The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


World’s Most Sustainable Shoes? Allbirds Creates Sugar-Based Soles to Limit Fossil Fuel Rubber

Comfortable and trendy shoes are a must-have in today’s footwear industry, but what if you could wear a shoe that was as stylish as it was revolutionary?

On the heels of the movement to ban straws to save the world’s oceans, footwear company Allbirds is aiming to banish environment-polluting shoe soles. The company, which makes the cozy wool runners travelers love, has invented a sole material called SweetFoam that’s made from sustainably-grown Brazilian sugarcane.

The company is replacing all of its shoe soles made from here out with SweetFoam, and hopes its environmentally-friendly footwear will bring an end to fossil-fuel based rubber soles.

Where to Get the World’s Most Sustainable Shoes

For now, SweetFoam is only available in Allbirds’ new flip-flop, Sugar Zeffers. But the company plans to add SweetFoam to the rest of its sneakers and slip-on shoes.

You might see other footwear brands selling sugarcane soles in the future. Allbirds didn’t patent its new eco-friendly sole in hopes other companies will adopt this technology. The footwear industry releases about 700 million tons of carbon waste every year, and Allbirds wants to help its competitors lessen their environmental impact, too.

Allbirds’ mission is to create sustainable and comfortable shoes out of natural materials like the soft Merino wool all their shoes are currently made from. The company started developing SweetFoam soon after it was founded in 2016. Allbirds quickly became famous for its white-soled woolen sneakers, which celebrities including Mindy Kaling, Hilary Duff, and Jennifer Garner have been spotted wearing.

Shoes with Star Power

In addition to famous customers, the company recently acquired several big-name investors. The Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala and actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio recently invested in Allbirds.

DiCaprio told People Magazine he supports Allbirds because of the company’s commitment to solving the environmental crisis.

“Allbirds is on the forefront of developing new materials that will serve as a model for the footwear industry,” he told People. “This kind of innovation is crucial for creating a more sustainable future. I am proud to join the company as an investor.”

Now you can finally buy a shoe that will help the environment and look stylish at the same time.

More from SmarterTravel:

SmarterTravel co-op Alyssa Lukpat loves exploring new places. Follow her on Twitter.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From