Tech workers in Silicon Valley are singing the praises of Allbirds, a startup in San Francisco that makes the “world’s most comfortable shoes,” according to investors, founders, and the company itself.
Founded in 2014, Allbirds makes super-soft sneakers constructed from a proprietary Merino wool blend. They come in two styles: a version with laces, called the runner, and a slip-on, known as the lounger.
The sneaker in general has undergone a sort of fashion baptism in recent years. As dress codes go lax and designers turn their attention to the “athleisure” market, men and women have more stylish, workplace-appropriate options than ever. Allbirds is pioneering the trend with its slipper-like kicks.
Some expect Allbirds to become a quintessential part of the venture capitalist dress code, in the same way that a hoodie and a T-shirt have made up the startup uniform for years. The company raised $US17.5 million in a Series B round of venture funding in September, and has plans to open additional stores and launch a kids’ line later this year.
We took to social media to find Allbirds’ biggest fans in Silicon Valley.
Dick Costolo left Twitter last year to launch a group-fitness startup, Chorus. It's only fitting that the budding fitness-guru wears soft, supportive shoes like Allbirds on his feet.
Brett Jackson worked for four years at Crocs, the titan of comfort footwear, before becoming managing director of venture firm v1.vc. He's now an investor in Allbirds.
Allbirds aren't just for the boys. Marissa Mayer, who left Yahoo over the summer, has a reputation for her bold but polished style. She also owns Allbirds shoes.
Steven Sinofsky, a partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz who previously ran Windows at Microsoft, sports Wool Runners because he's 'just a guy trying to fit in.'
Sunil Rajaraman, CEO of San Francisco's online magazine The Bold Italic, wrote on Twitter that he finally 'caved' and bought himself a flashy new pair of Allbirds in blue.
Michael Brandt is the cofounder of HVMN, a startup based in San Francisco that makes 'smart drug' supplements. He gave up socks for wearing ultra-comfy Allbirds.
Liz Wessel, a Google alum and CEO of WayUp, a startup that connects college students with local job opportunities and internships, also owns a pair of Wool Runners in grey.
Investors on the East Coast are catching on. Andrew Mitchell, founder of the New York-based early-stage venture firm Brand Foundry Ventures, is also an Allbirds investor.
Venture capitalist Henry McNamara owns a pair of Allbirds sneakers in five colours. He obsessively posts photos of them on social media and never leaves for business without them.
Rick Zullo, a principal at venture firm Lightbank, said on Twitter that Allbirds are becoming a quintessential part of the venture capitalist 'uniform,' along with fleece vests.
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