Deemed “the world’s most comfortable shoe,” Allbirds sneakers are both stylish and sustainable, and have quickly become one of the most popular shoe brands. Launched in 2016, the company is valued at an estimated $1.7 billion and seems to continue to grow.
Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO, Tim Brown, played professional soccer for eight years. After retiring, Brown could not stop thinking about the one thing that bugged him throughout his professional career – his sneakers. Brown’s teams were all sponsored by big-name brands such as Adidas or Nike, but Brown felt that the shoes he was given were always too flashy or extravagant. He wanted sneakers that were simpler, so he decided to make his own.
According to the Allbirds website, Brown was always interested and well-versed in Merino wool. As a New Zealand native, Brown knew that the fabric was sustainable and would provide a lot of great benefits when worn. He came up with the idea to turn Merino wool into a running shoe, as no other footwear company had thought to use this luxury fabric in this innovative way.
He brought his idea into a Kickstarter campaign and raised almost $120,000. One of his first investors was Joey Zwillinger, an industrial engineer and Wharton graduate, whose wife was college roommates with Brown’s wife. Following the closure of the campaign, Zwillinger and Brown met to discuss the next steps for the company. Zwillinger decided to quit his job and join Brown full-time, becoming co-founder and co-CEO.
After years of research and prototyping, Brown and Zwillinger released the first style of Allbirds shoe, the Wool Runners, on March 1, 2016. Since then, the company has expanded its product line, introducing designs such as Smallbirds, kid-sized versions of their signature shoe, and Tree Toppers, its first line of nonwool shoes made with fiber from eucalyptus trees. They have also continued to grow around the world, launching sales in the U.K., and opening physical locations in New York and London.
Over time, the sneakers have racked up quite a bit of popularity, with celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing them or investing in the company. Even before they were seen on the feet of top celebrities, Allbirds was extremely successful – selling more than one million pairs of its wool sneakers in its first two years! They have made their way into mainstream fashion thanks to their ability to be worn as athletic sneakers or for more casual purposes. Today, you can see Allbirds on everyone from college students, nurses, busy parents and anyone who is constantly on their feet.
You may be skeptical about these bold claims of comfort, but if you look at reviews of each style, everyone agrees that Allbirds sneakers are some of the “most comfortable shoes” they have ever owned. On the Allbirds site, the Women’s Wool Runners have an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars, from a list of 654 reviews. Sites such as CNN, Insider and Good Housekeeping have reviewed Allbirds and all concluded that the shoes are well worth the cost.
The wool material that makes Allbirds so soft and comfortable also gives them some other great benefits. The shoes are soft enough that you can go sockless if you so desire. They’re a breeze to slip on-and-off, which makes them a convenient and quick choice of shoes for everything from working out to running errands. Allbirds are also machine-washable! Throwing them in the wash now and then will help to prevent odor and stains, but be careful: the more you wash your shoes, the faster the material starts looking worn out.
As the brand has expanded, so has the number of styles and options out there for you to try. Allbirds has five types of sneakers: Runners, Dashers, Toppers, Skippers and Mizzles, as well as two more casual styles, Loungers and Breezers. Each style also comes in a variety of colors, ranging from your basic whites and greys to special limited edition colors that change over time.
Allbirds range from $95-$135 depending on the style you get. You can find all of the available styles and colors on the Allbirds website, along with apparel and other accessories.