Well – how much has changed in those two years! Allbirds merino sneakers are now the shoe of choice for Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and they’ve just sold their millionth pair of shoes, a far cry from the startup they were when we first heard of them.
Allbirds Tree runners – woody shoes these are not
We’re serious fans of the company: their sustainable ethos, New Zealand-sourced merino wool, limited packaging and of course their fantastic shoe design (no huge logos or fluoro colours). We’ve each got a couple of the wool pairs and they’re still some of our favourite shoes.
So when we heard the news that Allbirds had launched a new sneaker made from trees (yes, TREES), we knew we had to give them a go! Fortunately, the Allbirds team was only too happy to oblige.
The light blue ‘Kauri Cloud’ shoes arrived at our door in their cardboard box – no extra plastic packaging which was great to see. These shoes are really good looking, they have a lovely shape and are super stylish. In my opinion they look better than the wool runners!
Can you believe these shoes are made from wood pulp?! Yep, the fibre the shoes are woven from is made from Eucalyptus trees that are farmed using no irrigation in South Africa. Who would have thought that wearing trees would be so comfortable.
What we think of the Allbirds Tree runners
And comfortable they are. When I first tried them on there was a bit of a funny lump against the back of the heel, but fortunately that flattened out after a few uses. The shoe feels like a sock, and there is no rubbing at all – no seams help there.
One of the main things Allbirds markets their sneakers on is that you can wear them with no socks. Yes, this is true, and I haven’t gotten blisters from wearing them with no socks (and the shoes don’t smell either after a few wears), but my feet do get quite hot and a bit sweaty against the wool lining and innersole. I generally get quite hot feet anyway so I prefer to wear socks inside my Allbirds – but it’s nice to know that they won’t ruin your feet or smell if you don’t want to wear socks!
The Tree sneakers are much more breathable than their wool counterparts. You can feel the air coming through the mesh-like upper and they are generally a bit cooler. They look like more of a sports shoe than the wool runners (but I still wouldn’t go for a run in them – they’re definitely a fashion item rather than a serious workout shoe!).
The light colour had me a bit worried about getting them dirty. We’ve both gotten a few scuff marks on the upper but they have rubbed off fine with a wet cloth. Apparently you can also throw them in the washing machine to clean them, after removing the laces and innersoles. Our shoes aren’t that dirty yet but I’ll be sure to try this once they are! I would be a bit concerned about having the light colour and not being able to clean them on a trip – especially if you’re in a part of the world that has dirty footpaths – but fortunately there are darker colours to choose from as well.
Overall, we are really pleased with this new generation of Allbirds sneakers. We’ve worn them on lengthy walks of a couple of hours and they’re still comfortable and don’t get too hot when wearing socks. The Allbirds Tree sneakers would make a fantastic travel shoe – they’re versatile and can be dressed up or down. We can’t wait to see what other awesome shoes Allbirds releases in the future!
Thanks to Allbirds for sending us sneakers for this review. As always, you’ll receive our honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.
Have you got a pair of Allbirds? What’s your favourite travel sneaker? Share your thoughts in the comments below!