The Sustainable Sneaker Start-up Allbirds Wants To Take Over Your Closet


  • Allbirds’ new T-shirt will retail for $48, while its cardigan costs $145, a wool jumper $135, and a puffer coat $250.
  • “The style industry doesn’t require another Tee shirts unless it’s much better,” stated co-Founder Tim Brown.
  • Allbirds last month landed $100 million in a Series E funding round, valuing the start-up at $1.7 billion.

The start-up understood around Silicon Valley for its comfortable slip-on tennis shoes is wishing to take control of another part of your closet.

Allbirds is venturing further into the clothes category, debuting 4 new products Tuesday: A T-shirt made out of discarded crab shells; a wool cardigan; a wool jumper (a Briticism for a pullover sweater); and a wool puffer-jacket– all constructed of the exact same merino wool, sourced from New Zealand, discovered in Allbirds’ popular shoes.

The launch comes more than a year after Allbirds began selling socks, marking its very first venture out of shoes. Earlier this year, it began selling underclothing and hinted more apparel items were on the method.

The brand-new items double down on its dedication to using sustainable products, including plants, recycled plastic bottles, and now, crab shells.

“Does the world need another Tee shirts?” co-founder Tim Brown asked during an interview. “The fashion business does not require another T-shirt unless it’s much better.”

Brown said the company initially identified a waste stream, which in this case is a surplus of snow crab shells in Canada’s seafood market. To make the t-shirts, minerals are extracted from the shells and combined with wool. The result: an antimicrobial material that can eliminate bacteria, Brown stated.

“The outcome is something rather special,” he said.

Allbirds’ brand-new Twill retail for $48, the cardigan for $145, the jumper for $135, and the puffer for $250.

While the coronavirus pandemic has deteriorated clothing sales, with fewer people getting dressed up for work and other unique celebrations, it has been an advantage for Allbirds. Customers are looking for comfort, and Allbirds is known for simply that. The company introduced its first running shoe in April. It likewise just recently launched its own mobile app.

“Our business has been extremely durable through a really difficult duration,” Brown said. “On top of that, we’ve seen a really amazing uptick in consumer interest in sustainability.”

Allbirds says it plans to expand its garments choices. But as it did with shoes, it’s beginning little.

“We’re focused on a handful of necessary items that we wish to drill down on,” Brown said. “We sold just one shoe for the first year and a half of our existence.”

The start-up, launched in 2016, is perhaps best known for its $95 wool tennis shoe. Allbirds offered its millionth shoe in simply 2 years in business. It has grown to stimulate the interest of prominent investors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Last month, it landed $100 million in a Series E funding round. The financing, led by Franklin Templeton, valued Allbirds at $1.7 billion, according to a person familiar with the round. In 2018, the sustainable shoe maker raised $50 million.

“I think it speaks to the wider interest in the monetary and financier community towards the environment and sustainability,” Brown said about Allbirds’ latest financing round.