Why I returned my Allbirds Loungers | 100% Honest Review of Allbirds Women Wool Lounger in Limited Edition Kotare Plum
Do you hate wearing socks? I do. Unless I'm going to work, I've stopped wearing socks with my shoes. I don't like folding them, losing them for whatever reason, and seeing them curl up into ugly wrinkles post-wash. I've been looking for a warm and comfy shoe to wear, sans socks. I've read about Allbirds and heard about them from friends, so I took the plunge and invested in a pair for myself.
What the heck are Allbirds? They're shoes made of "superfine merino wool", are meant to be worn without socks, and thrown in the washing machine when they're stinky or dirty, or both.
Allbirds is a techie's shoe. You'll probably see them on the feet of those trekking across Silicon Valley. My geeky techie husband calls Allbirds "hipster shoes." He's not a fan. As for me, I just wanted to try on a trendy, comfy slip-on lounger. I'm all for a shoe that I can wear without socks, as nippy autumn embraces us.
I consulted one of my friends, PO, who loves his Allbirds (I'm not sure how many pairs he has), and so I forked out $95 (USD) and ordered a pair of Allbirds woman wool loungers in kotare plum, a limited edition color. (It's been a limited edition for some time now, so I don't know when Allbirds will stop selling this pretty color. As of October 24th, 2017, you can still purchase a pair in kotare plum.)
Honestly, $95 for loungers is pricey. I'm pretty good at crocheting. I think I can go to Payless, destroy a cheap pair of shoes for their soles, and crochet makeshift loungers with merino wool. Okay, most likely not. The Allbirds lounger is pretty, but it's also very simple. I'm not sure how durable they are, and they certainly aren't the shoes of choice in rainy Seattle. When it rains, I'll have cold and wet feet, wearing wool shoes.
Allbirds are machine-washable (cold water wool cycle, air dry). Personally, I would put the shoes in a laundry bag before chucking it into the washing machine. I haven't washed my pair of loungers yet, but I've checked out YouTube videos and see that the shoes can hold up well after a wash or two. They do take a long time to air dry.
Wear and fit
I wore my new pair of Allbirds loungers for three hours. I drove in them and shopped in them. It was a nice, cool autumn day in Seattle, around sixty degrees. My feet like to sweat, and they sweated in the loungers. The shoes didn't feel swampy inside, but I could definitely feel the moistness of my feet, and could imagine some feet funk after many more hours and days of continuous wear. The loungers attracted hair and dust, and other particles. Wool is staticky, which means static cling!
The lounger doesn't provide much ankle protection, so I got a cut today from a shopping cart banging into my foot. OUCH!
Length-wise, the loungers were true to size. (I'm a size eight.) My toes poked through the top of the lounger, making little toe humps. I've noticed that my guy friend, PO, also runs into this problem. I think everyone who wears Allbirds loungers will notice toe humps on the top. It does make me question: are my toes too big for Allbirds? There wasn't any discomfort, but my feet certainly did not look flattering in the Allbirds loungers. With my toes and toenails poking at the merino wool material, will they eventually tear into the shoe? I know customer service is good about exchanges if there are tears in the material, but I really would hate seeing a hole and my toes poking through the top. (PO had a great time exchanging his torn up shoe for a new pair, back in NYC. He only had good things to say about Allbirds customer service.)
PO is often on his feet all day, and he loves how comfortable his Allbirds loungers are.
Are Allbirds good for bunions and wide feet?
Although the shoe's material is soft, the shoe has a narrow profile. I don't believe Allbirds are the best shoes for people with bunions.
Allbirds give you thirty days to try your new pair of Allbirds. Exchanges and returns are simple. Just go to the website and follow the easy steps. I quickly decided to return my pair of Allbirds. I just wasn't in love with them to invest my time wearing them. I went through the quick steps online, printed out my shipping label, repackaged the loungers in the original box, and sent it back through USPS for free. (It's been six days since I've shipped back my pair of Allbirds. No credit refunded yet, but it's still early.)
I love the Allbirds packaging. Unboxing the loungers was so much fun. Each shoes comes in its own boxed compartment. It shows you that the company really loves its product, and wants you to love it too. The packaging was simple enough to quickly discard, or reuse to ship the shoe back for an exchange or return.
For the high price, the unattractive toe humps, the simplicity of the shoe, the way it can't protect your feet in the rain (or your ankles from shopping carts!), and the muted colors of the kotare plum, and how I felt a little disappointed about the shoe, having high expectations for it, and my mediocre experience with it, I give the Allbirds lounger for women a 3.7 out of 5 pandas.
I feel that Allbirds scores points for the pretty and innovative packaging, the ease at which you can return or exchange the shoe, and their uniqueness. It's a wool shoe, come on! Points for not having to wear socks with the shoe. Points for being easy to slip on. It's a lounger after all. It's nice and soft, and it is high quality (merino wool), and machine-washable. Shoe is sustainable too since you don't have to kill off sheep for their wool!
Too bad you can't throw Allbirds into the dryer!
If you really want to try it out, I recommend you do, because you have thirty days to either fall in love with them, or return them. For me, all it took was three hours to decide whether or not I would keep them, and I sent them back.
Let me know if you have Allbirds and how you feel about them!