Allbirds' water-resistant sneakers are our new go-to shoes for rainy weather after putting them to the test for 6 months
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- You can't normally wear wool in the rain, which is too bad because we would love to wear our comfortable wool Allbirds sneakers all year long.
- The company has a solution: Its Wool Runner Mizzle ($115) and the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle ($135) are covered in a water-resistant treatment that makes raindrops slide right off.
- They also feature a reinforced sole that gives your feet better grip on slippery surfaces.
- These smart additions make an already great sneaker even more versatile. We tested them and thought they were just as comfortable and supportive as the original Runners.
"Will they or won't they?" I ask to myself as I crane my neck toward the gray clouds above me. As the seasons transition and weather forecasts shift with reckless abandon, it's becoming more difficult to tell whether it's going to rain later during the day.
That's not good news for your shoes, because if you end up wearing the wrong ones, your feet are trapped in the unholy embrace of wet socks. Even worse, you could also permanently ruin the material of your favorite pair of shoes.
Online shoe brand Allbirds knew that its fans were starting to store away their shoes come fall and winter time in order to protect the wool construction. Now, it has two shoes that let you enjoy soft comfort and support no matter the weather conditions.
The Mizzle collection features the Wool Runner Mizzle and the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle, which are both made with water-resistant merino wool and a reinforced sole for more traction on slippery surfaces.
The Runner Mizzle looks like the original Wool Runner, while the Runner-Up Mizzle is Allbirds' first high-top sneaker in wool (the Tree Toppers were the brand's first-ever high-top and are made from eucalyptus).
They're both currently available in four colors. The Runner costs $115, and the Runner-Up $135. They're the most expensive of Allbirds' styles, likely due to the water-resistant treatment and sole design.
Allbirds differentiates these sneakers from other water-resistant shoes on the market by emphasizing that it uses chemical-free, naturally derived materials to create its water-repellent treatment and water-resistant layer. The company as a whole is geared toward environmentally friendly practices, using materials like sustainably harvested eucalyptus pulp, recycled polyester made from plastic bottles, and carbon-negative EVA foam.
We tried the Allbirds Mizzles to test their comfort and claims of water resistance. Our testers include first-time Allbirds wearers and longtime fans.
Wool Runner Mizzle review:
September 2019: I own three different pairs of Allbirds (well, four now!), the original Wool Runners, the Tree Skippers, and the Tree Breezers. The Wool Runners are still my favorite and the pair I wear the most after two years, but I do have to admit it takes a certain bravery to put them on during cold weather season and risk getting them wet. The softness and coziness of wool is exactly why you'd want to wear them when it rains, which is why I love that Allbirds now has a water-resistant version.
Since it didn't rain in the time I had to test the Wool Runner Mizzle, I couldn't test the claims of weather resistance directly. However, I did run them under the water of my faucet, with all the expected trepidation of anyone testing a waterproof or water-resistant product for the first time.
To my relief and happiness, the water slid right off (this effect was also very satisfying to watch). Some droplets stayed on the surface, but as I watched, they merely lingered there rather than absorb into the wool material. I tried ramping up the flow of the water, and the same thing happened, so I feel fairly confident about the material's performance in a real rain shower.
February 2020: Now that I've been able to wear these shoes during real drizzly days and rain showers, I can confirm they are water-resistant. While I do love my $75 Everlane Rain Boots, they're a bit heavy and clunky, so the Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles are an excellent lightweight alternative that let me fast-walk through wet streets with ease.
We're far from being done with rainy winter and spring days, so I wouldn't discount these water-resistant shoes too quickly. Plus, once summer arrives, you can pack away your heavy-duty rain boots and just rely on your Allbirds during unexpected thunderstorms.
The fit and comfort feel a little different from the regular Wool Runners — the Mizzles are more supportive, but they also feel a little tighter, more stiff, and less soft. Overall though, they're still comfortable. —Connie Chen, senior reporter
September 2019: I've somehow never worn Allbirds before trying out the Mizzle. So while I can't compare the new weather-resistant shoes to the original, I can confirm they are as cozy as I hoped wool shoes would be. I tried the Wool Runner Mizzle and immediately felt as if I had swaddled my feet in a soft, warm blanket.
The fit was near-perfect (there was not even a hint of a blister, straight out of the box), but with one caveat: My big toes hit just a little too close to the front of the shoe. It's something to keep in mind if you're between sizes, or love super thick socks, and might need extra room. But it's not a total dealbreaker. I'm hoping the shoe stretches with use, as I plan to wear these more, rain or shine. —Emily Hochberg, travel editor
Wool Runner-Up Mizzle review:
September 2019: In my 10 months on the Insider Reviews team there isn't a company that has received more praise from my colleagues than Allbirds. Anytime there's a new style or color released I know there's an email thread of excitement on its way. I wasn't sure if the shoes would live up to the hype, but after trying the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle I'm officially a convert.
Beyond the fuzzy exterior that's also somehow water-resistant, the shoes are extremely comfortable right out of the box. The merino wool that lines the interior of the shoe provides a snug, blanket-like feel around my feet, and the bottom of the shoe is soft and squishy, but also supportive. The Runner-Up Mizzles are now my go-to shoe whenever I see a rainy day on my weather app.
February 2020: There's some wear and tear after six months, but overall, the shoes have held up great, especially considering that I usually wear them on any day with inclement weather. They continue to be my go-to rainy-day shoe; the rubber trim on the bottom of the shoes is still fairly white, and the merino wool is as fuzzy as ever. I haven't gone splashing around in puddles, but for a regular walk in the rain with an umbrella, you can be confident that your socks will stay dry.
The shoes are super comfortable, but not especially supportive. I have arch support issues with almost any standard sneaker that's not explicitly designed to be supportive. If you're like me, I recommend getting some inserts. Once I started using orthotic inserts, I alleviated any problems I had with my Allbirds or any other sneaker. — Danny Bakst, Manager, story production
September 2019: I have three pairs of Allbirds Runners (both Wool and Tree), and they're always my go-to shoes when the first thing I'm looking for is comfort. So I was a little bummed out when I tried my pair of Runner-Up Mizzles. I know I may get drawn and quartered by the Allbirds loyalists of the world for saying this (hey, I'm generally a big fan, too! I'm just doing my job here), but I found this pair to be uncomfortable. The top of the shoe rubs right up against my ankles, which I think is due to the fact that the opening of the shoe is pretty bulky. This is just my personal experience, and while I know the shoes will hold up to crappy weather (we ran water over them and it beaded right up), I don't think they're the pair I'll go for when I'm commuting to work. — Sally Kaplan, senior editor
September 2019: I knew Allbirds was onto something when, during a meeting, one of the participants stopped me in mid-speech to tell me how awesome my Wool Runner-Up Mizzle looked. Indeed, it blends the cool high-top silhouette with the fuzzy wool exterior that Allbirds is known for.
While I haven't had the opportunity to wear them long-term, there are some things that I noticed right away. Right out of the box, the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle slipped onto my feet easily and cushioned them with a soft feeling that's reminiscent of how my bedroom slippers feel.
But like my colleague Emily, I find some areas to be a bit tight, like the big toe and the top of the feet. My feet also feel like they were incubating, so I'd recommend wearing thinner socks to allow for some breathability (although wool absorbs moisture well) or save these for colder weather. However, I really enjoy the soft cushioning of the footbed and sole; I pounded the pavement for several hours and didn't find them uncomfortable, despite having not broken them in.
February 2020: After a few months of wearing the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle in a variety of conditions, the shoes have held up well — particularly the outer sole — apart from some scratches. Despite pounding on hard pavement and trudging through rain, the shoes still look new, and there are no immediate signs of the fabric coming apart (an issue with Allbirds in the company's early days). The footbed's cushioning has maintained both walking and running comfort. Plus, I find that they have very good traction on slippery ground.
After several adjustments to the lacing and breaking them in, there's a bit more room to breathe than initially. However, I still feel tightness around the toe cap and up through the vamp and throat. There's noticeable discomfort if you wear thicker socks (which I mentioned before), but it does provide a secure fit. And something I didn't notice at first: There seems to be some residue from the glue used to bond the upper to the sole. It's not noticeable unless you get up close, but I'm not sure if this is something that developed over time (it's something that has been complained about on Reddit). With this in mind, I'm not sure how well these shoes will hold up in the next six months, but my colleagues previously noted that their Allbirds held up after two years of use. I think the Wool Runner-Up Mizzie still looks terrific, but overall comfort will be case-by-case for each person. — Les Shu, buying guides editor
The bottom line: Prepare for the rainy season with these new Allbirds sneakers.
The Mizzle is one collection of shoes you can wear out of the house with confidence, no matter how unpredictable the day's weather is. The Runners and Runner-Ups give you the lightweight, supportive comfort of a regular pair of sneakers, but the water-resistant benefits of a pair of bulky boots.
If you have concerns about the fit and feel of a high-top sneaker around your ankles, we would recommend buying the The Runners instead of the Runner-Ups. Or, visit an Allbirds store near you to try on the sneakers in person.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]
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