New Zealand brand Allbirds isn’t just a shoe brand – they’re a way of life. If you didn’t know, the fashion industry is kind of polluting our planet, but brands like Allbirds are trying to change that. With a focus on sustainability, Allbirds shoes skyrocketed to fame with their Wool Runner, made from New Zealand superfine merino wool. One of the only washable shoes, these super soft sneakers cemented Allbirds’ reputation as a brand for style, comfort, and eco-conscious awareness.

 A certified B corporation, this is one of the only footwear companies with truly eco-friendly (and ethical) values. But are these shoes really worth buying? That depends on what you’re looking for. Learn everything you need to know in our Allbirds review below.

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Performance/Experience

These shoes are all about being comfortable and looking fantastic while doing so. Thanks to New Zealand’s abundance of wool, the founders decided that this wearable and eco-friendly material was the perfect thing to utilize for their first show. It’s also naturally moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial, allowing you to wear them without socks. It also reduces the general stink associated with high activity levels in sneakers. Their other popular best-sellers, the Allbirds Tree Runners, are a little more breathable with a eucalyptus tree fiber instead, providing more cooling benefits.

Like any sneaker, the real question is: how long can I wear these shoes before my feet start hurting? According to the majority of Allbirds buyers, all of the shoe models are comfier than slippers, with many people saying they could even sleep in them – especially the wool ones. Their most rugged option would be the Trail Runner SWT, a stability shoe that’s designed for durability and traction. 

The shoe has a snug and almost customized fit due to the fabric exterior. It’s extremely lightweight but still supports the foot in all the right places.

Features

The most exciting feature of Allbirds shoes is their dedication to sustainability. Beyond the use of merino wool, another eco-friendly aspect of Allbirds is their SweetFoam soles. A better alternative to synthetic rubber which releases harmful compounds into the air, these soles are instead made from sustainably-grown Brazilian sugarcane, reducing the overall impact that shoe companies are notorious for. They also use shoe boxes for transit, minimizing the waste of boxes stuffed in more boxes.  

Additionally – their laces are made from recycled water bottles, the foam sole uses sugarcane, and the insole is made with castor bean oil. Although not all of their shoes are waterproof, the brand’s recently released Mizzle line is the only officially water-repellant sneakers that Allbirds sell. 

Design/Aesthetic

Anyone who hates sneakers with a clunky look will adore this chic alternative. What’s fantastic about them is that they’re not too niche – they have a range of aesthetics that will work for people with different senses of style. After all, a shoe should bring your outfit together rather than draw too much attention away from it.

Their design is chic enough to wear on an evening out on the town, with elegant and elongated lines. Allbirds sneakers feature a slightly elevated sole near the heel, providing cushiony arch support for those who need it. 

All of their shoe lines are available in a range of different colors and aesthetics. This includes

Slip-Ons: A throwback to Vans, the laceless Tree Loungers are a breezy slip-on option. 

Everyday Sneakers: The tree Runner and Wool Runner are their most popular casual sneakers.

Sandals/Flats: The Sugar Zeffers have reinvented the flip flops with their extra cushioning while the Tree Breezers are a modern take on the ballet flat.  

Running/Hiking Shoes: the Tree Flyer, Tree Dasher and Trail Runner are both suitable for workouts and running. 

The slim and lightweight design of all their shoes makes them a great option to pack when traveling. 

Accessories

Along with their crowd-pleasing footwear collection, Allbirds sells socks specifically for 

Their shoes, along with hats, underwear and face masks. You can also buy replacement insoles for $15. 

Price

The Allbirds tree runners are just $105, while the Wool Runners cost just $5 more. For the premium, long-lasting materials and smart engineering on these everyday sneakers, that price is a steal.

Of course, the more bells and whistles you’re looking for, the more the price tag will go up. Their running shoes and hiking shoes, like the Tree Dasher, Tree Flyers and Trail Runners are all slightly more expensive. With the priciest model coming in at the $160 mark, they’re still significantly cheaper than competitors with similar shoes, like Adidas or Nike. Their direct-to-consumer model allows them to do this. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Breathable and lightweight shoes for a range of activities
  • Casual elegant look that’s also comfortable 
  • Good arch support
  • Sustainable company values

Cons

  • Not ideal for wider feet
  • Might run too warm for super hot/humid climates
  • Not all shoes are appropriate for intense workouts
  • Shoes can stain and lose structure over time

Conclusion

Although their Wool Runners and Allbird Tree Runners are one of their best-sellers, the diverse catalog of shoes offered for both men and women is impressive, making Allbirds more than just another sneaker brand. Plus, they genuinely want to save the environment – as they put it, “we don’t think just offsetting our emissions and calling it a day should earn us a gold star.” They keep making positive changes every day and have partnered with renewable materials experts since day one. 

They want other businesses to be more eco-conscious as well. unlike the usual business model of secret-hoarding your magic ingredient, Allbirds has offered to share their ultra-effective SweetFoam sole tech with any shoemaker who asks for it. Although the price point isn’t too high on these shoes, it’s worth noting that they may not be as durable in the long run as more reputable sneaker brands that have been around for years. Still, with their dedication to construction and simple aesthetic that can fit in with any wardrobe, we consider this a brand that should be on your radar in 2022.

FAQs

Along with their website, you can check out their physical retail locations and stores like Nordstrom.

Learning how to wash Allbirds shoes is actually an easier process than you might think. First, move laces and insoles. Then, put them in the washing machine in cold water on the gentle or wool settings with a gentle detergent. They can also be hand-washed.

The brand has a 30-day trial period that allows you to exchange or return shoes without questions asked – even if they’ve been worn. However, undies, socks and apparel must be unworn and in original packaging. The only shoe that shouldn’t be machine-washed is the Mizzle due to its water-repellent treatment. Never put your Allbirds in the dryer as it can cause warping and shrinkage

If wearing socks is a personal preference, go for it. However, Allbirds are one of the only sneakers you can go sock-free with since the shoes don’t itch or cause irritation.

Their padded insole is made from a castor bean oil blend and a wool lining topper that provides a cushioned arch support. The runner style has a larger arch in comparison to their other shoes, while the Dasher has medium heel-to-toe drop with contoured arch support. You can also put in your own orthotics or inserts if needed. 

Since the Wool Runners are made of fabric, you can expect them to stretch about a quarter of an inch after wearing them regularly for a few weeks. In comparison, the Tree shoes are not likely to stretch.

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