Tokai allbirds tree runners
Photo Credit: On File

These shoes use sustainably sourced, responsibly harvested tree fibers from South Africa to create comfortable, light, and breezy ‘Tree Runners’, so they’re shoes you’ll feel good in and good about.


Allbirds, the footwear-maker of choice among tech workers in Silicon Valley and self-proclaimed makers of the world’s most comfortable shoe, have turned to South Africa for its latest product.

Allbirds began with one product, the Wool Runner. In 2017, the company released a second shoe, the Lounger. The shoes are made from castor bean oil and superfine merino wool, with each strand 17.5 microns wide.

On 24 October 2017, Allbirds launched a shoe line for children named Smallbirds. The limited edition children shoes are $55 a pair and are an exact replica of its adult Wool Runner. Smallbirds are for children ages 2–4 and are available in three colors: natural grey, Kea red and NZ blue.

In March 2018, Allbirds began offering eucalyptus tree runners, making it the company’s first footwear product made primarily without wool but with the South African tree. They also launched the Tree Skipper, a boat shoe made of the same material.

allbirds tree runners

It uses eucalyptus fibres sourced from South African farms to create a “light and breezy” running shoe. The cost of the new South African tree made shoe is around $95 (roughly R1,100).

“We looked at many different materials, but when we came across eucalyptus we immediately knew we’d found what we were looking for,” Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwilliger told Fast Company. 

With a silky-smooth feel and pleasing cooling effect, the proprietary mesh knit textile delivers breathability and unrivaled comfort.

“Maybe we were going out on a limb when we thought to make shoes out of trees. But thanks to magical eucalyptus tree fiber, our Tree material is breathable and silky-smooth, complete with a cooling effect to keep things breezy. It’s naturally-derived and renewable, too, meaning it’s much friendlier to the environment than traditional shoe stuff.”

The Gum trees, regarded in South Africa as bad aliens that invade indigenous vegetation and suck up huge amounts of scarce water, were the perfect fit for the new range.

“The production process for the woodsy textile uses much less water than the process for cotton or polyethylene, and almost all of the water used in manufacturing the textile is recycled instead of going into the nearest river. The eucalyptus trees that give their lives to make this fiber are also sustainably harvested. Allbirds had the supply chain audited and certified to make sure it was minimizing the environmental impact.”

All this adds up to a good-feeling shoe you can feel good about, made from a South African tree!

Sources: Allbirds
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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