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Back in 2016, I went to Scottsdale, Arizona, for my best friend’s bachelor party to watch the LA Dodgers in Spring Training. On our first day at the stadium, sweating profusely in the dry desert heat, the best dressed guy in our group, a lawyer from San Francisco, sat down next to me. Before we exchanged a word, I couldn’t help but notice his shoes.
“They’re AllBirds,” he said with a smile, striking a model-like pose. “The most comfortable, lightweight sneaker I’ve ever worn”. He was wearing dark grey Wool Runners specifically, and there on the outfield grass developed a buzz — equal parts due to his AllBirds and the cheap beers we’d been imbibing all afternoon.
The jury was still out for me, though. Yes, they were ridiculously lightweight, and the wool fabric was different from any shoe I’d ever seen. But the silhouette wasn't classically...cool. I was living in New York City at the time, and in Manhattan the all-white Adidas Stan Smith with the green heel was the uber cool sneaker worn by everyone from the Upper West Side to Nolita and Williamsburg. In my eyes, those were cool kicks.
A Sneaker About-Face
Fast forward to November 2020, I’m now living in San Francisco, and guess what shoes I’m rocking (when I leave the house, that is)? I’ve got three pairs of Allbirds in my closet, and take full responsibility for my sneaker about-face.
I was attracted to Allbirds for two main reasons: First, they’re everywhere in San Francisco, and seeing is believing. While I’d like to believe I’m original, the herd mentality is real (although I never did buy the Stan Smiths!). So my curiosity was piqued, and that led me to research. Second, I was drawn to the brand Allbirds is building. Like most of today’s leading, progressive brands, they’re guided by three principles: design, comfort and sustainability, and that’s all rooted in their founder’s narrative.
In 2015, Tim and Joey teamed up to create Allbirds, a company with two ambitious goals: create the world's most comfortable shoes, and do it in a way that was completely carbon-neutral.
Tim Brown was a soccer player for the New Zealand national team before he was a co-founder of the now billion dollar sneaker company. Unsatisfied with the soccer cleat market, Brown started making simple canvas shoes for his teammates, but soon discovered a better material: soft merino wool from his native country's sheep. Brown would ultimately find his business partner in Joey Zwillinger, unimpressed by the half-hearted ways in which companies in the U.S. were committing to sustainability. In 2015, Tim and Joey teamed up to create Allbirds, a company with two ambitious goals: create the world's most comfortable shoes, and do it in a way that was completely carbon-neutral.
Taking The Leap
My gateway pair were the original Wool Runners: wearing them instantly felt like I was walking on a cloud. I followed those up with the high-top Tree Toppers, and most recently, the ultra comfortable Tree Loungers. I’m an advocate for Allbirds, and want to specifically shout out the three pairs I’ve invested in, and why.
- I ordered these in “Natural Black” with the Black Sole, and am smitten. In this new world where I/we so rarely leave the house, I push myself to walk every morning and listen to a podcast, and that ritual is not complete without my AllBirds. The Wool Runners slide on effortlessly and the lightweight, Merino wool fabric is comfortable, breathable and flexible. Also, they’re legitimately warm, and given it’s dropped into the 40s each morning, I’m #grateful for these babies. They’re like the warmth and coziness of Mockasins blended with the classic cool of Nike SB’s.
- How to wear them: I throw them on with workout clothes for the morning walk or with joggers for the occasional park hang with friends (from a distance).
- What I’d do for a night out in San Francisco. A Manhattan to start at NOPA, an indulgent, Italian dinner at Che Fico Alimentari, and then out to Beauty Bar to dance to old school hip hop, and lastly a nightcap at The Lone Palm. And let me assure you, that when that day comes, I’ll be rocking my Tree Toppers. They were the first pair of AllBirds that I thought were not just functional, but actually good looking. Like, objectively cool. I’ve always been a sucker for high tops, from Chucks to Fryes, but these Tree Toppers lend the snugness AllBirds is known for with a bold design.
- How to wear them: Because they’re a notch above the rest in style (IMO), and because high tops are a bit more distinct, I wear them for outdoor (always masked) get-togethers with friends — walks to the farmers market, and happy hour strolls with my girlfriend.
- Whatever image you have in your mind (or closet) of your ‘everyday sneaker’, just do me a favor and throw it out because you need to replace it with these Tree Loungers. Allbirds knew what they were doing when they named them, because they fit the lounge vibe. They’re easy to slip on and warm to the touch (no sock required). They’re like espadrilles, but better.
- How to wear them: I wear them on quick runs to the grocery store, brief walks around the block midday to get away from my laptop, or around the house while I work throughout the day.
Good For You, Good For The World
Some people have a thing for watches, or bags, or hats. I have a thing for shoes. But since getting my trio of Allbirds, there are 15+ pairs of shoes in my closet growing more lonely by the day. I am loyal to the point of tunnel vision with my AllBirds — their blend of comfort, versatility, and eco-friendliness gives them a notch above the rest. I relish the feeling of slipping them on, simultaneously surprised and grateful for their distinctly snug, reliable fit.
Since getting my trio of Allbirds, there are 15+ pairs of shoes in my closet growing more lonely by the day. I am loyal to the point of tunnel vision with my AllBirds — their blend of comfort, versatility, and eco-friendliness gives them a notch above the rest.
There’s no better sneaker for these days in quarantine, and beyond. And while I am going to do my damndest not to go back to Scottsdale, if I do, you’ll see me wearing my AllBirds.
5 More Reasons to Love Allbirds:
- They’re collaborating with creative, progressive artists, like Jeff Staple, to turn the sneaker world inside out (literally).
- Last month, Allbirds quietly released its own face masks, and like many of its shoe launches, they sold out immediately.
- Allbirds dropped a new limited-edition shoe for Black Friday and then raised the price of everything by $1 to support Greta Thunberg's climate movement
- Kiwi co-founder, Tim Brown, spent nearly a decade honing his crazy idea about making shoes out of wool.
- They tax themselves for all the carbon they emit, label every product they make with its Carbon Footprint, and invest in low-carbon innovations like our sugar-cane based EVA foam, SweetFoam™.