Who should buy the Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds is definitely something else on the market of walking footwear dominated by synthetic shoes. It is a shoe to consider if you value the following:

  • comfort, lots of it: the Wool Runner is so soft you want to wear it without socks
  • sustainability: each part of the shoe is made of responsibly-sources materials
  • versatility: the shoe remains comfortable in different temperatures (most;y cooler ones), offers support for all-day wear, is light and packable for traveling, and is easy to match with different outfits.

Who should not buy this walking shoe

There are certain situations where the Wool Runner may not be the best bet. But the brand made sure it has a shoe for various needs:

  • need a more breezy summer shoe? Allbirds Tree Runners
  • need a water-repellent shoe to keep you from getting wet? Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles
  • need a shoe that can do running and gym? Allbirds Tree Dasher 2

Various use cases of the Wool Runners

The majority of Wool Runner owners have used the shoe for all-day wear, commuting, city walks, etc. It is reported to feel comfortable at all times thanks to its plush and flexible sole. They also like that the shoe has a clean, minimal design which is appropriate in most office situations.

Traveling is another area where the shoe shines. The wearers have been easily able to put on 20K+ steps/day without any pain or discomfort. It is also super easy to pull on and off without untying the laces which makes it a favorite airport and flight shoe for many.

A lady reviewer finds it ideal for a trip to Europe where “they’d blend in better than bulky running shoes” while also being comfortable for the cobblestone streets. It is so light and flexible that you can easily mash it into a backpack and forget about overweight baggage fees.

But what this Allbirds shoe is definitely NOT for is running. Despite being called “Runner,” it is meant as a casual sneaker. Don’t get misled!

Well-fitting but no half sizes

The bad news is that Allbirds shoes don’t come in half sizes. But the good news is that if you’re in between sizes and go to the nearest full size up, you are sure to get the right fit.

Buyers claim that there is enough room in the shoe’s toe box but it still remains snug around the midfoot and heel. Some of the wearers that it fits like a glove and conforms to the foot very nicely, especially over time.

On the downside, the Wool Runners is best for people with narrow-to-neutral foot width. Those with wider feet say that it can be frustrating as the upper is rather unstructured and their feet “spill over the edges.”

Unbelievably comfortable shoe

“Like wearing slippers all day, ” “my feet feel cuddled and hugged all day long,” “ridiculously soft, I couldn't stop touching them,” these are just some of the happy comments coming from the wearers of Wool Runners. 

From the first step, the shoe feels so plush that many people claim it is one of the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever worn. The Merino wool keeps it fluffy and cozy with no itchiness at all. You can also forget about rubbing, blisters, or any kind of discomfort.

The SweetFoam midsole is also praised. There is a fine balance of support, softness, and flexibility. As some wearers reported, their feet never ached, even after spending all day walking.

However, if your feet tend to roll inwards, the Wool Runners are too squishy and do not have any arch support. As one vlogger shares, “even just walking around Brooklyn, I’ve almost rolled my ankle a couple of times.” Think of it as the total opposite of Converse Chuck Taylors. And if you need that kind of support, check out Skechers Arch Fit.

The insole is also lined with wool on the top to create that 360-degree comfort for the foot. And if you need to insert your custom orthotics, the insole is easily removable.

Socks: to wear or not to wear with the Allbirds Wool Runners?

The vast majority of those who tried wearing the Allbirds Wool Runners without socks were satisfied with the experience. They were actually surprised by how cozy it felt. Like one said, “the wool was so silky and smooth.” There are also no issues with rubbing or itchiness. Most reviewers also prove it to be “odor-free,” even after months of wear.

However, a smaller number of people did end up with smelly feet after going barefoot in the Allbirds Wool. But they noticed that it was mostly the insole that retained the smell, so they managed to ease the problem by replacing it. Allbirds actually sells insoles separately as well.

Cool when it’s warm, warm when it’s cold

The Wool Runners is highly appreciated for the fact that it is a good 3-season shoe (fall, winter, spring). It offers excellent thermoregulation for the temperature ranges of 41–68ºF (5–20ºC), which is perfect if you’re somewhere with variable weather. A reviewer from the Pacific NorthWest reported happily wearing the shoe six months of the year.

Just be sure to steer clear of these Allbirds when it gets extra hot or rainy/snowy. There is not enough ventilation for warmer weather and the material gets instantly soaked when it’s wet. 

Great quality and durability for its kind

Some of the reviewers have worn the shoe for 2+ years! Of course, the shoe’s wear-and-tear depends on how heavy it’s been used but overall, the Wool Runners remain in a rather solid condition for the first 8-10 months of regular wear.

The two parts of the shoe which suffer the most are the upper and the outsole. The toebox deflates and collapses over time and also tends to wrinkle. As for the outsole, its tread pattern fades out leaving you with a more slippery shoe.

Stay away from slippery surfaces in the Wools Runner

This Allbirds shoe has good enough traction for the common urban surfaces: paved roads, rubberized flooring, concrete, and asphalt. However, given the lack of lugs and a very smooth outsole surface, it’s better not to check the shoe’s grip on wet tile, muddy trails, ice, or rocks.

Remember that the shoe’s grip also fades away with use. One reviewer even says that “[he’s] almost eaten it on a subway platform wearing [his] faded Allbirds on a rainy day in NYC.”

Allbirds are super light shoes!

The Wool Runner weighs 8.9 oz (252 g) in a men’s US size 10. Compared to the average 11.3 oz (320 g) for men’s walking shoes, it “feels like wearing nothing,” according to the reviewers. Some people also take note of the excellent weight-to-comfort ratio of the Allbirds.

Sustainability is at the core of this shoe

From the ground up, the Wool Runner is made of sustainable materials. Sugarcane-based sole, castor oil-based insole, certified Merino wool upper, and shoe laces made of recycled plastic bottles. This shoe screams “go organic!”

And that’s not to mention that it emits 43% less CO2e compared to a standard sneaker.

Couldn’t be easier to take care of

The reviewers all agree that this Allbirds shoe is making life so much easier. To keep them clean, you can just throw them into the washing machine and let to air dry. But here are just a few tips from the shoe owners that prevent the wool from deteriorating quickly:

  • remove the insoles and the laces
  • put the shoes in a delicate’s wash bag
  • wash on the gentle cycle
  • put cardboard or paper balls inside to protect the shape
  • let them air dry

And if you don’t have a washing machine at hand, some wearers were able to wash the shoes by hand, and they still looked like new afterwards.

A few people mentioned that although they love the white and lighter colorways, their maintenance is “admittedly more intensive” than for the darker ones.

And several others complained that the Wool Runner is slow to dry. For them, it took anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. 

Simple but so elegant

The fact that the shoe has nothing catchy or flashy about it really makes it stand out from the crowd. You can even barely see the logo. So, be prepared to receive tons of compliments while wearing it.

Nearly all reviewers find it aesthetically pleasing and easy to dress up or down. It makes it an easy pick for daily wear on various occasions as it looks “casual and clean.”

There are 12 different colors to choose from with Natural Grey being the crowds’ favorite. As one reviewer says, it’s got “a minimal and subdued look.”

You might be surprised to find out that people like Obama, Mila Kunis, and Jessica Alba have been spotted wearing this Allbirds shoe. And Leonardo DiCaprio even invested in the company due to its sustainable approach.

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 8.9oz
Arch support: Neutral
Use: All-day wear, City, Disney, Europe, Travel, Work
Closure: Lace-up
Material: Wool
Features: Orthotic friendly / Lightweight / Removable insole / Cushioned
BRAND Brand: Allbirds

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Author
Laci
Laci

Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.