Meet the oh so comfortable shoe company Waldläufer (valt-loy-fer) from Germany, which is handcrafted in Europe, an important factor for many people. The design aesthetic is let’s just say a combination of sophisticated, comfortable and durable.
Waldläufer footwear uses handcrafted finishing and meticulous precision throughout every manufacturing phase, which shouldn’t be a surprise coming from a German manufacturer, since they are known worldwide for fine craftmanship and high quality products.
Their shoes are made using top quality leathers tanned with organic processes helping them to remain soft and breathable. One of the things that really struck me when the hiking shoes arrived, was just how soft and comfortable they felt, even before I put them on. Every shoe style is designed and constructed to create an optimal fit (they don’t just say this — they mean it) and walking experience, going so far as to manufacture each model with a particular shaped foot in mind in order to create the best feel and look for each wearer.
Below is the PAM hiking shoe I have worn four times now — they are OH so comfortable that I took them with me while I explored some of the East Coast this summer.
I opted for the versatile navy blue with light gray stitching but it also comes in a fun brown with pink trimming which I think is equally versatile. What’s great is that the sizing is fairly true to what you’d expect, so whatever your regular size is should make for a comfortable fit with Waldläufer.
While I didn’t test the below boot out, the PETRA below is a variation to the PAM above, except that it is a higher ankle support, which is great for those who are prone to tripping or simply do more hiking. It also comes in the same two versatile colors pictured above.
I fell in love with their DANA shoe walking shoe, largely for its versatility, the fact that it’s water resistant, a godsend for spring and winter trips to Europe, and the fact that it came in a beautiful sophisticated olive color. What annoys me most about so many “functional” fashion products, whether it be shoes, jackets or bags, is that they appear to be made by men for men.
Women love color and they love elegance, but for travelers, it also needs to be functional. While we didn’t get one of these in to review this time (they sadly didn’t have my size in olive — I’m a popular size, so am not surprised), we would love to put it to the test on a European trip in the near future. Personally, I’d love to know what the fit is like in their walking shoes, since the design for a narrower walking shoe is likely to be very different from a classic hiking boot. Below, is the DANA walking shoe in olive.
The DANA walking shoe also comes in black, red (below, left), and navy. To the right, you’ll get an idea of some of Waldläufer’s oxfords and slip-ons.
What’s cool about their website is the menu system and how easily you can select what you’re looking for based on material, size, color and so on. It makes personal customization quick with their simple nav system. For example, you can select a specific style of shoe and then do a cross selection on size, material or color. For material, they offer leather, nubuck, patent leather and suede, for Style, they offer boot, sandal, Oxford, slip on, Velcro and Mary Jane and for color, there’s black, blue, brown, navy, red and wine. They also have a Width selector so you can opt for G-Narrow Medium or H-Medium Wide. Brilliant! It’s one of the things that makes their fit just so perfect.
Waldläufer has been around since 1960, when Gunter Bauer founded the Lugina shoe factory. The choice of the brand name Waldläufer, or “Forest Walker”, was spawned from his passion for the outdoors and nature. In 1986, his son Willehad Bauer took over the management of the company and soon recognized that there was further potential for the Waldlaufer brand within the comfort shoe sector.
Because of his dedication and vision, Waldläufer is now a leading name for comfort shoes and daily production currently lying at 5,000 pairs of shoes. Besides it’s European and American business, the company supplies markets in Canada, China, Scandinavia, Australia, Israel, and Kuwait.