Allbirds Launches Sustainable Activewear

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Sustainable shoe brand Allbirds is launching an activewear collection following a string of high profile entrants making their debut in the booming category.

The retailer, which says it has worked on the collection for more than two years, creating over 70 iterations, has announced the move ahead of its hotly anticipated initial public offering, which is slated to take place later this year.

The collection, it claims, will be the industry’s first performance apparel line to be labelled entirely with its Carbon Footprint, will include leggings, bike shorts, tank tops and tees.

And, unlike lots of other sportswear brands that use oil-based plastic fabrics like polyester, will be made using a blend of eucalyptus tree fibres and merino wool to reduce odour, stretch with the body and keep the wearer dry.

“Running apparel is typically made of synthetic materials, derived from barrels of oil,” Allbirds Co-Founder Tim Brown explained recently to CNBC.

Adding: “For us at Allbirds, the disconnect between what we wear to improve our personal health and its negative impact on the health of our planet seemed like an important space for us to tackle.”

As with all of Allbirds’ products, the line has also been designed to help the company reach its goal of using 75% natural or recycled materials in everything it makes by 2025.

Allbirds is launching an activewear collection
Image: Allbirds

Earlier this year, the company announced its Allbirds Flight Plan: ten, science-based sustainability targets in the footwear and apparel industry, which will see it shifting its farming practices to create healthy soil, effectively removing CO2e from the atmosphere, replacing petroleum-based materials with natural ones, and inventing alternatives that don’t yet exist and using cleaner fuel and electricity, and using less of them to begin with.

“These individual targets ladder up to our overarching climate goals — we will cut our per product carbon footprint in half by 2025*, and drive it to less than 1 kg CO2e by 2030.” said the company in a statement.

Adding: “This is as close to truly zero emissions as we can get, before the use of offsets. And we will continue to be 100% carbon neutral, as we have been since 2019.”

But is the brand’s strong focus on sustainability enough to set it apart from the growing competition?

In recent months, several other retailers have invested in the category too, with Levi Strauss announcing it’s set to acquire women’s athleisure line Beyond Yoga and Wolverine Worldwide acquiring Sweaty Betty for $410 million.

Read More: Levi’s To Get Into Activewear With Beyond Yoga Acquisition

Elsewhere sustainable leisurewear brand Panagia launched its own athleisure collection and established brands such as lululemon and P.E Nation continue to up their own focus on sustainability.

Allbirds’ appears up for the challenge, however, with Brown telling Yahoo Finance that the brand realises it’s “not just enough to make a product that’s better for the environment, it also has to perform better”.

Its new collection, the brand argues, demonstrates how natural materials can go toe-to-toe with plastic – and win.