Allbirds’ New Wool Sneakers Feel Like A Friendly Hug For My Feet

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Ruane.
Fans of Allbirds know that there’s a lot to love about the eco-friendly, sublimely-cushy footwear brand. The Obama- and Leo-endorsed imprint employs a host of sustainable materials to create their sleek selection of flats and sneakers; including traceable and ethically sourced merino wool and a springy, sugarcane-based insole foam. Their offerings, which started out with a few low-impact sneaker styles, have been proliferating rapidly — with the recent additions of a chic ballet flat and a high-performance running sneaker (both of which our editors have tested and loved). The latest last to launch is the Piper, a street-inspired “cup sole” style in the manner of your favorite Vans or Common Projects, with all of the super-sustainable engineering and foot-hugging comfort that we’ve come to expect from Allbirds. Below, find my full review on the new kicks after I spent a weekend hoofing four miles in them.

First impressions...

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Ruane.
Crafted from ZQ merino wool with oversized accents designed for a throwback-style, the Pipers are offered in five different colorways (I went with limited-edition true black with a white sole). After popping them on my feet, I felt an initial snugness to the shoe that regular wearers of the brand may already be familiar with — but, I found that within a day, the constricted feeling gave way to an enveloped sensation that felt much like a friendly foot hug. While this style may offer less arch support than some of the more heavy-duty Allbirds offerings (like the workout-friendly Dasher), the “Sweetfoam” soles couldn’t have felt bouncier while offering just the right amount of cushioning for taking hella steps through the concrete jungle with a baby and bags of groceries in tow. But, more on that below!

Put to the test...

For me, Saturdays and Sundays consist of near-constant errand running, and between morning coffee-and-croissant runs, numerous laps around the grocery store, multiple trips to the laundromat, and a leisurely walk to the park. (Meaning, I usually log a good four miles over the course of two days.) Despite being a lace-up style, the sneaker was pliant enough to easily slip on and off — a huge plus as I dashed in and out of our strictly shoe-free household. And you better believe I biked in the sneakers, too; pedaling two miles on well-trafficked city streets (while wearing my helmet, of course). Fully laced, the snuggly wool sheaths were the perfect fit for safe cycling with a low profile and enough tread to firmly grip the pedals. The light-swallowing black also helped to hide the bike grease that always seems to accumulate all over my clothes, no matter how careful I am. (My white shirt was not so lucky.) Weather-wise, it was a temperate weekend, but it got increasingly humid as the days wore on. I’m happy to report that my feet did not feel one bit suffocated in their new woolly homes — a testament to the airflow-friendly breathability of the magical merino wool uppers. (I also paired them with Allbird’s wool-blend Trino Hiders, a perfectly-proportioned no-show sock that rarely peeks out from under shoes and stays so firmly in place that I often forget I’m wearing them.) At the end of the day, when the shoes came off, there was nary a red spot or blister — my feet were truly caressed by this soft-but-supportive style.

Final thoughts...

My takeaway? These cool kicks offered all of the sustainable style and cushy comfort that fans flock to Allbirds for in the first place — only, now, in a new silhouette that will satisfy the cup-sole crowd. As with many Allbirds releases, the current assortment of colorways is in limited supply; so if you see a hue that speaks to you, you’d best nab it before it flies off the virtual shelves.
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