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The crazy-comfortable shoes that turned me into a sneakers convert

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If you buy one pair of sneakers this spring, make them Allbirds sneakers

Up until fairly recently, I really wasn’t much of a running shoes person—not outside the gym at least. Chelsea boots and chunky oxfords have always made me feel more put-together, and the few pairs of fashiony sneakers I do own offer zero in the way of arch support. But a couple weeks ago, after months of too-tight boots and awkwardly fitting Spin-class shoes, my feet were pretty much shot. Google suggested I may have pinched a nerve or two. It was not fun.

More: How to wear sneakers and still look girly

Then, serendipitously, I got my hands on a pair of Allbirds, the just-launched sneakers that are the brainchild of Tim Brown, a former professional soccer player who spent his career playing for New Zealand’s national team. They’re made of merino wool (what else, coming from a country with six sheep for every one person?) and feature minimal design elements and no flashy logos.

If you buy one pair of sneakers this spring, make them Allbirds sneakers
Image: Allbirds

Like Warby Parker in its early days, the company’s sales strategy is direct-to-consumer and online-only, which Brown and his cofounder, biotech engineer Joey Zwillinger, credit for the shoe’s affordable price point. The runners retail for $95, and come in four colorways—heather gray, bright blue, dark green, and orangey red.

From a sustainability standpoint, the proprietary textile Allbirds uses is made of all-natural materials—and from a wearer’s standpoint, the wool wicks away moisture and helps control temperature. Translation: You can wear them without socks and totally get away with it.

More: Cool Sneakers to Shop This Spring That Aren’t Stan Smiths

This was the premise of Allbirds’ initial Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $100,000—nearly four times its goal—in four days.

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