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Are Allbirds really ‘the world’s most comfortable shoes’? Here’s what podiatrists say

Plus, the pairs you should be shopping.
Allbirds

After Allbirds launched in 2016, it quickly became known for its popularity amongst the tech crowd of Silicon Valley. But in the years since, many people outside of California have caught on to just how comfortable the brand's shoes can be.

In case you're wondering if Allbirds sneakers are worth the purchase, we're highlighting everything you need to know about the brand, including what podiatrists think of its sneakers, below.

What is Allbirds? | Do podiatrists recommend Allbirds? | Best Allbirds sneakers for women | Best Allbirds sneakers for men  | How we chose | Meet our experts

What is Allbirds?

Allbirds is a shoe brand founded by former professional soccer player Tim Brown and engineer and renewables expert Joey Zwillinger. The brand launched its first product the Wool Runners in 2016, a shoe crafted with wool fabric made specifically for footwear. At the time of their launch, Time magazine called the sneakers "the world's most comfortable shoes," and on its site, Allbirds still maintains that claim.

The brand has since expanded, introducing new materials, styles and even apparel into its lineup.

Allbirds is also a certified B Corporation and puts an emphasis on sustainability. It uses recycled materials for certain parts of its products and packaging and its production methods use less energy and water than conventional practices, according to the brand.

Do podiatrists recommend Allbirds?

Dr. Miguel Cunha, a podiatrist in New York City echoed the brand's claims of comfort, saying that Allbirds are "one of the most comfortable shoes available on the market." And there are a few reasons why. To start, the brand's shoes are "very lightweight." Plus, they have a cushioned footbed and are made with a stretchy fabric "that can allow the toe box to expand for increased foot comfort," he shares.

Dr. Chanel Perkins, a Texas-based podiatrist, says that they're good for those with flat feet, as they offer arch support. "They are also comfy enough and provide enough cushion for moderate levels of activity, such as running errands," she says.

However, she says that if you're looking for a shoe for tough workouts, these may not be the best choice. "I would not recommend these shoes for high-intensity workouts or high-impact activities. These shoes just do not offer the amount of support necessary to protect your feet."

Another perk that Cunha mentioned is that Allbirds' shoes are designed to be machine-washable, which not only makes it easier to keep them looking their best, but also can "help minimize microorganisms that can lead to foot infections such as athlete’s foot," he says.

One thing that both of the podiatrists we spoke with brought up is the potential limited durability of the Allbirds shoes, as compared to other brands. "If you are looking for a shoe that is going to be able to handle a significant amount of wear and tear, Allbirds may not be the best choice for you," Cunha says.

Here, we're sharing some of the experts' top picks for men and women.

Best Allbirds sneakers for women

Allbirds Women’s Wool Runners

What we like
  • Warm
  • Machine-washable materials
Something to note
  • Available in whole sizes only

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 6

Cunha says that Allbirds' Wool Runners check the boxes for both comfort and warmth, calling them the "most" comfy pair of running shoes from the brand. "The cushioned footbed is what gives Allbirds their 'walking on clouds' reputation. "

"The comfort of these shoes live up to the hype," shares associate editor Shannon Garlin. "They’re really lightweight and supportive, and my feet never feel sore in them, which makes it a great shoe for long walks around Central Park. I also have the wool pair, so that fabric keeps your feet warm in colder months!"

Allbirds Women’s Tree Pipers

What we like
  • For everyday wear
  • Breathable material
Something to note
  • Not for athletic activities

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 12

Cunha says that both the above and below shoes are great choices for walking, since he says, "if a shoe is comfortable and supportive enough for running, it is also a good walking shoe." But for those looking for an everyday athletic shoe with a little bit of style, he recommends the brand's Piper models. He says that they're "lightweight" enough for walking "with a cozy fit and a stylish streetwear silhouette."

Allbirds Women's Tree Dasher 2

What we like
  • Cushioned midsole
  • Padded heel collar
Something to note
  • Narrow for some

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 21

Cunha also recommends Allbirds's running shoes the Tree Dashers. "These shoes have a mold fit design with greater stability in the upper and toe box." Plus, he adds that they're cushioned and have an anatomical arched footbed "for greater support with high-impact running." 

Perkins also says that "the upper material is breathable, so you can wear them all day without worrying about sweaty feet."

Allbirds Tree Dasher Relay Slip-On Sneaker

What we like
  • Slip-on style
  • Comfortably hugs your foot
Something to note
  • May take time to break in

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 10

Tired of having to stop and tie your laces? This slip-on version of the brand's Tree Dasher shoe was previously recommended to us by Dr. Ashley Lee, a podiatrist in Hinsdale, Illinois. She shared that they are a good choice for those with narrow feet. Plus, she added that they're breathable and lightweight.

Best Allbirds sneakers for men

Allbirds Men's Wool Runners

What we like
  • Naturally thermoregulating
  • Good for walking
Something to note
  • May be too warm for hot days

Sizes: 8-14 | Colors: 13

Most of Allbirds's shoes come in both men's and women's sizes. The podiatrist-approved Wool Runners feature a bouncy cushioned midsole, so the brand says that they're perfect for walking and everyday wear.

Men’s Tree Dasher 2

What we like
  • Softens impact
  • Flexible, cushioned midsoles
Something to note
  • May rub against heel

Sizes: 8-14 | Colors: 19

Made for runs, walks and everything in between, this bestseller from the brand checks so many boxes. They have a cushy midsole, an improved heel collar to help lock your ankle into place and an angular heel shape to soften landings, the brand says.

As an added bonus, unlike some other shoes from Allbirds, these come in half sizes to better fit your feet.

How we chose the best Allbirds sneakers

We interviewed expert sources and polled our editors who shared their own experiences with the brand to determine the best Allbirds sneakers.

As an editorial team, we independently create content and determine coverage based on research, reporting and what we think TODAY.com readers would like to read about. The goal of our content is to provide a service and inform readers who are on the hunt for the latest products to help make their life better. Items are sold by retailer, not TODAY. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

Meet our experts

  • Dr. Miguel Cunha, DPM, is a podiatrist in New York City and founder of Gotham Footcare. He is a foot and ankle surgeon with experience treating a range of conditions. His interests include all aspects of podiatric medicine with an emphasis on cosmetic surgery and sports medicine injuries.
  • Dr. Chanel J. Perkins, DPM, is a podiatrist and an assistant professor of foot and ankle podiatry at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Her areas of expertise include diabetic foot care, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, arch pain and more.