Founded in 2014, Allbirds is a New Zealand-American shoe company with the unique selling point of creating environmentally-friendly, extremely comfortable shoes. Co-founder Tim Brown was able to get a research grant from the New Zealand wool industry to create a sneaker, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the company soon attracted investors and has since grown into a fairly well-known brand, especially in New Zealand.
In this article, I’ll answer some of the main questions people have about Allbirds, based on both my own personal experiences in trying out a pair of their Men’s Wool Runners (I’ve owned these for about 2 months now) and online research.
Are Allbirds shoes good value for money?
I think so. The majority of Allbirds shoes go for $95, though they can be as expensive as $135 a pair for their Mizzles line (designed to keep your feet dry in wet weather) and will cost $115 a pair for their Tree Toppers line (a high top shoe). That doesn’t make them a budget shoe company, but they’re also not crazy expensive; a pair of Air Jordans, for example, will run you a lot more, and the price range of $95-$135 is somewhere in the middle of the range for quality shoes.
Are Allbirds shoes good for the environment?
Yes. Being made from Merino Wool, the material is very sustainable (there are many sheep in New Zealand) and doesn’t harm the environment. I also like that Allbirds takes care with their packaging, as they don’t stuff the shoes with tissue paper and other unnecessary materials. The box that the shoes come in is also the box that they’re shipped in, so there’s no waste. Very nice.
Are Allbirds shoes really that comfortable?
Yes! (Or at least, I can say that I found my Men’s Wool Runners shoes super comfortable). The wool is very soft and the experience of putting them on for the first time kind of felt like putting on fluffy slippers — there is a lot of cushion in there and you almost feel like you’re walking on clouds, especially because they are so light compared to traditional running shoes.
Should you wear socks with Allbirds?
I do, as wearing any shoe without socks, especially when I’m wearing jeans, frankly feels disgusting to me. But Allbirds will still be comfortable bare-feet, so if you’re that kind of person, then yes, you can go without socks if you really want to. Wool does not absorb odors like synthetic fibers that most shoes are made of do, so your Allbirds should not stink if you wear them bare-feet.
Do Allbirds shoes last a long time?
I believe Allbirds shoes are durable. As of late March 2020, I’ve only had my Allbirds for a couple of months, so I can’t say from personal experience how long they last (they’ve held up totally fine so far as you’d expect). There are a few reports of people complaining about their Allbirds wearing down fast and being unwearable after just a few months (see the Reddit threads here and here, for example). There was also a Business Insider article in 2017 about how Allbirds shoes fall apart quickly, but that isn’t too relevant now since Allbirds have made major improvements to their shoes since then. And in any case, there are a lot more people who say that Allbirds hold up fine and are still going good after over a year of heavy use, so like with many things, your mileage may (will?) vary. The consensus on many people who complain about Allbirds wearing down fast is that they were either washed roughly with hot water (you should use cold water only) or they had an incorrect size.
The bottom line is this: I expect that Allbirds are good, durable shoes and will last a long time if you take care of them properly, get the right size and don’t abuse them. I’ll of course update this post later if my Allbirds fall apart 🙂
Are Allbirds shoes good for traveling?
Allbirds are awesome to take traveling since they’re light and don’t smell.
How should you clean your Allbirds shoes?
Easy. Just stick them straight into the washing machine, like you do with all your other clothes (use cold water). It should take them about a day after being washed to air dry.
What user reviews do we have for Allbirds?
We sent out a request asking Allbirds what they thought of them, and got some good responses. The feedback was very positive — surprisingly, not a single bad experience! Below is what we’ve received so far.
I am 6’6” and weight about 325 lbs. My feet are not small, but the bigger issue is that they are wide. This past Labor Day Weekend (2019), I was visiting Vancouver, B.C. when I experienced the death of my tennis shoe. Literally, just came apart on a walk around town. I responded to this situation by visiting an international retailer who sells a variety of shoes from a multitude of companies. Because of my size requirements the department store offered me three shoes to try on. One fit, technically. Within 30 minutes, however, there were painful blisters on my Achilles and both sides of my feet at the toes.
I posted my shoe and foot woes on my social media platforms – complaining how the shoe brand I have worn for nearly 30 years has changed their designs such that nothing 1) appeals to my style; and 2) provides the fit that I need – and I needed recommendations. A friend from high school responded with the enthusiastic recommendation for Allbirds. I must confess, I had never heard of Allbirds prior to that moment, but I promised that I would visit their store immediately upon my return to Seattle.
I kept my word and on September 3, 2019, I purchased my first Allbirds. I was weary about the fit – there was a little stretch involved and I asked about the refund policy should this shoe (like so many others) fail and the stitching come apart exposing my foot to the elements. I was reassured that they would take care of me.
The shoe has been magnificent. It is comfortable. It is weather/water resistant (very much needed for Seattle weather). It has not torn or shown any wear since purchase with the exception of normal wear you would expect on the sole of any shoe. Though Allbirds are not “fancy” shoes – they are stylish and can be dressed up enough so that I can wear them when I visit clients. Allbirds have become my default shoe for everyday wear.
Now I, too, have become an enthusiastic referral source for people looking for comfortable and stylish shoes for everyday wear.
--Brent Williams-Ruth, Law Offices of Brent Williams-Ruth
I purchased my first pair of Allbirds shoes several months ago - the Tree Breezers. Since then, I've purchased a pair of my husband and 2 pairs of the wool loungers. We LOVE them! They're incredibly comfortable and well made, easy to clean, totally sustainable, and comfortable enough to walk for miles and miles with no pain.
As a full time travel blogger, I put my shoes through the ringer. I've tested my Allbirds out on a trip to Glacier National Park, took them on a hike, wore them for a week straight at Disney World, and taken them on countless long walks through my neighborhood in the Bay Area. They go with everything from jeans to leggings to dresses and they're the perfect shoe for just about anything!
--Lia Garcia, Practical Wanderlust
I asked for a pair of Allbirds wool runners for Christmas, and I couldn't be happier with them. From the first time I put them on, they were the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned; no break-in period necessary. I'm currently pregnant, and they're the last pair of shoes I can wear all day that keep me comfortable while still looking relatively put-together.
And I love that I can feel good about supporting Allbirds — their shoes are sustainable, and the company finds other ways to do good in the community, such as donating shoes to healthcare professionals as a way to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I hope that helps! I'm not affiliated with Allbirds in any way; just a big fan.
--Ashley Lee, BestCompany.com
I was a little skeptical when I initially I heard about Allbirds shoes a few years back - I honestly didn't think they could be *that* much better than my normal shoes. Flash forward to today, and they are all I wear! They are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, even when I'm walking miles pushing a double stroller or wearing my daughter in an Ergo. Plus, as somebody who cares deeply about living a nontoxic and sustainable lifestyle, I love that Allbirds is a certified B-corp and that the shoes are made from Merino wool and recycled materials.
--Morgan Simon, Well Thymed
I'm a huge fan of Allbirds. I originally tried them because my uncle, who hates pretty much everything, told me they were the most comfortable f*cking shoes I've ever worn. I bought a pair in London last year when I was traveling through Europe for three months. My feet usually hurt after a long day of exploring new cities, but not in my Allbirds! I liked them so much, I wore them out of the store and immediately donated my Nike sneakers since I didn't have room for both in my suitcase. 10 outta 10 recommend!
--Colleen Welsch, Glossy Type
I am a career and work from home expert who coaches people about how to live their best life. I’ll tell you that the nicest thing I did for my feet was to purchase two pairs of allbirds
I started with the 100% wool version (which might sound like they’d be too hot) in the summer. But I’ll tell you I live in New Jersey and Myrtle Beach South Carolina and they are like cotton balls for your feet; the most comfortable things I’ve ever put on my feet. Ever.
I wear them year round and love every minute of it. I love that I don’t need socks. I love that they are machine washable and hold their shape. And having had a torn Achilles and a brace on my feet with severe foot and ankle swelling, they were the kindest, gentlest, perfect thing to help me ease back into walking and now taking four puppy walks a day without a brace.
--Pat Roque, Rock on Success
Allbirds claim to make the world’s most comfortable shoe with basic designs you can wear everywhere. And yes, they do just that! These shoes are really comfortable and you could wear them anywhere. One downside to it though is that when the weather is too warm, feet tend to sweat more because of the wool material. However, that’s not enough reason to miss out on these shoes. Even if you walk or run for miles while traveling, the shoes still feel very comfortable.
--Leonard Ang, AQVA