Summer was on the way, it was hot, bright and no one wanted to be indoors. It was a fantastic time for one and all, then it started raining… and I remembered where I was.
Now I love The Summer, but it does fill me with a little dread. I have smelly/sweaty feet, TMI I’m sure, but now you know. For this time of year, footwear is very much a strategic decision. A strong choice is everyone’s favourite onomatopoeia, the flip-flop is great for a trip to the beach, park or even a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood. But after the sun goes down or if a little more agility is required, I’m in trouble!
Enter the Allbirds Tree Runners. Before I give you the run-around on my fresh kicks, let me bring you up to speed on the brand.
Allbirds started back in 2014 as the brainchild of Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger. Together they turned their collective innovations and enthusiasm on the age-old question “why are we not using merino wool more in the footwear industry?” Inspired by natural materials, and an ongoing mantra to create better things in a better way, Allbirds have been moving from strength to strength as a business. Now a certified B Corp company for their sustainable actions.
Now back to what’s happening below the ankle.
As the name might suggest, the Tree Runners are made from Allbirds most sustainable material to date. Ethically sourced Eucalyptus fibres, which use only 5% of the water and one-third of the land compared to traditional footwear materials. By employing a closed loop process, their manufacturing is safer and cleaner than conventional practices. This isn’t just a PR stunt, Allbirds, hold themselves to a high standard and are FSC (forest stewardship council) certified.
Not just good for the planet but probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. I would say they fit true to size with just enough room to give your little piggies a wiggle. The Eucalyptus pulp used for the Tree collection creates a cooling effect by wicking away moisture and, in concert with a silky-smooth mesh construction, delivers unmatched breathability and supreme comfort; meaning I can go sans socks all summer long (if it stops raining). Made through a unique 3D-knitting process, they have been able to target the integration of structure and support into the upper of the shoe, where feet need it most. And the wool-lined insole and heel cup ensures the soft fit Allbirds has become synonymous with.
The Tree Collection comes in a variety of colourways (mine are Charcoal) as well as 3 different “cuts” Skipper, Runner, Lounger and Topper. But one of my favourite things about the shoe is how low maintenance they are, I can chuck them in the washing machine and hang them out to dry like all my other less cool or sustainable clothes. Maybe not the most glamorous USP (or even that unique) but these shoes have been made to be as easy on you and your life as they are the planet. They even have a 30-day no questions-asked-return policy if for some reason you’re not feeling it.
If you can’t make it to one of the stores in London, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston or Seattle, be sure to grab your pair from www.allbirds.com
Sam Brady is a London based freelance writer and photographer covering travel and lifestyle.
Photographs by Sam Brady