When we think of highly-technical footwear, it’s typically in regards to mountaineering boots or ski boots or Nike’s latest marathon shoe that’s supposed to be the fastest ever — not the casual sneakers produced by Allbirds. But science and the innovative use of materials form the bedrock that anchors the brand (one of its founders was formerly the head of an eco-friendly algae-chemical company).
Allbirds’ second shoe, called the Tree, has an upper made of eucalyptus pulp and laces made of recycled plastic bottles. Its latest is a reimagined sole made of a material it calls SweetFoam, which is made mostly of sugarcane and is billed to be the first carbon-negative EVA (the foam material that gives running shoes their signature bounce and cushion). But it’s still Allbirds’ first shoe, the Wool Runners, that are most often spotted in airports, offices and every place in between. They’re supremely comfortable and light, and at the moment they’re also on sale at eBay for 33 percent off in three colors.
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