If you’ve even so much as heard of Allbirds, then you’ll know right off the bat make some brilliant shoes. From their cozy Wool Runners to their sturdy, weatherproof Tree Mizzles, there’s a pair out there to suit any kind of wearer. Whether you’re a frequent traveller, a casual jogger, or a 9-5 worker with an on-foot commute, these super-comfortable shoes can come in handy in a lot of different situations.
But just what is it that makes them special, and are they the right shoes for you? If you’re considering taking a leap on a pair of your own, or even just thinking about trying a new model, then this handy guide is here to help. Below you’ll find all the information you need to know about Allbirds shoes, including tips on how to wash them and advice on different models and lines.
In terms of stretch, it’s important to remember that there are two main types of Allbirds shoes, Wool, which has a merino wool upper, and Tree, which has a eucalyptus fibre upper. Allbirds’ Wool shoes will start as tight as they’re going to get and stretch over the course of a few weeks of wear by around a quarter of an inch or so. Allbirds’ Tree Runners shoes, meanwhile, are more rigid, and will generally remain their original size, even after a couple of weeks of breaking them in.
Thanks to castor bean oil insoles with a padded wool lining, Allbirds provide a significant amount of arch support. This makes them a great pick for those who struggle with plantar fasciitis or other orthotic issues, as the thick cushioning makes for a comfortable, foot-friendly shoe. Beyond this, the insoles are removable, so if they aren’t quite right for you, they can easily be swapped out for your own custom inserts.
Some active models of Allbirds shoes, like the Runners and the Dashers, are considered a good pick for recreational joggers or weekend hikers. Still, they are generally not recommended for serious long-distance or off-road running. This is because they are heavier than most running shoes, with a build focused more on comfort than speed, and therefore don’t perform so great over long distances. Likewise, the treads on Allbirds Runners and Dashers are flat and smooth, so they’re more suited to paved surfaces and packed trails than muddy, slippery slopes.
Yes. The real value of a shoe lies in its long-term durability and wearability, and in both of these areas, Allbirds excel. They make for a great everyday shoe, perfect for travel, daily commutes, and casual wear in urban environments, and as such, they can be worn time and time again without wearing down. They’re great for all seasons, thanks to their wool and fibre uppers, and they’re also made from renewable materials. All things considered, at $98 a pair, a set like the Allbirds Runners are surprisingly good value in the long run.
One great thing about Allbirds is that they are very easy to wash. Once the insoles and laces have been removed, the shoes themselves can be tossed into the washing machine for a quick wool cycle, while the insoles and the laces are best washed by hand in order to prevent damage. On this note, make sure you leave each component to airdry once washed, and refrain from tumble drying, as this can cause snags, tears, and shrinkage in natural fabrics.
The chunky recycled laces on Allbirds shoes look great, and they’re easy to swap in and out for different colours, thanks to the minimalist 8-eyelet design. As Allbirds generally have a casual, laid-back style, a low-contrast lace colourway that blends seamlessly with the shoe’s upper can look great. Alternatively, you can go for an eye-catching high-contrast approach, and Allbirds even sell multipacks of colourful laces on their website to allow you to experiment with different looks.
As noted, Allbirds are impressively durable when it comes to everyday wear. In a heavy shoe rotation, most Allbirds shoes will survive at least 8 – 10 months. At the same time, some reviewers report wearing Allbirds Runners casually for over two years, with only a few cosmetic flaws developing later on. Ultimately, the sole will wear down over time. Still, the SweetFoam midsole takes the sting out of this a little, as the sugarcane-based material is completely renewable, as well as being carbon negative.
Allbirds shoes are manufactured in various locations, often depending on the model being purchased. According to their website, most of their shoes are manufactured out of factories in South Korea, Vietnam, and China. As recently as 2020, these locations focused on Wool, Mizzle, and Tree models, respectively. Allbirds have also been known to use factories based in Italy and South Africa to produce various shoe components. The sugar cane used in their SweetFoam EVA midsoles is grown and processed in Brazil.
While most Allbirds shoes are weather-resistant rather than waterproof, their Mizzle line is specifically tailored towards taking on wet and rainy conditions. These activewear sneakers have a premium $138 price tag to match their premium build, but for the extra cash you do get a water-repellent upper and high-traction soles as standard. While heavy rain might still give them a good soaking, they’ll take on puddles, light showers, and windy conditions with ease.
Although Allbirds are heavier than most running shoes, they’re actually still lighter than plenty of other casual sneakers out there. This makes them a great choice of travel shoes, as they can be tossed into your luggage without adding too much extra weight, and the soft upper means they’re easy to pack down. The additional arch support from the cushioned insoles makes them a good pick for city trips with lots of walking involved, and the soft overall design makes them a great slip-off, slip-on airport shoe.