• Jenica Barrett

Allbirds Review: The Best Sustainable & Zero Waste Sneakers

The shoes you wear are important for a variety of reasons. Shoes need to be comfortable for your feet and supportive enough to keep all your body parts from aching. They need to last overtime and be durable in a variety of conditions. Ideally, they'd also look pretty good! But are your sneakers good for the planet?


My sneakers made by Allbirds sure are!


This post contains affiliate links where I earn a small portion of any sales made through them, at no extra cost to you. But rest assured, I was in love with these shoes long before I became an affiliate for them so every single word of praise here is genuine!


I love Allbirds and recommend them to anyone looking for sustainable footwear! Seriously, I don't think I've seen a shoe company yet as dedicated to environmental sustainability, community engagement, and transparency as they are.


I currently own three pairs of Allbirds! All my old shoes wore out at the same time and I was ready to try a new brand. Noah and I both bought pairs - and I quickly bought two more! I own the Wool Dashers in grey, Tree Dashers in green, and a pair of the Wool Pipers in the gorgeous Garden Blue color!


Allbird Shoes with a Small "Footprint"


Allbirds is a shoe company that truly prioritizes sustainability and ethical practices above all else. Designed with natural materials, these shoes require very minimal amounts of plastic and fossil fuel based materials to make. Allbirds' shoes therefore have a very small carbon footprint (did you catch my joke above?) so you can tread lightly on the planet without compromising the quality.


Allbirds was founded by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger in New Zealand and now offers shipping worldwide. Let's take a closer look at why Allbirds have become such a hit in the zero waste community around the world!


Allbirds zero waste shoes on the beach

Plant-based Materials in Allbirds Shoes


You might be tempted to take a bite out of your Allbirds after looking over this ingredients list, but maybe just stick to wearing them. Allbirds focuses on natural, plant-based materials in their shoes and avoids anything plastic whenever possible. They also focus on regenerative agriculture as a practice and make sure their materials are sourced from ethical farms.


What are Allbirds made of?

  • ZQ Merino Wool

  • Wood FSC Certified

  • Their TENCEL™ Lyocell material is made from wood sourced from South African farms that rely on rainfall, not irrigation. It uses 95% less water to grow than cotton.

  • Sugar cane

  • The sugarcane is used to make SweetFoam™ and is sourced from southern Brazil. The farms use rainwater rather than irrigation and are audited by an independent third party for sustainability standards.

  • Eucalyptus tree fibers

  • Their Trino™ material is crafted with a mix of eucalyptus tree fibers and Merino wool.

  • Recycled nylon

  • Recycled nylon is used in their knit fabric to boost its durability.

  • Castor bean oil

  • Pure chitosan fiber

  • A natural odor-fighter harvested from discarded snow crab shells and the number two most abundant biopolymer on earth.

  • Recycled plastic bottles

  • Every pair of shoelaces is made from recycled plastic bottles.


Allbirds also ships in 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard that "serves as a shoebox, shopping bag, and mailer all in one." They use absolutely no plastic in their shipping and packaging! Now that's a nearly plastic free shoe from start to finish.


Not convinced yet that they're the shoe company for you? Don't worry - there's more!



Do you know the carbon footprint of your shoes?


Because Allbirds publishes the carbon footprint of each of their shoes, as independently certified, on their website. THAT is true transparency.


Each customer knows exactly what impact their purchase has on the planet. Included in the carbon footprint calculation is the manufacturing, shipping, use, and end of life disposal as well. They don't shy away from the numbers either as many of the shoes have the carbon footprint equivalent printed on their directly or on the shoe box.


Offsetting the carbon emissions of each shoe!


To take it yet one step further, Allbirds has committed to purchasing carbon offsets for every single emission created through their company. That means that the carbon equivalent advertised for your shoe is already being offset by the company.


They specify on their website that they hope to continue lowering the carbon footprint of their company overall to reduce their reliance on offsets in the future.


Allbirds has the certifications to back it up


As a B-Corp Certified company, Allbirds isn't all "greenwashing" and empty promises. B-Corp Certification requires outside verification of their policies and procedures when it comes to the environment, working conditions, diversity, community involvement, and more. For example, Allbirds has partnered with Soles4Souls to give lightly used Allbirds a new life all around the world.


You can see the Allbirds rating on the B-Corp website.


You can use your shoes - and then return them. Seriously.


You can try them for 30 days without any risk! No questions asked. My fiancé even purchased a pair, wore them outside for a few days, and then realized they were the wrong size. Dirt marks and all, Allbirds took them back and exchanged them for a size bigger - no questions. The used shoes don't get tossed though (unlike so many other returns!) and get given away with Soles4Souls.


Looking for other sustainable clothing companies? Check out my list of Zero Waste Underwear and Sustainable Bras!

Allbirds sustainable sneakers slightly dirty

The Cons


In order to give an honest review, it's important to layout any downsides I see with purchasing and wearing Allbirds shoes.


Limited Women's Sizes

The first downside is that all of their women's shoes only go up to size 11. I'm a size 11 which means anyone with bigger feet than me (ahem, my sister and mother to name just two!) aren't able to purchase any shoes from Allbirds unless they buy men's styles. If you were women's shoes and are bigger than an 11, this brand unfortunately won't serve you.


Price

At $90-130 a pair, Allbirds are more expensive than sneakers and flats you'll find that a Big Box store. At the same time, they're very comparable to other high end shoe brands (and even on the cheaper side!). It can be a lot to drop on a single pair of shoes but they do have incredible durability so will hopefully be lasting for years to come.


Eco-runners, sneakers, flats, and slippers are eco, too!


Allbirds makes a variety of shoes including running shoes designed for high impact as well as low top and high top sneakers. The sneakers come in a variety of styles good for hiking, walking around the city, or heading to work. They also have a variety of flats available for women and slippers to relax in.


Allbirds is making sustainable apparel!


So now that I've got you hooked on Allbirds shoes, you'll love to learn that they are expanding their apparel collection too! I own Allbirds socks and sports bras as well (which are just about the softest bras on the planet!) and cannot recommend them enough. You basically can't go wrong with purchasing from Allbirds - in terms of the planet and the quality product you're guaranteed to love!


So yes, I absolutely recommend this brand! Allbirds makes sustainable, comfortable, and durable shoes that leave a light footprint on the planet. Have you fallen in love with them yet?

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