Allbirds’s latest sneaker is as easy on the eyes as it is on the planet. The Plant Pacer marks the sustainable footwear brand’s first foray into plant-based products, making for a shoe that eliminates the need for plastic and is 100 percent vegan.
The leather-free sneaker uses a natural recipe of rubber, plant oils, rice hulls, and citrus peels. Rubber still isn’t the most eco-friendly material, but the other ingredients help make for a shoe that produces 88 percent less carbon than those that use traditional animal leather and 75 percent less compared to synthetic pleathers.
A canvas version of the Plant Pacer made with organic cotton is also on its way. It will arrive in beige, teal, black, and white to match your minimal look, with a white, curved sole on each. The plant-based version is given white and minty green treatments with the same curvy midsole. Both canvas and plant-based models are lined with Allbirds’s signature tree material, while the midsole is equipped with SweetFoam cushioning.
Pacing the Pacer — Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), a company that specializes in natural materials, lent a hand in the shoes’ construction. Per a press release, the Pacer’s design mirrors Allbirds’s “focus on creating products that can reflect the consumer's unique sense of fashion and desire for versatility without losing the sustainability Allbirds is known for.” But the techno bros and dads that wear Allbirds don’t brag much fashion sense at all, and the sneaker teeters the edge between versatile and vanilla.
Will Allbirds ever be all that? — For the past few years, Allbirds has attempted to up its street cred through collaborations with more stylish brands and innovative releases. Points are awarded for the Pacer’s slightly creative wavy sole and boost of sustainability, but it may find difficulty holding up to better-looking eco-conscious kicks.
The footwear industry has been pulling out all the stops to reduce its carbon footprint. Some are putting good use to invasive marine species, while others take inspiration from the farmer's market with fruit- and veggie-based kicks. Still, some experts suggest using even the most sustainable materials doesn’t stop creating waste.
You can shop the Pacer collection on the Allbirds site. The Plant Pacers will run you about $135, while its canvas counterpart retails for $110. They’re not the most fashion-forward, but anything pushing lasting sustainability is worth taking a second look at.