We first heard about Allbirds shoes in 2016 when our friend from New Zealand was wearing them. She claimed that these shoes (made of New Zealand merino wool) were very comfortable – they definitely looked comfortable. Then a few months later, we started seeing them all over NYC, so we decided to check them out ourselves because they seemed like a great travel shoe.
I’ve been on 12 months of Allbirds Wool Runners—we’ve had a long time hitting the pavement with these shoes, so we wanted to do our Allbirds review.
to update: This post was originally published in October 2018, so I had more time with Allbirds Wool Runners. I found that they did a great job of keeping my feet warm during the NYC winters (but we didn’t wear them in the snow/rain/winter).
Of course, they show more signs of wear but nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve read reports from other Allbirds wearers who said their shoes lasted about 8-10 months of moderate use and see similar results.
Update 2: Now that the weather is a little nicer, I tested Allbirds Tree Runners (read our Allbirds Tree Runners review).
Update 3: Allbirds recently launched their Allbirds Mizzle Waterproof Line of Runners, Runners, and Dashers. I’m wearing them as we speak and will write a review once I put a few miles on them.
Update 4: Allbirds just released their new Tree Dashers running shoe. Read our Allbirds Tree Dasher review to hear my thoughts.
Update 5: I tested the wool of Pipers. Read our Allbirds Wool Pipers review for what I think.
Update 6: You have finished testing the new Allbirds Tree Pipers. Read my review of Allbirds Tree Pipers.
Update 7: Allbirds recently started making apparel made from wool and other recycled fabrics. I’ve tried Natural Run Tee and Natural Run Pants but they have socks, underwear, sweats, a hoodie and a bunch of other items.
As you can see, Allbirds now have many different shoes so I created an Allbirds comparison guide where I test most of their shoes and some clothes.
Quick wallpaper about Allbirds
For a little background, Allbirds is a new shoe company from New Zealand (a country famous for its wool) that debuted with Wool Runners – a pair of shoes made from Merino wool and other sustainable/recycled materials.
They’ve gone the direct-to-consumer route (although they have a few physical locations now) and all of their shoes sell for $95 via the Allbirds website (free shipping and returns). It seems people are really digging them in and their popularity is on the rise.
Allbirds also have a model called “Tree Runners” (they are made of eucalyptus pulp instead of wool).
We also love the way Allbirds places a huge emphasis on sustainability—their sole is made with sugarcane and the laces are made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester.
My Allbirds مراجعة Review
I always ditch the wool when it comes to travel clothes but I’ve never really considered wool for shoes. So when I saw the wool, we were curious—especially since Allbirds claim their wool is soft, moisture-wicking, and odor-reducing.
And as you can see from the chart above, Allbirds make a lot of claims about their shoes, so we wanted to test them out for ourselves.
I’ve already ordered my shoes from Allbirds online but I still head to their NYC location on SoHo to check it out.
First wear ideas
Merino wool was instantly soft and comfortable – the shoe is very slipper-like. The sole foam is squishy and provides a nice amount of cushioning.
I also immediately noticed how light the Wool Runner is—a pair of Size 9s are 17 ounces. They are great for travel because you can easily toss them in your luggage without adding almost any weight/weight.
Allbirds say you can comfortably wear their shoes with or without socks. With that in mind, I went motionless during my first trip to the park with Henry. Even after a great deal of walking, I found them very comfortable right out of the box and I didn’t get any blisters.
However, I’m not a big fan of wearing them without socks while hiking. Going without socks is fine for running to the store or commuting, but I find relief with extended wear.
I really dig the wool runner look. It’s a great mix of fashion, sporty and casual. And they’re opening shop in Europe, so I’m sure you’ll start seeing them all over Europe soon.
I chose natural black with only black. They also have an ever-changing selection of Limited Edition colors. If I were to do it again, I probably wouldn’t get all black because I think having some contrast between the sole and the top of the shoe would be nice – but that’s just personal preference.
I also like that there is no real branding on the shoes, so it keeps the look simple.
Comfort and sizing
After a few months of wearing the Wool Runners on the streets of New York City, I still find that my wool shoes are just as comfortable. The sole has plenty of cushion and bounce. The insole + sole actually provides a decent amount of arch support – which is somewhat rare in other simple shoes.
However, Allbirds Runners are not running shoes – even though they are called “runners.” They are normal walking shoes.
If you want running shoes (or just a little extra support), get Allbirds Dashers.
Plus, wool is very soft, so Allbirds don’t exaggerate when they say you can wear it without socks.
The only thing I found a little annoying is that Allbirds are currently only available in full sizes (i.e. no half sizes). Their website says that their shoes naturally stretch to fit your foot after a few times of wear. Fortunately, they give you 30 days to fully test the shoes and the return process is very simple.
My little pain is the tongue. Sometimes it flexes on itself so I do some adjusting after putting on the shoes. It’s not a big deal but it’s a nuisance.
I’ve worn my husbands for walks a few times (usually one to three miles at a time) without any problems but most of the time I’ve worn them around the neighborhood/city and while walking with Henry. However, I regularly walk over 10 miles/day when I travel, so I’m not sure how my feet will feel if I put in that kind of miles with these shoes.
So, to sum it up, I think fleece runners have an excellent weight/volume to comfort ratio – they are so light that you can easily toss them in your luggage without adding any bulk.
So are they the “world’s most comfortable shoes”? This might be an exaggeration. But they are definitely comfortable and I enjoy wearing them – especially considering how crazy light they are.
Note: I’ve read reports that some women felt the toe box was a bit cramped so were told to try the slightly wider men’s version – thankfully the return/exchange process is simple.
Warm and cold weather clothing
Allbirds say their fleece runner “stays cool in the heat and warm in the cold.” Well on hot days my feet were still warm and a little sweaty so don’t expect it to be like the air conditioner for your feet. However, I didn’t feel that these were much different than other sneakers I’ve been wearing and they dried out fairly quickly.
However, Allbirds Tree Runners are lighter and more breezy than Wool Runners, so they are better suited for summer.
Now that New York City’s cooler fall weather has arrived, fleece runners keep my feet comfortable when I take Henry on his nightly walks around the block.
Allbirds are not made for rainy weather, so your feet will get wet very quickly if you get stuck in the rain.
Smell and wash
Allbirds are sure to be soft enough to wear without socks. Wool is naturally odor-resistant, so this was one of the things that got us interested in wool shoes. I’ve worn wool runners a few times without socks and have yet to feel a noticeable foot odor. Nice!
I still recommend wearing socks if you’re going to be wearing them all day because they will likely start to smell more eventually from wearing bare feet.
However, you can simply toss Allbirds straight into the washing machine (cold water) if they are smelly or dirty. They need to air dry – I haven’t personally washed Allbirds yet, but people online say they take a day or two to air dry.
I like how Allbirds sell replacement insoles for $15 because insoles are the ones that smell the most. So, if you start to smell, just throw on a new pair of slippers.
Before I got my Allbirds on, I read some reports that mystical toebox tends to stretch over time. I only noticed a very small amount of stretch – so I did some research and it turns out that Allbirds made some improvements in 2017 to strengthen the toe pad and tongue (they also improved the sole and made the sole more flexible).
My Wool Runners still hold up well after a few months of light to medium use. I usually wear it around the corner, to the cafe/store, and when I take Henry for a walk. I’ve done a few multi-mile rides with them and they still hold up really well. They are starting to show a little bit of age but that’s to be expected.
I’ve read quite a few reports on Reddit from other people who have worn their Allbirds very heavily (i.e. every day for 6-8 months) and the max age seems to be hovering around 8-10 months of heavy use – basically the same results I get with my shoes Nike or New Balance.
I’ve read that wool tends to attract hair and dog/cat fur so you may need to remove the fur from your shoes from time to time. Also, some people have also reported that their shoes have a little extra clear glue where the sole attaches to the top.
After spending a significant amount of time wearing Allbirds Wool Runners, we can see why Allbirds have become so popular (now valued as a billion dollar brand). They look great, are comfortable, have good durability, and are manufactured using sustainable manufacturing processes. We also love the simple returns process and 30 day guarantee.
They are great shoes for wearing around the neighborhood, running errands, and urban exploration. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw it in my bag before our next trip because it’s lightweight and takes almost no space.
Traveling Soon Check out our favorite travel shoes for more footwear recommendations.
More Allbirds Deals
In late 2019, Allbirds released their own mixes – which come in second and runner-up. These are waterproof Allbirds with a slightly thicker sole and waterproof lining that make them better suited for those cold, rainy days.
I picked up a pair of Mizzle Runner-Ups from their SoHo site and so far I’m really digging them up. They are very comfortable, I love their style, and so far they have done well in the light rain.
Read my Allbirds Mizzles review here.
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