Oh, they look so narrow, was my first thought when I saw the photo of this beautiful Aehrenkranz boots online. But it was the design and their effort to use quality and sustainable materials that convinced me to the try them anyway. And guess what, they are not even as narrow as they look after all.

The story behind Aehrenkranz and their sustainable production of barefoot shoes is absolutely amazing. I have never read Question & Answer section with such an interest as I did here. Using the best non-toxic materials, no plastics touch the skin, skin-friendly and certified anti-allergic leather, etc. Aehrenkranz is really doing the ‘best to keep this beautiful planet alive’.

When the box with boots arrived, I was super excited to open it. And it was definitely not a disappointment. The shoes looked even better than I expected. Very well made and you can definitely see a quality work and superb materials used.

Disclaimer: I bought these boots with a discount. All opinions expressed here are my own and I don’t receive any compensation if you choose to buy some for yourself.

1. General

  • Brand: Aehrenkranz
  • Model: Nordpol
  • Colour: black
  • Tested on: woman, medium-wide feet, 26,3 cm long and 10 cm wide, low instep, skinny ankles

2. Material characteristics

2.1 Upper

Nordpol boots are available in three different colours – silver, charcoal and black. Silver and charcoal models are vegan – made of water-repellent Piñatex® material. The material is made from pineapple leaf fibres, so even if you go for a vegan option, your feet will enjoy completely natural materials. No plastic on your skin.

I chose black Nordpol boots made from water-repellent cow nappa leather. I should mention here that Aehrenkranz use only the highest quality leather from Germany and Portugal for their shoes, completely chrome-free, ‘skin-friendly and certified anti-allergic’. And no animal is killed for its skin.

You can immediately see that the upper is made from premium materials. The leather is soft and the boots look really well made.

Aehrenkranz recommend ‘nourish the boots before first use and thereafter on a regular basis to keep your shoes in top condition’. They sell eco-friendly jojoba shoe care directly in their webshop. I haven’t bought one for my boots yet, but I will definitely consider getting some in the future.

Nordpol boots can be tied with regular cotton laces that hold tightly and do not loosen. As stated on Aehrenkranz website as soon as they ‘reach certain order quantities they will be able to buy organic cotton laces’.

The laces need to be adjusted only once. With the help of a side zipper your boots can be put on super easily.

The tongue is not sewn to the upper.

At the back of the boots pull loops with the Aehrenkranz brand label are attached. They can be helpful in sliding the boots on, but I don’t use them quite often as the boots can be put on very easily without them too.

2.2 Lining

Nordpol black boots are lined with soft Iberian and German 100% mulesing-free wool. As the wool have a good moisture absorption and insulation properties it will definitely help to keep your feet warm in winter.

I definitely recommend adding some wool felt insole in the boots for extra warmth. They can be bought separately at their website. I forgot to order mine, so I just made one by myself at home.

I used 5 mm thick felted wool and insole from my Sole Runner Transition Vario boots and Peerko shoes as the sample. I only need to make in narrower at heel part.

I tested them outside at -5 degrees Celsius with the wool felt insole in and with regular socks on and I felt a little bit of a chill coming through the sole. So, adding some warmer wool socks for even colder days it is definitely a good option.

As the wool in Aehrenkranz boots is treated as little as possible and just how much is necessary Aehrenkranz states that ‘nature’s “souvenirs” such as little pieces of grass that can be found in the wool are no reason for complaint but testify to the sheep’s way of life in a wild and natural environment’.

I really tried to find some of this pieces in the wool, but I haven’t found any in my pair yet 🙂

2.3 Sole

The sole of Aehrenkranz boots is thin and super flexible. Thickness of the sole is approx. 2,5-3 mm plus 1-1,5 mm of a profile. The sole is sewn to the upper.

Althought these boots are the winter model they can still be easily bend in all directions. Light and flexible as the barefoot shoe should be.

3. Sizing information

3.1 Length

Aehrenkranz website really have a well-made size chart with a lot of details available for you to pick a right size. I recommend sticking with their size chart.

My feet are 26,3 cm long and I decided to get a size 42. According to Aehrenkranz website ‘the Nordpol winter boots drop about half a size smaller when measured with the Plus12 meter’. But I measured mine with Plus12 and I don’t find it any smaller but quite true to size.

27,9 cm of inside length is almost the upper limit for me and I would definitely choose a smaller size 41 if this were spring shoes. But on the other hand it is always nice to have a little bit extra space in front of your toes as long as you can walk in the shoes properly.

As the toebox has more significant slope down towards the little toe (which is best suited to Egyptian foot shape), my little toes are almost touching the end of the shoe with the wool insole in them. But I still have a lot of space left in front of my big toe and the second toe. So, smaller size is not an option for me in this winter model.

Without the insole in they feel really spacious, so I would probably need a smaller size in their ballerinas for example. But these are winter boots, I added 5 mm thick wool felt insoles and I’m planning to wear them with thicker socks. Therefore, the size works for me for this particular model.

So, definitely recommend considering how are you planning to wear the boots. Insoles and thicker socks always take some space in the shoe. And take in mind that the front part is slightly elongated and a little bit narrower than the middle part of the shoe to give them the desired narrower look. So, I definitely recommend choosing the size according to their size chart and according to the recommendation on their website.

3.2. Toebox & width

Aehrenkranz boots definitely don’t look wide on feet. I’m surprised each time I’m wearing them how narrow my feet look in them and that my toes still have enough space to spread. They are designed surprisingly well to make your feet look narrow.

Well, how wide are then? I compared them with different barefoot shoe brands and I would say that they suit well to medium-wide feet. The sole width is very similar to Groundies shoes and slightly narrower than Lukshoes Invierno boots. Regarding the amount of space I have in boots, I found them very similar to Groundies, Joe Nimble and Wildling shoes. I have just slightly less space in them than in Lukshoes Invierno boots.

I haven’t tried their spring shoes yet, but according to their website winter boots feels slightly narrower than their spring models. So, definitely an option to try for those with even wider feet.

3.3. Fit

If the boots have laces it is much easier to get a good fit around the instep than with pull on boots.

What is great with these boots is that you need to do your laces once and after that you only use the side zipper. A super easy task. And you can always help yourself will pull loops too.

The boots are unisex model, so it can be worn by men and women. My husband has a slightly longer feet and he tried my boots without the insole. In the picture below you can see how the boots look on his feet (right) in comparison to mine (left).

I find the boots narrower at the heel part and he didn’t get a perfect fit there. But with losing the laces a little bit, the fit around the instep was ok. But I prefer the look of the boots on my foot. Probably for those with chunky big feet, these boots won’t suit the best.

I really like that the boots can be adjusted so well around my skinny legs. No space left between the boots and legs. And the laces still look in normal proportions with the shoe. I don’t need to tight them as much as they go.

4. How to wear them?

As I chose Nordpol boots in black colour I find them really easy to match with my clothes. I prefer wearing them with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings for more casual style.

For more dressed-up outfit you can wear your lace-up boots with a pair of jeans and a blouse. To add a little bit of a polished and elegant touch to the outfit, you can pair your boots with a skirt too.

5. Price & where to buy

Aehrenkranz Nordpol shoes can be bought directly from their website. Full price for Nordpol black model is 219€. You can get 10€ discount by signing up for a newsletter.

6. Shipping info

Shipping costs to EU countries are 14,99 €, Germany 5,95 €, Austria 12,99 €, Switzerland 16 € and other European countries 25 €. They also ship worldwide for 39 € (excl. VAT).

Free shipping for orders from 500 € (300 € for Germany).

7. Where are they made?

Aehrenkranz shoes are ‘designed in Berlin/ Germany, and masterfully crafted in a small modern factory in Portugal’.

8. To sum up

Don’t give up on these boots thinking oh, they are too narrow for me anyway. Actually, they are not as narrow as they look. These winter boots could easily suit medium-wide feet.

The fact is that Anette, the founder of Aehrenkranz and a fashion designer who specialised in footwear design and development, made a really good job when designing them. Yes, barefoot shoes can look really good too.

Suitable for men and women, made from premium materials with great fit around the instep and with the sustainability in their mind. What else can you wish for from a shoe?

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