Allbirds – Not Just a Silicon Valley Staple
I remember being on the New York subway a couple of years ago and noticing more than a few ads for a new wool sneaker company. Wool? Isn’t that too hot, especially for a sports shoe? The company was clearly confident in their product, and for months the ads were plastered at nearly every station. Needless to say, that company was Allbirds.
While I was tired of the posters, people not getting tired of the shoes. Not being one to splurge for workout gear, I shrugged off the endorsements. They can’t be that much better than the Nikes in my closet…or maybe they can. Allbirds has taken their sustainability game to the next level.
The Allbirds shoes:
First, before I put them on I was greeted by a smiling, recycled cardboard shoe shaper. Then, pushing the detached insole into the shoe, I realized the merino wool is softer than every designer sweater in my closet. After sliding them on, I began to understand why my friends won’t shut up about their sneakers.
They feel like I’m wearing the coziest slippers on the planet, but I’d wear the Tree Toppers or Lounger Fluffs (yes, you heard me) to a local restaurant. Even though there will still be times I’ll relish the opportunity to wear a pair of Fendis from The RealReal, I’ll keep at least one pair of Allbirds in my closet from this day forward.
Product quality and ingredients sustainability
The shoes themselves are made of marino wool, which creates a naturally soft and sweat wicking fabric.
The soles are made of caster oil, because the carbon emissions are lesser than the typical petroleum variety. A recycled water bottle is used for each pair of laces. Tencel, which we dove into in a separate article, outfits most of their clothing.
Packaging/shipping materials and practices sustainability
The box your new shoes ship in are made of 90% recycled paper. The socks, clothing, and whatever else can fit will be popped alongside your sneakers. However, I bought a couple pairs at once, and they came zip tied in plastic. Now, that’s not mentioned on the site to be recycled, so we have to assume the negative.
Manufacturing and corporate practices sustainability
Gotta say, when researching a company, it’s refreshing to see transparacy. A company that admits their faults is one thing, a company that pushes them front and center is another. Allbirds is the first critic to say they’re not a zero emissions practice. However… It is carbon neutral.
They publish their emissions, and offset them. But they’re not stopping there. They are one of the pioneers of the regenerative energy movement, and they’re working toward getting their carbon emissions to ZERO, sharing their journey along the way.
Eco Friendly extra credit
Allbirds has partnered with other companies and cities around the world to promote, share and expand their knowledge of environmental sustainability. From New Zealand to San Francisco Allbirds has partnered with local businesses to raise awareness about sustainability. They collaborated with JUST water to raise money for wildlife relief with Earth Alliance’s Amazon Forest Fund.
As successful as Allbirds’ marketing is, it looks like truth in advertising to me.