Sep 28, 2022
by James Roberts
Rice Hulls and Citrus Peels Are the Secret Ingredients in the Allbirds Plant Pacer
by James Roberts
Sep 28, 2022

For around six years, Allbirds has been developing a wide array of plant-based running and everyday sneakers. Now, the San Francisco brand has released its first plant leather shoe, made with the good people at Natural Fiber Welding (NFW).

The everyday sneaker is called the Plant Pacer and is made with MIRUM, NFW’s plant-based leather alternative. Unlike other plant leathers, MIRUM contains no petroleum-based ingredients. It’s 100 percent plastic free. It uses natural materials like rubber, plant oils, and agricultural byproducts such as rice hulls and citrus peels. With rice being a food staple for 3.5 billion people across the world, its hulls are one of the most prevalent sources of agricultural waste in the world. MIRUM takes this would-be waste and turns it into a brand new material. As MIRUM uses no plastic and requires no tanning, it also has a low carbon footprint.

That’s all in the upper. The midsole is made with SweetFoam, a sugarcane-based, carbon negative material which was used in Allbirds collab with Rosie Assoulin earlier this year. The outsole is made with natural rubber and the laces are made with 100 percent recycled polyester.

The shoe is a super comfy looking, clean sneaker that will fit in nicely with any everyday wardrobe. It comes in either Natural White or Dreamy Green, and thanks to the rice hulls, the outer has a textured finish.

Last year we reported on Allbirds’ $2 million USD investment in Natural Fiber Welding, to increase the footwear brand’s line beyond its merino-wool kicks. It’s a big investment and the brand is demonstrating its commitment to widening its Earth-friendly offering.

“For way too long, fashion companies have relied on dirty synthetics and unsustainable leather, putting established ways of doing things and costs before the environment. We wanted to put an end to that, which led us to create the Plant Pacer,” said Allbirds co-Founder and co-CEO Tim Brown. “Through the innovative use of natural materials, like Plant Leather and others, we’re going to continue stretching the limits of sustainable footwear.” 

In related news, Natural Fiber Welding has formed the NFW Footwear Collective. This is a collection of brands that utilize NFW’s plant-based materials to push forward the footwear industry with circular performance materials. The brands in the lineup include New Balance, Wolverine Worldwide, Camper, Deckers and, of course, Allbirds. These brands will work closely together with NFW to develop and release new products.

NFW’s engineers have worked tirelessly to develop a natural solution for nearly every component of a shoe,” says Dr. Luke Haverhals, founder and CEO of NFW. “We’ve been on this journey since 2015 with some of our earliest partners — like Allbirds, Camper, and Deckers — who have lent their invaluable insight. With their collaboration and deep alignment with our sustainability vision, we have kept iterating to deliver what the footwear industry needs and what consumers demand that simultaneously achieves our uncompromising sustainability standards”

Shop the Allbirds Plant Pacer online today.