SOURCE: Allbirds, Inc.

March 01, 2016 09:00 ET

Allbirds Launches Today, Introduces the Wool Runners

Company Announces $2.7 Million in Funding to Make Shoes With Premium, Natural Materials

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - March 01, 2016) - Allbirds, the company that's changing the world's expectation of a shoe company, today announced its public launch and the availability of a first-of-its-kind shoe -- the Wool Runners.

Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger have worked over a period of more than two years to develop a novel textile suitable for use in shoes utilizing superfine New Zealand merino wool. With the help of a leading textile mill based in Italy, Allbirds is launching the Wool Runners today to take advantage of the miraculous natural properties of wool to create an unparalleled comfort and wear experience.

"It's been a years-long journey to get to this point, and today we're ready to start changing the way the world thinks about shoe companies," Brown said. "We have a design philosophy centered on simplicity and the use of innovative natural materials, and the resulting product -- the Wool Runner -- is incredibly comfortable, and as perfectly suited for the pub as it is for the office or gym."

Brown, a former professional athlete and graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, initially launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to produce a test version of the Wool Runners -- he reached over $100,000 in sales in four days. He later teamed up with biotech engineer and renewable materials expert Joey Zwillinger to improve the construction and introduce additional sustainable materials such as a vegetable oil-based polyurethane insole.

Brown and Zwillinger have a vision to create better shoes in a better way with a primary focus on the innovative use of premium natural materials. "We think there is a big opportunity to develop high quality shoes by using nature's incredible breadth of materials instead of the synthetic by-products of petroleum that the footwear industry typically relies on," said Zwillinger. The pair have also taken an unconventional approach to other aspects of their business -- from designing a shoe box and shipper in one, to offering a 30-day trial period with the shoes.

These ambitious efforts helped Allbirds attract a host of well-known investors from both the US and New Zealand to raise over $2.7 million in a funding round led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Allbirds has plans to continue to pioneer the use of premium natural materials in other shoe styles in the future, all with the same focus on quality craftsmanship and simple, beautiful design.

Allbirds launches today in both the United States and New Zealand. The Wool Runners are available online at in a range of colors for both men and women.

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