Questions and answers

In General

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How do I find the right size for me?
To get the right size for your handmade Chala sandal you can check our size chart. With the size chart you´re able to easily measure your feet and find out which size is the right one for you with our standard sized Chala sandals. This is the best method to use when you want to order multiple models as a selection you can chose from.
You aren´t certain about the size but are sure that you want a sandal?
When you are sure you want to have a certain model we offer you an even better opportunity. As your feet have a unique shape and even both of your feet can be shaped differently from another, we offer you to perfectly customize your sandals to the shape of your feet for the best wearing comfort. You can simply send us your dimension sheets as described in our instructions and we´ll produce your sandals according to them in our manufactory.
In what cases should I get a customization of my sandals?
When your feet are especially narrow or wide we recommend that you get a customized sandal because it fits much better and at the same time you reduce the risk of tripping because of some overhang on your sandal while you´re walking or running. Nothing is more annoying than a 2cm overhang over which you´ll trip constantly.
Can I return a customized sandal?
Customized sandals can´t be returned because we customize them according to the shape of your unique set of feet. But they give you the best wearing comfort and at the same time the best fit.
What´s the difference between the Basic DIY-Kit and the Expert DIY-Kit?
The difference is that with the Expert DIY-Kit you get an unprocessed plate of the sole material which you find in our configurator, simply choose the Expert DIY-Kit. You get the Expert DIY-Kit with the plate and a pair of laces of your choice together with all the lacing instructions. With the Basic DIY-Kit your sandals are already cut out and all the necessary holes have been punched into it as well so that you can simply tie your laces according to the basic lacing style. We recommend a customization of your sandals when you have especially wide or narrow feet. We produce your sandals according to your dimension sheet so that it fits perfectly to your feet.
How strong is the grip with the EVO Model in wet conditions?
Both our vegan models EVO 4.0 XRD vegan and the EVO Light are especially well suited for the use in water or wet conditions and have a secure grip and anti-slip properties because we use for both materials the same anti-slip material for the upper layer. The Anti-slip imitation leather has great adhesive properties so that in both conditions damp or wet your foot stays securely on the sandal, even under extreme loads. You exchange the additional secure grip for a tiny bit of wearing comfort because in general you walk the most comfortably on an upper layer made of real leather. The right adjustment of your straps is also important. When they are adjusted the right way then you´re able to walk carefree even in adverse conditions. In contrast to our vegan models, with our leather model EVO 4.0 XRD Leather it can happen that a small water film builds up once it gets wet. This can lead to some slipping with heavy rain – then the right adjustment of the strap is especially important. But for the great wearing comfort the upper layer of leather is the best you can get.
How do I create my dimension sheet the right way?
Draw with a pencil closely around your feet. It´s important that you also mark the position of the toeband with a dot, this has to be in between your big toe and your second toe, leaning to your second toe at the base of your foot. You also need to draw a reference line of 5cm and label it accordingly so that we can use it to print it out your sheet in the right dimensions and when you send it to us as a pdf of fax. With the reference line we´re able to print it out in the right size and so your sandals and can ensure the right fit on your feet
How do I treat my Pinatex Sandals the right way?
We recommend that you treat your Pinatex sandals regularly every 2-3 weeks because by doing so they will keep their beautiful look and they get a nice protective patina as well. We ship our sandals already with a wax-finish. We recommend to treat the material regularly with a natural wax. Bees wax is well suited for this purpose even though it might not be a choice for some vegans.
How do I treat my Chala Sandals the right way?
In general your leather-chala or the vegan models don´t need any special care or treatment (with the exception of the Pinatex model). But if you want to treat your sandal you can use a damp cloth to wipe them clean and apply leather balm or a leather care spray. This definitely makes sense because it keeps your sandal beautiful for a longer time and increases its lifetime.
What´s the difference in wearing or walking with the thick or thin soles of the Chala Classic?
You have a better feel for the underground with the thin sole, but when you aren´t used to walking barefoot your muscles also get exhausted quicker with the thin soles – you need a bit more time to adapt to them than to the thicker Chala Classics.
How long does a pair of Chala sandals last?
It always depends on the model you wear and how often you wear it. From years of experience we can say that you can easily wear the Classic models for at least 2-3 seasons of daily use(one season goes from March-October). The Classic Thick models generally last one year longer simply because their material is thicker. For our Running models it also depends on how often you wear them and also on your individual walking style. We got many reviews of our satisfied customers that were able to use their sandals for at least 1600-3000km. Some were even able to use theirs for well over 4 years after using them daily in all conditions and for their trips around the world.
How water-resistant are your sandals?
You can wear our vegan models the Run 2.0, EVO 4.0 and EVO Light without any risk of damage in the water, at the same time we wouldn´t recommend that you wear our leather models in the water.
Which model has the thinnest, most flexible, and maybe also the lightest sole?
This is clearly our Classic Thin model with 3,7mm and in its thinnest version the Berlin Edition with only 3,3mm. These are our thinnest, most flexible and lightest sandals.
Why are my sandals staining my feet?
Simply put this is a temporary side effect of using natural and vegetable tanned leather. It can happen in the beginning that there is a bit of surplus tanning left in the leather. This is ´t in any way dangerous or harmful because you can simply use a wet rag to get that off.
Can I get my sandals repaired?
We can repair almost anything. If in the first 12 months anything on your sandals breaks we encourage you to send them back to us so that we can repair them. We offer to repair your sandals at no cost for you in this case. This offer doesn´t include damages that you have inflicted on your own by false usage of your sandals. In this case we still offer to repair your sandals for a fair price. Even after 3-4 years of daily use a repair of your sandals can make sense because most times we only have to fix minor issues which can be handled quiet easily. But in case your sandals are in a very bad condition, have holes or there is almost nothing left and therefore the cost of repairing your sandal would be too high we´re going to inform you first. In any case we advise you to contact us before sending us your sandals so that we can already estimate if we can repair your sandals or not.
Where can I buy your Chala sandals?
You can find our handmade sandals from the Black Forest region in southwest Germany only in our stores in Freiburg or Berlin. Our stores are well equipped with all models and sizes of our sandals and our staff there is very knowledgeable so that they can help you with your choice. Especially when you´d like to have a customized sandal you are well advised to visit us in one of our stores because there we have all the necessary tools and our staff is well trained and used to customize sandals to all shapes and sizes of feet. It takes roughly half an hour in total to answer your questions, give you advice and also customize your sandals ready-to-wear. Of course you can also get our sandals in our online-shops ( and Barfuß In some cases we might also be able to receive you in our manufactory where we produce our sandals and have created a factory store as well.

All around how to tie your sandals

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Do the straps on the sandals (EVO & Piñatex Premium, BIOlogy models) wear off quickly?
The straps don´t wear off because they don´t get in contact with the ground. When you tighten the straps they raise the area at the ankles upwards so that the leather, Pinatex or the straps don´t touch the ground anymore.
How long does the knot under the sole stays intact?
In general it takes half a year for the knot to rub off, additionally after a season the laces don´t look so nice anymore. We think that each sandal should get a new pair of laces each year because this way they look much nicer on your feet (Laces in many colours)
How can I make the knot on my own under the sole the best way?
The most important part is that you´re not making a regular knot but a figure 8 knot. This knot has one more turn which will make it flatter once you tighten it. This way you benefit from a flatter knot that you´re not going to feel under your feet while walking and at the same time the knot lasts longer this way. After tightening the knot you have to make sure that you carefully melt the outside and then use pliers to flatten the knot even more. The better you melt the knot the longer it will last. You can also use the same laces to use the knot again as soon as it is worn off because you have enough spare length left on your laces. (see the instructions for more information)
Do I have to tie the laces each time I want to wear my sandals?
Our classic lacing method doesn´t need to be tied every time. When you tie it the right way you have a nice “slip-in-slip-off” lacing, this means that you only have to pull down the heel strap and you can easily slip out. With the our lacing methods like the criss-cross or the traditional huarache lacing you are able to use it for a convenient “slip-in-slip-off” lacing. (see the instructions for more information).
I slip with my toes over the front of the sole, how can I avoid that?
This is often a sign that your lacing is too lose, especially at the toeband. Our tip: Try to tighten the whole lacing so that you can only fit your pinky finger in between the laces and your foot. Once you adjusted your lacing so that you can only fit your pinky finger in between your laces and your foot you won´t slip over the sole with your toes anymore and will stay with your whole foot securely on your sole.
Is it possible that the toeband rubs uncomfortably between my toes?
Not when you adjusted your straps or laces for the right fit because we use laces for our classic models that have been specially designed for us. They are extremely robust and thick (0,6mm) so that they can´t rub in between your toes. The high stretch-fibers additionally minimize rubbing and offer you a great wearing comfort. For our more elaborate EVO models for the toeband we use a hollow tube which is sown twice with a high content of stretch fibers so that it doesn´t rub in between your toes and you can wear your sandals comfortably in all situations and conditions. Anyway your feet might need some time to get used to the toeband between your toes, this normally happens within a few days where your skin between your toes becomes less sensitive to the toeband.
Why does my heel strap slips off my heel?
This is a sign that you didn´t adjust your straps properly. It´s important that you check the straps of your EVO models after the first 3-6 days of use and readjust if necessary. After the first readjustment the straps stay how they are forever. We also recommend that you take a look into our instructions which explain every step in detail.

All about our shoe-manufactory

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Where do you produce the sandals?
We produce all our sandals exclusively by hand in our manufactory in the southwest of Germany in Freiburg. Almost all of our suppliers come from the same region in Baden-Württemberg. Only the Pinatex, Poron XRD and the Vibram rubber soles come from foreign countries in the EU
How are the working conditions for your employees?
We only employ qualified employees. Our whole concept as an employer aims to keep our employees for as long as possible because every step of our manufacturing process and the instructions into each of these steps takes a lot of time and practice to master to ensure a high-quality of our products. This is why we pay our employees more than the usual industry standards. We also believe that each employee plays an important role in the success of our company and our products. We try our best to support and include refugees as well and employ them when we are able to give help them in their integration process and make it easier for them to learn the german language. We plan to employ our first apprentice in the years 2018/2019 and to offer a spot for long lasting educational work as well.
Why does shipping take longer sometimes?
We have an individual and exceptional product and that´s why we can´t and don´t want to mass produce in advance. Each order that we get is being processed carefully by hand and individually. Our more elaborate EVO models need a bit more time to ensure that they reach our high-quality standards and long lasting durability.

All questions around our materials

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What is Piñatex?
Pinatex is the first vegan material made from all natural plant fibers (made from pineapple leaves that are a waste product) which comes close to all the properties of real leather. It is almost as robust as leather, it is extraordinary, extremely sustainably produced and absolutely 100% animal free, it is versatile, breathable, soft, lightweight, flexible and can easily be imprinted and be sown and cut extremely well. It is almost 100% biodegradable.
What leather do you use for your sandals?
Our leather belongs to the highest quality leathers available on the market. We could easily buy leather which is a lot cheaper than the one we use but we want to offer you the highest leather quality we possibly can. We believe that you will feel the difference and that you will appreciate it over the long time that you will be able to use your sandals. Our leather comes exclusively from cattle within the region of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany from a small tannery which uses traditional tanning methods and craftsmanship to produce its high-quality vegetable tanned leather. A small portion of the leather, our organic leather which comes only from certified organic farms is from the region of Allgäu in the south of Germany.
What exactly is Poron XRD?
Poron XRD is a fine and special material that is only known to experts. There´s a lot to tell about this amazing material and its properties but we´re going to keep it short and simple. Poron XRD is a higher quality version of the cheap EVA that is being used as cushioning in all regular sports shoes. EVA is lighter but loses its shock absorbing properties after only a few months of wear when its structure collapses into itself. Also contrary to how EVA is being marketed it is not a shock absorbing material and doesn´t have shock absorbing properties quite the contrary to be exact, it reflects the shock back to its origin which is your body. Poron XRD is way different it is more durable and robust so that you wouldn´t be able to damage it even when beating it with a hammer. Under load it gets compressed, takes up all the energy and reverts back into its original shape, but only after 2-3 seconds. Because of the slow regeneration process it doesn´t reflect the shock back into your body and you walk much more comfortably. Additionally the quality is better and it is more robust. It doesn´t lose its shock absorbing properties as quickly as EVA instead it keeps its shock absorbing properties for years of daily use. Because of its amazing properties Poron XRD is already very popular in the world of motocross sports and gets more and more popular in the shoe industry even though it is too expensive for many manufacturers. Its higher price is another reason why EVA is being used almost anywhere, but not in our products. We use the Poron XRD in 2 of our models the EVO 4.0 leather and vegan. If you want to see a live demonstration of the differences between our durable and long-lasting Poron XRD and the cheap EVA you can always come and visit us in one of our stores and see it with your own eyes.