The simplest wool product with maximum usability

What is a wool kerchief? That is what I asked myself when I first came across a 42-inch by 42-inch (or 106 by 106 cm) piece of soft merino wool fabric from North x North on Kickstarter around a year ago. Turns out a wool kerchief is one of the simplest wool products I know with the highest number of ways to use it.

What is a wool kerchief

I had the chance to talk to Chad North, the founder of North x North, on the Wool Academy podcast. During our discussion, Chad explained that the wool kerchief is like a Shemagh, just instead of being made out of cotton, it is made out of merino wool. The format of the piece of merino fabric has been specifically chosen to allow it to be used flexibly in many different ways, especially during outdoor adventures.

 

Over 100 applications

The wool kerchief can be used in the most classic form of a head protection against the cold as well as the sun. It can be worn in different ways around the neck and face. It can be used as a blanket and as a tool to carry things and many many more ways. The image below actually demonstrates this perfectly. Overall Chad North found over 100 ways on how to use the wool kerchief.

 

NorthxNorth Kerchief Uses

After our interview, Chad was so kind to send me one of his wool kerchiefs without any expectations for me to write about it. While he told me that he was going to send me one I was thinking that I don’t really have a use for it as I am not an outdoor girl at all. My outdoors involves a 1-hour walk in the woods with my dog each day, mostly on paved and graveled paths, that is as outdoorsy as I get. But anyways, who says no to a free gift and I was curious how the wool kerchief would actually feel and look like.

 

Soft and light

When the wool kerchief arrived in the mail a couple of days later, the first thing that surprised me was how soft the merino wool fabric was. Chad had been searching for the perfect fabric for over a year. He sources the fabric from a manufacturer in Australia. The next thing that surprised me is that the material was also quite light.

7 colours

My wool kerchief is black and the wool kerchief is available in a total of 7 colours – black, commando (military green), indigo, stone (beige), charcoal, cayenne and flame (red).

Traveling with the wool kerchief

As I mentioned, I enjoy the outdoors, but I cannot call myself a real outdoor person. However, I was about to go on a trip to South Africa and decided to take the wool kerchief with me to see if I had any use for it. And indeed I did.

I first started using the wool kerchief on the plane. I tend to feel a bit chilly so it was nice to have this extra piece of wool fabric with me that I could sling around my legs or around my shoulder to stay cozy.

Protect yourself from the sun

On arrival to Port Elizabeth, my colleague and I headed immediately for a walk along the beach. As there was not enough time to cover myself with sunscreen I got out my wool kerchief to put around my back and shoulders to protect me from getting sunburned.

Wool Kerchief by NorthxNorth - protection from sun

Keep warm

The next day we met with some more colleagues for lunch outside of Port Elizabeth at a Restaurant along the coast. It was this kind of temperature that it was pleasant enough to sit outside but once you sit in the shade you feel a bit chilly. I had a sweater to keep warm on my upper body but I was still cold around my legs. I got out the wool kerchief and covered my legs with it.

Wook Kerchief by NorthxNorth - keep warm

Sit on it

I also found it useful as a kind of a blanket to sit on at the beach or beside a pool. The wool kerchief is much lighter and less bulky than a typical picknick blanket or a towel and therefore more handy to bring along. Also, you can fold it several times to function as a pillow on a bench or hard wooden chair.

Wool Kerchief by NorthxNorth

Get your own

Overall I really found the wool kerchief practical and it is now a permanent companion when I travel.

Check out the NorthxNorth website for more inspiration on how to use the wool kerchief especially in the real outdoors.

If you want to learn more about Chad’s story and how he started his business, you can listen to my interview with him on the Wool Academy Podcast.

Wook Kerchief by NorthxNorth - keep warm

The super warm and super stylish Baabuk Boots

The Swiss-based innovative shoe company, Baabuk, has recently launched a new product – the Baabuk Boots. Like all their products so far, they launched the Baabuk Boots on Kickstarter in 2017. I supported their Kickstarter campaign back then and was very happy to receive my pair of boots at the beginning of January 2018. Since then I had plenty of time to wear, test and enjoy my wool boots. Here is what I think about the Baabuk Boots.

 

Baabuk Boot Wool Academy Podcast

Image Source: Baabuk

Design

Call me superficial, but I just love the design of the boot. The combination of the dark grey and the white and black stripes looks stylish and so different from all the other winter boots out there. Baabuk also offers a second design with only black and dark grey.

The whole boot is made (of course) of felted wool on the inside and the outside. Only the heel has a patch of black leather. I quite like the felted wool lining on the inside of the shoe as it is quilted and has a nice feel to it.

The rubber sole of the shoe is very thick and has a very robust profile. This gives you a very secure grip on ice and snow. The combination of both, the thick sole and the profile, make the shoe perfect for cold weather and snow.

Baabuk Boots inside view Wool Lifestyle Blog

Performance

This already brings me to the high comfort level of the shoe. While I am writing this post, we have temperatures between -2° and +3° C. I wear the shoes to walk the dog every day. When it is early in the morning to take my dog out, I slip into the shoes with only a thin pair of wool socks (and my pajamas). Every time I am surprised how my feet stay warm in the boots. Don’t get me wrong, my feet are not hot or overheating, they are just comfortably normal and don’t get cold. The good insulation comes from the combination of wool as well as the thick rubber sole.

Baabuk had the shoe also tested by the explorer Mike Horn, who wore the shoes during one of his trips to the South Pole in -40°C  temperatures. Based on my own experience so far, I believe the shoes can also perform well under these harsh conditions.

We just had around 2 centimeters of snow the other day, so I was excited to test the boots in the snow. The soles gave me a very firm grip on the snow and made me feel safe walking in the snow.  Whenever I did get a little bit of snow on top of the boots, it did not seem to affect them in their performance or look. While wool is already naturally water repellent to some degree, Baabuk says that the wool felt has been treated with bee’s wax. The bee wax make the boots more water repellant. Using bee wax is a more sustainable treatment of the shoes compared to synthetic repellents.

Baabuk Boots Wool Lifestlye

 

Comfort

What I also like about the boots is that you can so easily slip in and out of them. The shaft is wide enough to easily get in and out, without using force to squeeze your foot in. As the shoe also has no laces, it is really quick to get out the door.

Baabuk Boots Wool Lifestyle Blog

Care

I am also surprised by the stain resistance of the shoes. I live in the city and when it snows, the snow quickly turns into black slush. I am wearing the shoes to walk into town and back and I am amazed that the shoe did not yet get dirty. The dirty drops of water and snow slush just seem to pearl right back off.

Unboxing the Baabuk Boots Wool Lifestyle Blog

About Baabuk

Baabuk is a small startup based in Switzerland, founded and run by Galina and Dan Witting. Baabuk’s first product was a pair of wool slippers based on the traditional Russian Valenkis. Since then the couple has developed two different wool sneakers and the wool boot. In 2017, the Baabuk Boot even won the Gold Winner ISPO Award in the segment Outdoor. During ISPO in 2018, I asked Galina if they had any new products in the pipeline. While the focus will be first to successfully launch the Wool Boot to the market, Galina and Dan for sure have many new ideas for us to enjoy in the future. I personally cannot wait to see what wool product Baabuk will delight us with going forward.

Where to buy

If you are interested in purchasing your own Baabuk Wool Boots, just head on over to the website where you can purchase your own pair.

Wool Lifestyle Baabuk Boots

 

Get warm feet with these wool slippers

When I was younger I always thought slippers and especially wool slippers were so uncool. Since then, either my taste has changed or there are now many new wool slippers on the market that actually look cool and are super comfortable to wear around the house.

As I write this blog post in December 2017, it has become quite cold where I live in Germany and across the Northern Hemisphere. So thinking about wool slippers to keep warm at home seems like a good idea. However, I do wear my wool slippers all year round, even in summers. So if cold feet are not your issue right now, you might still find a nice pair of wool slippers to wear also in summers.

Mahabis

Mahabis Slippers

Those of you who have already read my product review on the Mahabis slipper know that I am a big fan. I wear my Mahabis wool slippers every day while working from home – through summers and winters.

I personally like the look of the Mahabis slippers and I find them super comfortable. I think it is fun that you can combine the slipper with different attachable coloured soles. The attachable soles also make the slipper practical to wear the same slipper inside and outside the house. What I do is I wear the soles all the time, only when I lounge on the sofa and feel like keeping my wool slippers on, I take off the soles.

Have a look at the unique Mahabis wool slipper style and the colour combinations you can choose from here.

 

Baabuk

9_Baabuk_Slippers 1200x800 Wool Lifestyle Blog

Baabuk Slippers

Baabuk is another brand I am in love with, however, I have not yet had the chance to try their wool slippers personally but I love the story behind the slipper. The Baabuk slipper is based on the traditioanl Russian shoe called Valenki. The Valenkis are made out of wool and were essential for surviving in the cold Siberian winters. The founders of Baabuk adapted the Valenki into a modern wool slipper. The Baabuk wool slipper is made in Nepal by local wool experts using only wool, water and soap.

The slippers come in all sorts of fun colours as well as children, women and men sizes. Have a look at the Baabuk wool slipper here.

 

Lasso Shoes

Lasso shoes wool slippers Wool Lifestyle Blog

Lasso Shoes

While I already wrote about the Lasso Bag, I don’t want to miss out mentioning the fantastic Lasso wool slippers as well. These felted wool slippers come in 4 different styles of which all are made out of 90% wool and 10% Viscose. What is special about the Lasso slipper is that you assemble the slipper by yourself at home with a pair of laces that are available in 13 different colours. This gives your wool slippers a unique touch as you are part of the making process.

The Lasso Classic is the simplest version of the felted wool slipper. Then there is the Lasso Furry version which has sheep wool inside the slipper for extra warmth and comfort. The Lasso Nubuk has a nubuck leather look on the outside instead of the felted wool and the Lasso X Briagell gives the option of crazy prints to make your slipper even more unique.

The Lasso wool slippers are made within a 500 km radius around Paris which reduces the products environmental footprint quite a bit.

Check out the Lasso shoe website here.

 

Giesswein

Giesswein wool slippers

Giesswein. Image credits: www.rolart-images.com

If you like your slippers to look more like a Ballerina shoe, you will get lucky over on the Giesswein website. Giesswein has a very long tradition of manufacturing wool slippers, I even wore several Giesswein wool slippers when I was a child. Their options of wool slippers is huge but I have my eyes set on the ballerina styles.

Check out the Giesswein ballerina wool slippers collection here.

 

Allbirds

Allbirds Wool Loungers W_KotareLemon Wool Lifestyle Blog

Allbirds Lounger

The Allbirds Lounger is not really marketed as a wool slipper but never the less can also be a wonderful shoe to lounge around at home.  The Allbirds Lounger is more like a proper shoe designed to be worn inside and outside the house. I find the Allbirds Lounger a great wool slipper if you prefer to look more dressed up at home and don’t want to feel like you just got out of bed. For a full product review of the Allbirds Lounger continue reading here.

Hopefully, you found a wool slipper that you like and is right for you. If you came across a wool slipper I did not mention in this post, leave me a comment below, I would love to learn more.