Close ups of a pair of feet in Wildling winter shoes. They are standing on tiptoe on a wo

Recycling meets virgin: woolly innovation

Sometimes new ideas come on very quiet soles and with such charming restraint that it takes a second look to appreciate the innovation properly. One such innovation is hidden in the classically elegant brown-blue upper of Ciclo: for the first time, post-consumer recycled wool has successfully been incorporated into a Wildling.

The shifting hues of the autumn/winter Ciclo model emerge from the interplay of two types of wool: undyed, natural brown virgin wool from Black Welsh Mountain sheep is combined with light wool from Eider sheep and around 25% post-consumer recycled wool, the latter purely vegetable-dyed with indigo, one of the oldest known dyeing plants in the world.

Post-consumer refers to materials from households, businesses, or return materials from supply chains that can no longer be used for their original purpose.

The material is collected, sorted, shredded and then spun into recycled yarn. The recycling of post-consumer material poses additional challenges compared to the recycling of pre-consumer material, which accumulates during the manufacturing of products. Imagine many different wool sweaters having to be collected and sorted by color, among other things, before they can be repurposed into recycled yarn.

A person in an ocher flannel shirt holds a rolled up Wildling minimal shoe with both hands in front of their chest. In the picture is only the torso of the person, in the background is a dark room, light is coming in from the right.

Ciclo. Image: Sarah Pabst | Wildling Shoes

It may sound obvious and even simple to recycle materials in order to conserve resources, but in practice it is anything but easy. And every material is different. That's why technologies and processes have to be constantly rethought. The same is also true for wool recycling.

We can't do it on our own

Given the major challenges facing all those who seek to commit themselves to regenerative development, we often ask ourselves: Where do we start? We can't do it on our own. Ciclo is no exception. It took collaborative action to create this model, a quarter of which is recycled wool. This Wildling model could only be created thanks to the cooperation with a French spinning mill and our long-standing partner Nordwolle Rügen.

Close-up of a pair of feet in Wildling minimal shoes from behind, one heel is lifted. The feet are standing on a wooden floor illuminated by light, the background is in shadow.

Ciclo. Image: Sarah Pabst | Wildling Shoes

One of the technical challenges posed by recycled materials is that fibers are shortened by the recycling process. Therefore, a mix of recycled and virgin materials - raw materials made from fresh, previously unprocessed fibers - is usually needed. For Ciclo, this is the virgin wool from our long-standing partner Nordwolle Rügen.

Wool mix and color magic

Ciclo's upper material is the result of this mix. The fabric consists of 25% recycled wool and 75% virgin wool. It is woven from warp and weft threads. The warp threads, which consist of half recycled wool and half virgin wool from the light Eider sheep, get their deep dark blue through natural dyes.

The wefts consist of 100% undyed virgin wool from Black Welsh Mountain sheep, which naturally brings a warm brown hue.This creates not only an optimal blend of new and recycled materials, but also the very special interplay of colors in the fabric.

Cover image: Ciclo. Sarah Pabst | Wildling Shoes