For a while now, I have seen reviews and heard about the San Francisco-based company, Allbirds. Many of the reviews were very positive about their shoe lineup that was supposed to be great for travel as well as a shoe that could fit in with your regular life also. I recently got to try out the Allbirds to see for myself how they fare and was quite pleased – both with the shoe and the company.
Allbirds Review: Fantastic Shoes for Travel and Daily Use
A Very Comfortable, All-Natural Shoe
Allbirds describe their shoes as “The World’s Most Comfortable Shoes” and they achieve this effort with the use of natural products. Their shoes are made with such things as wool, tree fiber, and sugar cane.
If you look at those ingredients and do not at first think about a shoe, I don’t blame you! However, what they are able to achieve with these products is really a wonder of comfort and resilience. The wool used is from merino sheep which Allbirds says is extremely fine to give the material a breathable and comfortable result, not prickly and itchy like the wool sweater you may be thinking about right now!
Not only are they comfortable, but the shoes are also able to be washed since they come from natural substances. This is good news since shoes can gradually get quite dirty and smelly, both on the bottom of the shoe and on the inside.
They have 3 main lines of footwear – the Wool, the Tree, and the Sugar. The Wool and the Tree share a couple of models and here is the breakdown of what they offer (all their shoes for men and women cost $95 per pair, except the Zeffer sandals which cost $35):
The Fit and Feel of Allbirds
Ok, that is how and what they are made of, but how do they feel? I recently had a chance to visit the Allbirds store in New York City (more on the store in a moment!) and gave the shoes a try. I had already decided that the Wool Runners sounded like the shoes for me.
They were a little bulkier looking than I had thought they would be but the look was deceiving since they were so lightweight. Also, when I put them on, the comfort level was quite high to the point that I felt weird stepping outside with them. That was because they felt more like slippers than shoes to wear in the streets of New York (though, to be fair, it is not uncommon to see some pretty strange footwear on the streets of NYC so slippers would not be abnormal!).
The back of the shoe coming up from the heel felt a little bit lower than most shoes I was used to but it still gave a pretty snug fit. The whole shoe was really just one extremely comfortable piece of gear.
Also, even though one of their pairs is called the “runners”, the staff was clear with me (when I mentioned being a runner) that these were not to replace running shoes. 🙂 However, for the run to the subway, plane, or bus stop, you are good to go!
However, there was one thing about them that just did not work for me. I had been dealing with some heel issues on one of my feet for a while and walking around in those shoes for many hours and miles did not really give me the cushioning the heel needed right then. I was only in the US for a short while and did not want to commit to them for good without being able to wear them all the time so I returned them (but will buy them again when I can see how well my heel is doing)
Review of Allbirds, the Company
I had a chance to chat with the staff at the SoHo store and really could see how engaged they were with the products they were selling. They knew their stuff and wanted customers to be happy. I told them about my current foot situation but also how badly I wanted them to work and they reminded me of their 30 day return policy.
I love a shoe company that offers a return policy like that! Many shoe retailers may offer a return policy over 24 hours but you better bring back that pair of shoes in pristine condition if you want your money back! With Allbirds, they will e-mail you a return address label – at their cost – and you just drop the box off to be returned within the 30 days, just that easy.
By the way, when you return your shoes, they actually donate them to Soles4Souls to help people around the world. Pretty cool!
Another cool thing about Allbirds is for anyone that would happen to visit their stores in either San Francisco or New York. The Allbirds laces are made from recycled plastic containers, to continue with the renewable efforts of the company, and they cost $10 for a pack of 3 pairs if you want to buy them online. However, if you happen to buy a pair of Allbirds in a store, you get to grab 2 sets of laces on your way out – for free! Not only is that pretty cool but they also have a variety of colors available that you can mix-and-match. This is a cool little perk of buying from a store for sure.
In my interactions with the people and the company, I really like the company as much as the shoes.
I have to say that these shoes really live up to the reviews I had read – the comfort is there, the lightweight aspect is there, and they are definitely well-suited for travel with the support and breathability to handle many kinds of areas. I look forward to my heel issues going away so I can transition to these shoes for the everyday use I know they can handle.
This review was not sponsored or reviewed by Allbirds and is merely my reflections of the hours and miles I had in the shoes and the experience with the company. I am not an affiliate with Allbirds and do not receive anything from them.