Allbirds: The perfect travel shoes? (Updated 2020)

It’s weird to write about travel shoes in the middle of a pandemic. But I wanted to refresh this article since it’s been up for a while and I have more experience to reflect on.

My first encounter with Allbirds was an article with the kinda clickbait-y title, “The Most Comfortable Shoes in the World.” I rolled my eyes a bit but definitely clicked on it. Because I like to take one pair of shoes with me when I travel: the ones on my feet. So I was curious what had been singled out as “the one.”

Before Allbirds, my go-to was New Balance. They have that appearance of “casual athletic” – and of course the big reflective “N” logo – so I’m comfort-over-style.

For the last three years, I’ve been wearing Allbirds more often than not.

allbirds review

Hanging in my Allbirds

The idea of a comfortable and attractive shoe lured me in. They come in basic colors, they’re $95 a pop, and the founders are committed to design, sustainability, and ethical standards.

What began as a six-month test evolved into a brand preference. And I still get comments about them all the time.

Each pair lasts me ~9 months. I’m on my third or fourth pair by now. Safe to say I’m now a fan.

My Allbirds review, three years later

Firstly, the tops of their most popular shoe (wool runners) are made of wool. That doesn’t mean they’re hot – it means they’re reactive and durable. If you’ve ever hiked in SmartWool socks, it’s a similar idea. The rest is made from all-natural materials.

a couple of black squares

Material list

I’ve primarily been wearing mine in Texas and can attest to their ability to remain both cool in summer and warm in winter.

allbirds review

A simple, comfortable, logo-free shoe

The colors are neutral and practical. There’s nothing flashy about them. You can wear them with pretty much any outfit. And the heel is thick with plenty of cushion.

a person's legs and feet in grey shoes

Here’s what the heel and bottoms look like

a person wearing grey shoes

Front profile

What you see in these pics isn’t their only offering. Allbirds come in a variety of styles, shapes, and colors.

a collage of shoes and foot prints

A few of Allbirds’ product lineup

For men and women, you can purchase:

  • Running shoes (tree dashers)
  • Everyday sneakers (tree runners and wool runners, which are displayed in this post)
  • Slip-ons (tree loungers and wool loungers)
  • Boat shoes (tree skippers)
  • High tops (tree toppers)
  • Weather repellent shoes (runner mizzles and runner-up mizzles, which is more of a high top)
  • They also sell flats for women (tree breezers)

More about Allbirds shoes

Wool runners are your basic day-to-day shoe, with laces. Loungers are slip-on and def have a more casual vibe. The “tree” shoes are made of eucalyptus instead of wool, so they’re even cooler (as in temperature) and more suited for hot weather or athletic use.

I originally ordered a pair of gray runners for my first Allbirds experiment. Three years later, I still order them – although I’ve been tempted by the other styles a time or two. For shoes to wear to work and around town, they are easy to wear and comfortable.

And when I do travel again, I know I can walk miles a day without my feet hurting – like I’ve been able to do before in these shoes.

a man taking a selfie in a mirror

Forgive the mirror spots, but here’s how Allbirds look as part of an outfit

You can wear them with or without socks. They’re breathable. Water-resistant. And hold up well past the 6-month mark.

Here are a few other resources I consulted before I purchased a pair:

They even ship in a box that uses less cardboard.

a shoe in a box

Detail down to the shipping box

What I like about them

They’re like walking on a cushiony cloud.

The bottoms are mostly flat, but have little grooves (you can see in pics above. The flatness is good because they don’t track in much dirt from outside. And the wool does great to “repel” the elements.

When I wear them in the rain, I don’t notice water getting down to my socks. I expect it would eventually if you stay out in it for a while but 1.) that sucks and 2.) that’s any shoe. The wool does dry much quicker than what I’m used to, though.

allbirds review

Guess where I was

At this point, I’ve made a lot of memories while wearing a pair of Allbirds, so I’ve formed an emotional attachment to the brand – and it’s a good one to be attached to. I like their corporate ethics and the way they’ve expanded mindfully and responsibly.

They’re the one pair I take on my travels: comfy enough to wear on a plane, walk around new places, and look good throughout. I can’t wait to explore out in the world again.

Allbirds review bottom line

Comfortable shoes were an essential part of my travel experience (and hopefully will be again soon). Until then, I’m staying local.

In the past, when I wore cute shoes I’d get blisters, foot pain, and the feeling of not wanting to walk any more. Which sucks when you’re in a new place (this happened to me in Osaka).

So when I heard about Allbirds In 2017, I spent $95 on a stylish-looking and comfortable pair of wool runners. Since then, they’re my go-to and staple. Easy, no fuss, and they just work.

a white background with black text

Points were made

Have you heard of Allbirds? If you have a pair, what do you like about them?

Also see: 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. I’ve had mine just over a year and they need to be cleaned off but have held up well. I usually only wear them when the weather is nice so they don’t get the worst wear but they are definitely like walking on a cloud.

  2. Well, Allbirds look comfortable. They should be flying off the shelves. That’s because birds have wings and can fly. Also, puns are FUNNY! (They really are!)

    Do they get stinky when wet?

    • Not really. The wool doesn’t really retain (m)any smells. They just smell like… shoe. So far.

      And I love your pun, keep ’em comin’! :p

  3. Just got my first pair of the trainers today.
    I’ve never worn a pair of shoes this comfortable.
    Just this morning I noticed that my CTO wears a pair of AllBirds trainers, asked him about them and he said “I have two pair, Ive worn these for 2 years. I love them. Wouldn’t wear anything else”. The shoes looked a month old, they were. bit pouchy in the toe box, and he’s washed them 4 times in the past 2 years. But they look great.
    I typically go through a pair of trainers every 6 months, so I’ll see how these do.

  4. For the Runners – Does anyone have a problem with the big toe area getting a little bubble in the wool? I have worn mine a few times and I’m afraid of busting through on the big toe area on my trip overseas. Thoughts?

    • I haven’t had that with mine but I know what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t be concerned about it ripping – wool is extremely durable/pliable. You should be fine. 🙂

  5. Just got my first pair of runners. My toes feel like they are right against the tip of the shoes. Is this the normal fit?

  6. Loved my all birds shoes for a few months then developed a hole thru the wool at the big toe. I did not even wear them that much

    • That happened to mine, but only after I’d worn them, like, 5 days a week for over 6 months, which is about as much wear & tear as I would put on another shoe for about 2 years. It did not happen with my second pair – maybe more durable fabric now, and I’ve been making sure my big toenails are trimmed (the shape/arc of your toe might also be a factor).

    • I had a hole in the same place that only went through the knit lining. I’d read a suggestion about a similar issue on another shoe that has worked for me well.

      Applying some moleskin (the kind intended for feet) to the inside of the toe box in the area of concern alleviated the issue and is thin enough to be inobtrusive. A side benefit is that it’s just as cozy as the original.

  7. Super helpful article! Looking for some comfy shoes for an on-the-go mama. You replace your shoes every 6 months?!

    • My gym shoes tend to wear out to nubs after about 6 months. But so far the Allbirds are going strong! I think I’m gonna have Allbirds as my everyday shoe and another pair for gym shoes – that should get me a lot more life out of both pairs! How often do you replace yours?

      I LOVE the Allbirds!

  8. Absolutely love my Allbirds! Comfortable and holding up well – It’s like not wearing a shoe! I don’t wear them in the snow but any other weather they’re fine. For equivalently comfortable jeans you should check out – Mugsy Jeans Bluejeans that feel like sweatpants. Now if I could just find the perfect shirt. Any suggestions?

  9. Loved these shoes initially, but they gave me plantar fasciitis after a few months of wearing them. They are just too soft with not enough arch support. I tried them with an arch support insole and that helped slightly, but ultimately I had to return to my Nikes to get rid of the pain I still had in my feet with Allbirds. Really bummed these didn’t work out as they really were (initially) the most comfortable shoes ever.

  10. I got a pair of Allbirds for a trip to Paris. They’re super comfortable, but I’ve never had a pair of shoes that smell so bad. I’ve walked about 70 miles in them so far and they stink so bad that I have to wash my feet in the shower every evening when we get back from the day’s adventures.
    I had to buy a new pair of shoes in Paris, mainly for the flight home. Once I get back home and can wash them often, maybe they’ll be ok, but as the lone pair of shoes for a walking intensive vacation, they are no good.

  11. I’m a one-shoe traveler as well and I swear by Rockports and Merrells. 5 weeks in Europe at a time and they still hold up for several months afterwards. Both brands have what looks like a nice unassuming Oxford that goes with a t-shirt & blue jeans or a sport coat & slacks.
    I never heard of Allbirds until a recent promotional email from Nordstrom who just started carrying them.
    I’ll check in with your Allbirds experience as you wear them (out).

  12. I regret to have bought a pair earlier this year. They didn’t survive 6 month. Pro is basically the first 1-2 month – you never wear a shoe like this before. Good looking. You tell friends. But con comes right after, starting around 3 month mark.

    First you notice it is way too slippery for many daily activity, like a small hike, carry grocery and walk uphill, or maybe run a bit to catch a bus. It is absolutely NOT a pair of running shores.

    Then, around 5 month mark, you find holes in the inside of your shoes. Not just me, my wife, and her friend. There are four of us bought the shoe together. And 3 has the problem.

    Then, at 6 month mark, I find my foot hurts – the sole of the shoe has worn out. Creases on the midsole. I am a 160lb male who averages 10K steps a day. And I have a pair of Altra for running.

    I think the most critical issue is the sole problem. I am not even reaching out to them to ask for a replacement – I don’t want to hurt my feet again.

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