I have been wearing my Allbirds shoes – The wool runners – for over a month now and they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They have several qualities that really work for me. The most noticeable thing is the wool upper instead of leather as in the olden days or the various kinds of plastics as we commonly see now, but instead, it is a high-quality Merino wool from New Zealand.
Wearing these shoes is like slipping into a perfectly fitting sock but with a sole. Another thing is the widish support around the sides which provides a noticeable stability when walking. I have been wearing Crocs a lot for the last couple of years because they are so very lightweight and comfortable, but they tend to roll to the side a little and can give a bit of instability. A strange and unexpected further quality is that, because of the lightness and fit, these Allbirds somehow make me walk faster and climb stairs quicker too. I don’t know just why this is, but it works for me.
These are great shoes for civilized wearing, but for outdoors in a dry grassy field, they are horrible. The wool picks up cheatgrass quickly and it burrows into the wool and right on through into my feet. This is hard to explain in words so I made these photos to explain the problem.
These are some samples of the weeds that caused the sticker problem. Here is some other kind that doesn’t burrow but really clings to the shoes.
A close up so you can see the little hooks on the seeds.
These are some of the kinds of seeds that burrow into the wool.
A closeup photo showing the little hooks pointed back so the seeds burrow one-way into the wool and don’t come out. You can pick them out with your fingernails while they are still on the outside of the shoe, but once they get deep into the fabric they have to be pulled on through to the inside. That can be difficult. But … if you don’t pull them out, they burrow into your skin like needles, so when you wear Allbirds pick them out early and there isn’t a problem.
I love my Allbirds shoes, but I learned the hard way not to get into dry grassy fields with them on.