Allbirds Shoes Review: The Most Ethical and Comfortable Sneaker?

It’s been several years since our first pair of wool Allbirds shoes, and the most comfortable shoes on earth have treated us well. Allbirds are a line of sustainable shoes that utilize various natural materials for a more sustainable and comfortable shoe. Their classic shoe, the Wool Runner, has a wool upper and a midsole made from sugarcane-based EVA foam.

After years of use and a half dozen pairs, we figured it was time for an updated review of Allbirds. For this Allbirds review, we’ll stick to their signature Wool Runners and touch a bit on their growing line of shoes. We were in search of the perfect travel shoe. Instead, we found new daily shoes for casual wear.

Allbirds shoes live up to the hype with few drawbacks and a lot positivies.


An Honest Allbirds Shoes Review


Allbirds Shoes

Tasha Wearing Tree Runners in Downtown Wilmington NC

While Allbirds have a few physical stores, they’re principally an e-commerce store and fulfill most orders online. We have ordered all of our shoes direct off of their website. The baseline price for Wool Runners and the majority of their line is a reasonable $95. Free shipping and a good return policy make ordering online with them a no-brainer.

All of our orders have been fulfilled fast and delivered in a short time. Our first order was their classic Allbirds Wool Runners. Construction is from a blend of recycled polyester (laces), sugarcane EVA foam (midsole), and merino wool (upper). The result is a more sustainable product.

For those after a more animal-friendly product, Allbirds has the Tree Runner. A more breathable shoe that is better suited for warm weather. Its construction utilizes a eucalyptus fiber to weave upper fabric. However, the insole still uses a small amount of wool.

If you haven’t guessed already, Allbirds are big on sustainable products. They’ve come up with some innovative ideas to lessen their impact on the environment. Allbirds shoes use the two primary builds of tree and wool to offer a wide range of shoe styles. Shoppers can now choose from running, sneaker, boat, slip-on, and high-top shoe styles.


The Wool Runners

Quick Specs | Price: $95  | Material: Wool, Recycled Polyester, Sugarcane EVA Foam

Pros

  • Versatile 
  • Color variety
  • Sustainable materials
  • Machine washable
  • Return policy
  • Comfort
  • Worn sockless

Cons

  • Decent durability
  • Runs a little warm

First Impressions

AllBirds
My Allbirds Wool Runners

As soon as I pulled my new Allbirds sneakers out of the box (with no plastic packaging), I was impressed by both styles’ softness, but the merino wool Wool Runners won by a hair. I also loved the sponginess of the soles straight away. It was like I’d bought slippers in runner form. I am not ashamed to say that’s my kind of shoe. 

I also immediately noticed how light the shoes were. I can’t stand it when shoes bulk up my luggage, so both styles got a big tick for travel right off the bat. Style is great, and the simple shoe does feature any prominent patterns or logos. Allbirds set out to make a simple shoe that can go with various styles and have succeeded.


Style

There is a range of sleek, neutral colors available on the Allbirds site. The primary color palette is gray, but Allbirds have expanded their range to include all sorts of amazing colors. I opted for blue in the Wool Runners and purple in the Tree Runners. Shoe colors rotate regularly, and they often offer limited-release colors for a unique look.

Are the Allbirds shoes sporty? Fashionable? Casual? A little from columns A, B, and C. The look of these Allbirds runners met another one of my travel shoe requirements – versatility. I love that they’re not covered in big logos and keep it simple. It’s the look of a classic shoe.

Their simplicity allows for them to be worn comfortably in a more formal setting. They don’t feel out of place when worn with a blazer. The shoes feel just as appropriate at a trendy bar as they do on the beach. There is a lot to admire about Allbirds shoes.


Comfort

Cam in his Tree Runners in Greece

Once I took a look at my new Allbirds sneakers, I couldn’t wait to give them a test drive. I laced up the Wool Runners and hit the pavement straight away. I immediately noticed they had a nice bounce to them, which is always a good indicator of long-term comfort.  

To get a better sense of their comfort before I set off on my trip, I decided to alternate between the Wool Runners and the Tree Runners for a week. I did my normal day-to-day stuff, which involves at least a few miles of walking every day.

The arch support is great in both styles; I never got sore feet. That is rare for a flat-footed person like me.  And my mother, who suffers from Plantar Fasciitis, reports that they are some of her most comfortable shoes. The main difference between the two shoes is the warmth. Wool Runners tend to run warmer, and the Tree Runners better for summer weather.

Allbirds tend to be more without socks, and I didn’t knock anyone out with the stench of my feet when I took them off. Plus, both the Wool and Tree Runners are easy to throw in the wash if they start to smell.

Despite the name, these are not runners. Sure, you could run for a bus in them but not a cross country run or trail run. However, Allbirds does offer an athletic shoe called the Dashers.

Are they the comfiest shoes ever? Truth be told, that’s a little subjective. They definitely are very comfortable. I can easily clock ten miles in them without blisters or pain. They are soft, lightweight, and have good arch support. I recommend them based on comfort alone. 


Sizing

Cam in his Tree Runners in Oman

I found that both my Tree Runners and Wool Runners are true to size. I’m an 8 US usually and found that both Allbirds fit perfectly. It helps that the material is compliant, so it’d be tough for them to be too small.

I am always thankful that I am not half size. It seems that hardly any brands make half sizes these days, Allbirds included. If you are a half size, try out the smaller size as they will likely stretch out. You should be fine, but you get 30 days to test and return them if they are not right.


Warm Weather Wear

I wear my Allbirds Tree Runners for warm weather destinations like the Philippines and Thailand. They let my feet breathe without odor. Cameron wore his during our tour of Egypt in 100+ degree heat and felt as comfortable as possible in that kind of heat.


Cold Weather Wear

Brittany-France-

Both styles keep your feet cozy in cold/freezing weather, especially with a good pair of wooly socks. However, wool is always going to be slightly warmer than anything else. I wear my Wool Runners for winter travel.

This is important: Allbirds Wool Runners do not get along well with rain and snow. They are fine in a shower or drizzle but avoid wearing them if you’re walking around in a downpour or a blizzard.


Odor and Washing

After my initial hesitation on wool shoes, I found that wool is actually quite odor-resistant. That said, if you did wear them without socks every day, they’d get smelly eventually. 

The good thing is you can throw them in the washing machine. So convenient! Just make sure you’ve got the washer set to cold water. You can’t put them in the tumble dryer. However, you’ve gotta let these bad boys air dry.

It takes about 24 hours unless it’s super warm and dry. Don’t plan any long walks on washing day if you don’t have a backup pair. This is one of the reasons I love Allbirds shoes, the ability to always throw them in the wash and have them not get ruined is amazing.


Durability

I’ve had my Allbirds sneakers for two years now, and they are always in my suitcase. They’ve held up very well so far. That’s more than can be said for other shoes I’ve bought in the past that start showing signs of wear and tear after just a few uses. 

Some people have said that the toe box tends to stretch out over time. I didn’t notice this until I looked closely, but it hasn’t started to happen to my shoes yet. However, I’ve seen this happen with other wool and mesh runners from almost every other brand out there, c’est la vie.

Although I can’t speak from personal experience about the long-term durability of these shoes, people say they’ve got around 10-12 months of heavy use. That’s pretty solid, in my opinion. I heard nothing about them literally falling apart while you’re wearing them, either. Always a bonus because that has definitely happened to me before with other runners.

For me, my favorite thing about wearing these is their ease while traveling. They are a breeze when traveling through airport security and are super comfy on and off the planes. They are ultra-light and pack up small making them the easiest travel shoes ever.


Tree Runners Vs Wool Runners

Tree Runners

Quick Specs | Price: $95  | Material: Eucalyptus Fiber, Recycled Polyester, Sugarcane EVA Foam

The Wool Runners

Quick Specs | Price: $95  | Material: Merino Wool, Recycled Polyester, Sugarcane EVA Foam

Well, it comes down to personal preference and how you’ll be using these shoes. If I’m honest, I didn’t really have much of a preference. So here are my thoughts: 

The two styles have more in common than they have differences. The Allbirds Wool Runners and the Allbirds Tree Runners have the same aesthetic design. They both keep things minimalistic, with a selection of neutral and pastel colors to choose from. 

I find the Tree Runners keep stinky feet at bay without socks a little better than the Wool Runners. On further investigation, Allbirds agree that the Tree Runners are better for hot weather. They are ever so slightly more breathable and light.  

The main difference lies in the materials they’re made from. The Wool Runners are, as expected, made of premium merino wool – which is some of the best wool in the world. Meanwhile, the Tree Runners are made from Tencel – created from Eucalyptus trees. If you can swing it, try both pairs out and cycle with the seasons. Or purchase the pair most fitting for the current season.

There’s also the wool vs. eucalyptus debate. Are you vegan? Or want to avoid wool for whatever reason? I bet you still want that incredible softness and comfort that wool runners bring. That’s why I’m pretty certain you will be happy with the Tree Runners. The Tencel is also just very cool technology. 


Final Thoughts on Allbirds Shoes 

St. Malo France 1

The Allbirds runners have a beautiful minimalist design that seems to be so on-trend at the moment. 

They’re also incredibly comfortable, with pretty decent support. Sure, they’re not something you’d want to run or hike in, but they are great everyday shoes nevertheless. They’re certainly up there with the best pairs of shoes I have taken on a trip. You’ll easily hit ten miles in these without a blister or stinging heels. 

It’s inspiring to see a company that creates options for different lifestyles and preferences. I also like to see companies that are brave enough to experiment with new materials for footwear. For all their comfort and style, the best thing about Allbirds sneakers is their unshakeable commitment to sustainability.

They use 5% of the water and ⅓ of the land compared to other footwear manufacturers. They only source eucalyptus from plantations that abide by sustainable forestry standards. Their laces come from recycled plastic bottles, and the packaging is made from 90% recycled cardboard.

Amazon has tried to copy them at a fraction of the price, but we all know those are just cheap knock-offs. With zero care about sourcing or sustainability.

Allbirds are only $95. At that price, with that level of ethics, you can definitely feel good about buying yourself a pair of Allbirds. I wish more footwear companies were like Allbirds. I know I’m going to see more and more great designs and shoes coming from this brand. Every time I check their site, there is a new innovative product and different colors. I’m absolutely in love after my Allbirds review!

The Wool Runners

Quick Specs | Price: $95  | Material: Merino Wool, Recycled Polyester, Sugarcane EVA Foam

Tree Runners

Quick Specs | Price: $95  | Material: Eucalyptus Fiber, Recycled Polyester, Sugarcane EVA Foam

About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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