Shoes made from 100% wool on the streets of Southern California! You have got to be kidding right? Those were our first thoughts when we stumbled upon the all-new Baabuk Sneakers that have recently blown the roof off of their Urban Wooler kickstarter campaign shown here. With the constant heat and humid weather most people can be seen walking around in their sloppy and oh-so-sweaty sandals. That’s right, you know what I am talking about when I mention the sweaty dirt ring that surrounds your foot after a day in the sun. Recognizing that many people want to wear their shoes without socks Baabuk innovated their original slipper into a modern functional sneaker with incredible street style.
BAABUK is a Swiss startup created by a young and dynamic couple with a passion for wool. They have held onto that dream for nearly 3 years now to show their 100% natural wool shoes to the world. The first chapter of their story began when they received a present – Russian “valenki” boots. In the 16th century these types of boots were essential to fight the Siberian cold. As a result those traditional boots became BAABUK’s inspiration for our first collection. Few years later, while they were travelling abroad, they decided to embark in the BAABUK adventure by creating felted wool slippers and boots produced in Nepal. In order to show their project to the world they launched their first Kickstarter campaign. It was a real hit and people loved their warm and comfortable 100% natural shoes.
The funny thing about that dense material that we call wool is its ability to naturally regulate temperature better than most other insulators on the planet. As more and more consumers are educating themselves on where their materials originate they are demanding better products from sustainable resources. Wool is a fantastic example of this and here are a few examples of why:
Comfort – Wool has a unique thermal control feature that keeps feet unbelievably comfortable in any weather- warm or cold. Wool works in trapping the heat within the fibers keeping the body warm the ideal shoes to wear on harsh climate of a desert when daytime is extremely hot and temperature drops during the evening. With such exceptional quality the longer you wear a pair of Baabuk wool shoes the more comfortable it gets as if wearing a second skin as it conforms to your foot shape naturally.
Superior Durability – The complex cellular structure of wool makes it very resilient, flame resistant and flexible to breakage that can be bent over 30,000 times without any damage.
Temperature Regulation – Layering natural wool fibers will work together to provide the most comfortable environment for your feet by regulating temperature and at the same time keeping your feet warm and dry.
Natural Antibacterial – When you wear a pair of Baabuk wool shoes you don’t have to worry about getting that stinky foot odor since it is made from natural wool fiber that is breathable and can help control odor by hindering bacterial growth.
Fire Retardant and Water Repellent – Wool fibers are very slow to burn and in case your pair of Baabuk catches some fire it will self-regulate it by hindering fire to progress while having the capability to self-extinguish the fire. It also has excellent water repellent property that can ensure that you’ll always keep your feet dry even in walking outside on a snowy day.
Minimal Care – We at Baabuk took into consideration even the time you’ll spend on cleaning your shoes. Our natural wool fiber shoes are very easy to maintain since we already pulled in time and rigorous efforts to treat each wool fiber by layering it all together and shrunk it into a perfect size and shape. Check out the label for easy shoe cleaning instructions that they believe you’ll need to do less frequently.
As animal lovers who also make a conscious effort to live a sustainable and ethical lifestyle we spoke with Baabuk to find out more on where their wool is produced. Here is what we learned prior to reviewing their newest creation. “Our wool factory is located in Portugal, in the village of Manteigas. We carefully chose our factory and we regularly go to Portugal to closely follow all of their activities. The sheep are bred in the natural park of Serra da Estrela and there is no “mass production” of the wool in this place. We are aware of all these cruel practices and that is the reason why we decided to produce in this burel factory in Portugal. You can read more about this source here: http://www.burelfactory.com/home.php?lg=eng
The Urban Wooler sneaker, even in its early days are very well refined and constructed with a simple yet modern appearance. Baabuk excels with wool as their primary construction material and it truly comes together in an aesthetically appealing manner. The shoe itself only incorporates one main seam in the rear that was strategically placed to the side of the heel to prevent any rubbing on the heel area. With only one stitched seam the entire shoe fits to the foot like a glove that is snug on the sides and just enough room in the front for your toes to receive some fresh air.
The 100% wool upper is stitched to a solid rubber outsole that measures one inch in thickness. The Baabuk concept of “socks suck” is catchy and has plenty of support across the globe. By pairing the seamless upper and dense yet flexible rubber outsole we feel that the Urban Wooler will satisfy any barefoot dweller. The premium quality of this shoe is a feat in itself in comparison to what you will find in this footwear category. Baabuk is making their voice heard loud and clear when they state that wool should be your material of choice when seeking your next pair of lifestyle shoes.
The Urban Wooler Wooler wears like a pair of your favorite vans without any of the pressure points or rough edges. To put it lightly you could wear vans with socks and still be more comfy in the Baabuk sneakers without them. Growing up I used to skate in my vans daily without any socks and constantly sweated right through them. Nothing is more gratifying then slipping off the Baabuk sneakers to unveil clean feet after walking around all day. The breathability of the material is unexpected and only adds to its value. Here in Southern California even the most expensive material won’t keep your feet completely dry in the heat so any shoe that can come close is a worthy purchase. Sweat prints are no longer an acceptable trend no matter your age and that should be a written law. Another valuable feature to their wool construction is its natural antibacterial qualities. Think about it for a moment, if you are dirtier than a sheep chances are that you don’t belong in public anyway. A sheep is covered in wool that is in fact a bit dirty from lying in dirt all day. Even with all of that dirt their bacteria shielding coats aid them from many of the germs and diseases that other animals cope with. By the time that the wool has made it into your shoes you can bet on your feet that your sneakers will have fewer germs than your nearest friends footwear. What we are getting at here is that the combination of a comfortable sock free design with breathable and antimicrobial materials you will have one kick ass shoe for daily adventures.
When choosing your new pair of Baabuk sneakers we recommend going with one size down from your standard shoe. With the moderate heel to narrow toe you will find more extra room than needed up front. With the correct size our feet fit snug in the wool upper and didn’t experience any slipping or rubbing. If you know a little bit about the brand you understand how important the details are to them. One of the last features that our friends mentioned was just how clean and thorough the coloring is on the shoes. The deep blue of our sneakers is consistent and bold across every cm of wool and that is a true stamp of quality.