Join Tiffany Luckett, founder of Style Collective, as she chats to Sandeep Verma – The Head of International at cult sustainable footwear brand Allbirds.
They chat about everything from how the company is coping during lockdown, their recent collaboration with major sportswear brand Adidas to create ‘the world’s most sustainable sneaker’ and their expansion into new product categories.
Who are Allbirds?
Allbirds are an incredible footwear brand from the U.S. founded around 6 years ago. Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown wanted to create a sneaker brand that was different from the rest of the industry. The sneaker industry was at that time, and still is, based on a wholesale model, with the largest brands selling their shoes to outlets worldwide (as well as direct to consumer). However Joey & Tim wanted to do things differently in that respect.
They also wanted to create a sneaker that was ethically produced, with natural responsibly sourced materials. All whilst baring in mind the carbon footprint of the sneakers they were making. The sneaker industry has an output of roughly 700 million tonnes of carbon per year, which is roughly the same size as the carbon output of the whole of Germany. Quite a shocking statistic, and so they wanted to help change this.
Their first original trainer was the Merino wool runners. These have been dubbed the world’s most comfortable sneaker due to the ethically sourced Merino wool which makes your feet feel like they are wrapped in a blanket. The laces are made from recycled plastic bottles, the midsole of the shoe is made from Brazilian sugarcane (the world’s first carbon negative green EVA – created by Allbirds) and the insoles are made from castor bean oil.
Most recently they have launched a more technical product, their first running shoe. Launched during the height of lockdown in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, the dasher shoe was a major success.
What’s next for the brand?
Sandeep explains that the brand has just launched a collaboration project with the world’s largest & most successful sportswear brand, Adidas, to create the world’s most sustainable shoe.
They have also just launched another new product line, their basics range of clothes, which includes underwear and socks. Creating this new line has also meant that the brand have created a whole new material dubbed Trino™, made from eucalyptus fibre and merino wool. The material is ultra soft and moisture wicking, perfect for underwear.
And the verdict? Are they worth the money?
I’ve had 2 pairs of the original Merino wool sneakers and I can tell you that I have never worn another shoe that is so comfortable. I have to say that they may not be the coolest looking shoe you’re ever going to see, but their simple design means they work with every outfit and are non-offensive at any occasion. They are also machine washable multiple times. Don’t take them to anywhere hot though, they really are toasty.
I have also recently tested the most recent addition to the collection, the performance dashers and can also testify that they are brilliant. Light, airy and also pretty (I got the mint colour)
Listen to the episode here: