Why I returned my Giesswein Merino Wool Runners and Slip-Ons - Honest review of Giessweins and comparison of Giessweins vs Allbirds

Hi friends. I recently purchased a pair of Giesswein Merino Wool Runners and a pair of Merino Wool slip-ons. Merino wool shoes are popular because they're lightweight, machine-washable, moisture-wicking, and "antibacterial and odorless." They're almost perfect for people who hate to wear socks, like me. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan Merino wool shoes. Let's discuss the reasons why I ultimately decided to return both pairs of shoes. 

Pricing

Allbirds go for $95 USD. Both the Giesswein slip-ons and runners cost $129 each. Giesswein will ship their shoes worldwide for free, which is a plus. Included in the price for the runners is a second pair of laces, which is another plus. Allbirds are, however, $34 cheaper; hence in pricing, Allbirds wins. 

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 0

Sizing

 About a half inch of space in the shoe. Too big for my feet, would trip me up easily

About a half inch of space in the shoe. Too big for my feet, would trip me up easily

I usually wear women's size 8 to 8.5, and decided to purchase both the slip-ons and runners in size 8, which was a mistake. Both were too long and large for me; I would advise you to go one size down. Giessweins didn't come in 7.5, which I would have chosen. They only came in 7. So I took Giesswein's advice, went down a size if I usually wear half sizes (8.5, so I chose 8 instead of 7). The merino wool will stretch over time, so our safer bet is to get a smaller size, which will gradually expand to conform to the shape of your feet. 

It's tough to choose the correct size for these shoes online, so it's best to try them on in person before you purchase. In this case, neither Allbirds nor Giesswein wins in the sizing category.

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 0

Aesthetics

Unlike Allbirds, you will not see that dreaded big toe hump (and other toe humps) when you're wearing the Giessweins runners or slip-ons. That's a huge plus. My wide feet look pleasing in the Giesswein runners. When I wore Allbirds wool runners, my feet looked so frumpy. 

 Giesswein Wool Runners- No Toe Humps, pleasing form

Giesswein Wool Runners- No Toe Humps, pleasing form

 Allbirds Wool Runners- Toe Humps and frumpy

Allbirds Wool Runners- Toe Humps and frumpy

 Allbirds Tree Runners- Toe humps, pleasing form, cooler shoe

Allbirds Tree Runners- Toe humps, pleasing form, cooler shoe

The Giesswein wool slip-ons, like the Allbirds wool loungers, don't look very pleasing on my feet. Maybe Chrissy Teigen's feet might look sexy in these, but not mine. Note that both shoes are very similar, so if you must purchase merino wool loungers, go for the economical option, the Allbirds loungers instead of the Giesswein slip-ons. The biggest difference lies in the soles. Both are flexible, but the Giesswein slip-ons have ridges, and the Allbirds loungers don't. 

 Allbirds wool loungers

Allbirds wool loungers

 Giesswein slip-ons

Giesswein slip-ons

I can see why Allbirds are so popular. They don't splash their branding obnoxiously over their product. Giesswein's logo is more subtle on the wool slip-ons, but it's just in your face on the wool runners.

Giessweins offer very bold colors that pop, like grape purple and hibiscus, whereas Allbirds over more muted, pastel tones. I personally prefer the muted tones more, and the pastel colors, such as the pretty Kotare plum, or the Kauri series.

In terms of aesthetics, both brands have their pros and cons. Giessweins- no toe humps but the branding is too prominent. Allbirds, toe humps present, yet minimal branding. The slip-ons and loungers are too similar. The Giesswein wool runners are more attractive when worn, compared to the Allbirds wool runners. Personally, I prefer the Giesswein soles more than the plain-looking Allbirds soles.

This category is a tie. 

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 0

Bunions

The Giessweins wool runners and slip-ons are built wider and taller at the toe areas (hence no toe humps), and may potentially be more comfortable for people with bunions, versus the Allbirds.

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 1

Care

You can machine wash the Giesswein and the Allbirds. You need to air-dry both shoes. So this category is also a tie.

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 1

Support and Comfort

Neither the Allbirds loungers nor the Giesswein slip-ons offer ankle support. My ankles rolled in and over-pronated in both pairs of shoes. Both runners were very comfortable. The soles are all flexible and lightweight. Allbirds does a better job marketing their shoes. Just compare their webpages and you'll see what I mean. As for which runner is better for running? I'll need some advice from our readers. Please comment below and let us know how you like running in either runner! 

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 1

Temperature regulating

My feet get so hot and moist inside merino wool shoes, regardless of the brand, within minutes of wearing them. Neither Allbirds nor Giesswein wins here. 

Allbirds 1 | Giesswein 1

IMG_3878.jpg

Giesswein Pros

  • No toe humps, yes!

  • Free second pair of laces included with the runners

  • Many pretty colors with pretty laces to choose from

  • Friendly customer service

  • Simple packaging

  • Easy to wash

  • May be better than Allbirds for people with bunions

  • Non-slip soles

  • Heels don't slip out of the slip-ons while walking

Giesswein Cons

  • Pricier than Allbirds

  • Feet feel hot very quickly

  • Unable to machine-dry the shoes

  • Branding too prominent on the runners

  • Not marketed as cleverly as Allbirds

Return Yay or Nay?

Yay! I returned both pairs of Giessweins and would score them at 3.6-3.7/5 Pandas. I I'm not in love with these shoes. I've also realized that I'm not a fan of Merino wool shoes. Without socks on, my feet get hot and sweaty in them, within minutes, even when I'm in an air-conditioned room. The shoes attract too much lint and dust. They were too big on my feet, and I'd prefer not to do a size exchange at this time for shoes I'm not in love with. The slip-ons offer no ankle support. You can't machine-dry the shoes after machine-washing them. When looking at price alone, I would rather purchase Allbirds and save $34. Overall, there are too many similarities between these shoes to define a clear winner. 

With that said, Allbirds strategically markets their shoes. Their flip-flops, or Sugar Zeffers rather, are sold-out online. They really promote the technology behind their shoe, and are humble (or clever) enough to leave out in-your-face branding/logo-ing on their shoes. They're proud of their sustainable processes, and even Leonardo DiCaprio invests in Allbirds. For those of you who really love Merino wool shoes, I think you'd like Allbirds more because they're less expensive, but Giessweins may look and feel better for people with very wide-feet and/or bunions. And you won't see any toe humps with Giessweins! 

Return Process

You email Giesswein at order@giesswein.com at with your invoice details, then wait for a response which comes fairly quickly. Print out the FedEx label, place the invoice slip into your package, and drop off at your local FedEx. Return shipping is free and relatively painless. You may have to wait a few days for your refund credit. I got my refund confirmation from Giesswein a day after FedEx scanned my return package, and two days after that, received merchant refund credit to my credit card.

My friends, do you own Giessweins and Allbirds? What do you think about your runners, loungers, and slip-ons? We'd love to answer any of your questions, and respond to your comments, so feel free to write to us below! 

Want to get a pair of shoes that Phil and Mama really likes? Use this link to get $20 off your first pair of Rothy's, flats made from plastic bottles!