Get the scoop on these wool slip-on shoes in my honest Allbirds Wool Loungers review.
Allbirds is a shoe brand that’s best known for making sustainable sneakers out of various natural materials, such as wool and eucalyptus fibers.
While their most popular styles are sporty wool runners and walking shoes, they also make casual every day sneakers.
The Allbirds Wool Loungers are one such example; they’re slip-on merino wool shoes that are similar to classic slip-on Van’s.
I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on the benefits of wool, so I was excited to try out a pair of these wool shoes for myself.
Wool has all kinds of qualities that make it optimal for shoes: it’s moisture-wicking, odor-controlling, and it helps regulate temperature. On top of all that, it’s a regenerative material with a low environmental impact.
These shoes almost sounded too good to be true, which is why I had to try them out for myself.
And after testing them out for a couple of months, I wanted to write a detailed Allbirds Loungers review to give you an honest look at my experience with these shoes.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. Allbirds provided a complimentary pair of Wool Loungers for this review, but all opinions are my own.
A Quick Look at Allbirds as a Company
Allbirds was founded in 2014 by New Zealand-born Tim Brown after he received a research grant from the New Zealand wool industry.
He used the funding to develop a wool sneaker, and their first shoe was the Wool Runner.
Today, Allbirds is based in San Francisco and is a certified B-Corp, which means they’ve passed a stringent list of requirements to show they have a green business model.
Allbirds use various strategies to eliminate their carbon footprint and ensure their work helps reverse climate change.
In addition to sustainable practices, they sponsor projects worldwide that are taking noticeable steps in the fight against climate change. These initiatives offset their residual carbon footprint.
Allbirds also uses a range of renewable and eco-friendly materials for their shoes.
Aside from wool, they’ve developed a material made from eucalyptus fiber, which also has breathable, odor-fighting properties.
They also use a patented foam sole derived from sugar cane called SweetFoam, which boasts the title of the world’s first carbon-negative green EVA. Finally, castor-bean-oil-derived insoles round out their roster of sustainable materials.
Allbirds is a leader in the sustainable shoe industry, but that’s not the only reason to seek out their products.
Allbirds shoes also have a reputation for being extremely comfortable.
My Experience With the Women’s Allbirds Wool Loungers
My Allbirds Wool Loungers arrived in a shoebox that doubled as a shipping box. There wasn’t an overwhelming pile of garbage leftover after I got them out of the box.
Manufacturers often stuff shoeboxes with brown paper, but the wool loungers came with a recycled cardboard insert to keep their shape and no plastic.
I was looking forward to trying out the wool lounger shoes for several reasons. After hearing so many good things about wool, I wondered how a wool shoe would feel firsthand.
I chose to order them in a color called “Tamalpais,” a bright springy green with a white sole. Their felted texture and color reminded me of Kermit the Frog, which I thought was fun.
I slipped them on and I was instantly on board with how comfortable they felt.
The insole uses castor bean foam for its structure, but its outer layer is the same merino wool as the shoes’ upper. So, soft wool entirely encases your feet as you slip them on.
When you put on the wool loungers, your feet instantly become the perfect toasty temperature: warm but not hot or sweaty.
I also found the Allbirds Wool Loungers to be very supportive and cushioning on my arches.
These shoes also work as slippers, and I often prefer them over being barefoot when I’m puttering around the house because of the way they support my arches and keep my feet at the perfect, cozy temperature.
But they’re also more than just house shoes. I wore these shoes during my month-long stay in San Francisco over the holidays, and they served me well on my daily walks to the tops of hills and through parks.
They even kept my feet dry in light rain, although they started to soak through the toes in heavier rain.
Specs & Features
Materials: Merino wool, castor bean oil foam, and “SweetFoam.”
Key features: Slip-on, odor-fighting, moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, and machine washable.
Available colors: (for women) Dapple Gray, True Black, Natural White, Natural Gray, Dark Jungle, Diablo, Olympus, Tamalpais, Sol, Bough, and SF Gray.
Best for: Quick walks, chilly or warm weather, relaxing around the house.
Allbirds Wool Loungers Pros
Comfort and Fit
My favorite thing about the Allbirds Wool Loungers is how comfortable they are.
They’re remarkably soft and genuinely some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. These shoes feel like slippers but you can wear them outside!
There are several reasons why the loungers feel so good on your feet: the support, the temperature regulation, and the moisture-fighting properties all contribute (we’ll delve more into these aspects below).
Merino wool also has a super soft and pleasant texture; you don’t need to wear socks with the loungers partly because they already feel like socks against your skin.
They also fit perfectly. The arch hits just at the right spot and there’s the perfect amount of room for my toes. Overall, they make my feet feel incredible.
I’ve struggled with foot issues for most of my life.
I have a small extra bone in my foot that causes it to be weaker and prone to aching (this is a fun fact about myself that I like to pull out at parties).
Luckily, the insoles in the Allbirds Wool Loungers have the added benefit of providing much more arch support than the typical slip-on shoe. They feel like I’m wearing expensive arch-supporting inserts.
And while this style isn’t by any means a hiking or running shoe, I found them to be comfortable for long walks around the city and even over rocky terrain.
Washable and Easy-to-Clean
Not long after I got the Wool Loungers, I wore them on a walk through a very muddy park in San Francisco.
By the time I got home, mud had splattered both the SweetFoam midsole and the merino wool upper. However, I knew the Wool Loungers were machine washable, so I wasn’t too worried.
The care instructions say to remove the insoles, put the loungers in a delicates bag, and wash them in cold water on “delicate,” letting them air dry.
But I couldn’t test this out on my own because the mud was dry after a day. Instead, I used a dustpan brush to dust them off.
I was shocked when all the thick mud fell away and left clean, fuzzy green wool. I then used a wet paper towel to clean off the midsole and they were good as new.
Since then, they’ve remained looking relatively fresh. Eventually, they’ll probably benefit from a run through the washing machine, but it hasn’t seemed necessary yet after six weeks of owning them.
Moisture-Wicking, Anti-microbial, and Temperature Regulating
When I slip on the Wool Loungers, my feet feel better instantly. The temperature-regulating powers of wool are no joke.
I’m the type of person who will never wear socks to bed. I don’t like my feet to feel too warm, or worse: sweaty.
But that’s not a problem in the Allbirds Wool Loungers. It’s not just that they warm your feet up, but they keep them at the perfect, dry temperature.
Now that I’m back in New York, I wouldn’t wear them outside without socks because that would expose my ankles to subzero temperatures.
But when spring and summer roll around, I’m going to revel in slipping these shoes on sock-free without having to worry about my feet getting sweaty and stinky.
Every material in the Wool Lounger is environmentally friendly, and wool is a sustainable, renewable, and natural material.
The castor bean oil-derived foam in the insole is a great alternative to petroleum-based foam. And the “SweetFoam” that forms the midsole is the world’s first carbon-negative green EVA.
On top of that, Allbirds strives to make their business practices carbon neutral through carbon offsetting initiatives and a stringent supply chain.
I like to feel confident about the environmental impact of my purchases when I can. So Allbirds’ eco-friendliness is a definite plus.
Easy to put on
I am not a huge fan of wearing socks in warmer weather. I suppose I’m an impatient person, but I love to throw my shoes on as quickly as possible and run out the door.
I live in Keds in the summer and usually end up with the heels crunched down. I don’t bother to untie them and then lace them up again.
So, slip-on shoes that you can wear without socks are perfect for me. I love having them when I need to run downstairs to grab a package or head out on a quick errand.
Allbirds Wool Loungers Cons
Easy to Trip
This may seem like an odd detail, but I find myself tripping a lot when I wear the Wool Loungers.
It usually happens when I’m walking somewhere with a slick, linoleum, or tile floor, such as a department store, a grocery store, or an airport (all three are places where this has happened to me).
When I trip, it’s because the SweetFoam toe has caught on the floor.
Maybe I’m just prone to dragging my feet? When I’m walking in a location with this type of floor, I have to be careful to pick up my feet to prevent tripping.
The price for a pair of Allbirds Wool Loungers is $98.
Price is subjective, and one person’s “expensive” is an excellent deal in someone else’s eyes.
For me, a hundred dollars is a bit more than I would typically spend on a pair of soft, slip-on sneakers. Usually, I would only spend that much on something like winter boots or fancy heels.
But, that said, these shoes are incredibly comfortable and high-quality, so the price isn’t so bad when you consider that.
Allbirds Wool Loungers Sizing
Based on others’ reviews, the consensus on Allbirds Loungers sizing seems to be that they run small. I wear a size 8, so I could buy this pair of Allbirds shoes in my usual size.
They fit perfectly for me, but there isn’t much extra room. If I wore an 8.5, I’d size up to a 9 because I think these shoes would be too small for anyone with slighter bigger feet than me.
They do seem to stretch slightly around my big toe, and the result for me is that they feel perfectly shaped for my foot. However, they don’t stretch enough that they’d be able to accommodate a larger foot.
Allbirds Tree Loungers vs Allbirds Wool Loungers
Allbirds use two primary materials for their shoes: wool and eucalyptus fiber. The eucalyptus fiber has as many properties as wool: it’s anti-microbial, quick-drying, and regulates temperature. It’s also lighter and more breathable than wool, providing a warm-weather alternative.
Comparing the Allbirds Tree Loungers vs Wool Loungers in terms of style, the Tree Loungers are the same shape as the Wool Loungers. The difference is that the eucalyptus fiber has a thick, open-knit weave, as opposed to the felted look of the Wool Loungers.
Allbirds Return & Exchange Policy
Allbirds offers free returns and exchanges for 30 days from purchase. You can make the returns or exchanges online or at their brick-and-mortar stores.
Allbirds Discounts & Coupons
Allbirds generally doesn’t offer discounts or coupons. They explain that it’s due to their efforts to have a low carbon impact while providing high-quality products.
Occasionally they have promotional events, and if you subscribe to their email list, they’ll alert you when those happen.
Where to Buy Allbirds Wool Loungers
Allbirds is a direct-to-consumer brand, which means they don’t sell through third-party retailers like Amazon. You can buy Allbirds directly from their website or in person at one of their stores.
They have locations in many major US cities, including NYC, San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and more. They also have many international locations in places such as Auckland, London, Amsterdam, and Shanghai, to name a few.
FAQs About the Allbirds Wool Loungers
Can you wear Allbirds Loungers outside?
Yes, you can wear the Loungers outside. They feel like slippers, but the soles are durable. I have even worn them when there’s been snow on the ground.
Do Allbirds Loungers have arch support?
Yes, the Allbirds have built-in arch support. If you’re looking for utmost support, you might want to add inserts, but the insoles offer better-than-average support.
Are Allbirds Wool Loungers warm?
Because they’re wool, the Allbirds Loungers are very warm. But since they’re temperature regulating, they’re never overly warm. In cold weather, you’ll want to wear socks with them because they don’t cover your entire foot or your ankle.
Are Allbirds Wool Loungers good for walking long distances?
The Wool Loungers are not technically walking shoes. However, I’ve worn them to walk several miles with my extra-boned feet and didn’t experience pain afterward.
Where are Allbirds manufactured?
Allbirds has a very tight supply chain. Their wool products are made at a textile mill near Milan, Italy, while their SweetFoam comes from Brazil. They assemble the shoes themselves at their factory in South Korea.
How long do Allbirds Wool Loungers last?
In some reviews, consumers report issues with Wool Loungers falling apart prematurely. I’ve been wearing them pretty frequently (but not every day, and often as slippers) for almost two months, and they still look pretty much like they did out of the box.
With frequent use, you should expect these shoes to hold up for at least a couple of years.
Why are Allbirds so popular?
Allbirds are incredibly comfortable, and they use innovative ways to prioritize sustainability and offset their carbon footprint. The combination of comfortable design and sustainability gives them an edge in the market.
Can you wear Allbirds Wool Loungers without socks? Do they get smelly?
You can wear Allbirds Wool Loungers without socks, and the moisture-wicking, anti-microbial properties of wool will prevent them from getting sweaty.
Conclusion: Are Allbirds Wool Loungers Worth it?
While a hundred dollars may seem a bit pricey for what are essentially Allbirds slippers, I have been very happy with these shoes.
I really cannot stress enough how comfortable these Allbirds Women’s Loungers are. They have the magical combination of feeling like slippers while functioning as sneakers.
I love that they’re super soft very versatile–I can wear them while feeling cozy around the house, on quick errands, and even traipsing through the city. So, I feel like I get a lot of use out of them, which helps make the price worth it.
I’ll still have to see how they last over time, but for now, they’ve stayed pretty clean (and odor-free!), and I know I have the option to machine wash them.
So, if you’re in the market for a cozy shoe that you can use as slippers or for light walking, the Allbirds Wool Lounger is a great purchase.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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