Allbirds was founded by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger in 2014. A former business student, Brown had made leather shoes for friends in the past.
However, it wasn’t until later on that he decided to make his own sneaker. Teaming up with Zwillinger, a biotech engineer, the duo began to develop their product after successfully raising $119,000 on Kickstarter.
By 2016, they had opened for business. Within a year, they managed to raise over $7 million from investors such as Red Seas Ventures, Peterson Partners, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.
Fast forward to 2024 and they have retail stores in New York, Shanghai, San Francisco, Beijing, London, and Seattle.
Allbirds’ Footwear Materials
Allbirds offers various types of shoes, each of which is made of an eco-friendly fabric. Let’s take a look at their collections below.
Superfine Merino Wool Collection
Their merino wool collection is breathable, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating.
Made from superfine fibers (20% the diameter of a human hair), you won’t have to worry about any irritating scratchiness.
Cozy as a blanket, it’s soft on the inside and durable on the outside. There are two types of shoes in this collection—loungers and runners.
Tree Fiber Collection
Their tree fiber collection is made from Tencel Lyocell – a type of material that is derived from cellulose fibers.
Sourced from South Africa, the fabric is silky-smooth and breathable, with a cooling effect. Renewable and naturally-derived, it’s much more eco-friendly compared to traditional shoe materials.
Not only that, but they’re so soft that you can wear them without socks!
Sugarcane Sweetfoam Sole
Many of their shoes such as their runners come with their signature SweetFoam sole. Made from sugarcane material, it concurs to your feet for endless comfort.
Sourced from Southern Brazil, it not only grows quickly but also helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Trino Yarn Socks
Trino is a super-tan that’s made from tree and merino wool fibers. Responsibly sourced, it’s soft, moisture-wicking, and breathable—which makes it perfect for socks.
Complete with a reinforced heel and toe, they are guaranteed to last you a long time. What’s more, is that they come with special fibers on the footbed for slip prevention.
How to Wash Allbirds Wool Shoes
Are Allbirds Wool Shoes Machine Washable?
Yes, they can be put in the washing machine. Given the delicate nature of the fibers, however, there are a few things that you want to be mindful of.
First things first, remove the shoelaces. While you can leave them on, it’s much better to take them off – that’ll provide the detergent with better access to the shoe surface.
Similarly, you want to remove the Allbirds insoles. Place them in their own laundry bag and put them in the washing machine.
Note: The laces and insoles can also be washed in the sink. Mix a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent with cool water and soak the items. Let them sit for at least 15 minutes before rinsing them clean. Let them air dry afterward.
Once you’ve removed the laces and insoles, place the shoes in their own delicates bag – that will keep them together during the wash cycle. For the best results, add in a few clean towels.
Next, you’ll want to add your detergent. Ideally you want to use a mild gentle laundry detergent that works well for wool fabrics, like ACTIVE Detergent. Don’t add any fabric softener – it will prevent the wool from pulling moisture away from your skin.
Bleach should also be skipped as it can damage the material. White vinegar is a suitable alternative if you want to soften your shoes.
Run a gentle cycle (or a wool cycle if your washing machine has the option), and make sure to use cold water – hot water can cause your wool shoes to shrink.
Once the cycle is finished, take the shoes out and let them air dry in a well-ventilated room—the same goes for the insoles and laces. Never use the dryer with Allbirds shoes unless you want to buy a new pair.
How to Hand Wash Your Allbirds Wool Shoes
Allbirds footwear can also be washed by hand with a gentle detergent. If anything, it’s much better for the wool compared to machine washing.
The first thing that you want to do is to fill a bucket or tub with cool water. Never use hot or warm water as the heat can cause the wool fibers to shrink.
Next, add a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent. Swirl the water with your hand to dissolve the powder.
Pro-tip: It’s a good idea to clean your shoes with a soft brush first before submerging them. That will allow you to remove any dirt or mud that might be on the surface.
Remove the laces and insoles from your shoes (you want to wash them separately in the sink) and place the shoes in the tub.
It’s important that you submerge the whole thing in the soapy water. Leave it alone for at least 20 minutes – that will give the detergent time to remove the dirt and grime from the fabric.
Pick up the shoes afterward and rinse them with cool water in the sink. Make sure that all of the soap film is removed—you don’t want there to be any remnants on the fabric. Allow them to dry completely before putting the laces and insoles back in (double-check that they’re dry too before doing so).
Note: Stains on the surface of the shoe can be removed with a soft-bristled brush. Dip it in the soapy solution and use it to clean the material (use gentle, circular motions).
How to Deodorize Allbirds Wool Shoes
Here are a few ways that you can deodorize your Allbirds shoes.
Deodorize Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is super effective when it comes to removing smells. Simply sprinkle a liberal amount into the shoe.
For the best results, leave the powder in overnight. The longer it’s in the shoe, the more effective it will be as a deodorizing agent.
Remove the powder from your shoes in the morning (simply shake them upside down) and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, you can create your own “deodorizing pack” by filling a pair of old socks with baking soda. Tie them up tightly and stuff them into each shoe. Remove them in the morning.
Unlike the previous method, you won’t have to worry about there being any residue inside.
Deodorize with Fabric Softener Sheets
Dryer sheets aren’t just for the dryer – you can also put them in your shoes. That’s right, they can be used to neutralize odors.
Just leave them in your shoes for a few hours. Take them out before wearing them.
Deodorize with White Vinegar
White vinegar is also great for odors. Dampen a clean cloth or rag and use it to wipe the inside of each shoe.
If necessary, stuff the inside with newspaper to help get rid of excess water. Do not use balsamic or apple cider vinegar as these variations can stain the wool material.
Deodorize with Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is fantastic at killing odor-causing bacteria. As with vinegar, you want to start by dampening a cloth with the product.
Proceed to wipe the insides with the cloth, paying attention to the corners. The great thing about alcohol is that it dries quickly.
How to Wash Allbirds Shoes – FAQs
Can I put my Allbirds shoes directly in the washing machine?
It’s best to put your shoes in a mesh delicates bag before putting them in the washing machine. The mesh bag will keep them together and prevent them from banging inside the washer.
How can I prevent my Allbirds from developing an odor?
Wearing socks is the best way to prevent odors. You also want to let them air out after each wear.
Is hand washing Allbirds better than using a gentle cycle?
When it comes to shoe care, hand washing will always be the gentler option. You just need a tub, some mild detergent, and water.
Can I put my Allbirds wool shoes in the dryer?
No, you should never put your Allbirds into the dryer. The heat, even on the gentle setting, will permanently damage the wool material.
The better option is to air-dry your allbirds. Not only is it better for the wool but it’ll also use less energy.
What kind of gentle laundry detergent should I use?
ACTIVE Detergent is the best option for your Allbirds shoes. It will penetrate deep into the fibers and break down odor-causing bacteria.