In April 2020, San Francisco-based brand Allbirds re-engineered its line of natural materials, which was originally used for casual, everyday models, for strength and speed in order to create its first running shoe, the Dasher. The eco-conscious label is now back bringing performance to off-road terrain. Dubbed the Trail Runner SWT (or “Sugar, Wool, Tree”), the company’s first-ever trail shoe is meant to give you the durability, stability, and traction needed for trail running and hiking while keeping with the sustainable standards its set with previous sneakers.
Available in Natural Black with black sole, Natural White with cream sole, and a limited edition Diablo with red sole colorway, the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT features a breathable one-piece upper made from a blend of FSC-certified TENCEL Lyocell sourced from eucalyptus tree fiber and ZQ Merino Wool blend, despite the criticism of sourcing wool.
Recycled polyester ripstop is used to reinforce and protect the upper. The SweetFoam midsole is made with sugarcane-based green EVA while the outsole uses FSC-certified natural rubber. A castor bean oil-based insole foam adds extra comfort and an external heel counter helps stabilize every step. This is constructed out of bio-based TPU, which is also used for the shoe’s seam tape. Bio-based nylon eyelets are used to anchor the trail runner’s recycled plastic bottle-turned shoe laces.
Allbirds touts the Trail Runner SWT with having a carbon footprint of 16.3 kg CO2e as well as its rigorous road testing. Ten prototypes were produced while receiving feedback from 100 runners who logged over 2,000 miles in 285 days. The purpose was to ensure the new shoe’s sustainable design did not compromise the comfort, fit and performance needed for varying rugged conditions and surfaces whether it was wet, dry, or rocky trails.
In other footwear news, adidas and Sean Wotherspoon launched a new iteration of their vegan Superstar SuperEarth sneaker.