Allbirds Wool Shoes are comfortable shoes billed as light running shoes made out of wool. That makes them easy to wear year-round and easy to take care of. They’re comfortable, odor-resistant, and because they use wool they’re great for the environment. These qualities have made them popular by word of mouth throughout the West Coast.
But are they the perfect shoe for you?
Here are three reasons you should certainly get a pair of Allbirds, and two reasons you might want to steer clear of this shoe.
Allbirds Have Comfortable Wool Uppers
Using wool for a shoe’s uppers isn’t new, but it’s unique in commercial shoes. It creates an upper that stretches a bit more than one expects, but comfortably wraps the foot. In our tests of the shoes, we found the uppers to be some of the most comfortable shoes purchased yet. The wool doesn’t bind your feet at all, even when snugged up.
The wool is also light, so much so that these shoes feel like wearing socks that have soles on them. After wearing these shoes, regular sneakers feel imposingly heavy, and heavier dress shoes feel clunky. The style is subdued and light, which makes the shoes fantastic all-around wearers.
Allbirds Are Naturally Odor-Resistant
The wool used in the uppers naturally wicks sweat and breathes. That means Allbirds are naturally odor-resistant. Typically a day of wet shoes and trudging around will leave a pair of shoes smelling like an entire gym locker room.
The Allbirds shrug it off. They’re not immune to getting smelly, but it takes a lot to get them there. And airing them out in a sunny spot usually gets them back to wearable in no time. Wool is magical. Because they’re so odor-resistant, you can also easily wear these shoes with no socks.
Allbirds Are Easy to Wash
Even if the shoes do get smelly, the other amazing trick to Allbirds is that they wash easy. Because the top is wool fabric, we found that a toss in the washer with some other clothes turns smelly, dirty Allbirds into a new pair! Add in a dab of Woolite, and they come out smelling fresh like the rest of your laundry.
Allbirds recommends putting the shoes in a linen bag, but the shoes we tested came out looking like new from a regular wash time and time again over the two years of owning them.
This hack is killer when traveling. Shoes can get smelly from a whole day of stewing. If you can find a washing machine anywhere on your journey, they’ll clean right up. Some woolite and a hand-wash in the shower restored our stinky shoes on a recent trip, just in time for a conference the next day!
Allbirds: The Flat Soles and Minimal Cushioning Can Kill Your Feet!
The insert for the Allbirds is made out of wool and doesn’t give much support for the arch, and the lightweight sole, which is made of a foam, doesn’t give much support.
While switching to these as a primary shoe, as a reviewer I ended up aggravating my arches to the point I ended up with a case of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in your heel that comes from a change in your foot support. Getting rid of carpet, changing footwear, or stressing feet can all cause it. After a full day of walking around New York in Allbirds, I was in so much pain. Switching to heavy, clunky, sneakers with arch support helped.
I considered abandoning my Allbirds. However, a pair of arch-supporting insoles from a pharmacy gave me the ability to wear my Allbirds again. I just had to toss out the Allbirds insoles. Something to consider, though, if you have any arch pain. As a result, I would not consider these running shoes.
Allbirds Are Not Waterproof!
The wool breathes, but that also means it doesn’t hold off any water. If you trudge through a gritty city in the rain, you’ll be washing your feet when you get home. A walk through New York in Allbirds in the rain will be a test for any germaphobe. That grayish water will be something you’ll wring out of your socks and scrub off your feet. The same would be true of sneakers in the rain, but a pair of waterproof boots or leather shoes are better for a rainy city than the Allbirds (that being said, the Allbirds are easy to clean in this scenario. Some woolite and a bathtub, or a drop them in a washing machine, and they’re good to go in short order).