The Crazy-Comfortable Shoes That Turned Me into a Sneakers Convert

Womens Lifestyle_Natural Grey

(Courtesy of Allbirds)

Up until fairly recently, I really wasn’t much of a running shoes person—not outside the gym at least. Chelsea boots and chunky oxfords have always made me feel more put-together, and the few pairs of fashiony sneakers I do own offer zero in the way of arch support. But a couple weeks ago, after months of too-tight boots and awkwardly fitting Spin-class shoes, my feet were pretty much shot. Google suggested I may have pinched a nerve or two. It was not fun.

Then, serendipitously, I got my hands on a pair of Allbirds, the just-launched sneakers that are the brainchild of Tim Brown, a former professional soccer player who spent his career playing for New Zealand’s national team. They’re made of merino wool (what else, coming from a country with six sheep for every one person?) and feature minimal design elements and no flashy logos.

(Courtesy of Allbirds)

(Courtesy of Allbirds)

Like Warby Parker in its early days, the company’s sales strategy is direct-to-consumer and online-only, which Brown and his cofounder, biotech engineer Joey Zwillinger, credit for the shoe’s affordable price point. The runners retail for $95, and come in four colorways—heather gray, bright blue, dark green, and orangey red.

From a sustainability standpoint, the proprietary textile Allbirds uses is made of all-natural materials—and from a wearer’s standpoint, the wool wicks away moisture and helps control temperature. Translation: You can wear them without socks and totally get away with it.

This was the premise of Allbirds’ initial Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $100,000—nearly four times its goal—in four days.

Here’s Brown to tell you a bit more. (And I know, brand videos can be a little cheesy sometimes, but this one features a very good-looking man in a field of sheep. You’re welcome.)