Allbirds 2022 review: Shoes tested for comfort and style

Allbirds has been around for quite a few years, but the brand that is known for making “the most comfortable shoes in the world” shows no signs of slowing down.

Founded in 2014 by New Zealand native Tim Brown, Allbirds has been defined from the beginning by simple design and comfortable construction. The brand first saw success as a Silicon Valley staple (which makes sense for the San Francisco-based startup). But the sneakers quickly gained popularity among celebrities like Jessica Alba, fashion icons like Sarah Jessica Parker, and even environmentalists like Leonardo DiCaprio. Today, you’ll see Allbirds in everyone from college students to busy parents, dancers, nurses, and others who are constantly on their feet.

But internet-famous shoes don’t come cheap: Most styles start at $95. And the brand makes many different claims about the quality, comfort, and level of maintenance of its shoes. That’s why we’ve broken down everything you’ll want to know before you invest in your own pair of Allbirds.

Are the Allbirds comfortable?

In short, extremely. The sole of an Allbirds shoe is made from a proprietary low-density foam that contributes to the shoe’s extremely lightweight feel, its main differentiation from other typical sneakers. The insoles of the shoes are made from a proprietary merino wool fabric that gives Allbirds their characteristic “walking on a cloud” feel. Wool fabric is advertised as moisture wicking and odor minimizing (more on that later) and is also used on the outside of Wool Runners, Wool Mizzles and Wool Loungers.

What Allbirds claims stack up?

When it comes to everything a shoe can do for you, Allbirds says it can do a lot. Here’s a quick breakdown of how some of them compared to our tests and experience with Wool Runners, Tree Runners, and Tree Toppers.

So soft you can go without socks: You can definitely wear Allbirds without socks. The Wool Runners, in particular, are super soft and feel almost like slippers without socks. They’re super easy to get on and off, making them our go-to shoe for quick and convenient for everything from running errands to going to a workout like yoga or swimming.

However, if you plan on spending a full day on your feet, we recommend wearing socks, simply to maintain the soft and comfortable quality of the shoes.

Minimize odor: When worn with socks, it was nearly impossible to detect any odor despite long days and even moderate exercise. This is due in part to the material’s temperature control capabilities. Even without socks, we hardly experience any odour. That may be due to Allbirds merino wool material, as wool is a naturally odor resistant material. It also resists sweat and bacteria well, helping to minimize any odor in the long run.

Temperature control: If you suffer from sweaty feet or plan to wear your Allbirds all summer long, definitely opt for one of the Tree models. They are super light, ventilated and ideal for high temperatures. While the Wool Runners are also lightweight and fine for warmer weather, they impressed when it came to keeping our feet warm and comfortable during the cold Northeast winter. If you’re going to be trekking in sleet or snow, just make sure you opt for the Wool Mizzles over the Wool Runners, as they feature a weather-resistant Puddle Guard to keep your feet dry.

How to wash Allbird shoes

The big question: Can you throw them in the washing machine? Surprisingly yes. Washing your Allbirds is a great way to prevent odors or stains, especially if you wear them a lot and in environments where your feet are exposed to puddles, dirt, or other undesirable elements. Allbirds recommends removing the laces and insoles from your shoes, then washing them in cold water with a mild detergent. However, there is a caveat when it comes to the Wool Runners. The more you wash your shoes, the faster the material begins to look worn. This is especially true for lighter shades. After a couple of months and washes, the Wool Runners in Natural White, which are some of our best white shoes, started to stretch (especially around the toe box) and the color gradually became duller and less white.

And one more thing: never put your Allbirds in the dryer! One of our editors accidentally tossed their Tree Runners in the dryer, and they came out great, but there are horror stories of Wool Runners’ back dryer being completely ruined.

What style and size of Allbirds is right for me?

The first decision you have to make is whether you are looking for a pair of sneakers or something a little different. Allbirds produces seven types of shoes: Runners, Dashers, Toppers, Skippers, Pipers, Trail Runners, and Mizzles, along with three other styles: Loungers, Dwellers, and Breezers.

tree jumpers for women

$100 at Allbirds

tree jumpers

Women’s Tree Toppers

$110 at Allbirds

The seven sneaker variants differ in a few key ways, with the material being the main distinguishing feature. Tree Toppers and Tree Skippers are basically low-cut and high-cut versions of the same shoe. Tree Skippers are extremely light and perfect for summer. Tree Toppers are more expensive, but we are big fans of the elegant tall tops. Both shoes feature a slightly flatter sole and wider toe box, giving your foot more room but less support.

Women’s Wool Joggers

$110 at Allbirds

wool runners

tree runners for women

$105 at Allbirds

tree runners

The Wool Runners and Tree Runners are classic Allbirds styles and some of the most comfortable running shoes out there. The shoes are particularly flexible and supportive, and are truly designed for all-day comfort. They are the perfect type of footwear for city trekking, day trips or long walks. If you’re not sure which material to choose, wool is softer and better for cooler climates, while tree is breezier and better for warmer climates.

Women’s Wool Runner Mizzles

$125 at Allbirds

wool mizzles

wool mizzles for women

$145 at Allbirds

Wool mizzles for finalists

The Mizzles are a version of the Wool Runners that feature natural rubber soles and the brand’s own Puddle Guard technology. Available in regular and high-top versions, the wool keeps feet warm, while the shoe’s design ensures the foot doesn’t get too wet, though Allbirds makes sure to stress that they’re not waterproof. They’re perfect for anyone willing to spend a little more to make their shoe purchase last longer and perform better (or, of course, if you live in a colder, wetter climate).

Women’s wool bagpipes

$110 at Allbirds

wool piper

Tree pipers for women

$105 at Allbirds

tree piper

If you’re looking for a low-cut shoe that’s perfect for running errands around town, the Pipers are the shoe for you. The super stylish and minimalist shoe can be paired with any outfit and be a true everyday sneaker.

Tree Dasher 2 for women

$135 at Allbirds

Tree Dasher 2

If you need a running shoe, Allbirds has you covered with their new Tree Dashers. Featuring a one-piece upper woven from FSC-certified eucalyptus fibers and a dual-density SweetFoam midsole, these shoes are the perfect balance of comfort and performance. We tried them out when they launched last year and loved the support and flexibility they provide. You can read our full review of Women’s Tree Dashers here.

Women’s SWT Trail Runners

$140 at Allbirds

Trail Runners SWT

And if you like trail running, check out the Allbirds Trail Runners, which are super durable and provide excellent stability and traction so you can focus on your run. Plus, they feature a water-repellent finish to help keep feet dry.

Women’s wool loungers

$105 at Allbirds

wool loungers

tree loungers for women

$100 at Allbirds

tree loungers

If you are looking for the ultimate comfort, sun loungers are the way to go. Available in men’s and women’s styles, they’re the perfect shoe to slip on and off for running errands or any number of daily tasks. However, they provide less support than sneakers, so don’t choose them if you want to go on demanding day trips or long hikes. Reviewers say they feel “like wearing a super comfy pair of socks” wherever they go, and they hold up really well in both hot and cold weather.

Women’s Tree Briefs

$100 at Allbirds

Tree Breezers

Breezers are classic flats, available in one style (but lots of super fun colors). They’re perfect if you’re looking for something more work-appropriate than sneakers.

When it comes to sizing, be sure to measure up. Allbirds says most customers go for larger sizes in all styles except Tree Runners, which we’d also recommend. Fortunately, Allbirds offers a 30-day no-questions-asked trial period, where you can return or exchange your shoes for free.

wool dwellers

$65 at Allbirds

wool dwellers

An ultra cozy slipper, the Allbirds Dwellers are perfect for a lazy day around the house.

sugar sliders

$50 at Allbirds

sugar sliders

Zeffer’s Sugar

$40 at Allbirds

Zeffer's Sugar

The Sugar Sliders and Sugar Zeffers are the newest items in the Allbirds line. Both shoes are made with sustainable sugarcane, which is not only sweeter on the environment, but gives the shoes a bouncy feel and plenty of cushioning that makes them great for all your on-the-go needs.

Are the Allbirds worth it?

If you haven’t been able to say so far, absolutely. Comfort and style combined with high-quality materials are something you won’t find in other shoes.

The one thing you need to be careful about, particularly with Wool Runners, is that the wear you get from them over their lifetime may not be as long as you would get from typical running shoes. Wool material is more delicate, susceptible to stains and begins to show wear after a couple of weeks. One way to counter this is to not wear them as your only pair of sneakers, but rather as a kind of comfortable sneaker that lives alongside your sneakers or running shoes. In this way, you can enjoy them for longer.

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