In short: The key to Allbirds’ success and popularity is dreaming up and actually creating an environmental ethic that’s central to making what many believe is the most comfortable shoe.
Alongside his co-CEO Joey Zwillinger, Tim Brown has managed to transform the simple idea of a casual wool sneaker into a company that’s valued at 1.4 billion dollars.
So, what is the reason for Allbirds’ tremendous success? In this article, let’s discuss why Allbirds are so popular and whether the reasons are justified for the brand’s tremendous popularity.
3 Reasons why Allbirds are so popular
What I really want to know is whether Allbirds are popular solely because they are comfortable, or whether they’re growing rapidly in part because of their environmental practices.
1. Sustainable and responsibly sourced materials
Sheep. That’s where all this starts. Sheep’s wool is the cornerstone of the Allbirds supply chain and is the epitome of Allbird’s successful innovations with sustainable material.
In a way, Allbirds’s approach to building its shoes is what drives its success.
Brown and Zwillinger had identified the unnecessary traditions of the stagnant shoe industry, and not only changed their approach to crafting a shoe but did so in an environmentally ethical way.
They essentially had the courage to imagine a shoe that could be both chic and sustainable. And their use of high-quality materials is a perfect example of this.
Allbirds flagship shoe, the Wool Runner, uses merino wool for the upper, recycled plastic bottles for the laces, and castor bean oil for the soles.
The common saying goes that there are more sheep in New Zealand than people, and Allbirds relies on that massive population of fluffy animals to create their shoes.
The company only sources its wool from a collection of sheep farmers certified by ZQ, a New Zealand-based company that holds its farmers to strict environmental and ethical standards.
Ultimately, ZQ supplies Allbirds with sustainable and traceable wool for their shoes. And yes, traceable means ZQ has a map on its website to see where each fiber is coming from.
In addition to wool, Allbirds is trying to shake up the sneaker industry by creating a shoe made out of TENCEL lyocell, which is essentially eucalyptus tree pulp spun into fibers.
According to the Lenzing Group, which produces the Allbirds tree fiber, they are able to recover and recycle 99% of the chemical solvents used during the Tencel creation process.
Another example is the eucalyptus fiber, which is sourced from fast-growing tree farms based in South Africa that minimize the use of fertilizer and rely on rainfall.
This all goes to show that the Allbirds wool and tree shoes are some of the most eco-conscious on the market due to their high resource efficiency and comparably low environmental impact.
Recently, Allbirds announced that they are going carbon neutral in 2019 by purchasing carbon offsets. This focus on sustainability is a big reason why Allbirds are so popular.
2. Innovative thinking in the footwear industry
So, Allbirds is clearly trying to work many angles to reduce their environmental impact. But are people buying their products because of their sustainable practices or the comfortable design?
After looking behind the scenes of Allbirds, I think that question misses the point.
The meteoric rise of the Allbirds is the product of innovative thinking, especially when it comes to sustainability. Allbirds emphasize that the three pillars of their company are deeply connected.
Claiming on their website that “comfort, good design, and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive.” And I think it’s this both/and mentality that’s driving the Allbirds hype.
Allbirds shows us that a path towards more sustainable products requires imagination, flexibility, and creativity in order to truly push the boundaries of what a sustainable shoe can be.
Because often, sustainability and environmentalism deal in the business of less or giving up comfort, but Allbirds shows that that doesn’t have to be the case.
A sustainably sourced shoe can also be a very comfortable shoe. That might seem like a simple statement, but that’s a remarkably creative approach to a stagnant shoe market.
This, then, might be the key to their success and popularity: dreaming up and actually creating an environmental ethic that’s central to making what many believe is the most comfortable shoe.
3. Simple design yet super comfortable
When it comes to design, Allbirds likes to keep it simple. No flashy logos. No senseless details. Just the world’s most comfortable shoes made naturally and designed practically.
This minimalistic approach to footwear is a big reason why Allbirds has many fans around the world. It’s rare to find simple yet comfortable sneakers that can be worn anytime.
It’s really that simple. In fact, they are so confident that you can give their shoes a shot for 30 days, and if you’re not walking on cloud nine, they’ll take them back—no questions asked.
That’s how confident they are in their footwear. Because of this, many customers don’t care about their expensive price. They buy Allbirds religiously because of the comfort.
This is a big reason why Allbirds shoes are so popular. Everyone can wear them for any activity, any time of the day. Wool, after all, is warm in cool weather, yet cool in warm weather.
While they do need some time to break into, there’s no question that Allbirds shoes are some of the most comfortable on the market. In fact, some would think they are the most comfortable.
And there you have it, three reasons why Allbirds are so popular. Thanks to their sustainable approach, innovative thinking, and comfortable footwear, Allbirds has become successful.