After releasing the Wool Runner last year — which led to a “very successful year,” according to the company — the brand is releasing its second design, the Wool Lounger.
The shoes have a natural, loafer-style profile and are made from the same Italian-made fabric as the Wool Runners. It’s a proprietary blend of super-soft natural merino wool from New Zealand and other materials. They can be worn either as a traditional loafer or as a slipper.
The shoe still fits into what founder Tim Brown calls the “casual footwear” space, which is what sets the company apart from other footwear companies that make either sporty sneakers or dressy shoes. This seems to fit into the “athleisure trend” of sporty casual apparel, but that wasn’t on purpose, according to Brown.
“We’re having a big crack at trying to do things differently,” Brown told Business Insider.
According to Brown, the company is mostly focused on comfort, and he doesn’t even think of Allbirds as a fashion brand, or even a footwear brand. Future releases might be in a different category altogether.
Allbirds’ charmed run was not without difficulties, and Brown says that footwear is difficult to get right. The Wool Runner, for example, underwent 17 small changes and improvements in the last year. A writer at Yahoo Finance recently wrote a story questioning the durability of the shoe when worn on a consistent basis.
Brown told Business Insider that while the company stands behind its product, there was an “element of truth” to the Yahoo writer’s complaints. He added that Allbirds is always looking for feedback from wearers on how it can improve its designs. Brown pointed to the improvements made to the Runner as evidence of this.
The Wool Lounger is available in both women’s and men’s sizes in green, grey, blue, and yellow. The price is the same as the Wool Runner: $US95.