There is nothing on this earth cosier than wool-based shoes. Although wool shoes are a relatively new invention, they have forever changed the shoe industry, with their ergonomic and innovative design, creating a much more practical shoe.
However, though wool is synonymous with sweaters made by your grandma and warm winter blankets, it’s a little known fact that this fabric is one of the most diverse materials out there, as it can sustain in different climates. Its moisture-wicking properties can help keep you feeling fresh in the summertime, but it can also help regulate your temperature in the winter – there are so many pros to this advanced fabric.
With designers starting to use more sustainable materials to manufacture their products, wool has become a highly sought after shoe fabric, as it’s eco-friendly and incredibly adaptable. Wool is now used to crafted different footwear, from comfy knit sneakers to snug felted slippers, promising ultimate comfort and durability. Best of all, you can throw wool shoes in the washing machine, after a long day of work.
What to look for when buying wool shoes for men.
Merino wool is an incredibly diverse fabric used to craft various products, from running shoes to exceptionally soft slippers. The reason why this New Zealand wool is often used in footwear is that it provides a highly breathable membrane and absorbs moisture effectively.
Allbirds was the first company to create merino wool shoes after its founder Tim Brown, successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign to make footwear from natural materials. He raised over $1 million in over five days, thanks to Allbirds Wool Runner, which sold out instantly.
Woollen felt is also an incredibly adaptable fabric for footwear, as it’s soft yet durable and machine washable. They can also be worn in all types of environments as there’s a range of outdoor felt shoes that can endure the harshest weather conditions. However, due to its cosy, snug feel, this material lends itself to make fantastic slippers that will provide ultimate warmth and comfort.
Knitted shoes provide excellent warmth while feeling lightweight. They are the epitome of comfort, style, and practicality. Due to their breathability, knit shoes are ideal for the summer. However, their insulating properties also help to keep you warm in the colder seasons too.
Knit sneakers have definitely become the rage of the shoe industry, as more and more mainstream designers are starting to embrace this trend, with many sneakers featuring a knit upper. Knit sneakers are also performance-enhancing and odour free.
If you’re after a woollen shoe, whether it be in a sneaker style or a cosy slipper, these are the best brands to shop from.
Price: From $110
Material: ZQ Merino wool
Customer Reviews: “Bought these as a Christmas gift for my husband. He complains all winter about cold feet. He LOVES them. He has been very happy with his Allbirds. His feet are no longer cold.”
All Birds is a pioneering footwear brand founded by Tim Brown in 2014. He was initially inspired to launch his brand after seeing a gap in the footwear industry and noticing there were no shoes made from sustainable fibres. After years of conducting his own research, Brown joined forces with engineer and renewables expert Joey Zwillinger to create wool specifically designed for footwear. Allbird’s first shoe was the ‘Wool Runner’, made from New Zealand superfine merino wool. This led to an entire line of shoes crafted from natural materials such as merino wool and eucalyptus trees.
If you’re after a wool sneaker, you can’t go wrong with Allbirds’ Wool Runners or their Wool Runner Mizzles, if you’re after water-repellent properties. As we mentioned before the Wool Runners were one of Allbird’s first designs; however, this product has been slightly updated to ensure they’re the best merino wool sneakers the industry has ever seen.
This cosy runner has been ethically manufactured and features moisture-wicking and odour resistant properties. As it’s merino wool, the shoe is exceptionally flexible, conforming to your movements with great ease.
The Wool Runner Mizzles are some of the most comfortable shoes on the market. This simplistic yet innovative design fuses high-end technology to create a water repellent wool shoe. This sneaker also features odour resistant properties, promising you to stay fresh while you work up a sweat. These cosy shoes also feature a natural anti-slip rubber sole, ensuring excellent grip.
Price: From $140
Material: 100% Portuguese sheep wool
Customer Reviews: “The Baabuk Urban Wooler shoes are perfect for everyday use in moderate and warm weather.”
BAABUK is a Swiss company founded in 2013 by Galina and Dan Witting. The concept for the business struck when Galina’s parents gifted Dan with a pair of traditional Russian “Valenkis” – felt boots used to combat the freezing Siberian cold weather. The couple then thought about how they could alter these shoes to create them from wool, and the idea for BAABUK was born.
The husband and wife team promptly quit their day jobs to dedicate their time to the new business and launching their footwear line. Today, BAABUK has sold over 100,000 pairs in over 60 countries and has been highly regarded by outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. The company is also an ISPO Gold Winner and a certified B-Corp Corporation for its sustainable methods and efforts to preserve the planet.
BAABUK uses old school techniques to create impeccable shoes, securing comfort and durability. Their collection of wool sneakers and slippers feature advanced technology to endure in all kinds of challenging weather conditions. Many of their sneakers have a tough rubber sole, providing ultimate traction. Their wool sneakers are 100% Portuguese mulesing-free sheep wool and include soft merino wool lining.
However, if you’re on the hunt for some incredibly cosy winter loungewear shoes, make sure you check out their wool Pomoca slippers. These wool slippers have been constructed out of recyclable materials, as their soles are offcuts from freeride and ski mountaineering skins. You’ll struggle to find a more comfortable wool shoe.
Price: From $150
Material: Merino wool
Customer Reviews: “I would recommend the Wool Knit shoe more for summer wear than winter wear because of the breathability. I wouldn’t wear these to the pool or beach – but they are great summer shoes. It does breathe in the cool air, too. I’ve worn these on both hot and cold days in Colorado without a problem.”
Giesswein launched in 1954 founded as a family business that began producing knitted wool sweaters. However, in 1974 the company introduced the ‘lodge shoe’, with the wool slipper being an instant success, prompting them to expand beyond apparel and into footwear. Since then, they have produced over 50 million pairs of slippers.
Since its beginnings, Giesswein has always used wool to create a diverse range of products. They hand-select wool that is of the highest ethical and ecological standards. Giesswein cares deeply about manufacturing sustainable footwear, only using materials that are natural, organic-based or recycled.
Check out their collection, as they make incredibly high-performing wool sneakers, slippers, and high tops that keep you warm while wicking away moisture. Giessen has lightweight merino wool runners that feature an EVA sole for extra flexibility. These shoes come in different colours so they will pair well with any athleisure wear.
If you’re looking for something more suited to casual wear, check out their wool sneaker high tops, as these shoes are warm like a winter boot but are as light as a sneaker. Their slip-free sole provides additional traction so you can hike on even the most challenging terrain.
However, if you’re after something to wear around the house, check out Giesswein’s luxurious felted wool slippers, as these babies are highly durable while feeling exceptionally cosy – easy to slip on and off too.
Price: From $125
Material: 100% Wool
Customer Reviews: “Super happy with the classics. Really comfortable and a great fit.”
Mahabis is an e-commerce premium footwear brand that was established in 2014 and is currently headquartered in London. This company is primarily known for selling its incredibly comfortable wool slippers, engineered to feel like a customised fit.
Mahabis are constantly tinkering away, finding new pioneering practices and materials to manufacture their high-quality range. This company was even awarded the Best Innovation in Footwear award at the Drapers Footwear Awards in 2015 and was also a finalist in two categories at the same awards.
Mahabis creates not just functional footwear but comfy shoes that look stylish too. They produce slippers to feel like a comfortable and ergonomic fit so that you can wear them all day long. These slippers feature a rich felt upper crafted out of recyclable materials. Their neoprene heel cradle provides your feet with ultimate support, while its organic wool lining helps regulate the temperature of your feet. Also, these wool slippers have a natural rubber sole to improve shock absorption and grip. These shoes are machine washable too.