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ad | I Tried Minimal Shoes – Here’s How I Got On

Paid for content with Wildling minimal shoes

Have you ever tried wearing minimal shoes before? I hadn’t until recently. However, I’ve been wearing minimal shoes for the last month and wanted to share how I’ve been getting on with them. I will also share where you can buy ethically produced minimal shoes.

What are Minimal Shoes?

minimal shoes from Wildling Shoes
The Rubus Vegan Winter Minimal Shoes from Wildling Shoes – other shoes in their winter range aren’t vegan, and instead, use carefully selected wool from a landscape conservation project

First off, you might be wondering what minimal shoes are. Minimal shoes are shoes that are designed to closely approximate walking barefoot, in comparison to traditional shoes. With a sole thickness between 1mm and 4.5mm, minimal shoes allow the wearer to experience more sensory contact with the ground. Simultaneously they provide the feet with protection from the ground.

Another key feature of minimal shoes is that the soles are flexible, and the shoes are very light.

Why Wear Minimal Shoes?

wildling minimal shoes

Wildling Shoes, a German ethical producer of minimal shoes for kids and adults, says that “98% of all children are born with healthy feet. Unfortunately, only 20% can maintain this foot health into adulthood”. 

Wildling says that if your feet can develop and move freely, your feet will develop strong muscles. However, thick, stiff soles and footbeds prevent the foot muscles from being strengthened, leaving feet weakened. Whilst many shoes taper at the point where feet widen – putting pressure on your feet.

To rectify this, the Wildling lasts – the basic models for Wildling Shoes – are based on an anatomical foot shape with a natural width. This is designed to mirror the shape of a strong, healthy foot. This gives feet the space they need to develop in a healthy way, whether your feet are narrow or wide.

And to strengthen feet, Wildling says that over the long term walking in minimal shoes demands more of the muscles. Through repeated wear, feet can regain strength, and become more flexible. Wildling also says that minimal soled shoes can lead to better balance and stability, as the increased sensory contact with the ground makes wearers more reactive to underfoot conditions.

How I Got On With Wildling’s Shoes

When Wildling asked me if I wanted to try a pair of their shoes, I’ll admit, I thought I was an unlikely candidate for wearing minimal shoes. I have a condition called hyper-mobility – it’s traditionally known as double-jointedness.

When I was young, I thought it was pretty cool being hyper-mobile. But as I’ve gotten older it’s been less of a joy. Of the many problems it brings, I’m pretty prone to going over on my ankles. This makes footwear a huge problem for me. I can’t wear high heels, and I veer towards shoes with firm support or supplement with prescribed orthotic insoles. Minimal shoes did not come into my footwear equation.

I explained to Wildling that whilst their shoes were very lovely, I wouldn’t be a very good candidate for their shoes because of my condition.

Minimal Shoes & Hypermobility

Wildling quickly got back to me and shared a link to this Facebook post. The post is in German, I had to use the translate button. But here I found that many people in the comments shared that since switching to minimal shoes they are less prone to going over their ankles.

I also read this blog post on the Wildlings site. It featured testimonials from customers with a range of health issues. These ranged from rheumatism to back and foot pain, to diabetes sufferers. All claimed that minimal soled shoes had helped with some of their conditions.

It all really got me thinking. Could a pair of shoes really help with my hypermobility problems? Over the years I’ve seen countless podiatrists, with little success. Let’s just say I was a little skeptical. Wanting more than just anecdotal evidence, I then did my own research. I came across this article on a scientific peer-reviewed study, which found that, in runners, minimal soled running shoes did actually strengthen their feet.

Whilst Wildling Shoes aren’t specifically minimal running shoes, I took the plunge. Soon a pair of Wildling Shoes were winging their way to me, shipped completely plastic-free. The day my Wombat Shoes arrived was an exciting one. I popped them on immediately and tried them out around the house.

Whilst it’s really early days to tell if the shoes will help with my hypermobility problems in my ankles, and I can’t offer any anecdotal evidence at this stage of my minimal sole journey, I have very much been enjoying the feeling of wearing minimal shoes.

What I Liked

Owing to the thin soles – of all the minimal shoes on the market, Wildlings have the thinnest soles available – I feel like I notice more when the ground I’m walking on is uneven. As such, when I’m wearing them more likely to take care on uneven ground. I went on a walk last week wearing welly boots, as it was wet and muddy underfoot. I fell over on some uneven ground, splitting my knee open. I’m convinced this wouldn’t have happened if I’d been wearing my Wildlings shoes.

Something else I’ve noticed is that after walking, my feet and calves feel tired, like they’ve had a workout, in very much a good way. Hopefully, this is a sign that the muscles are strengthening, but I will update this post next year with how I get on.

Warmth wise, I am wearing my Wildlings with the Felty insoles for extra warmth in winter. I was worried that with the thin soles I’d have cold feet. But I have to say that my feet have been very warm and cosy in my Wildlings. I really shouldn’t be surprised – my Wombat boots are made of sustainably sourced wool. As a material, wool has natural temperature regulating characteristics. And because of the muscle stimulation while walking in minimal shoes, this, in turn, means your blood circulation is also stimulated, warming your toes too.

Comfort wise, the thin soles are not uncomfortable. In fact, I feel like I’m wearing slippers and I hate having to take them off when I get home!

What I Didn’t Like

The only criticism of my shoes is that on wet days when I’ve walked to my car, I’ve found the soles of the shoes to be quite slippy on the pedals of my car. There is definitely less grip on them. Once or twice when I’ve been manoeuvring my foot has slipped off the clutch, causing me to stall. To counteract this, I’ve been making sure to wipe my feet thoroughly on the car mat before driving.

Why Choose Wildling Shoes

There are quite a few manufacturers of minimal shoes, but what I really like about Wildling Shoes is their commitment to ethics and the environment.

From the very beginning, Wildling was clear that their shoes should be produced with as minimal impact as possible, both environmentally and socially. After exploring various locations, and taking into consideration the need to keep delivery routes short to minimise carbon emissions, and to keep the shoes themself affordable – Portugal was chosen as Wildling’s production site. Now each and every pair of Wildling shoes are handmade in Portugal by skilled sewers paid a fair wage. Transparency is also key, so you can also find out more about the production process here.

The materials of the shoes are carefully considered too. Their entire range is made from natural and renewable materials such as organic cotton, sustainably sourced wool, hemp, and linen.

I’m definitely a convert, and I really look forward to updating you on my minimal shoe journey! Do check back and I’ll share my experiences here.

If you’d like to try out Wildling shoes for yourself or your little ones use the code MORALFIBRES20 at the checkout to enjoy free UK delivery (valid until 31st March 2021). Your first return is also free. Please note, the minimum purchase amount when using this code is €50, and the code can only be used once per customer.

Find the Wildling Shoes website here, and follow them along on Instagram and Facebook.

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

10 Zero-Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Today I’m sharing with you ten plastic-free and zero-waste Christmas decorations for you to make.

As I mentioned in this month’s newsletter, I, like so many others, am keenly looking forward to celebrating the festive season. More so than ever. Whilst we may not be seeing our extended family this year, we’re definitely compensating by decking the halls like never before. 

If you’re also looking to decorate your home a little more, then perhaps some of these zero-waste Christmas decorations, made from natural and compostable materials, will be up your street.

Before I begin, please, don’t bin your existing decorations just because they’re made of plastic. Remember, as with most items, the most eco-friendly Christmas decorations are the ones you already own. Re-using what we already have is the absolute pinnacle of zero-waste. So, if you’ve got reams of tinsel and plastic baubles galore from Christmases gone by, then decorate using them with abandon! I’ve got plastic baubles on my tree from when I was a kid, and they bring me SO much joy. I’m hoping that one day they might bring my kids joy too.

The Zero-Waste Christmas Decorations to DIY

Disclaimer over, let’s move on to the decorations! Here are 10 of my favourite eco-friendly Christmas decorations to make:

Dried Orange Garland

10 zero-waste Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Dried orange slices are pure Instagram catnip, and for good reason – they are stunningly effective. The good news is that if you want your house to look and smell amazing for Christmas, then these garlands are so easy to make. Follow House of Jade Interiors for the full tutorial.

A word of advice. Reserve the dried oranges for indoor decorations only. What I’ve found is that if you use them on outdoor decorations the oranges rehydrate and start to rot. However, if you keep them indoors, and then after Christmas store them in an airtight container, such as a jar or old Tupperware box, then you can use your dried oranges year after year.

Salt Dough Stars

Homemade Salt dough decorations

Salt dough ornaments aren’t just for kids, although you can certainly get your kids involved in making them.

This simple yet stylish Christmas scented salt dough garland can be made by following Rocky Hedge Farm’s easy tutorial. If you have any stars leftover, individual stars would also look amazing hanging on your tree or used in your gift wrapping.

As before, it’s best to use salt dough decorations for indoor decor only. And when you take your decorations down it’s best to store salt dough ornaments in an airtight container. Again, if exposed to moisture they can go damp and rot in storage.

Crochet Stars

Crochet stars pattern for a zero-waste Christmas

If you are a keen crocheter, then this one’s for you. If you have any odds and ends of wool leftover from other projects, then try making these beautiful crochet stars. The free pattern is available from Persia Lou.

Origami Star Garland

Fun eco-friendly Christmas crafts to try

If you have a collection of paper – perhaps saved from deliveries and old wrapping paper – then this plastic-free origami stars tutorial from Girl About Townhouse is one to follow. You’ll be seeing stars in no time!

Foliage Candle Holders

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

I love the complete and utter simplicity of these candle holders from Traumzuhause. If you’ve got some empty wine bottles and some greenery then voila, an instant zero-waste Christmas decoration. Snippings from your Christmas tree would work, as would some ivy, rosemary, or eucalyptus. Skill level zero. My kind of craft!

Paper Bag Stars

10 Christmas decorations made using natural and compostable materials.

Got a bunch of paper bags that you are never going to use? Make these beautiful zero-waste paper bag stars with this tutorial from The Merry Thought. I would add that if you secure the final bag with a paperclip or two, then you will be able to fold your star flat and reuse your stars year after year.

Orange Peel Garland

Zero-waste Christmas craft ideas

This sweet and simple orange peel garland from Circle of Pine Trees is a lovely plastic-free craft idea. Just remember the rules for dried fruit!

Popcorn & Cranberry Garland

Eco-friendly Christmas crafts

If you want an easy zero-waste Christmas decoration, then try this Cranberry and popcorn garland from Mountain Cravings. That is if you don’t eat all the popcorn first!

An important note. I wouldn’t use this garland outdoors, as you’ll attract a host of wildlife. This is no bad thing in itself, but it’s important to bear in mind that popcorn fills birds up with little nutritional benefit, at a time of year when they should be eating fat and protein-rich foods to be able to survive the winter.

Pinecone Garland

Sustainable Christmas decorations to make, using natural and compostable materials

This pine cone garland from Decor Adventures is another great decoration that can be used year after year. I personally would omit the glitter, as regular glitter is a microplastic. What’s more, it turns out even the stuff labelled as eco-friendly glitter is not great for the environment. However, even without the sparkles, this plastic-free garland will still look great on your mantlepiece this festive season.

Rosemary Wreath Garland

Eco-friendly Christmas decorations to DIY

Finally, this mini wreath garland from The Merry Thought is another easy zero-waste make for the festive season. Make it using rosemary, and it will fill your home with a lovely scent.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I’m off to get busy with some plastic-free crafting!

If you have any other zero-waste Christmas decorations ideas, then please do share with the Moral Fibres community in the comments below. I’d love to hear!