Wool Workout Sneakers for Any Season
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A start-up company called allbirds is switching up the sneaker game with an unlikely ingredient: wool. What you think might be reserved for your favorite sweaters or scarves is actually a great fabric for workout sneakers: It wicks moisture, minimizes odors, and regulates temperature (both hot and cold!). That's why allbirds founder Tim Brown thought it would be the perfect footwear fabric.
Brown created the company with co-founder Joey Zwillinger to find new uses for natural resources rather than relying on synthetics. Their shoes ($95; allbirds.com) are made from merino wool, which they say has a carbon footprint that is 60 percent smaller than typical synthetic materials, and castor beans, a sustainable green polyurethane source for the insoles. And because they have the perfect fitness-meets-lifestyle look, you can wear them through your whole day (workout included) and through any weather.
While allbirds is leading the charge, other brands are starting to hop on the trend. You might not want to toss your high-performance running shoes yet, but these are a great option for those who want a more sustainable trainer that goes from studio to street.
New Balance x J. Crew
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New Balance partnered with J. Crew to bring you a wool sneaker that's not short on style. They recreated their classic look, the 696, with blue/grey suede and wool for a retro-yet-luxe vibe. ($85; jcrew.com) (We're also crushing hard on this New Balance x Kate Spade sneaker collab.)
Photo: J. Crew
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Converse x Woolrich
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Converse teamed up with outdoor brand Woolrich to make these flannel beauties. But don't let their outdoor feel keep you from wearing them in the gym—Chuck Taylors are one of the best shoes for weight training (the flat sole gives you stability that's hard to beat). ($40; converse.com)
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Baabuk, a three-year-old Swiss start-up, raised money on Kickstarter to fund their Urban Wooler sneakers. All of Baabuk's sneakers and slippers are made with a single piece of wool felt (from 500 adorable Swiss sheep) and the soles made from natural rubber, leather, or recycled tires. This all-black pair looks so chic (and will go so well with all your printed workout leggings), you'd never guess it was made by hand in a little Swiss shop. ($133; baabuk.com)
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