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WILDLING SHOES- BAREFOOT KIDS SHOES

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The “WHERE TO BUY” section can be found at the end of this post, or visit the SHOP page.

You can see more photos of our Wildling Shoes on the GALLERY page.

 

GET TO KNOW WILDLING SHOES

Wildling Shoes’ own inspiring words…

“We love kids, just as they are- wild, active and playful. Our shoes allow them the freedom of movement nature intended and let them sense adventure in every step.”

“Run Wild. Shoes for robbers’ daughters and sons of kings.”

“We like shoes better.”

“Our motivation- We want to play our part in bringing kids into more direct contact with their environment again, and in offering them incentives for a more active lifestyle. Wildling’s thin, flexible sole turns every step into a sensory experience. Unlike conventional kids’ and sports’ shoes, the minimal shoe concept allows for natural motion and restores kids’ joy in movement.”

Wildling Shoes are a company in Germany that make barefoot shoes (shoes that have no arch support, no heel rise (also known as zero drop), a sole that lets your feet feel what you are walking on- meaning it has bend or gives with the movement of your foot, plenty of toe space both from side to side and top to bottom, materials that don’t restrict your foot’s movement by being too stiff, and have a way of staying securely to your feet (i.e. they don’t flop around).

The demo video on their main page is a must see! This is how kids should run. The minute my children put them on, this is how they ran. It was night and day difference from any of their previous shoes. I can’t say enough about Wildling Shoes or how grateful I am to have found this company.

Wildling Shoes is only about a year and a half old, which makes me feel a little better that my children didn’t have these wonderfully well-made barefoot shoes right from the start of their walking adventures (because they didn’t exist yet).

Dear Wildling Shoes, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

MY STORY

When my oldest child was nearing walking age, I was introduced to the levels of Stride Rite. I didn’t give it as much thought as I should have. I just followed Stride Rite’s instructions for their brand’s different stages of walking. The first stage included a sole that bent freely with the movement of the child’s foot (in a barefoot shoe fashion), but then the next stage included an extremely unbending sole. What? I watched my child try different shoes, some turning out to be better than others, but all of them visibly restricting her foot movement.

Fast forward about a year when my second child began walking. I had found a brand called go Plae. They were significantly better than most of the shoes we had tried, but we were still having problems. I couldn’t get the youngest to pick a pace other than almost backwards while wearing them, and my oldest started walking flat footed. I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled onto the idea of barefoot shoes, but I’m so glad I did.

It took me a long time to find the Wildling Shoe brand, but when I did, I instantly fell in love. The look, their marketing design, their sayings, the simplicity, their passion, and of course, they met the barefoot shoe test.

MY REVIEW- WILDLING SHOES

Do Wildling Shoes live up to the expectations of what a barefoot shoe should be?

Yes- no arch support, zero drop, stays on foot through adjustment of laces, bends with foot, and large enough toe space.

Do my children love them?

Definitely. We all do. Both kids, Mommy, and Daddy. When we found the company online, we couldn’t get over how much we loved the design, but boy, when they arrived, the craftsmanship was like nothing we had ever seen.

Do I recommend Wildling Shoes?

Absolutely! I will even be getting a pair soon. While they are designed for kids, the design works for adults as well. They even mention this on their site. I am about a size 40, so I’m all set!

Their current shoe sizes run from 23-42. They are expecting sizes 18-22 in 2017, and will be adding sizes up to size 46 in the near future.

The shoes are simple yet so intricate. They thought of every detail. They are expertly crafted. The quality is honestly among something I’ve never experienced before. The design is timeless. The colors are unisex which is amazing in a world of the typical bright pink shoe option, which really doesn’t work in a minimalistic world.

HELPFUL TIPS

– Remember to switch to English on their website. It’s at the top right corner of their top menu bar. It has a circular flag symbol. Every once in a while it will switch back to German while navigating, but you can always switch it back. Most of the pages should be available in English. If you have trouble viewing the site in English, try a different browser. I’ve had my browsers refuse to switch the language one minute but when I try again five minutes later, it works. Annoying I know, but these shoes are so worth it!

– The Fit Kit is a series of print outs used to get correct sizing. My children actually loved this compared to the normal trace your foot on paper and measure like we do. You will want to print multiple sizes, the few around where you think your child’s foot size will be. For example, I printed the fit kit pages 23 for my youngest. For my oldest I printed pages 26 and 27. Be sure to check the print scale after printing. There is a line on each printout to measure and check printing accuracy. They wrote great instructions on these printouts. And guess what! We got the right sizes the first time!

– You can order different color laces if you want a color different than what comes with the pair you order.

– Be sure to add waterproof spray to your cart, you will need it. It can be found in the accessories section of shop. The bottle will come in German but it is your typical water proof spray directions. They have these instructions on their site when you click to order the spray- “Apply to all upper section. Spray on evenly, let dry- run wild!” And remember it doesn’t make them completely waterproof. You can find further care instructions underneath the description when you click on a product.

– You can contact them through the contact section towards the bottom of their home page or through Facebook (I only tell you this because when its switches to German, or the English switch isn’t working right, it can be hard to find).

-If you are concerned about ordering from “across the pond”, don’t be- you can return them (but unless it’s a sizing issue, I guarantee you won’t want to), and shipping doesn’t cost much.

A good book for further reading on the concept of barefoot shoes is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, a story about finding the answers of a tribe filled with amazing athletes despite the fact that their shoes are made of almost nothing. I thought it was a very intriguing book. I found myself shaking my head yes in agreement to many of the things written; the difficulty finding any information about healthy feet and the frustration of why what the author was being told to do, and wear, wasn’t fixing his arches.

A NOTE ABOUT SUMMERTIME BAREFOOT SHOES

As summer approaches, I’ll be looking for barefoot kids sandals. Around our yard, we go barefoot to connect with the earth (grounding), but we will need something for hot days out and about. I will keep everyone posted on my findings.

 

WHERE TO BUY- SHOP…

WILDLING SHOES

LEMS SHOES

YOGABODY AWESOME TOES

EARTH RUNNERS

BORN TO RUN FROM BARNES AND NOBLE

 

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Comments 7

  1. Hi
    Thanks for your insights. I love the Wildings and will get some for my boy.

    Have you discovered any really barefoot sandals for kids, yet? All I have found have quite thick soles, which don’t really seem barefoot. But my boy gets such hot feet that he will need something that is not enclosed for summer. I got him a pair of Unshoes sandals once, made to measure, but they didn’t stay on very well. If you have any wisdom I would be very appreciative!
    Thank you X

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      Author

      UPDATE! After spending a full week in our Earth Runners, my children and I are in love with them! They can be a little tricky adjusting at first, and I don’t have a review written just yet, but I highly recommend them. For children’s sizes you will make a custom trace of their feet and send it via scanner to Earth Runners.

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        Author

        UPDATE! I just came across this on Earth Runners website

        “Due to the labor intensive process of making custom Earth Runners sandals via foot trace, this option will only be available seasonally. During the warm sandal season in the Northern Hemisphere we will only have standard sizes available to keep our California based manufacturing facility as efficient as possible.
        Please subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when custom sandals become available in the winter months. ”

        I am extremely disappointed. From a mothers stand point, this simply doesn’t cut it. You can’t order sandals months in advance. Children have growth spurts!
        Unfortunately these are the only children’s barefoot sandals I’ve been able to find, so I’m very frustrated that they aren’t even available in the summer months.

        I will keep my eye out for any new companies. At this time I do not recommend Vivo Barefoot as their shoes to not have enough toe room, and their materials aren’t “giving” enough for a barefoot shoe. They do market as a barefoot shoe company, however, I find them greatly lacking.

        If you can’t find anything out there that qualifies as a barefoot sandal for children, let me recommend Wildling Shoes. They have closed toes, but they have a summer option.

        I’ll be ordering the summer option chipmunk if my daughters outgrow their Earth Runners this summer.

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      Author
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    Author

    I’m still on the search, but I need to find something soon. I can at least give you one I’m thinking of trying- Vivobarefoot. Ill be honest, we tried a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes for my husband but the toe room was too small, so I can’t vouch for Vivos yet. I’ll keep you posted!

    And thank you so much for writing the first comment on Blossoming Existence!

  3. What do you think of the wildling sandals? Have you tried them yet? I am in the same boat, trying desperately to find a good barefoot walking sandal for my 8 yr old boy. I am looking forward to trying their shoes but my son didn’t like the looks of the sandal. So, I’m still searching. I would love a teva style but with a barefoot sole.

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      Author

      I’m sorry he doesn’t like the look. I understand though. I think we are going to hold off and get Wildlings for Fall. I’m not sure where you live, but here in Ohio there is a large chance that if you get a pair at the end of summer you won’t get to wear them. I do love that the Earth Runners have a copper plug, but even for an 8 year old they might be hard to get on by himself and honestly there are days even I don’t want that thong between my toes. I’ll keep you posted. This is definitely one of my most passionate topics. I still don’t recommend Vivobarefoot, but you should keep your eye on them. They do have new products all the time and maybe one of these days they will actually make a barefoot shoe like they claim to do (they fail to look at a lot of the aspects like toe room, the shoe being one with the foot, and letting the foot bend with the ground).

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