We know it doesn’t make sense, but a thicker material like wool is one of the world’s most incredible and versatile fibers. A naturally occurring fabric, it actively does a fantastic job of really regulating your body temperature, wicking moisture away from your body and therefore keeping you cool while you’re active — while also making sure that you’re cozy and comfortable. Hikers have known about the powers of wool for decades (using it frequently as the bases for their layers or in their socks), but the fashion industry has been a little slow to incorporate it into more stylish options.
Wool shoes certainly weren’t much of a thing until Allbirds came along. And while that beloved sneaker (rightfully) gets a lot of love, there are lots of other exciting options out there for those that want all the benefits of wool sneaker, but in a package that’s different from what everyone else may already be wearing. Below, you’ll find eight great alternatives to Allbirds that you’ll want to wear all the time.
1. LeMouton Wool Sneaker
Out of all the shoes on the list, these by LeMouton are (perhaps) the closest thing to Allbirds you can get without getting them directly. Built from a wool and polyester blend, the upper is also built with a bit of extra cushion and support to help gently cradle your foot in place as you wear it throughout the day. The wool construction allows you to can wear them without socks, making it so that they’ll naturally regulate foot sweat to keep you relaxed. However, if the shoes get too gnarly, you can easily toss them in the wash for a nice refresh.
2. RedTrain Merino Wool Sneaker
If you’re unsure of whether or not wool shoes will be for you, these from Red Train are priced smartly for those looking to give a pair a test run. The speckled wool pops nicely with the white sole, while providing a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable shoe. Additionally, Red Train comes with a pair of white laces for further color contrast and bags for storage and transportation.
3. Hoka One One Hupana Wool Sneaker
BEST FOR THE GYM
Since wool is a great, natural moisture-wicking fabric, incorporating the material into a gym trainer is a no-brainer option. The Hoka Hupana has enough sturdiness built in to support any lifting endeavors you may undertake, while regulating your foot temperature. The sock like feel will also continue to be comfortable and supportive once you step outside the gym, providing that same great fit throughout the entire day. Plus, Hoka’s shoes are already well known for a sophisticated level of support and comfort, so it’s like adding a scoop of ice cream to a slice of pie — you’ve got two great things that only get better together.
4. Steve Madden Fabian Wool Sneaker
A chukka-style sneaker is an easy way to show off to the world that you’re a stylish guy — but a wool-based chukka sneaker shows off that you’re a practical one too. This shoe from Steve Madden does both in equal measure. Furthermore, the contrasting bits of wool (both heathered and synthetic) set it apart, creating a eye-catching shoe.
5. Loro Piana 360 Flexy Wool Sneakers
BEST LUXURY OPTION
The luxury pick on this list, Loro Piana’s wool runners are super light. Like really light. The 360 in their name refers to their 360 gram, or ¾ of a pound, lightness that makes it feel like there’s almost nothing there at all. The Italian brand also builds their wool shoes from ultra soft Wish wool, a proprietary wool material that’s made entirely by Loro Piana themselves, it adds even more softness and comfort than a standard pair of wool shoes. The light sole pops nicely alongside the rich, two-toned gray, too.
6. Sperry Captain’s CVO Wool Sneaker
Sperry has always been known for their boat shoes, but they’ve been able to take much of the same design features that have made them such a beloved staple and incorporate them into their actual shoes. Specifically, their rubber outsoles help to provide stability on a number of surfaces, while providing a nice look alongside the wool upper. Speaking of, you’ll get all of the same breathability and comfort from that upper. Also included in that upper is an abrasion-resistant lining, which helps decrease the amount of time it takes to break in the shoe.
7. Frye Ludlow Wool Chukka Sneaker
With a really rich texture, Frye’s chocolate wool chukka sneakers look more similar to suede than they do to wool. Complete with a fully cushioned insole, you won’t need to worry about the shoe feeling good; the interior footbed will provide support for the bottoms of your feet all day long. What’s more, that great wool gives you all the technical features you’d need — but in a totally work and play ready shoe.
8. Pendleton Trona Park Wool Sneaker
You might already know Pendleton from their beloved wool blankets, so it’s quite on brand for them to have crafted a wool sneaker. Accented with a typical Southwestern-style design common in their offerings, the upper has bit of leather for a fun contrasting flair alongside the pattern. The high top silhouette will hug your feet and ankles, providing all day lasting comfort and support from the ground up.
8. Baabuk Urban Wooler
BEST PHILANTHROPIC OPTION
Based in Switzerland, Baabuk is yet another entry in the wool sneaker market, though they are taking a slightly different approach. Yes, they do offer a similar style of handsome looking sneakers made famous by Allbirds, but these shoes take it a step further (forgive the pun) by adding a little philanthropy with each purchase. Registered as an official B Corporation (which is a for-profit company that promotes an actionable, philanthropic agenda) Baabuk has made sure its business impacts the countries it operates in, as well as the environment as whole, in a positive way. Our favorite option from Baabuk is their Urban Wooler. With a sleek silhouette and an upper comprised of 100% Portuguese mulesing-free sheep wool, this is a shoe that looks good and does good, too.