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Some breathable wool runners you don't have to be a sneakerhead to appreciate.
I'm not a fan of sneakers — mainly because I hate running and anything that reminds me of running, and also because I don't know how to style sneakers (athletic or ~fashionable~ kinds) to save my life. I literally rotate between two pairs of boots or flats all year round. But I saw a friend rave about these on Instagram (and post a cute photo of her parents twinning in their pairs, eep!) and was immediately intrigued. What are these lightweight wool wonders? So, in the pursuit of products journalism and the happiness of feet everywhere, I requested a pair to try out.
Let's run through some of the supposed pros of these wool runners:
- lightweight and breathable (I have in fact worn heavy, cheap sneakers and they're garbage)
- flexible/conforms to your movements (reads to me as not bulky and not painful to break in!)
- minimizes odors (yes, avoiding smelly feet is 💯)
- can be worn sock-less (iiinteresting, given the former)
- machine-washable (what? really?? omg!)
- are cool in the heat/warm in the cold (can't imagine wearing these *instead of* boots in the winter or sandals in the summer, but OK sure)
First of all, I dig the cozy grey speckled design. Like, a lot. Grey has become my unsung color hero because it's so easy to pair (hello, past color-happy Sarah, why did you buy neon purple sneakers you wore maybe once to the gym?). Jeans? Yeah. Tights? Sure. Bare legs? Eventually, when the weather starts cooperating. However, I have tried the shoes without socks and did not pick up any noticeably smelly scents like I might with other sneakers. How my bare feet will hold up in hot, humid AF weather...TBD.
Sarah Han / BuzzFeed
Second of all, they are so FREAKING LIGHTWEIGHT. Was the all-caps emphasis enough? No? They feel like NOTHING ON YOUR FEET. Seriously, I switched from these to my normal ankle boots and it felt like my feet were chilling in some alien, misshapen capsules. And I don't even reap the full benefits because I'm an extremely sedentary person, but even just walking around...it's incredible. You know how there's "your skin but better" in makeup speak? Well, this is "your feet but better."
Also, let it be known I rarely buy new shoes because breaking them in is the work of the devil (even with deceptively comfy-looking flats...just why). But 👏 there 👏 is 👏 no 👏 breaking 👏 in with these. They're so soft (see the GIF of me squishing them) that there are no harsh edges or backing — new sneakers always give me friction burns at the back of my ankle.
I haven't tossed them in the washing machine yet, but that is definitely one of the most intriguing factors/pros. You mean my shoes don't have to simmer in my gross sweat juices until I toss them? The only thing I'm iffy about is the cool/hot factor, or at least for the "warm in the cold" part; I would still wear knee-high boots because I deeply understand winter's wrath (as someone who's lived in Chicago and NYC all her life), so sneakers will just not do it. But for transitional weather like right now, I will pull them out instantly.
But besides that, I actually find myself tapping my feet and doing little happy dances in these. That has never happened, OK? I understand the movie Happy Feet now. But also, someone get those penguins these shoes cause they're missing out. —Sarah Han
Get a pair from Allbirds for $95. Available in three classic colors and two limited-edition colors.
Allbirds sent me the shoes to try free of charge, but I wasn't obligated to positively review them.
Sarah Han / BuzzFeed