San Francisco-based shoe company Allbirds has opened their first international stand-alone pop-up shop in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood.
Dubbed the “world’s most comfortable shoe” by TIME.com, Allbirds hits the trifecta of wants when it comes to casual shoes: comfortable, minimalist and affordable. Of equal importance to the company is sustainability. “We don’t talk about it a lot when we’re selling shoes but it is the purpose of the business,” says co-founder Joey Zwillinger of the company’s commitment to reducing waste and creating a more eco-friendly footwear option. (Have you heard about these eco-friendly Canadian companies?)
Allbirds launched with their hugely popular Wool Runners, made out of merino wool sourced from New Zealand (where co-founder Tim Brown is originally from). They later added Wool Loungers—a cozy loafer style of shoe. According to Allbirds, their process uses 60 percent less energy than materials used in typical synthetic shoes. But don’t think that you’re sacrificing comfort or style. This superfine merino wool (with fibres 20 percent the diameter of human hair, notes Zwillinger) is breathable, temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking and machine washable. And there’s more: Allbirds laces are made from plastic bottles, the insoles use castor bean oil and the packaging is made from 90 percent recycled cardboard. Environmentally-friendly indeed! Like Allbirds’ co-founders, these Canadians are working to protect the environment, too.
Most recently, the brand has introduced the Tree line, made from eucalyptus pulp. “Perfect for those super humid days,” says Zwillinger. Both the Runners and Loungers are available in the Tree line, as well as a new style called Skippers. (Pollution is causing havoc for everything from the environment to your health — and even your hair!)
If you’d like to test out the shoe’s claim of comfort, be sure to visit their Queen Street West pop-up in Toronto this summer where you’ll be able to test a pair on three different types of terrain: gravel, wood/boardwalk and concrete.
The Allbirds Pop-Up is open all summer (May 24 to August 31) at 700 Queen Street West.