Allbirds shoes are light running shoes with wool uppers. Wool lets them wick sweat and breath, which means the pair I tested have been remarkably odor free. Even when wet. Typically within a day of soaking my shoes in water and trudging around, the odor is something you can weaponize. But wool has a big reputation for being naturally anti-bacterial and great at wicking (wool undershirts are popular for these reasons). People walked up Mt. Everest wearing wool back in the day because it is just that amazing at regulating temperature. It works in a shoe as well.
Now, I have a life-long aversion to all things wool. I associate wool with being scratchy, uncomfortable, and generally just miserable when it touches my skin. So I’m not even sure why I ordered a pair of Allbirds shoes from an ad on Facebook, other than just sheer bloody curiosity. I mean, don’t you want to know what wool on a shoe is like?
It’s damn comfortable is what it is.
For one, these are the most comfortable uppers I’ve ever worn. The wool conforms really nicely to your feet and doesn’t bind. Anywhere. That alone was worth the price of admission as I’ve felt heavy uppers riding the top of my foot to be noticeably.
The wool itself lightens the shoe. I’m sure there are expensive running shoes that are even lighter than these, but for just under $100 I wasn’t expecting the shoes to feel like they were hardly even on my feet. These shoes get out of your way, which I really appreciated.
Also, because these uppers are made of wool, you can wear them without socks without stinking up the place.
So that’s awesome.
Another reason I found myself attracted to the Allbirds was the lack of branding and graphics. The shoes are subdued, so they go with almost any outfit, which makes them fantastic all-around day shoes. But they can also be taken out for a jog. They’re versatile.
Slightly Thin Soles
While the shoes are extremely light, some of that is due to slightly thinner soles than I was hoping for. My super comfortable New Balance running shoes have a bit more padding. When headed out for a light jog I could certainly feel the difference. I’m not a big runner though, so if you’re thinking of using these for running you’ll want to take advantage of Allbirds 30 day test period to see if they hold up for your needs.
Of note, the soles are environmentally conscious, using castor beans (I don’t know, they seemed like rubber to me) in addition to rubber foam. The packaging that they arrived in is also designed to reduce carbon footprint, and the company claims to be trying to make the lowest carbon footprint (ha ha) sneakers out there. So kudos to them.
I’ve only had these for a month, but they’ve become my go-to shoes no matter what the weather is like.