Tim Brown teamed up with Joey Zwillinger to create a new category of shoes made from all natural materials with a drive to generate things in a better way. Growing up in New Zealand, Tim knew about the vast array of qualities of merino wool, however he was curious as to why such a versatile, sustainable resource was almost absent in the footwear industry.
Tim’s curiosity pushed the ball to roll on the journey for Allbirds to become the brand it is today. Their mantra? To create better things in a better way.
As a fellow kiwi myself, growing up in a country where sheep out populate humans 6:1, it’s great seeing a kiwi based business utilising this unacknowledged renewable resource to create shoes that not only benefit us but the environment too (no leather, no plastic) and can biodegrade back into the ground.
Allbirds shoes are made from all natural materials, taking a weight off our shoulders knowing that we can finally wear shoes that aren’t made from plastic, and are good for the environment.
Allbirds is determined to build on the materials that already exist to produce more sustainable footwear alternatives. They also have FSC Certification which means they source materials that meet meticulous standards to protect the environment, animals and the people who rely on them. As a result, they’ve invented their own revolutionary shoe soles and fabric.
The main three fabrics they use are Merino Wool, Sugarcane and Tree fibres.
They use Merino wool because:
The abundance of sheep in NZ means the process to create the fabric uses 60% less energy than materials used to make synthetic shoes.
Merino wool is so fine (in fact it’s 20% the diameter of human hair) which is ideal for the purpose of a breathable, temperature regulating, wicking fabric without irritating scratchiness.
The sheep the wool is collected from ‘live the good life’. Allbirds work with leading organisations like ZQ Merino to ensure their wool is held to high standards of farming, land management and animal welfare.
Sugarcane is used because:
Sugarcane is very self-sufficient which makes it able to help the cycle continue
Suguar is incredibly self-sufficient, so much so that when it’s processed, it’s biomass is extracted to power the mill and fertilise the following year’s crop.
The sugarcane they use is sourced in souther Brazil, where it relies on rainwater rather than irrigation. As a fully renewable resource, it grows quickly and removes carbon from the atmosphere in the process.
The sugarcane is transformed into their SweetFoam™ shoe sole where it moulds to your foot and provides a bouncy level of comfort.
And Tree Fibres because:
They are a renewable material, meaning that they will naturally be replenished back into the environment
Tree fibres create a silky smooth texture to the fabric
On top of this, each pair of laces is made from one recycled plastic bottle, called Sugar Zeffer straps. Castor bean oil is also used to make the bio-foam interior of the shoe and the bio-nylon anchors of the straps. All of which is then packaged in a box made from 90% recycled cardboard.
Allbirds are also a certified B Corp business, which means that the environment is just as important as a stakeholder as their bottom line.
If you’ve been looking to up your shoe game with some pretty epic materials to tell others about, or if you want to just get a pair of what has been called ‘the world’s most comfortable shoe’ then head on over to Allbirds and take a look at their full range of styles.