Can you improve on something that's already close to perfect?
That's what I wondered after Allbirds last month debuted a new shoe, the $95 loafer-style "Wool Loungers."
When I reviewed the original $95 “Wool Runners,” last year, I was charmed by the New Zealand wool sneakers' look and feel. And I've continued to get tons of unsolicited compliments from strangers on them since.
I'm not the only one in their thrall. Over the last year, Silicon Valley startup founders and venture capitalists have developed a taste for Allbirds, which claims its shoes are the "most comfortable in the world." Indeed, the Valley has become "obsessed" with the shoe because of its low-key style and comfort, as my colleague Melia Robinson observed.
To see if the Loungers lived up to the standard set by the Runners, I decided to put them to the test for a few weeks.
Here are my impressions:
The Loungers retain a lot of what made the original Runners special. They are extremely comfortable, though the fit is a tad tighter than the original around the toe. They are breathable enough to be fine in most weather, but I wouldn't recommend slogging through water in them.
But it's in the style where they feel the most different from the Runners. From a comfort perspective, you can wear the Loungers either with or without socks. But from a stylistic perspective, they look much better without them.
SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley is obsessed with these wool sneakers that claim to be the 'most comfortable in the world'
Here's what they look like with socks. A tad goofy, right?
Now here are the Runners with the same sock. It just feels more natural.
As their name suggests, the Loungers are really perfect for lounging around the house. They're effortless to slip on and off, and look great without socks. But they aren't as versatile as the Runners.
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