Wildling Shoes Talas – a shoe reduced to the minimal. A slogan that beautifully describes the brand new, fresh and so different model of this popular barefoot brand.
Due to their ease of wear, slip-on shoes are one of the most popular shoe designs. Wildling Shoes has taken on this challenging barefoot design and delivered us a real surprise for spring.
The Talas model, named after a town in the north-east of Kyrgyzstan, combines all the great features of Wildling Shoes, renowned for their softness and natural, sustainable materials. They are the perfect combination of washi material, organic cotton lining and an ultra-thin outsole.
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- Brand: Wildling Shoes
- Model: Talas
- Colour: navy blue
- Tested on: woman, medium-wide feet, 26.3 cm long and 10 cm wide (10.3 cm between metatarsal heads), low instep, skinny ankles with narrow heel, fin-shaped foot (see my how to measure guide and foot type) – wearing size 42
| Made in EU | Adult, kids | Vegan | Ship worldwide |
2. Material characteristics
Wildling Shoes couldn’t have chosen a better material for their first slip-on shoe. This extremely breathable and stretchy fabric, called washi, is made from a blend of paper (75%) and polyester (25%), where the fibres for the fabric are extracted from the leaf sheath of a tree called Abacá and then twisted around a polyester core.
Washi is a material that dries extremely quickly and has an antibacterial effect. Wildling Shoes use them also in its Tanuki models, which are, for me, some of my favourite barefoot shoes of all time.
Slip-ons are available in two colours – matcha green (model Saiga) and navy blue (model Talas), which I’m testing. The upper is made entirely of washi material, including the edging, which is usually made of microfibre in several Wildling Shoes models.
As the shoes do not have any laces, their look is extremely minimalist. The fold of the material in the instep area and the V-shaped finish ensure that the shoe does not look too lean.
There is also an elastic band hidden inside to make it easier to adjust to different heights of the instep.
In order to reduce the number of seams and increase comfort, the pull loop, like the Tengri model, is designed in a very innovative way. It is extended from the upper part of the shoe, so you won’t feel any disturbing seams at this point. The loop is also large enough to be easily used as an aid when putting on the shoe.
Talas has also added a new, modified fox logo to the heel, which is a trademark of the Wildling Shoes brand.
The interior is lined with certified organic cotton, which feels very comfortable on bare feet, but the in-shoe feel is not completely identical to the Tanuki models, which have no additional cotton lining inside. The extra lining also makes the shoe more stable on the foot.
The insole is removable and made of a hemp/linen blend that perfectly regulates temperature and moisture.
The Talas model also includes, of course, the distinctive split Wildling Shoes sole. This extremely thin sole (2.5 mm in the smaller sizes, 3.5 mm in the bigger ones) offers an exceptional ground feel.
To avoid unwanted wear on the sole the bottom of the shoe is additionally protected where there is no sole (the problem of wear was present in people who put excessive pressure on this area due to years of wearing too-tight footwear).
The flexibility of the Talas is exceptional and this is the maximum softness you can expect from any shoe.
See also the video for a close-up.
3. Sizing information
Talas are available in adult and kids sizes 23-48 and are suitable for both genders. Widlling Shoes does not have internal lengths listed for their shoes, but recommends using the Wildling FitKit, which you can print off from their website (make sure to print it out in the right scale).
The template is very simple to use and makes it very easy to choose the right size. For adults, choose the size where the toes reach the ‘Rolling space’ line.
If you are between two sizes and your feet are not high-volume, choose one size smaller, and if your feet have more volume, stay with your normal size. Also choose a smaller size if your feet are narrower or of medium width and have less volume.
Wildling FitKit recommends size 42 for my 26.3 cm foot length. I have tried both sizes, 41 and 42. The internal length of the 41 is approx. 27 cm and the 42 is 27,6 cm (measured with a Plus12 with slight pressure). The Talas are approx. 2-3 mm longer than the other Wildling models I have.
Due to my smaller foot volume, size 41 holds my foot better and I can wear size 42 with an additional insole. Due to the extreme softness of the material and the fact that I wear the shoes barefoot, despite the shorter length, the size 41 doesn’t feel restrictive on my toes, but there is still a little less space than in the size 42. I don’t have enough space in a size 41 if I wear them with socks.
See post How much space do we need in shoes if you want to know more about that.
3.2. Toebox shape & width
Wildling Shoes have a squarer toebox shape and are best suited for foot types 2, 4 and 5, but their rather universal shape means they can also fit other foot types well. More extra space in front of the smaller toes may only remain with type 1 due to the stronger slope of their toes.
More about different foot types you can read in my post What is my Foot Type?
The shoes are best suited for medium and medium to wide feet. They have a little more volume over the ball of the foot, which means that it also fits well on feet that have more volume (read more circumference/volume rather than more width).
3.3. Fit around the instep, heel and ankle
In the size recommended by Wildling KitKit, the shoes are best suited to the average height of the instep and the average width of the heels and ankles. In general, I notice a better fit on feet that are fuller in the back part of the foot. In the photo, the best fit can be seen on foot B. Feet with narrower heels (A) are not held satisfactorily without adjustments. For foot C, the shoes are too narrow at the ball of the foot.
The model is also suitable for a higher instep, but can feel tight in the case of a very high instep (case C). Some stretching is still provided by a hidden elastic band inside.
If you have feet with less volume and narrower heels, you can achieve a better fit with a few tricks:
- add an extra insole inside the shoe (the insole also takes away some width and volume at the toe and adds a bit of cushioning)
- try a smaller size (applies to narrower and medium wide feet if you are between sizes)
They fit my foot well in size 42 when worn with socks, but they are too loose on my bare feet without adjustments. The extra hemp insole adds enough volume to the foot that I can wear the shoes barefoot. I still notice a looser fit around my narrower heels, but because the shoes are so light and soft, this does not cause me any problems when walking.
In the smaller size 41, the shoes fit my foot well without adjustments, but I have a little less width and length available.
Breathable materials, exceptional softness, comfort and ease of wear are the many advantages of the Talas model. It can quickly rise to the top of the list of your most comfortable shoes.
5. How and when to wear them?
Slip-on shoes are a cute alternative to classic sneakers and lace-up shoes and go with almost any casual summer outfit. Pair them with jeans, denim shorts or a summer dress. Since they also reminds me on espadrilles, they’ll also appeal to those of you who missed this type of shoe in the barefoot range.
6. Price & where to buy
Wildling shoes can be purchased on their official website. The price for Talas is 99€.
Since June 2021 Wildling Shoes have a separate website for US and Canadian customers.
7. Shipping info
Shipping costs for Germany are 4,90 € and for international orders 8,90 €. Free shipping is for all orders above 200 €. Wildling offers free first returns and you can arrange your return through DHL.
Shipping to US and Canada is $9,90. Free shipping is for all orders above $200. First return is free of charge.
8. To sum up
Slip-ons are extremely popular due to their ease of putting on, but at the same time, the more difficult fixation makes them a challenge for any barefoot shoe manufacturer.
Wildling Shoes has done an excellent job with the design, choice of materials, breathability and softness of the shoe in creating its first slip-on model. This extremely soft shoe for summer days can be worn by a wide range of people. Of course, like any slip-on model, it has its own peculiarities when it comes to fitting different feet, but there are various tricks you can use to help you get the best fit for you even with a slip-on model like this.