Wonderful footwear made of wool and wood
There is little worse than wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, especially if you have to walk a lot. The company Allbirds created a solution by making “the world’s most comfortable shoes” for women, men and children, made from New Zealand merino wool. Recently, they expanded their collection with shoes made from eucalyptus wood.
In New Zealand, sheep outnumber humans 6 to 1, so it is no wonder they have a lot of wool available. Merino wool, “the best hair in nature”, is only 20 per cent the diameter of a human hair, creating a breathable, temperature regulating and moisture wicking material, very suitable to make shoes without being scratchy. The merino wool used by Allbirds is ZQ Merino ceritified, ensuring that the wool meets the highest standards of farming, land management and animal welfare.
By using wool instead of synthetic materials, Allbirds says they use 60 per cent less energy than typical shoes.
While the wool shoes keep your feet nice and toasty when it’s cold, the new collection of Allbirds’ shoes are designed to keep your feet cool when it’s hot. Rather than being made from wool, but they are made from trees. The shoes are made from Tencel Lyocell, made from FSC certified eucalyptus tree fibres sourced from South African farms. The farms are selected for minimising fertiliser use and relying on rainfall rather than irrigation.
Eucalyptus trees require little water and are basically carbon-eating machines. Tencel Lyocell is a breathable material that is also silky smooth. Compared to traditional materials like cotton, it uses 95 per cent less water and cuts Allbirds’ carbon footprint in half.
In addition to wool and wood, the shoe laces of Allbirds’ shoes are made from recycled bottles, the insoles are made with castor oil, and the packaging is 90 per cent recycled cardboard.
Currently, Allbirds only ships to the US, New Zealand and Australia, but they hope to expand to other regions in the future.