Expert engineering and innovative fabrication techniques aside, the secret to a better performing shoe might be in an age-old textile: wool. Renown for its moisture-wicking prowess, natural antibacterial properties, and ability to regulate temperature well, the material is a favorite in outdoor gear so it makes sense to fashion an entire shoe out of it. (Plus wool’s cozy as hell!)
Enter the Urban Wooler from eco-friendly footwear startup Baabuk.
The company launched 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign for indoor slippers inspired by valenki, traditional wool shoes from Russia. For its next product, Baabuk decided to create sneakers that are as comfortable to wear in winter as summer.
Sustainably felted wool and rubber from recycled tires comprise the shoes. Craftspeople in Portugal make the pieces by hand, which feature embroidered eyelets and vibrant hues. The material is naturally water resistant so it’ll keep your toes dry when it rains and it naturally conforms to your foot. But the most compelling reason of all to cop a pair might be that you can go sockless with ’em.
The Urban Wooler can be purchased for about $135 from baabuk.com.