Do you remember when Allbirds hit the scene in 2016? Most of us who were inundated with the targeted Instagram ads were wondering, “Who wants to wear wool shoes?” But in almost no time at all, people started to see the many benefits of wearing wool on your feet (and not just for socks.)
While Allbirds are still incredibly popular, they can be a bit pricey or trendy for many shoppers. Luckily, there are a number of great alternatives you can choose from if you still want the Allbirds experience without the Allbirds price tag.
As fans of the wool sneaker, we were particularly excited to conduct these reviews. We have been wearing Allbirds for a few years now and can confidently and decisively compare them against the competition. After putting these shoes through terrain, climate, and durability trials, we were most impressed by the LeMouton Classic Wool Shoe. The LeMouton Classic Wool Shoe offers high-quality materials, cloud-like comfort, and sustainable production. And the bottom line is, we were able to switch over from our Allbirds without a second thought.
Top 3 Comparison Table
LeMouton Classic Unisex Wool Shoe
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Urban Fox Parker Wool Sneaker
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STEVEN by Steve Madden Women’s Traveler Walking Shoe
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7 Comfortable Shoes Like Allbirds
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one company if you want the look and feel of wool sneakers.
So let’s take a closer look at 7 of the best and most comfortable alternatives to Allbirds.
1. LeMouton Classic Unisex Wool Shoe – Top Pick
This is easily the closest you will get to a pair of Allbirds in terms of design and quality of construction. They’re almost indistinguishable except for the sheep logo on the back.
Compared to the 100% wool upper on traditional Allbirds, LeMouton provides 73% wool on the outer and 100% on the inner lining. As with all well-made wool sneakers, they are able to keep your feet dry and odor-free and help to regulate temperature during both winter and summer. You can wear these easily without socks during the warm months and not have to worry about blisters or sweat.
What we especially love about these shoes is the company’s commitment to using eco-friendly and sustainable resources. This is most in line with the Allbirds philosophy and something not usually found among sneaker manufacturers.
Features: Machine washable, 73% knitted wool upper and wool-padded insole, 100% wool lining, rubber outsole, 4.9 oz
- Eco-friendly company and materials
- High-quality construction
- Better traction than most competitors
- Offers the biggest range of colors on this list
- The logo on the back really stands out on some color combinations. If you want a seamless look, you’ll need to choose your color with that in mind.
2. Urban Fox Parker Wool Sneaker – Best Value
The Urban Fox Parker Wool Sneaker was a close second for our Top Pick. Much like the LeMount, these are virtually indistinguishable from Allbirds in all the ways that matter. Urban Fox Parkers give you a 70/30 wool to polyester material ratio, meaning you still get that great moisture-wicking and temperature regulating wool effect. We also found the Parker shoes to be comfortable, supportive, and durable during our research.
Urban Fox was originally only making shoes for men but has since branched out into women’s footwear as well. Unfortunately, there is no designated women’s version of the Parker shoe, but you can check out the similar Beckett shoe option instead.
Features: Upper 70% wool, 30% polyester, adjustable laces, foam rubber sole, mid-range heel, padded tongue, cushioned insole
- Effective wool fabric
- Good support and comfortable sole
- Seamless fabric for low-irritability
- Minimal branding
- There is currently no women’s option for this shoe. The Beckett is very similar though. Or, given the flexible nature of wool, women can purchase the men’s version by calculating their adjusted size (it’s usually about 2 sizes down from women’s.)
3. STEVEN by Steve Madden Women’s Traveler – Best for Wide Feet
The STEVEN Traveler shoe was definitely made with fashion in mind. The colors are mostly neutral and steer away from the high-contrast sole design of most other brands. You’ll find that these shoes make a great accessory to any outfit and will blend in seamlessly with their soft colors and sleek appearance.
One thing we (and many other reviewers) noticed though, is that these shoes do run pretty wide. This is great news for those of you with naturally wide feet. Wool itself is already a forgiving material though, so shoppers with narrow feet will want to choose sizes carefully.
The extra width added to the heel makes for great stability and support if you are prone to balance issues or prefer shoes that can take the brunt of impact for you. These shoes are great for standing all-day. You can read more here.
Features: Wool fabric upper, fabric lining, synthetic rubber sole, removable insole, 6oz weight, threaded eyelets, heathered laces
- Pleasing colors
- Designed for style
- Focus on comfort and cushioning
- The width seems to be an issue for many shoppers who were unaware of the particular sizing. Just make note of this while selecting your size and you should have no trouble getting a good fit.
4. Dr. Scholl’s Freestep – Most Stylish
While we do think the STEVEN Traveler is a well-designed shoe, you can find the best selection of colors and fabrics with the Dr. Scholl’s Freestep. Available in 11 different colors, this shoe also has a contrasting brown leather heel pull tab that adds a touch of sophistication.
Whether you choose the knit fabric or the wool, you will get great breathability and moisture-control. The Comfort Insole Technology feels well-cushioned and supportive from the heel through the toe box.
These shoes are machine-washable and stood up well to rigorous terrain testing. We do recommend these for more casual outings instead of tough treks or long runs though.
Features: Heel tab, 7 oz weight, moisture-wicking fabric, machine washable, Comfort Insole Technology, knit or wool outer fabric, low heel
- Comes in both knit and wool options
Fits true to size
- Offers good arch support
- Lots of great color options
- The sole of this shoe can be slippery in wet conditions, which is why we don’t recommend it for trail runs. However, Allbirds are also known to have poor traction so this seems to be a theme among wool sneakers.
5. KEEZMZ Running Shoes – Best for Running
The KEEZMZ Running Shoe is our sole entry that is NOT made of wool. This shoe features a mesh outer fabric that gives you comparable breathability while still being lightweight.
Since this shoe was designed specifically for running, we found it to have better traction and support than most of the other shoes we reviewed. The memory foam insole, combined with the padded collar, will give you excellent cushion whether you are hitting the trail or staying inside on your treadmill.
The rubber sole also has surprisingly great shock-absorption for such a slim profile. It also has a high level of traction and some extra width around the heel for improved stability. We can recommend this shoe for a variety of athletic activities, although it is probably not heavy enough for any serious weightlifting.
Features: Mesh upper, padded collar, memory foam insole, non-marking outsole, 7 oz weight
- Great for running or other exercises
- True to size
- Outsole stays scuff-free
- Compared to its wool counterparts, this shoe is not as water-resistant or quick-drying. It meets the standards of other athletic sneakers, but if dryness is a priority for you, you’ll be better off with a different choice from our list (perhaps the Skechers BOBS Phresh-Lil Flash)
6. Skechers BOBS Phresh-Lil Flash for Women – Best for Travel
When Allbirds first started advertising their shoes, they were heavily marketed to frequent travelers. Wool sneakers are an absolute dream when you have to dress for a full day of travel, in different settings and different levels of activity. So to designate the Skechers Phresh-Lil Flash as the Best for Travel is a great honor!
These shoes are guaranteed to keep your feet happy while you’re running through the airport or trying to snooze on the plane. You can wear them with or without socks and never worry about blisters, chafing, or irritating rubbing.
And while we do love our Allbirds for traveling, we are really impressed by the higher level of traction found on these soles. It adds a much-needed element of security when you don’t know exactly what situation you might encounter.
Features: Memory Foam™ cushioned insole, shock-absorbing midsole, 7 oz weight, rubber traction sole, heel pull tab
- Raised toe guard adds extra protection
- Great traction underfoot
- Comfy memory foam insole
- Seamless interior means no rubbing
- These only come in 2 colors, and both colors are grey. We love the shoe but are disappointed to be limited in color selection like this.
7. Red Train Merino Wool Sneakers – Best Casual Weekend Wear
Just picture it: You have a busy day ahead of you and need to run from school to the gym to lunch with friends. You look in your closet and find your Red Trains, which will carry you through all settings seamlessly. The breathable wool outer will keep your feet dry and odor-free while exercising, and the no-scuff sole will still look polished for your lunch outing.
These Merino Wool Shoes from Red Train epitomize classic casual sneakers. The dark grey wool outer pairs well with athleisure as well as jeans. And you won’t be sacrificing quality for simplicity with these. The wool is high-quality merino, which means it’s breathable, durable, and flexible. You’ll be comfortable and supported while running around town or lounging at home.
Features: 70% merino wool 30% nylon blended, nylon carry bag, extra shoelaces included, machine-washable
- Accessories included: extra laces and carrying bag
- Seamless design
- High-quality wool outer
- Good shock-absorption
- While it’s a color that we love (and that goes with most everything), we wish these shoes were offered in more than just dark grey. We have to assume that more will be available as the brand grows in popularity.
What is the Best Allbird Alternative? – Final Thoughts
We really love the look, feel, and quality of a well-made wool sneaker. But why should one company get all the attention? We found so many great brands offering high-quality wool (and knit mesh) casual sneakers.
Our top 7 choices were reviewed here, and we think this “trend” is here to stay. There are sure to be more and more options available every year.
So which one should you buy?
While there is something to love about every shoe on our list, we think you’ll be most impressed by the LeMouton Classic Wool Shoe. It has the look of a shoe twice its price and definitely delivers on both quality and performance.
If you’re never before tried a shoe like this, we’re excited to help you with your first purchase! Once you buy your first pair, you’ll definitely see what all the fuss has been about.