- Allbirds, the company behind the so-called “world’s most comfortable shoe,” just opened its first permanent flagship store in New York City.
- The store is around the corner from its temporary store in SoHo. It’s the first flagship store from the company, and it’s meant to be organic and “undesigned,” like the shoes themselves.
- We visited the flagship store the day that it opened. Here’s what it was like.
Allbirds, the company behind the so-called “world’s most comfortable shoe,” just opened up a permanent flagship store in New York City.
Allbirds started out as an online-only retailer in 2016 and opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 2017. The new, permanent store is located around the corner from the brand’s temporary spot on Prince Street in SoHo, and at more than 4,800 square feet, it’s more than twice the size.
The Allbirds flagship is meant to reflect the shoes in that it is “un-designed” and comfortable, a company spokesperson said in an email about the store opening. The store is very minimalist, with just a handful of shoes on display and nothing in the center of the space besides chairs meant for trying on shoes. It also has a service bar to help shoppers find the right shoe size.
“Given how tactile our product and brand story is, it’s important that we continue to create these opportunities to interact with customers,” Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger said to CNBC. The store was designed in collaboration with Partners & Spade.
The flagship store was also designed with scale in mind. Allbirds has signed leases on spaces in Chicago and Boston, and it is also considering locations in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The brand is planning on opening eight stores in the United States in the next year and potentially two more globally.
We visited Allbirds’ flagship store in New York City on the day it opened. Here’s what it was like:
The new Allbirds flagship store is on Spring Street in SoHo, around the corner from its temporary store on Prince Street. In addition to the new flagship store, Allbirds plans on opening eight stores in the US in the next year, and potentially two more globally.
I got to the store right when it opened on Tuesday, and there were already a few people shopping there.
The store design is very minimalist. Everything seemed very light, making the space feel bigger than it was. According to Allbirds, the new store is more than 4,800 square feet of space.
The store design isn’t like a typical shoe warehouse with boxes of shoes in every size stacked up. There are only a handful of shoes on display in the whole store, and they’re organised by style and material.
Near each display, there are details of what the shoes are made of and how they’re made.
Allbirds shoes are typically made from trees …
… wool …
… or sugarcane. The shoes made from trees and wool material typically cost $US95, and the flip-flops made from sugarcane cost $US35.
Allbirds is very transparent about all of the materials used in its shoes, providing descriptions of them throughout the store.
It also sells extras like shoe laces in three different colours …
… and insoles designed specifically for Allbirds shoes.
In the center of the store are a few seating areas to try on shoes, with a lot of space to walk around and make sure they fit. If you want to try on shoes, you have to ask for help, because there are no actual pairs readily available. That could be helpful if you don’t know what you need, but it could also cause a bottleneck if the store gets busy.
All in all, the new Allbirds shop is not your typical shoe store.
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