December 21, 2019
Christmas is coming, and I should be thinking happy thoughts. And, for the most part, I am.
One thing, however, is really bugging me. This is what I’m calling the Great Allbirds Scam of 2019.
You might remember that I blogged back in August about my first pair of Allbirds and how great they were and how they were emblematic of trying something new and all that.
Well, as it turns out, Allbirds are a scam. These much-touted, eco-friendly $95 shoes have a very short life span. After a few months, one’s toes wear through the eucalyptus fibers that compose the shoes’ uppers. This has happened to me, to W. and to random people I have talked to. (I haven’t tried the wool “winter” Allbirds yet but am unlikely to do so at this point.)
That means you have to throw them out and buy a new pair. That is the very opposite of eco-friendly.
By contrast, I have two very expensive pairs of Alden tassel loafers in black and cordovan. I bought them at Brooks Brothers in 1999. I have had them re-soled and re-heeled more times than I can count. Yet there they are in my closet, looking just as good as new.
This seems to me to be friendlier to the environment than wearing out and replacing a pair of shoes every few months. (I know that there are ecological and ethical issues involved in wearing leather, but I’m not ready to deal with them yet.)
So I won’t be buying any more Allbirds. I’m going to save the environment and stick to leather, or compromise on canvas if I can find a pair of Jack Purcells somewhere.
The photos below tell the sad story.
This is my left Allbird:
W.’s right Allbird:
And my friend’s right Allbird:
Clearly, there is a pattern here. I will be following up with the company and will post what they have to say in a future blog.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, happy and productive 2020.