 12 months tops was out of the question.

I decided to order a pair of barefoot shoes for myself first, and then make the final decision of investing for my children. Once that first pair arrived, our long journey of wearing Wildlings as a family began!

I order my sons a pair of Wildilng Shoes every year and resell their previous Wildling Shoes (they always sell immediately!). They withstand all their crazy antics and I have only ever had to sew the front of their shoes one time (age 3 when they kept using their shoes as brakes on their balance bikes!).

The shoes are not only barefoot, flexible, and zero drop. They are also cozy, soft, durable like no other (and we have tested them through everything!), and extremely aesthetically pleasing. I love nothing more than to see my children in their Wildling Shoes – even after all these years.

We have hiked the mountains of South Tyrol in these shoes, we have walked through the city of Chicago, we have hit the beach, jumped into the Ocean, and played endless hours of football, tennis, and volleyball in these shoes. I am convinced that the makers of these shoes are magic fairies!

Why are barefoot shoes better for your feet?


Our feet are marvels of engineering, designed to navigate various terrains and provide feedback to our brains about our surroundings.

However, traditional shoes dampen this connection, leaving us oblivious to the textures and sensations beneath our feet.

Minimalist shoes, like Wilding barefoot shoes, aim to bring back this connection, allowing you to feel the ground as nature intended.

Improved Feet Strength

Ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it”? Well, it applies to your feet too!

Conventional shoes weaken the muscles in our feet over time, leading to issues like plantar fasciitis and fallen arches.

But with barefoot shoes, every step becomes a mini workout, strengthening those muscles and improving overall foot health.

So much so that minimalist shoe walking is as effective as foot strengthening exercises in increasing foot muscle size and strength, according to studies.

In some cases, strength increased between 9-57%, and size increased between 7.05-10.6% which is amazing!

Reduced Impact On Joints

Conventional shoes often come with cushioning that absorbs the impact of each step. While this might seem beneficial, it can lead to a reduction in the natural shock absorption capabilities of your feet and joints.

Barefoot shoes encourage your body to rely on its natural shock absorption mechanisms.

According to experts, barefoot and minimalist footwear reduced stress at the knee but increased Achilles tendon forces when compared with traditional shoes.

Better Balance & Alignment 

Your feet are the foundation of your body, and when they’re not functioning optimally, it can throw off your entire biomechanical chain.

Barefoot shoes encourage a more natural gait, promoting better posture and alignment from the ground up. Amazingly, minimal shoes are proven to improve stability and mobility in persons with a history of falls.

Now that we’ve got the lowdown on why barefoot shoes are the bomb, let’s zoom in on Wilding barefoot shoes and see how they stack up against the competition. Here’s our full Wildling Shoes review.

What are Wildling Shoes?

wildling barefoot shoes review

The story behind Wildling Shoes is as captivating as the minimalist shoes themselves. In 2013, founders Anna and Ran found themselves in a colder climate, needing shoes for their kids who had previously enjoyed the freedom of going barefoot. 

This necessity sparked the birth of Wildling Shoes in 2015, driven by a commitment to prioritize movement in footwear. Anna and Ran envisioned shoes that wouldn’t inhibit function – shoes you could run, jump, dance, and climb trees in.

Their dedication resulted in the creation of some of the lightest barefoot shoes globally, featuring a unique outsole that effortlessly moves in all directions.

As Wildling Shoes expanded, their adult offerings gained a devoted following, solidifying their status as more than just a trend.

The brand offers shoes in sizes 18-48, catering to a wide range of enthusiasts who seek a harmonious blend of comfort, functionality, and style. 

The company places a strong emphasis on sustainability, winning numerous awards such as the German Sustainability Award and the German Design Award. 

This includes using eco-friendly materials, such as recycled PET bottles for the upper material, and incorporating environmentally conscious practices into their manufacturing processes.

Where are Wildling shoes from?

best wildling barefoot

Wildling Shoes is a German-based company and the entire manufacturing process takes place in Portugal.

In addition to using all-natural and recycled materials, such as cotton, hemp, wool, linen, and cork wherever possible, the Wilding Shoes team pays often visits to its manufacturing partners and has a team in Portugal responsible for the quality of the production process.

Best Barefoot Shoes For Adults from Wildling:

Wildling Shoes’ Sole Thickness 

Let’s start this Wildling Shoe review with the most important element – sole thickness. 

At first glance, the sole might raise an intrigued eyebrow – it’s not your run-of-the-mill shoe sole or even your typical barefoot shoe sole.

On the contrary, it’s an innovation inspired by the stealthy tradition of Japanese ninja shoes, a sole with a captivating twist.

Taking a cue from this ancient influence, the sole flaunts a bold feature – a hole smack dab in the middle, delivering a dose of extreme flexibility. This opening is shielded by a robust material.

Not only does this guard against premature wear and tear, but it also enhances water resistance around the portal, should your journey take you through unexpected terrains.

The thickness of the sole differs across sizes, ranging from a mere 1.5 mm for the daintiest sizes to a robust 4.5 mm for the largest adult feet.

Most sizes find their balance with a sole thickness of either 2.5 mm or 3.5 mm. It’s a symphony of variation, tailored to the unique needs of each foot.

Despite its slender profile, these minimalist shoes are a testament to durability, promising seasons of wear without breaking a sweat – or a sole.

Wildling Shoes shares the same sole design across its eclectic range, with only two rebels in the mix.

Toddler models and the latest Lotus slippers boast a sole that wraps the entire foot, eschewing the trademark opening.  

Width & Toe Box Shape

Every Wildling barefoot shoe review we’ve read agrees on one thing: Wildling Shoes has mastered the art of toe-box dynamics, ensuring a fit that’s as unique as your footprint.  

They have a square toe box shape, with a gentle slope towards the pinky toe, creating a universally appealing design suitable for a variety of foot types.

It’s a perfect match for those with medium-wide feet, reaching the sweet spot between roomy and snug. For those on the slightly wider end of the spectrum, fear not – Wildling has you covered. 

Choosing a bigger size can cater to wider feet, though a word of caution is in order. While the upper’s volume or material stretch might accommodate wider feet, it’s crucial that all toes maintain contact with the sole during your walk. Hanging toes are a no-go! 

Winter models, for instance, may trend slightly narrower than their Spring/Summer counterparts due to the plush lining stealing a bit of width and volume. This is particularly noticeable when worn with an insole.

For those with narrower feet facing a bit too much volume, Wildling Shoes has a clever solution – the extra insole. Slide one in for a tailored fit that complements your unique foot anatomy.

However, Wildling Shoes recognizes the individuality of feet. If your foot boasts a pronounced V-shape, these might not be your Cinderella shoes. The square toe box might not align with the unique contours of a more V-shaped foot, and that’s okay – diversity is key.

Size Variety & Gender-Neutral Design

The Wildling Shoes barefoot shoe range includes sizes for children as well as adults. Simply follow their sizing guidelines (we printed out the form and found our size that way!) and then order.

I was shocked to find out I was a size larger than normal – and for good reason. Turns out my poor feet were squishing into the wrong size for over 15 years.

All the designs are gender-neutral and can be worn by anyone. The easily adjustable width thanks to strategically placed laces makes the fit perfect for both male and female feet.

Best Barefoot Shoes For Kids from Wildling:

Are winter Wildling shoes waterproof?

wildling barefoot shoes

Winter doesn’t stand a chance against Wildling Shoes, but choosing the right model is the key to keeping those tootsies toasty.

When the temperatures drop, these shoes step up to the challenge, especially the warmest Wildling models donning a full wool upper and a bit of extra height.

Most Wildling Shoes winter models feel like a warm hug around 0°C (32°F), but the warmth sensation varies from person to person and model to model.

For many, wool models are a cozy companion in temperatures down to -5°C (23°F), though extreme cold might call for different footwear.

When choosing winter models, go one size bigger than your usual Wildling size. This provides ample room for thicker socks and those cozy wool insoles. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that prolonged exposure to wet snow might dampen the heel if not pre-treated.

While Wildling Shoes aren’t fully waterproof (they are textiles, after all), certain models come equipped with a built-in waterproof membrane. Paired with a waterproof spray, they stand strong against the rain.

Are there any vegan Wildling barefoot shoes?

best wildling barefoot shoes review

Yes! Some of the plant-based materials they use are sustainably sourced hemp, linen, cotton, and washi, which keep your feet comfortable all day.

These non-animal origin options are best for warmer weather but could also be worn in the winter if it doesn’t get as cold where you live.

I personally wear the Perto barefoot shoes during the dry winters (clearly not best for snow but great for cold days) and they work beautifully.

Best Barefoot Shoes For Toddlers from Wildling:

How do I take care of Wilding shoes?

wildling barefoot shoes

When it comes to cleaning the wild off your Wildling Shoes, there’s an art to it. First off, patience is a virtue. Let the mud play its drying game before gently brushing it off. For the remaining traces of adventure, a damp cloth works wonders, restoring your shoes to their untamed glory.

But, if your shoes have truly been on the wild side, fear not. Enter the ‘Tapir’ cleaning products – Wildling’s secret weapons for tackling stubborn stains and deep-seated dirt. A little goes a long way, and soon your shoes will be ready for their next escapade.

However, a gentle reminder: Not all shoes are born equal. Lighter hues may have their quirks when it comes to stain removal, and some dirt might decide to call your Wildlings home permanently. 

Purchasing, Shipping, and Returns

If this Wildling barefoot shoes review had you want to give those minimalist shoes a try, you’re in luck. The brand ships all over the world, including Europe, the USA, and Canada.

Check out their worldwide site here. Or, visit their USA and Canadian website here.

If you happen to find yourself in one of Europe’s largest cities, keep an eye out for the occasional ‘pop-up’ shops orchestrated by Wildling.

These amazing events offer a unique chance to experience the shoes in person and get up close and personal with their latest offerings.  

The best part? Returns are on the house. Wildling Shoes understands that sometimes the wild path may take unexpected turns, and they want to ensure you find the perfect fit on your footwear journey.

So, Are Wildling shoes worth it?

wildlings barefoot shoes

Overall, Wilding Shoes are a great way to bring you walking back to the basics while letting your feet breathe and giving them the space they need.

If you have a child or have been thinking about giving the barefoot shoe a try yourself, the brand’s got exactly what you need. 

Wilding Shoes are worth it! Our family made the switch to Wildling barefoot shoes over 5 years ago and we could not recommend them enough!

The brand stands at the forefront of this transformative movement, introducing styles that not only prioritize the health of your feet but also carry the weight of social responsibility.

So, I hope this Wildling Shoes review has given you all the information you need to give zero-drop shoes a try. 

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other community favorites below!

wildling barefoot shoe review

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

  1. Susanne says:

    Which shoes would you recommend for winter/snow/mud&cold conditions? In warmer times of the year we certainly also wear Wildling shoes 😀 and love them!
    Thanks for a hint!

    • Hi Susanne! For lots of snow/mud/super wet grounds in cold conditions, I’ll usually go with my will’s vegan boots. They keep me super warm and dry. I do wear my wildings year round but only when the ground is dry or just a bit wet. For the kiddos – they simply wear snow boots all winter long because they are in forest school and they just cannot play around haha. But as soon as it dries up they run right back to the wilding shoes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.