One of my best friends introduced me to Allbirds shoes. I’m so grateful she did. The big appeal of this company, who sells shoes, apparel and accessories, is the items are more sustainable. Products are responsibly made with natural materials like wool and eucalyptus tree.
The shipping box is the shoe box! This is how the shoes came in the mail, just one box. I just slit the bottom seal and viola, shoes! They ship back for returns/exchanges the same way.
These are the inserts for the Tree Loungers. Aren’t they cute! The Tree Breezers came with recycled paper tissue paper and recycled paper sticks to hold the ballet shoe shape.
The first pair I tried were the Tree Breezers and I really really really wanted these to fit. My current ballet shoes (Tieks) are super tight since having a baby and that’s been three years ago. Leather only stretches so much. I am a 7.5 in most shoes. I wear an 8 in athletic shoes and boots, and depending on the shoe I may need a wide. In addition, my big toe sticks up more than normal and rubs the tops of shoes so I need a really tall and wide toe box for my toes to be comfortable.
On Tree Breezers, the 7.5 fit perfectly at home both sitting and walking. Unfortunately the first time I wore them to drive and sit at a doctors office, I sort of lost a bit of feeling in my toes. The toe box, a kind of almond shape, is too tight for my toes. Allbirds has a great shoe trial period: 30 days at home and if the returned shoes are too worn to resell they donate them to Soles 4 Souls. For no charge, Allbirds offers exchanges so I asked for 8s to try. The 8s were too big in the heel and made whooshing noise when I walked. The toe actually fit about the same. So alas, as much as I need and want a nice black ballet flat as an all purpose shoe, this was not them.
Not to be deterred as I really wanted a slip-on shoe that fit so I can run after my toddler, I tried another style. Allbirds recommends half sizers on Tree Loungers to go up a half size (Tree Loungers only come in whole sizes). I ordered an 8 and these fit perfectly! I love them. The Tree Loungers (and the Tree Breezers) are so light and comfortable. The shoes breath really well which is important since I’m in Texas and it’s still feels like summer here in fall. In addition to my toe issues, I also am really sensitive to how shoes touch my heel and where the top of the shoe heel hits, that is if it’s flat against the heel or curves in. These are great: they’re straight up and down and stop short of the issue-spot on my heel. I thought the top cutout might annoy me or cause the top of the shoe to feel loose, but these are very sturdy and stable in addition to being so light and comfortable.
I normally use arch or heal supports (depending on the shoe style) in my shoes to help my feet and I find I don’t need supports with Allbirds. You may be different, but their support works very well for me. If you do want to use your own inserts, the Allbirds inserts come out easily.
Sustainable Products: The knit fiber is a blend of eucalyptus tree fiber, the insert is a blend of wool and caster bean oil, the shoe laces and boxes are high recycled content, and while they use as many sustainable materials as possible they also buy carbon offsets.
As I mentioned, if the shoes from a return are too worn to resell then Allbirds will donate them to Soles 4 Souls. I did ask Allbirds if they planned on creating a recycling program for their old worn-out shoes and received this reply:
Recycling shoes at the end of their life cycle is fairly complex, and as of now we currently don’t have a process in place to take back customer’s tired out shoes. However, our Innovation and Sustainability team is working tirelessly to have a recycling program up and running soon! We’ll be sure to let you know when we do!Allbirds Customer Experience Team
Considering how much thought has gone into the shoes up front, I’m optimistic that Allbirds will have a recycling program in place in the future to reclaim their materials for new Allbirds shoes. In the meantime, a reminder that the following places will recycle non-wearable shoes: Goodwill, Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe, or Asics who will give you a reward coupon or any brand. Please donate still wearable shoes to the charity of your choice. You can also use the Soles 4 Souls website to find a local shoe drive if the shoes are in wearable condition. Don’t forget to rubber band shoes together to keep the pair a set in the stream of sorting and donations.
Have you tried a pair of Allbirds shoes? What do you think? Have you tried any of their other products yet? Please share!
Yes, that is dog hair in the featured photo, the shoe color is not heathered. I kid you not I had these shoes on for one minute and zap dog hair attached itself to my shoes. Sigh. Dog mom life.