A lot of people don’t know this about me (Gina), but I do NOT like to buy shoes. I have one foot that is a size 6 and the other is a size 7. I know all the tricks of the trade. I don’t buy open toe shoes, where you can see my toes peeking out of one shoe but not the other. I have a stack of insoles to slip into the shoe for my small foot, and I always have band-aids in my purse in case a blister starts forming. Even if a shoe feels comfortable at the store, I often end up with blisters on my feet after I wear them a few times.
The other day I woke up and was feeling unusually brave. I had worn out all of my sports shoes, and I needed a new pair. I had been hearing so much about Allbirds, so I decided to order a pair. Ordering a pair of shoes online is another thing I almost never do. In fact I’ve only done it once before when ordering my Rothys (Day #5). A few days later my Allbirds arrived.
Just like Rothy's, the packaging was minimal and recyclable: a pair of shoes in a box made from 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard with no plastic bags or extra tissue paper. The shoes looked stylish, well-made, and when I put them on they were super comfortable. After wearing them a few times, guess what: no blisters were forming!
When I was choosing the shoe I wanted to order, I decided on the Women’s Tree Runner. Their website said that the “tree fiber, TENCEL Lyocell—is sourced from South African farms that minimize fertilizer and rely on rainfall, not irrigation. Compared to traditional materials like cotton, it uses 95% less water and cuts our carbon footprint in half.” We also noticed on their website that the shoes and the box they come in are FSC certified (Day #23).
We appreciate all the layers of sustainability embedded in Allbirds shoes, and it doesn’t stop at sustainably-sourced tree fiber and FSC certified packaging. The shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles and the shoe soles are made from sugar cane, which “is sourced from southern Brazil, where it relies on rainwater, not irrigation. It’s a fully renewable resource that grows quickly, removing carbon from the atmosphere in the process.” They also know that the footwear industry produces vast amounts of carbon emissions, so starting in 2019 they have gone carbon neutral for their entire supply chain (Day #74). In their words, “that means, starting this year, for every tonne of carbon we emit as a business—from the sheep on our farms to the lightbulbs in our headquarters—we’ll pay to take a tonne of carbon out of the atmosphere.” AND THE CROWDS CHEER!!
We not only love their shoes but we love their business model and practices even more! Companies that are committed to the environment should be celebrated loudly, and we’re shouting this one from the rooftops! If you’re a fan of podcasts, there’s also a great episode about Allbirds on NPR's How I Built This. We’ve found a shoe company that we love to support, and we look forward to buying more Allbirds in the future. Next time we think we’ll try the Wool Runners or the Tree Loungers. If you're in the market for a new pair of shoes, get your hands on the most comfortable (and sustainable) ones out there!