Shortlisted for wearable design of the year at Dezeen Awards 2019, Wool Runners by Allbirds use merino wool and feature laces made from recycled plastic bottles.
The footwear brand co-founder Tim Brown wanted to develop a comfortable, durable and more sustainable alternative to the synthetic materials used to manufacture most footwear. Originally from New Zealand, he spent several years researching ways of making shoes using merino wool, which is popular in his home country because of its luxurious softness, breathability and insulating properties.
Together with engineer and renewables expert Joey Zwillinger, Allbirds developed 17.5 micron superfine merino wool – a wool fabric that could be used specifically for making shoes. Wool Runners are also designed with simplicity in mind, through its minimalist design. As well as recycled plastic bottles being used for the laces, the insoles are made from castor bean oil.