I’ve heard a lot of chatter among enthusiastic Rothy’s customers about Allbirds as a great (and more supportive) casual shoe option and I was intrigued to check them out. This is a rare instance where a popular online shoe style is available for men and women, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Rob and I to both give Allbirds a try. Earlier this spring, we each carefully selected a pair that suited our style and needs. Since then we have worn our shoes anywhere and everywhere. We’ve learned a lot along the way and are very excited to finally share our thoughts with a His & Her Allbirds review. Keep reading to hear about our personal experiences and discover answers to all your burning questions.
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Taking a Moment to Rave about Rob’s Allbirds
Rob will share his own thoughts on his Allbirds Tree Runners in a minute and I will be sure to tell you all about my Allbirds Tree Skippers too, but it’s no secret that I’m the one in the family with the strong opinions on style. Rob is pretty low-maintenance and easy to please about his clothes (sometimes a little too easy to please). Over the years, I’ve found myself being especially critical of Rob’s footwear selections more than any other type of attire. His only requirement tends to be that his shoes are comfortable and roughly coordinate with the rest of his outfit (dress shoes with work clothes, sneakers on the weekends, sandals when it’s hot, etc.). I will always remember a particular pair of casual athletic shoes Rob wore when we first started dating that looked like shoes someone’s grandfather would wear. They were even manufactured by a popular brand that I like. But that particular style of casual walking shoe was pretty terrible and I always cringed when Rob wore his “grandpa shoes” out and about.
Then we tried on Allbirds and words cannot express how much I love the way the Tree Runners look on Rob. He will tell you all of his thoughts on their comfort level a little further along in this post, but going purely by aesthetics, the Men’s Tree Runners are fantastic. Rob looks so much more stylish and put together when he wears his Allbirds than he ever looked in any other athletic shoe. In some ways, I kind of can’t believe that the person I’m staring at is my function-over-fashion-oriented-husband.
If you’ve never heard of Allbirds and are wondering what Rob and I are talking about, here’s a quick overview of Allbirds shoes:
Allbirds: What all the Fuss is About
Maybe you’ve heard all about Allbirds and just want to know if they’re worth the expense. Maybe you’ve been on the hunt for a simple, supportive sneaker that’s low maintenance and comfortable to wear all day. Maybe you’ve never heard of Allbirds before, but are a fan of previous shoe reviews (like Tieks and Rothy’s) that I have shared on the blog. It doesn’t matter why you’re here, we are both happy to share a little (ok, a lot) about Allbirds with you and you’ll find everything you need to know in this review. Here are some basic facts about Allbirds at a glance:
- Allbirds are stylish, comfortable, washable, sustainable shoes for men, women, and kids.
- Allbirds are constructed from sustainable materials that leave a low carbon footprint – such as merino wool, tree fibers that rely on rainfall (rather than irrigation), plastic water bottles, and castor bean oil.
- Five styles of Allbirds are available for Men.
- Six styles are available for Women.
- “Smallbirds” wool runners are available in kid sizes 5T-10T for $55 each
- Men’s and Women’s shoe prices range from $95-$135, depending on the style – which are the lowest prices of any shoes I’ve written a dedicated review for on the blog.
- Allbirds are machine washable and feature a removable insole.
It’s also worth noting that Allbirds is a certified B Corporation, which means they “use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.” In other words, Allbirds isn’t just looking to maximize profits at any cost. They are genuinely striving to create a sustainable, positive impact in the world.
Two Different Kinds of Allbirds Materials
Allbirds come in a variety of styles, most of which are made from two different materials: tree or wool. If you are shopping for a pair of Allbirds, the first thing you want to consider is what type of material you want your shoes to be made from.
The Tree Collection
Allbirds Tree shoes – All of the Tree styles from Allbirds are made from lyocell (also known as Tencel) tree material. The tree material does not stretch and maintains its shape over time. The unique Tencel fabric also helps the shoes to be light, breathable and cooling for your feet.
The Wool Collection
Allbirds Wool shoes – Allbirds Wool shoes are manufactured from merino wool, which is prone to stretching over time. The wool shoes are soft, moisture-wicking and cozy without any itching thanks to the super-fine properties of merino wool.
Selecting a Style
Once you reach a decision on the best Allbirds materials for your needs, it’s time to select a style.
Five different styles of Allbirds are available for men and women: Runners, Loungers, Skippers, Toppers, and Runner-Ups. Women also have a ballet-flat style available to them online – Breezers. Here’s a quick rundown of all the styles:
Runners: a running-style shoe. Not intended for actual running or performance, but they are a great supportive shoe to get you through the day. Runners are available in Tree, Wool, and a new Wool Mizzle style for men and women that’s water-resistant and designed to wear in the rain. If between sizes, size up for Wool Runners and Mizzles; size down for Tree Runners.
Runner-ups: basically the high top version of the Runner style. These are only available in Wool Mizzle to keep your feet extra dry and cozy (it’s basically Allbirds version to an all-weather boot.) Size up if in between sizes.
Loungers: a loafer-style shoe made to easily slip on and off your foot without the need to bother with laces. Available in Tree and Wool. Size up if between sizes.
Skippers: a lightweight, low-cut shoe with laces. Available in Tree material only. Size up if between sizes.
Toppers: basically the Tree Skipper in high top form. Available in Tree material only. Size up if between sizes.
Breezers (women only): Allbirds version of the classic flat. A lightweight, tree-based, slip-on shoe that just might be nice enough to wear to work. Available in full and half sizes. Allbirds recommends purchasing in your regular shoe size.
Click to shop Women’s Breezers.
Smallbirds Wool Runners
Smallbirds Wool Runners: the cutest little pint-size version of the adult Runner style. These unisex shoes are available in wool only, sizes 5T to 10T.
Click to shop Smallbirds Wool Runners.
His & Her Allbirds Review
Now that you know a little about the Allbirds brand, the shoe materials and the styles available; it’s time to finally let you know all our thoughts about “The World’s Most Comfortable Shoe.” We put our Allbirds to the test to see just how comfortable they are, how well they hold up, how easy they are to clean and discover answers to a dozen other questions. I already gushed a little about the appearance of Rob’s Allbirds Tree Runners, but there is so much more to share.
Maria’s Review of Allbirds Tree Skippers
When I prepared to order my first pair of Allbirds, I went in circles about which pair to order. I really wanted a light, neutral-colored pair of shoes for the warmer months. Light gray was my ideal because they wouldn’t show as much dirt, but Allbirds has a limited selection of colors (especially for women – which is frustrating). If I wanted something light, it would have to be white.
I knew Rob was ordering the Tree Runner style, so I went with the Tree Skipper. I always love the simple, classic look of Keds shoes in the summer, but my feet do not love the way they feel in Keds for an extended period of time. I figured the Tree Skipper would be a great, comparable style and since I ordered mine in the spring, the Tree-based shoes seemed like the way to go.
I love going sock-less during the summer months and was hoping to wear my Allbirds Tree Skippers without socks all season long, especially since the product description says they’re “so soft, you can wear sockless.” In fact, I successfully wore them a few times on short walks through the neighborhood without socks. Sure enough, they were quite comfortable, especially around the laces, which is where most lightweight tennis shoes dig into my feet when worn without socks. Each time I wore the Tree Skippers though, I noticed that there was a little extra room in the heel area (even though the rest of the shoe fit fine and a smaller size would have been too small).
One day, I felt particularly adventurous and wore them for a two-mile walk. I went without socks and was a little nervous about the heel rubbing, so I grabbed a few band-aids just in case blisters started to form and I needed relief. About halfway through the walk, the heel discomfort became quite sharp and I applied a band-aid to each of my heels. The band-aids were no match for all of the rubbing, friction, and discomfort. I was practically limping by the time I finally arrived home and had a small blister on each heel. I’m certain that the blisters would have been much larger without the band-aids, but I knew I needed to wear socks with my Allbirds from that day forward.
Ever since then, I’ve worn white no-show Bombas with my Allbirds Tree Skippers and haven’t had a single issue. I the regular No-Show style and also a pair of Cushioned No-Show socks. Both work great and are equally comfortable to wear with my Allbirds. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
Pro tip: You can order a single pair of Bombas socks from Nordstrom and get free shipping. If you try a pair and decide you love them enough to order more, I recommend ordering directly from Bombas.com (you’ll save 20% on your first order AND get free shipping when you spend $50 or more).
One thing that I don’t love about the Allbirds Tree Skippers is the silhouette of the shoe. In all of these photos, the shape of the shoe looks totally fine and absolutely normal. But from my perspective looking down, the shoes seem a little bit too wide across the top of my foot and they remind me of the shape of a duck’s webbed foot.
The slightly wide silhouette isn’t terrible and it isn’t enough to stop me from wearing the shoes completely, but it does hold me back from falling in love with my Allbirds Tree Skippers. And when I’m going out and want to look put-together, I usually keep my Allbirds at home and opt to wear a different comfortable style of shoe (like my Rothy’s or my Tieks). That being said, they are great for casual family walks throughout the neighborhood and are quite comfortable when worn with a pair of no-show socks.
Since my shoes are white, it’s no surprise that they do get dirty quite easily. I had a bit of a run-in with a friendly muddy-pawed dog when we shot photos for this post, which left my formerly pristine Tree Skippers looking like this.
I followed the care instructions and washed my shoes in the gentle cycle with inserts and laces removed. The shoes improved a bit, but the stains only faded. And to be honest, I didn’t really expect them to disappear completely. Here’s a photo of my Allbirds Tree Skippers fresh from a recent run through the washing machine. I even let them soak in cold water and Oxyclean for a few hours before running the wash cycle. As you can see, they’ve held up pretty well, but will never be pristine again.
Rob’s Review of Allbirds Tree Runners
I hadn’t heard of Allbirds before Maria brought them to my attention. I absolutely love my Toms, but I really liked the idea of a lightweight, breathable shoe that I could wear in the summer, especially when we go on family walks with Dessa (and baby number two, once he or she finally makes an appearance). For casual daily wear, I pretty much only had two types of footwear: Toms Oxfords and a pair of really comfortable, but old and worn flip-flops that I’m having a really hard time replacing. My feet got too hot in the summer wearing my Toms, but the flip-flops aren’t kind to my feet when we go on long walks.
It didn’t take me long to narrow down what type of shoe I wanted; the Tree Runners just looked the best to me. The harder part was the color. It took me a long time to decide which color to go with. I thought about getting white, but I was concerned about getting them dirty. I’m not easy on shoes, so I was almost certain they would get dirty in no time. And, based on Maria’s experience with her white Tree Skippers, I’m really glad I didn’t get the white. I had my eye on the Concrete color, which is kind of a bluish-grey. Unfortunately, it was out of stock. I set up an email notification so I could purchase the shoes when they came back in stock and I hoped it would happen in the next couple weeks. Sure enough, more came quickly into stock and I immediately bought a pair. (Unfortunately, they don’t have Concrete anymore. If I had to buy right now, I’d probably get the the Marine Blue or maybe the Savannah Dusk, which is another limited-time special color.)
While I was waiting for the Concrete Tree Runners to come back in stock, I knew that I needed some no-show socks to wear with my Allbirds. I cannot wear shoes without socks; my feet sweat way too much and the shoes start smelling almost immediately. I asked my fashion consultant (you guessed it: Maria!) about what no-show socks I should try and she suggested Bombas because they are so highly reviewed online. I ordered a neutral four-pack of Men’s Cushioned No-Shows and I love them. They fit great, don’t slip, and work perfectly with low-cut shoes like my Tree Runners.
But back to the Runners!
I adore them. They’re super comfortable, very breathable (even with the Bombas no-show socks), and best of all (for me) I can take them on and off usually without untying the laces (yes, I’m lazy). I wasn’t used to such a lightweight shoe, so it was a little odd how much freedom it felt like my toes had to wiggle, but I soon got used to that. The heel also moves a bit more than I’m used to with other shoes, but it doesn’t both me at all and I’ve not had any problems with chafing.
Maria mentioned how her Tree Skippers seem a little too wide when she looks down at them on her feet. The same is true for the Tree Runners, but it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s not clown-ish or anything like that; just a little wider than most shoes. I wear mine all the time: on walks, to church on hot days, to the store, and so on. I love my Allbirds Tree Runners and heartily recommend them to anyone looking for a lightweight, breathable shoe for warm weather.
Next up, I’m thinking about checking out the Wool Runner-up Mizzles for winter to see if they keep my feet warm. My feet are cold basically all winter long and the wool sounds nice and warm, while it would be nice to have some level of water resistance in dealing with snow and slush.
Answers to All Your Allbirds Questions
Now that we’ve had a chance to share a little of our personal opinions and first impressions of Allbirds, we really wanted to dig in with all the details and answers to questions that you’re probably wondering about. If you’ve got a question about Allbirds, we’ve got the answer!
How often does Allbirds release new colors?
If you shop on the Allbirds website, you will notice that limited colors are available for each style of shoe. Most styles have a collection of “classic” colors available, which are almost always in-stock. Each style of shoe also has “limited edition” colors that are only available for a limited time until a particular color runs out. New colors are released a few times throughout the year, but there doesn’t seem to be a specific schedule for how often they are released. Based on my observations, the release of new colors seems to be a pretty rare occurrence.
Even though it seems completely backward to me, more colors are usually available for men than for women. If you’re a woman size 9.5 or up, be sure to check out the men’s collection too for the best color variety. (Sorry to all women with smaller feet, your color choices are limited.)
What is the difference between the Allbirds men’s and women’s sizes?
With the exception of the Breezers (which are for women only), all Allbirds styles are unisex and the men’s & women’s versions are cut from the same model. The men’s sizes just run 1.5 sizes larger than women’s. If you’re a woman who typically wears a size 10, a men’s 8 or 9 would fit you perfectly. Likewise, men in a size 7 can purchase a women’s size 8 or 9 (depending on if they need to size up or down.)
Do Allbirds fit true to size?
In our experience, Allbirds do fit true to size. Only full sizes are available for most of the styles, so if you are in-between sizes, we recommend following the advice of Allbirds on sizing up or down depending on the style of shoe.
The Allbirds FAQs page explains:
“If you typically wear a half size, we suggest sizing up in our Wool Collection.
For the Tree, we’ve found that most half-sized customers size down in the Tree Runners and up in the Tree Skippers, Loungers and Toppers.“
Do Allbirds come in wide sizes?
Allbirds shoes do not come in specialized wide sizes at this time. For customers with wide feet, Allbirds recommends going up to the next full size in all of their shoe styles.
Do Allbirds Stretch?
Based on our personal experiences and what we’ve read online, all of the Allbirds Tree styles maintain their shape with little to no stretching over time. We don’t own any wool styles yet, but the information online explains that the wool shoes will naturally stretch a bit over time.
Do Allbirds Hurt Your Big Toe?
This is a huge question for me (Maria), since my number one complaint about some shoes is the amount of pressure they put on my big toe. I’ve had quite a bit of trouble finding a comfortable pair of Tieks for this reason. I have noticed some pressure and discomfort on my big toe after wearing my Allbirds for an extended period of time, but I don’t think it’s the shoe that’s causing the pressure. I think it’s a combination of the Allbirds and the tightness of the Bombas no-show sock. The discomfort isn’t unbearable. It’s more of a dull pain after a long day of wearing my Allbirds.
As for Rob, he has never had a single bit of discomfort (in the toes or anywhere else) from his Tree Runners and he always wears Bombas with his shoes – which is really saying something because Rob has worn his own Allbirds far more often than I’ve worn mine. They’ve quickly become his favorite pair of shoes.
Are Allbirds really that comfortable?
That’s really the big question, isn’t it? If you ask Rob, his answer is a clear and resounding YES! Rob has zero complaints about the fit or comfort level of his Allbirds Tree Runners. He loves them and is anxious to try another pair.
As for me, I’d say that my Allbirds Tree Skippers are quite comfortable as long as I am pairing them with a good pair of no-show socks. (I tried going sock-less in my Tree Skippers when I first bought them, but the extra space in the heel resulted in a blisters from too much rubbing and friction.) Aside from the heel issue, I can confirm that the interior of my Allbirds Tree Skippers really is quite soft and that I was particularly pleased with the comfort level across the top of my foot from the tongue and laces (which is a notoriously uncomfortable area for me when wearing other athletic-style shoes).
How do Allbirds hold up?
Rob and I treat our Allbirds very differently so we have two different perspectives on this question. Rob wears his Tree Runners out and about every chance he gets (as long as it’s not particularly rainy or muddy outside.) He has never washed his Allbirds and likes that they still look like new. Rob’s shoes are holding up great, despite the miles and miles he has put on them. They still look and wear just as nice as they did on the very first day he tried them on.
As for me, my white Tree Skippers got a little muddy right away from our friends’ excited dog whom we encountered at the park. It had been a rainy start to the day and the dog’s dirty paws landed right on top of my brand new white shoes a few times. I took the stains in stride and figured it was a great opportunity to test out the washability of my Allbirds.
I followed the care instructions and threw my Allbirds Tree Skippers in with our whites on a cold water gentle cycle. Initially, I was kind of disappointed with how the shoes washed up. I wasn’t exactly expecting a miracle (and admittedly, I didn’t treat them with any special stain removers), but quite a bit of dirt was still clearly on display.
Since then, I have worn my Tree Skippers dozens of times and thrown them in the wash a few times. Most recently, I let them soak in Oxyclean for a few hours hoping it would lighten some of the stains. This is how my shoes looked after they had a chance to soak, wash and dry.
Can I wear Allbirds in the rain?
The good news is that a little bit of water won’t hurt any of the regular Allbirds Wool or Tree style shoes. The bad news is that if you wear them in a downpour, your feet will get wet. The Tree material is very absorbent and can only handle a light drizzle before they start to absorb water. According to the Allbirds FAQ page, wool is naturally a somewhat waxy and more resistant to water, which means they can sustain a little more wet weather before they start to soak.
If you’re not a fan of wet feet (and who is, really?), Allbirds recently released a new line of Wool shoes called Mizzles, about which they say “your feet will stay dry and comfy, no matter what the weather report has in store.” According to the Allbirds website, these shoes are completely waterproof and I’m more than a little curious to see how they hold up in wet weather.
Are Allbirds Washable?
Yes, all styles and varieties of Allbirds shoes are washable, but it’s important that you closely follow the care instructions for best results.
The Tree and traditional Wool styles of Allbirds can be machine washed on a delicate/wool cycle. Make sure you remove the laces and insoles before washing and it is recommended that you use a gentle detergent and toss them in a delicates bag before tossing them in the wash. I don’t take any chances with my Allbirds and always wash them in cold water. Always air dry your Allbirds after washing and do not put them in the dryer, which could cause them to shrink.
The Allbirds Mizzle shoes require a bit more care because they are waterproof. If shoes become soiled and need to be cleaned, the recommended treatment is to spot the shoes with warm water and gentle soap. If spot cleaning doesn’t completely remove the stains, Allbirds recommends hand washing the Mizzle shoes. If the shoes are really soiled, it is ok to wash your Allbirds Mizzles in the delicate cycle, but the information online makes it sound like a last resort. Don’t forget to remove the insoles and laces before washing and make sure you don’t put Mizzles in the dryer.
Do Allbirds provide enough support?
Allbirds are supportive enough for our needs. We never have any pain or tiredness in our feet after wearing our Allbirds for an extended period of time. Since Rob’s shoes are a Runner style, they have a larger arch and offer more support than my Skippers.
All Allbirds come with a removable insert that offers some support, but if additional arch support is desired, most styles are roomy enough to accommodate your own orthotic inserts as a replacement for the ones that come with your shoes.
Can I buy Allbirds in a Store?
You can purchase Allbirds in-store if you visit one of their retail locations. There are several Allbirds stores located in the US and abroad. You can visit any of the Allbirds stores in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and two locations in San Francisco; as well as abroad in the UK, China and New Zealand.
For the rest of us, Allbirds are available for purchase online at Allbirds.com. I know how intimidating it can be to take the leap and invest in expensive shoes without trying them on first. I had a hard time with that, too. The good news is that Allbirds offers free shipping and returns. Even better yet, they have a 30-day free trial period; which allows you to wear your Allbirds out of the house while you decide whether or not to keep your shoes. If you send your shoes back within 30 days, they will provide a full refund with no questions asked. That makes it less scary, don’t you think?
How do Allbirds returns work?
We make a lot of online purchases and I have never heard of a return policy that’s as flexible as the one Allbirds has in place. Allbirds actually encourages customers to wear their shoes as much as possible (indoors and outdoors) to make sure the shoes are a fantastic and comfortable fit. If at any time a customer is not pleased with their purchase during the 30-day window, the shoes can be shipped back to Allbirds free of charge for a full refund with no questions asked! You and I both know how beat up a pair of shoes can get once you wear them out of the house and I think it is fantastic that Allbirds gives customers the opportunity to fully try on their shoes before deciding whether or not the shoes are a perfect fit.
Do Allbirds ever go on sale?
I’ve only been following Allbirds for about six months, but I did a lot of digging online in search of an answer to this question. I have never run across an Allbirds sale and I did find an answer to this question on the Allbirds FAQ page. They explain:
At Allbirds, we don’t believe in discounts. Why, you ask? Because we work hard every day to make premium-quality shoes that look great and feel amazing (think cashmere sweater, but for your feet!) – all while minimizing our impact on the planet and cost to you. That’s the beauty of selling directly to our fans!
Honestly, it makes a lot of sense. Since Allbirds are only available online and at their own retail locations, there isn’t a middleman (like Nordstrom or DSW) that would take a cut of the commissions – which allows Allbirds to keep their prices as low as possible all year round without the pressure of offering seasonal discounts.
Do Allbirds come in kid sizes?
Yes! Allbirds offers one style of shoe in toddler sizes: the Smallbirds Wool Runners. It’s kind of a bummer that they don’t make coordinating styles for big kids (like Rothy’s or Tieks), but hopefully one day Allbirds will expand their inventory to include more styles and sizes for kids.
Share your thoughts and questions
And there you have it! All of our thoughts, opinions, and research on Allbirds. In terms of comfort, they definitely are worth the money and their outstanding return policy simply cannot be beaten. If you have a question that we didn’t answer in the post or would like to join the discussion, please leave a message in the comments. We will reply as quickly as we are able.
You may want to save this image on Pinterest so you can easily refer back to it later.
Thank you so much to Erika Christine Photography for all of the great photos used in today’s post.
More Reviews of Popular Shoes
If you found this review helpful and have been wondering about other shoes only that women rave about, you should check out my previous reviews on Tieks and Rothy’s. I wear both brands of shoes regularly and own multiple pairs of each. Both reviews are very honest and share the positive and negative experiences I’ve had trying out each brand of shoe. Click either of the images below to read my complete reviews.