Short on time? Our pick for the best merino wool shoes is the Allbirds Wool Runners.
If you’re interested in sustainable, antimicrobial, and moisture-wicking shoes, try one of these nine best wool shoes.
Wool has become a popular material for sneakers and running shoes in recent years because it comes with so many natural advantages.
Some of the most comfortable wool shoes use a particular type of fiber called merino wool, which comes from merino sheep.
This breed of sheep is originally from Spain, but today most merino wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. And this sheep’s fleece has a few things that set it apart.
Not only is merino wool softer and finer than its regular counterpart, but its antimicrobial properties make it odor-resistant. It’s also moisture-wicking and temperature regulating.
There’s no need to explain why these are all excellent traits for a shoe! Because of these properties, you can wear most wool sneakers without socks.
On top of that, wool is a renewable resource with a low environmental impact. You can shear a sheep without hurting the animal, and its fleece grows back again and again.
So apart from preventing smelly feet, wool-lined shoes are also healthy for the planet.
If you’re ready to invest in a cozy pair of wool shoes, read on to see my picks for the best wool sneakers, slippers, runners, and boots.
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.
Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Look at Our Recommendations
- Best Wool Sneakers – Baabuk Urban Woolers
- Best Wool Trail Runners – Allbirds Trail Runners SWT
- Best Wool Athletic Shoes – Giesswein Merino Wool Knit
- Best Wool Slippers – Gleurups Unisex A-10 Slipper
- Most Versatile Wool Shoes – Allbirds Wool Runners
- Best Wool Running Shoes – Allbirds Wool Dasbaaher Mizzles
- Best Wool Slip-on Shoes – Kyrgies Molded Sole Low Back
- Best Wool Boots – Wilding Barn Owl
- Best Waterproof Wool Shoes – Sperry Saltwater Emboss Wool Boots
#1 Baabuk Urban Woolers
Best Wool Sneakers
Baabuk is one of the leading makers of merino wool sneakers.
Inspired by Russian valenki boots, Baabuk uses traditional felting techniques to create a woven material called “burel,” which they then apply to contemporary designs.
Originally founded in Switzerland, Baabuk is also a certified B-Corp, which means they keep to a list of high standards for sustainability and eco-friendliness.
The Baabuk Urban Woolers are everyday wool tennis shoes that reap all the benefits of their merino wool upper.
Made in Portugal and sourced from sheep who graze the Serra da Estrela mountain range, these shoes get their water-repellent properties from the natural waxy coating on the wool itself.
They’ll stay dry in light rain, although your feet might get wet in heavy weather conditions. And, if these shoes get dirty, you can stick them in a washing machine without worrying about damaging them.
This unisex wool sneaker features a vans-like design that complements various clothing styles and aesthetics.
And speaking of variety, they offer a whopping nine different color options, some of which are two-tone or have a colored thermoplastic sole.
- High-quality merino wool
- Sustainable practices
- Attractive design and color options
- Not suitable for running
#2 Allbirds Trail Runners SWT
Best Wool Trail Runners
Allbirds is another company leading the industry in sustainability through sneakers made from wool. Among their many sneaker designs is the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT.
The Trail Runners showcase everything Allbirds offers in terms of alternatives to synthetic materials.
The “SWT” stands for “sugar, wool, tree.” In addition to wool fiber, the upper also uses Allbirds’ eucalyptus tree fiber. And the midsole features their patented Sweetfoam, a sustainable foam manufactured from sugarcane.
These are supportive casual running shoes that perform well on rough terrain (the grippy treads on the soles provide excellent traction).
Additionally, the external heel provides stabilizing support, so you can run on rocky, uneven trails without worrying about slipping or twisting an ankle.
They come in either black or off-white, with a limited-edition orange and red option.
- Supportive, stabilizing design
- Eco-friendly materials
- You can wear them without socks
- Limited color options
- Not 100% wool
#3 Giesswein Merino Wool Knit
Best Wool Athletic Shoes
Giesswein is yet another one of the shoe brands like Allbirds that set an example for sustainable footwear with some of the industry’s best wool sneakers.
On Giesswein’s website, there’s a lot of variety in style, color, and material. Scrolling around will give you a good sense of all the possibilities in the sustainable shoe industry.
Giesswein makes quite a few different wool sneaker designs and other shoes made from innovative materials like cactus leather.
The Giesswein Merino Wool Knit boasts all the standard advantages of merino wool sneakers: temperature regulation, odor-fighting, and moisture-wicking properties that render socks irrelevant.
Also, the wool upper features a linen stitch for a 3D-knitted look.
This merino wool sneaker is also super lightweight, thanks to its EVA sole. Giesswein offers fourteen different color options ranging from bright and flashy lime to neutral black.
- 100% merino wool
- Lots of colors to choose from
- No half sizes
#4 Gleurups Unisex A-10 Slipper
Best Wool Slippers
Wool is the perfect material for slippers. Who wouldn’t want slippers made from a material that keeps your feet cozy and warm–but not too warm!–while eliminating the need for socks?
Gleurups understands that. Their A-10 Slipper has a soft leather sole, so they’re great for lounging around the house, but they’re also suitable for quick jaunts outside.
The felted upper uses a blend of wool from Denmark and New Zealand. And there are ten color choices: half are neutral blacks and greys, while the other half are vibrant.
I always gravitate towards bright colors, so I love the orange and purple hues. But there’s something here to fit every taste.
- All-natural materials
- Temperature regulating
- Beautiful colors
- Not machine washable
- Not a ton of arch support
#5 Allbirds Wool Runners
Most Versatile Wool Shoes
Allbirds is one of the best merino wool sneaker brands, and the Allbirds Wool Runners are the most classic Allbirds wool shoes.
This shoe has a chic, no-frills design. The soft upper is 100% merino wool. And everything from the sugarcane-derived midsole to the recycled plastic lace holes is either renewable or recycled material.
These shoes are supportive enough for activities like walking long distances but have a versatile and casual wear design that works for an everyday sneaker.
They also complement a variety of outfits and styles.
And speaking of style variety: Allbirds Wool Runner shoes come in many different colors.
They’re unisex, so the only difference between the men’s and women’s styles is the size range and the color options.
The men’s sizes range down to 8, so if you’re a woman with an average-sized to large shoe size, you can pick between men’s or women’s sizes and colors.
Note: If you’re looking for sportier everyday shoes that provide a lot of the same benefits but are slightly more breathable and not quite as warm, I highly recommend checking out the Allbirds Tree Runners as well.
- 100% merino wool
- Lots of colors
- Supportive and versatile design
- No half sizes
- Not waterproof
#6 Allbirds Wool Dasher Mizzles
Best Wool Running Shoes
The Allbirds Wool Dasher Mizzles pick up where the standard wool runners leave off. The runners aren’t waterproof beyond the wool’s natural moisture-wicking abilities.
On the other hand, the Dasher Mizzles have a fluorine-free water repellent coating that keeps your feet dry even when the outside of the shoes gets wet.
These are also advanced running shoes with a stabilizing design, a ton of support, and a textured, slip-free sole.
The Wool Runner Mizzles are perfect if you’re a dedicated runner or if you’re simply looking for a good workout shoe.
If you’re someone who never misses your morning run – even in a rainstorm – then these shoes will have you covered.
Style-wise, the Mizzle is similar to the wool runner but has a much sportier aesthetic.
However, the colors are decidedly more limited. Men’s Mizzles come in only blue, while the women’s have three options: blue, red/pink, and blue/grey.
Note: If you’re just looking for a good pair of workout or running shoes that don’t need to be water-resistant, I’d also recommend checking out the original Allbirds Dashers. Our founder, Mimi, wears them every week for her workouts and can’t rave about them enough.
- 100% merino wool
- Supportive and comfortable design
- Limited colors
#7 Kyrgies Molded Sole Low Back
Best Wool Slip-on Shoes
The Kyrgies Molded Sole Low Backs are wool slippers with arch support.
These wool-felt house shoes use 100% natural materials and have a firm, molded wool insole, which ensures your feet won’t get sore as you putter around the house.
Kyrgies is also an excellent company that takes care of the planet and the people on it.
They are a climate-neutral certified company. And, on top of using environmentally safe and natural materials, they pay fair wages to the artisans in Kyrgyzstan who handcraft the shoes and the local farmers who raise the sheep for the wool.
A button on the product page for these slippers allows you to make a $1 donation to either One Tree Planted or the International Rescue Committee to support Afghan Refugees. For every dollar donated, Kyrgies matches that donation.
These organizations are both doing super important work, so I love that Kyrgies builds that support into their business model.
These low-back wool slippers come in four colors: black, grey, blue, and green.
However, you should be aware that they cannot go into a washing machine, and Kyrgies doesn’t recommend wearing them outdoors.
- Arch support
- All-natural materials
- Carbon-neutral company
- You can’t wear them outside
- Not machine washable
#8 Wilding Barn Owl
Best Wool Boots
Wilding is yet another responsible company that uses a variety of eco-friendly materials.
Based in Europe, they produce shoes for men, women, and even kids – all while utilizing a climate-conscious and ethical fair-trade manufacturing process.
Something that sets Wildling apart from other manufacturers is that they also specially design each shoe with an “anatomical fit,” so their shoes don’t restrict your foot’s movement.
Not only does this produce very comfortable shoes, but it encourages your foot muscles to develop healthily.
You essentially get all the benefits of walking barefoot with the protection and warmth of wearing shoes.
The Wildling Barn Owl Boot is one of the best warm wool shoes because of its felted wool upper.
With microfiber padding in the heel and recycled cotton laces, it’s a soft and flexible boot that follows the natural movement of your foot. You can even roll these boots up into a ball for easy packing.
The beige upper and olive-green edging is a neutral color palette that offers some unique flair. If you look closely at the woven wool canvas, you’ll find beautiful multicolored speckles.
- Eco-friendly materials
- Easy to pack
- Not machine washable
#9 Sperry Saltwater Emboss Wool Boots
Best Waterproof Wool Shoes
I’m a California girl, but I’ve also braved twelve East Coast winters. From these harrowing experiences, I can tell you: warm and dry feet are the key to survival.
Wool has you covered in the warmth department, but what about staying dry?
Although felted wool with a water-repellent coating can stand up very well to puddles, you may want a little extra protection for the wettest, most slushy winter days.
Boots are also a better option than sneakers or running shoes because they’ll keep your ankles protected from the cold and the wet.
The Sperry Saltwater Emboss Wool Boots are excellent cold-weather shoes.
They feature a cozy upper made from 100% wool and a rubber outsole that extends over the top of the foot while having a lot of good traction underfoot.
A puddle of slush will be no match for these boots. The fleece and Thinsulate lining combined with cozy wool keeps your feet warm in subzero temperatures.
They come in off-white, grey, navy, and wine-red and feature a duck-boot design that’s perfect for your bundled-up cold-weather outfits.
Although their focus is not as centered on sustainability, Sperry is a trusted brand that makes some of the most high-quality shoes on the market.
Looking for more shoes for rainy days? Read our full guide to the best waterproof walking shoes.
- Completely waterproof
- Warm wool outer and fleece lining
- Not 100% eco materials
- Not machine washable
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Merino Wool Shoes
Not all wool sneakers are created equal. Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on for a guide to what you should pay attention to when looking for wool shoes.
What to Look for in Wool Shoes
Type of Wool
Not every wool sneaker on this list uses merino wool.
While there are undoubtedly other sheep breeds that produce high-quality wool, people generally consider merino the superior variety.
This is why reading the fine print is essential to determine what type of wool is in a pair of shoes.
If it isn’t merino, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker! This is especially the case if the company mentions where they source their wool from.
For example, if it’s not merino wool, but it still comes from an organic fair trade farm in the mountains of Romania, then the quality is probably still going to be high.
Wool has natural moisture-wicking properties, and merino wool has a wavy coating that further repels water.
However, these attributes alone won’t save your feet if you stomp in a big puddle, and you shouldn’t assume that a merino wool sneaker will be waterproof.
Like Allbird’s Wool Mizzles, some wool sneakers are water-repellent due to a coating they apply on the outside of the shoes.
When you’re shopping for wool shoes, check to see if they’re waterproof or water-repellent before you hit the add-to-cart button.
Knit vs. Felt
When you make felt, you weave the material into a fabric, which goes through a special hot washing and drying process to turn it into one homogenous surface.
On the other hand, some shoemakers opt for a wool knit. In this case, the fabric doesn’t go through the felting process, and you’ll be able to see the stitches.
Felt and wool knit have different looks. A knit fabric will be more breathable, but a felt material will be more impenetrable.
You can’t make an outdoor shoe with wool alone. When picking out a pair of wool shoes, pay attention to what other materials make up the shoe.
Some shoe brands use sustainable materials from top to bottom, whereas others simply have a conventional rubber sole. If you’re hoping for an eco-friendly shoe, you’ll want to look at the whole picture.
Is it Machine-Washable?
Have you ever thrown a wool sweater into the wash, only to later discover that you’ve made a terrible mistake?
Some wool sneakers are entirely machine-washable, while others are not. Allbirds Trail Runners, for example, can go right into a washing machine.
However, Wilding boots will get ruined in a washing machine. Some companies even recommend taking your wool shoes to a dry cleaner.
Wool is naturally self-cleaning, so there shouldn’t be a considerable need to wash your merino wool shoes.
However, some sticky spills and accidents sometimes require intervention, so you should be aware of this before buying the shoes.
Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Merino Wool Shoes
Although there are many great options for wool shoes, my top pick for the best wool sneakers is the Allbirds Wool Runners.
This casual wool runner gets top marks across the board. It’s a highly comfortable shoe that works great as an everyday wool sneaker, but it also has enough support for long walks and standing on your feet all day.
You can wear these shoes on a morning walk and then out to lunch.
They also come in many different colors, some of which are pretty unique. So, they’re very versatile and could quickly become your primary pair of shoes.
Additionally, when you choose a pair of Allbirds wool shoes, you know you’re making a good choice for the planet.
Not only is wool an environmentally-friendly material, but every inch of this shoe – from sole to lace – uses renewable and sustainable materials.
And Allbirds’ commitment to the environment extends beyond that; they also take on several projects and initiatives to offset their carbon footprint.
Overall, Allbirds Wool Runners earn the top spot for their versatility, quality, and sustainability, as well as their reasonable pricing.
They retail at just under $100, which is a pretty good value when you consider that these shoes are made from 100% merino wool and innovative, clean ingredients.
My second pick for the best wool shoe is the Baabuk Urban Wooler.
Baabuk is a strong competitor with Allbirds, and they are, in fact, my top pick for the best Allbirds alternative. They have a lot of similar attributes and a few things that set them apart.
Baabuk also gets top marks when it comes to sustainability. They, too, go above and beyond, supplementing already planet-friendly sheep wool with carbon offset initiatives. And Baabuk is even a certified B-Corp.
Lastly, when it comes to quality, Baabuk is unmatched. Their merino wool comes from sheep that graze the mountaintops of Portugal, while their rubber soles are ultra-durable, flexible, and water-resistant.
Like Allbirds, Baabuk’s Urban Wooler sneaker has a minimalist and sleek design that’s versatile and unisex.
Both shoes offer a range of color options aside from the standard black and grey, although Baabuk leans toward technicolor while Allbirds leans toward pastel.
Both Baabuk and Allbirds are also washable merino wool shoes, making upkeep easy and convenient.
Baabuk only misses the top spot because their shoes are a little pricier than Allbirds.
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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