SAN FRANCISCO - Sneaker startup's Allbirds' new Tree shoes are made from eucalyptus trees.
Woven largely out of fiber derived from eucalyptus pulp, the material creates a cooling effect by wicking moisture away - making them the most comfortable shoes in the world according to Allbirds.
Both versions of the shoe: a "runner" which laces up like a track shoe, and the lower-riding "skipper" feature laces made from recycled plastic bottles, an insole derived from castor beans, and eyelets derived from microorganisms that consume plant starch. The shoes even come packaged in 90 percent post-consumer recycled cardboard.
The company sources its eucalyptus tree fiber from South African farms that it says minimize fertilizer and rely on rainfall, not irrigation. Allbirds says this cuts its carbon footprint in half. The woven material uses 5 percent of the water and one-third the amount of land when compared to traditional shoes.
Hitting the market in 2016, Allbirds was quick to gain momentum. Company founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger raised $17.5 million of funding in 2017, allowing it to open stores in San Francisco and New York City. The company has sold 2 million of its FSC-certified shoes since its inception in 2014 - making it one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumer shoe brands of all time.