Baabuk Sky Wool Sneakers look like typical sneakers, but don't let their looks fool you (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Who is the Baabuk Sky Wooler for?

  • Those who are stuck working at home and want something that is comfortable but looks decent enough to put them in a working mood
  • Anyone who wants sneakers that can be worn as a outdoor shoes, but secretly are as comfortable as slippers
  • Environmentally conscious people will appreciate the amount of effort Baabuk put in their material section and design to make sure these shoes minimize their environmental footprint

If you're reading this, we can safely assume that you are human. And we fallible humans, no matter how disciplined we are, can be tempted to slant towards the comfortable end of the spectrum whenever possible. During a lockdown when we are forced to stay in our living space even for work, the temptation to get cosy becomes even stronger and though there hasn't been much academic study on this, I believe many have given in to the urge to work in their UGG boots or some other equivalent of comfortable homely slippers.

Look, I'm not judging, and what you do in the comfort of your own home is none of my business. But when I start to see people wander out of their own habitat still wearing what is meant for their living room, I can't help but cringe at the uncouthness of it all.

It takes some innovative and cultured individuals to understand that human urge to stay comfortable, and provide a solution that rescues the wearer from having to choose between comfort and etiquette. When introduced to the range of products from Baabuk, I wondered if I have stumbled upon these innovators. I dove in (or rather, slipped them on) to find out.

One thing is for sure - these look nothing like house slippers (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Aesthetics that can even satisfy the missus

Having an etiquette conscious spouse is both a blessing and curse. A blessing because she can be a safety net and save me from embarrassing situations; but a curse because any violation of the unwritten etiquette rules may lead to minutes or even hours of (well-intentioned) nagging. Well, I'm here to report that the Baabuk Sky Wooler swooped and flew nicely under the radar.

These soles brings back memories of the good'o Chuck Taylor days (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

At a quick glance, the Sky Wooler looks like sneakers, mainly because of the white Converse Chuck-Taylor-esque soles, but the felted wool gives it a 'knitted wear' look that it passes as some sort of casual boots. The pair I have is the 'Jeans' color scheme, and the shades of blue keep enough seriousness that they look right at home with some Polo Chinos.

Leather bound heels (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

On the back of the heel there is a strip of leather, which I'm sure functions to retain the shape of the shoes as well as adding some durability over that high wearing region, but it also adds style points building on that boot look.

Real stitches accentuates the sophistication of the Baabuk sneakers (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

On an even closer look, the fact that these shoes were not put together with glue also helps with its credibility as serious shoes. The soles have stitches running all the way around the seam that leads to the upper, while the upper itself is also put together with simple but meticulous stitches, a display of fine Portuguese shoe making.

It's the culmination of these craftsmanship and design that allowed these shoes to pass the etiquette test.

Designed in Switzerland, made in Portugal (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Comfort without fault

Even from the very first time of slipping these shoes on, I immediately knew that I wouldn't mind wearing these shoes all day long at home, or going out for a walk. Being fully made with felted wool, they wear more like socks to me when I put them on, both in how soft and breathable they are.

What differentiates them from socks however are the aforementioned white rubber soles. Even though they do have some resemblance to some classic Converse, the main difference the Baabuk soles have is how incredibly soft and elastic they are. The Sky Wooler soles are flexible enough to be bent and even wringed easily, making them very cushy and comfortable to walk on.

Elastic lace system (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

When wearing the Baabuk Sky Woolers the feet are wrapped by felted wool, including wool felt insoles. The wool is soft enough to be worn sockless without causing any skin irritation. The lacing system uses elastic laces, which together with the high-cut holds the feet tight enough to jog with but is also stretchy enough for me to slip the shoes on in seconds. The laces also add to the classic aesthetics, distancing the shoes from the 'slipper' category.

Wool magic

Having most of the shoes made of wool has its obvious advantages like breathability and comfort, but there are some other advantages that were not so obvious, which became apparent only after wearing the shoes for a while.

Durability was one of my first concerns. When most sneakers are made of tough leather or synthetic leather, felted wool seems much more fragile in comparison. After a few weeks of wearing the Baabuk Sky Wooler though, there is no visible sign of wear or fraying. After doing some reading, I learnt that the construction of these wool materials is apparently woven like a fabric, and not your typical wool stacking like wool felt. Wool itself has good wear-resistance, combining that with a sound weaving process, what you end up with is actually something that holds the structure surprisingly well.

Another concern I had was water resistance, since the wool fabric is a porous material. Breathability yes, but does that also mean getting wet feet on a rainy day? This too turned out to be an unnecessary worry. I verified it after taking a 20 minute brisk walk on a rainy day, after which my feet stayed dry. Again, after some asking around on the web, this is attributed to wool's natural hydrophobic quality. Wool has natural oil coats each fibre with a layer of waterproofing, which then keeps water drops and splashes from soaking the shoes.

The environmentally conscious can also wear these shoes with their mind at ease, since wool is fully biodegradable, and will leave minimal long term impact on the environment. Wool is also obtainable through shearing which brings no harm to the sheep, and is a renewable source.

A new normal for both work wear and street wear? (IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Final Remarks

The Baabuk Sky Wooler sneakers are not conventional shoes. They do however paint an interesting picture of what conventional shoes can be. Instead of having to choose between comfort and presentability, it's possible to get the best of both worlds through these wool shoes. Its breathability and how easy it is to put them on makes the Baabuk Sky Wooler great for working at home, short walks, while keeping the UGG boots look where they're supposed to be - out of the public eye.

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Home Productivity.