The feet and legs of a person up to the knees in the picture, standing in a very bright interior, on her feet she wears a Wildling Essentials model.

What’s essential for Wildling Shoes, Anna Yona?

“As little as possible, as much as necessary” is our philosophy behind the word “essential”. And although we understand that essence is a highly individual thing for each of us, we’ve taken a very close look at this collectively over the last few months. We’ve repeatedly asked ourselves what is truly essential for Wildling Shoes. Things like building up our own transparent supply chains over the long term, for instance. Or blazing new trails in everything we do while understanding ourselves as part of a regenerative ecosystem. Find out how these principles are reflected in the curated “Essential” models in our interview with Wildling Shoes founder Anna Yona:

What’s actually essential for Wildling Shoes?

There is a lot of power in defining the essentials - for an organization, for a product, for yourself. When you manage to block out the non-essential or at least push it into the background, you have more focus for what’s really important. For Wildling Shoes especially, that’s a necessary step. The fact that we take a wholly comprehensive approach to things, that we quickly become enthusiastic about new ideas, that we question old habits and look for new ways of doing things often means we’re faced with a wide range of possibilities and situations requiring urgent action. So knowing what’s genuinely important – such as finding ways to do business in a regenerative manner, working well with each other and maintaining long-term relationships (on the team, with partners, with other companies and with our customers), and being daring enough to act boldly – all this helps us bundle our energy into the right issues.

Why did we choose the term “Essentials” as the name for these models? They used to be called “Basics” – why the change?

The (growing) Essentials collection is anything but “basic” in terms of “you can build the essential on this”. Each of these models is an indispensable part of our portfolio fulfilling a decisive function, a core role of our idea. The Essentials are also reduced in and of themselves down to what’s crucial in keeping with our guideline, “As little shoe as possible, as much as necessary.”

Wildling founder Anna Yona stands in an interior against a white and brown background, looking out the window.

Image: Sandra Chiolo | Wildling Shoes


The “Essentials” are pretty diverse. What elements represent the common thread that still unites them?

All of our Essentials stand on their own two feet, so to speak, while also fulfilling a broad need for a varied range of footwear. They aren’t subject to fashion whims or passing trends, instead always remaining contemporary and relevant. Enhancing the Essentials collection and marketing this closely curated selection of models over the long-term enables us to continuously develop these models further in response to feedback from our community, and through the constant development of even more sustainable solutions for materials, product components and recyclability.

Having the Essentials as a permanent offer allows us to create stable, long-term partnerships within the supply chain. In turn, this helps us give small, young companies eager to establish independent regional textile industries a secure perspective for building their businesses, for instance. The Essentials collection represents a reliable, consistently obtainable product range for every season of the year. It brings our eight years of experience with Wildling Shoes, our best quality, fit and function together in one product line. 

Are “Essentials” models a good introduction to the world of minimal shoes?

The Essentials can also serve as a guide for both new and regular customers. It provides an overview of the important functions and materials. This makes the choice easier and more straightforward, without running the risk of missing anything important.

Will more “Essentials” be introduced over the course of the year?

Yes, and we’re looking forward to each and every one :)

Do you have a personal favorite “Essential”?

My favorites are the Tanukis, especially the Tanuki Niji. It’s the lightest, airiest shoe in the collection, and I also love the wide fit and the fact you can wear the Tanuki without socks. I’ve actually gotten so used to its featherlight weight that I hardly ever wear any other model, even in the winter (but then a wooly insole helps to still keep the feet warm).

Cover image: Nora Tabel | Wildling Shoes