aAs a fan of sneakers, I’m not only interested in the jewelry pieces on my feet, but also what the pedestrians wear, colleagues in the office, and stars in lifestyle magazines. In the past year, I noticed a label time and time again among famous people: Allbirds.
It must be said: if you are not familiar with the brand, you will not notice the sneakers as they remain simple. Fans of Allbirds include Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughey, and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Hollywood moms like Mila Kunis and Jennifer Garner. Even Barack Obama wears sustainable sneakers. Environmental activist and actor Leonardo DiCaprio is now a partner in the brand. But how do you achieve the sudden success?
After a decade as a professional soccer player, Tim Brown said goodbye in 2012 to “retire”. Astonishment echoes of the inexpensive materials and the brand’s obsession he encountered in his sports career. So Brown decided without further ado to design his own sneakers: they should be simple, simple, comfortable and sustainable, without an intrusive logo and loud neon colors.
High flyer from New Zealand
In 2014, with the help of a campaign, he raised € 100,000 for his brand within five days. Allbirds is born. The name is a nod to the native New Zealand of Brown: the island’s early settlers rarely saw any mammals, only birds. Brown brought in industrial engineer Joy Zwillinger to the company as co-founder and co-CEO. The California-based brand has been hitting the market since 2016.
In its first two years of its inception, it has sold more than a million pairs of sneakers. The shoes are made of eco-friendly materials like merino wool and eucalyptus fibers. Other models soon joined the first shoe, Wool Runner. My favorite, the Tree Dasher running shoe. The seamless top is made of eucalyptus fibers, and the laces are made of recycled plastic. Anatomically adaptive insole, merino wool padding and two-degree stiffness sugarcane insole ensure a comfortable fit – feather-light yet firm. Sustainability can be great!
Allbirds has now discovered about 25 sustainable materials for themselves; It can also be obtained from other companies via an open source platform. As the startup goes beyond traditional retail and sells directly to the end customers, athletic shoes are no more expensive than traditional sneakers and running shoes. In 2020, Allbirds announced that it would be the first fashion brand to label its products with CO2e-equivalent emissions during manufacturing. Allbirds creators talk about “the right amount from nothing”: invisible, functional, and even machine washable shoes.