I’ve been eager to write this review, but felt I should hold off a little to give Florence a chance to try them, and to see if there’s anything I needed to add beyond the fact that I bloody LOVE them!
I also feel I owe a bit of a back story here because to me these aren’t just any old barefoot shoes, these are super special! I discovered Kinder Feet when Florence was a baby though a parenting group I’m on. I’d asked for barefoot friendly first shoe recommendations and there was an overwhelming response to check them out. so I did, and boy were they cute. There was so much to love about the brand as well as the shoes themselves.
Evi, who makes the shoes, is originally from Germany but now resides here in the UK, she started the company after struggling to find shoes as soft, comfy and good quality as the ones she found for her children in Germany. The shoes are made using the most ethical and eco friendly leather available with 100% traceability guaranteeing that no child labour or nasty chemicals have been used in its manufacturing process. So after falling in love with them virtually, I got in touch to have Florence’s first shoes made. Evi was attentive and so helpful when I was asking for advice on sizing and care, and nothing felt like too much trouble for her. The shoes are custom made, and arrived really quickly.
Evi had explained that as they were leather soled they weren’t really designed for outdoor use, but because Flossie was new to walking and not going far we used them outdoors and actually they were brilliant, and kept so well that they’re tucked away at home ready for when Lenny can use them! When she finally outgrew them she was walking more confidently and further distances and we wanted something with a slightly more robust sole. At the time Kinder Feet were only making leather soled shoes so we tried some other barefoot brands (for more on barefoot shoes check out my earlier blog here) but I would periodically check in on Kinder Feet and check if soled shoes were on the agenda… and they were, but it was not an easy process for Evi figuring out how best to attach a soft but sturdy sole!
About a year ago, after another (not so) subtle message, Evi said she though she might have cracked it but needed testers to try the design out – obviously I jumped at the chance and got a pair for Florence. They were awesome, and Florence adored how comfy they were, but there were still tweaks to be made. The soles didn’t adhere brilliantly and we had to reglue them a couple of times during their use. Despite that Florence found them incredibly comfy, quick and easy to put on, and they fitted for ages due to their generous cut and forgiving soft leather! Called them her Comfy Heart Shoes as they were red with navy hearts on the front.
As luck would have it, just as she outgrew them I saw the best Kinder Feet announcement – that soled Gummi Shoes were happening, they had been perfected and would be available very soon! I’d not long spent a decent amount of money on a pair of shoes for Florence and initially resisted buying, despite Florence regularly asking for ‘new comfy shoes, but yellow’, but when England won their match against Sweden in the World Cup Evi put out a discount code and the temptation was too much!
Evi was as always beyond helpful discussing sizing, adjusting the width for Flossie’s narrow feet, and providing tighter ankle elastics for her slender legs, and before you know it… New Comfy Yellow Shoes were en route!!
And they did not disappoint! Florence was over the moon when she saw them, and even after owning a couple of pairs before, I couldn’t get over just how buttery soft the leather on them is! The leather is such amaxing quality and despite being completely naturally dyed they are such a lovely bright sunny yellow colour.
The improved soles are perfect, a super thin (1.8mm to be precise) layer of rubber to protect the inner leather sole. the shoes were adjusted to fit Florence brilliantly – wide enough to have plenty of wiggle room for her growing feet, but not so wide they slide around inside. The elastics are just snug enough and the shoes are long enough that they will likely last a full year too. Currently they are on the very maximum ‘extra space’ suitable for a child and as such occasionally when running catches them.
I know that in 3 months time they’ll be even better than they are now, and they are already Florences ‘go to’ shoes! the lack of padding, heel, or arch support allows her full range of movement when running and climbing and they’ve already been put to good use outdoors. They were fabulous for running around the local Country Park, and she’s been able to easily climb at the local park as the shoes let her grip the rungs of ladders, or the rough terrain of hills and trees with ease.
Overall we are both incredibly happy with the shoes, and the service Evi provides. I can wholeheartedly recommend Kinder Feet if you are looking for completely customisable, ethical, eco-friendly, locally produced shoes (okay maybe not *local* local for us, but within the UK!). Oh and its not even just shoes. This talented lady also makes adorable clothes, and has recently teamed up with an incredible cloth nappy maker to bring our nappies to match her clothing line!
Where can you find these gorgeous shoes?
and the facebook page here.
I apologise in advance for your bank accounts dwindling on account of all the gorgeous things your babies now need to be bought! Much love, Steph x