These eco-friendly trainers might be changing the world…

…and the rest of this week’s Shoes News

Last month, a new sneaker store opened in Covent Garden. You might have seen quite a bit of hype about it in the newspapers at the time. And now that I have got my hands on a pair of Allbirds, I can tell you about them for myself. Hurrah!

Allbirds group shot

Allbirds wool runners, £95, and tree runners, £95 (allbirds.co.uk)

So yeah, they look great, but let’s get to that in a minute. First I want to tell you about all the other good stuff Allbirds are doing. As a certified B-Corporation, they are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on everyone and everything involved in the production process; Allbirds are putting the environment first – they say it is just as important to them as their bottom line. 90% of Allbirds packaging is made from recycled post-consumer cardboard, which is a shoe box, shopping bag and mailing package all in one. Their shoelaces are made from 100% recycled polyester, and even the foam cushioning is made from castor bean oil. The most exciting thing, though, is that they are developing new materials, such as a sneaker sole made from sugar cane called SweetFoam, which is actually carbon negative (and also lightweight and bouncy to boot). Even better, they will share all of their new technology with other brands, even competitors, in the hope that it will revolutionise this industry which relies so heavily on materials which are derived from petroleum. How brilliant is all of that?

Allbirds multi

Allbirds wool runners, £95, and tree runners, £95 (allbirds.co.uk)

Anyway, back to the shoes. I am happy to report that they are as lovely as the brand’s ethos. The style I am wearing is the Runner; the upper is made from merino wool and the insole is lined with the stuff too, which not only makes them extremely comfortable, but lovely and warm without socks even in November. Wool is actually naturally temperature regulating, so they will keep you cool in the summer, too. The wool shoes also come as a slip-on called the Lounger. If you’re after a non-animal product though, you might prefer the Tree range – four styles which, as the name suggests, have uppers made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus fibre (the high top Treetoppers in this range are the only ones currently with the SweetFoam sole). The sizing is a little funny – it comes in half sizes and I’m wearing a half size bigger than my usual – so it’s worth getting to the store to try on if you can. Which is a lovely experience in itself, actually; the staff can’t wait to tell you about all the good stuff they are doing, and their enthusiasm is infectious. I challenge you to leave the store without a pair…

3 of the best…tartan kicks

I updated my party sneakers guide yesterday, but another festive option that has a longer season than the month of December is the tartan trainer. Just add a whiskey dram.

Converse plaid high tops, £78 (freepeople.com); Burberry tartan cotton sneakers, £390 ([AD] burberry.com); Vans plaid Old Skool, £70 ([AD] vans.co.uk)

Wet weather walkers

We are all, obviously, obsessed with hiking boots this season. And I’ve found a new version for anyone who is less of a rambler and more of a puddle jumper. Meet the hiker-wellie hybrid. Available in two colours from Free People.

Henry & Henry ‘Randi’ weather boots, £128 (freepeople.com)

 

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