- Amazing in-shoe comfort
- Equally cozy at 41 and 68ºF
- Can be worn without socks
- Super lightweight
- Sustainable materials
- Simple, easy-to-match style
- Not for rain or snow
- Not for hot weather
- Loses traction over time
Who should buy the Allbirds Wool Runners
- 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 (mostly cooler ones), offers support for all-day wear, is light and packable for travelling, 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? On Cloud 5 Waterproof
- need a shoe that can do running and gym? Nike Motiva
Cool when it’s warm, warm when it’s cold
We highly appreciate Wool Runner 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.
Just be sure to steer clear of these Allbirds when it gets extra hot or rainy/snowy. We found that there is not enough ventilation for warmer weather and the material gets instantly soaked when it’s wet.
In our smoke test below, you can see that the shoe is only ventilated through the tongue area, as opposed to the highly breathable Tree Dasher.
Allbirds Wool Runner (left), Allbirds Tree Dasher (right)
You can also observe the density of the wool upper in our transparency test. On our 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable, the Wool Runner gets 1.
Various use cases of the Wool Runners
We used and tested the shoe for all-day wear, commuting, city walks, etc. We felt comfortable at all times thanks to its plush and flexible sole.
We also liked that the shoe has a clean, minimal design which is appropriate in most office situations.
Travelling is another area where the shoe shines. We 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 our favourite airport and flight shoe.
We also noticed that is comfortable to use on cobblestone streets. Also, it is so light and flexible that you can easily mash it into a backpack and forget about overweight baggage fees.
But we want to warn you that this Allbirds shoe is definitely NOT for running. Despite being called “Runner,” it is meant as a casual sneaker. Don’t get misled!
Go true to size
Upon trying on the shoe, we believe that it ran true to our regular shoe size.
Indeed, the shoe seems to run true to size. We measured the internal length at 261.3 mm in a men's US 8. According to Allbirds' size chart, this corresponds to US 8.
As for the width, there is enough room in the toe box while the rest of the shoe fits like a glove and conforms to the foot very nicely, especially over time.
In its widest part, the forefoot is 99.6 mm. This is considered wide for a walking shoe.
Unbelievably comfortable shoe
Our feet felt cuddled and hugged all the time that we wore Wool Runners. It almost felt like we were wearing slippers.
From the first step, the shoe feels so plush that we couldn't help but assign it as one of the most comfortable shoes we’ve ever worn. The Merino wool keeps it fluffy and cosy with no itchiness at all. You can also forget about rubbing, blisters, or any kind of discomfort.
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.
Based on our measurements, the insole on the Wool Runners is 7.7 mm thick which is 2-3 mm thicker than most of our lab-tested shoes.
We admire the shoe's SweetFoam cushioning as there is a fine balance of support, softness, and flexibility. Also, our feet never ached, even after spending all day walking.
This Allbirds shoe is quite generously cushioned, especially in the heel section. We measured the stack height at 30.8 mm.
The forefoot stack is 16.6 mm, which makes the heel-to-toe drop 14.2 mm. In simple words, your heel gets a lot of impact protection when you make a step.
Pleasantly soft but not mushy
The Wool Runners have just enough softness in their sole to keep the foot comfortable.
Our durometer measurements show that the shoe strikes a balance between soft and firm with a slight incline towards the latter. For reference, it is 20% firmer than the Allbirds Tree Dasher running shoe.
Wool Runner is extremely flexible
Allbirds Wool Runners are some of the most flexible walking shoes on our roster. They can only be beaten by OluKai sneakers.
On a 1-5 scale where 1 is the most flexible, the shoe receives 1 on both longitudinal and torsional flexibility.
Not the best choice for flat feet
If your feet tend to roll inwards, we found the Wool Runners too squishy and do not have any arch support. Even just walking around Brooklyn, we’ve almost rolled our ankles 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.
Socks: to wear or not to wear with the Allbirds Wool Runners?
We tried wearing the Allbirds Wool Runners without socks and we were satisfied with the experience. We were actually surprised by how cosy it felt. The wool was so silky and smooth. There are also no issues with rubbing or itchiness. We can confirm that it's odour-free even for sockless wear.
While our feet stayed odour-free in this shoe after months of wear, we still want to advise people with naturally sweaty feet to wear socks as we found that there is a tendency for the insole to retain a smell. Take note that Allbirds actually sells insoles separately as well, so if you want to replace yours, it can be done.
Great quality and durability for its kind
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.
We discovered that the two parts of the shoe that 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.
There is no rubber outsole to protect the shoe's exposed foam. In addition, the bottom surface lacks firmness which is often correlated with less longevity. For comparison, it is 22% softer than the Tree Dasher which has a rubber layer.
Stay away from slippery surfaces in the Wools Runner
We observed that this Allbirds shoe has good enough traction for common urban surfaces: paved roads, rubberized flooring, concrete, and asphalt. However, given the lack of lugs and a very smooth outsole surface, we found that 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.
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. We commend 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 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
We couldn't agree more that this Allbirds shoe makes 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 to prevent the wool from deteriorating quickly:
- remove the insoles and the laces
- put the shoes in a delicate 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, we were also able to wash the shoes by hand, and they still looked like new afterward.
Although we love the white and lighter colorways, their maintenance is admittedly more intensive than for the darker ones.
We also noticed that the Wool Runner is slow to dry. 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 tonnes of compliments while wearing it.
We 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 colours to choose from with Natural Grey being the crowds’ favourite as 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.