Fashion & Beauty

Allbirds vs. Rothy’s: Which Comfortable Travel Shoe Brand Is Right for You?

If you’re in the market for comfortable travel shoes, you’ve probably come across Allbirds and Rothy’s. We’re here to break down which brand is better based on four categories. But note that, at the end of the day, you want to purchase a shoe that fits your specific travel needs, so ultimately, you’ll cast the deciding vote when choosing between Allbirds and Rothy’s.

In addition to comparing other shoe styles and features, our editor tested out The Sneaker from Rothy’s and the women’s Wool Runners from Allbirds.

Allbirds’ Claim to Fame

Allbirds first came onto the scene when the company introduced its machine-washable “Wool Runners” that can be worn without socks. Since then, Allbirds has expanded to other styles of shoes and products in different materials but always stands behind its sustainability efforts.

Rothy’s Claim to Fame

Similar to Allbirds, Rothy’s also launched with sustainability and comfort claims—its machine-washable point-style shoe is made with fabric derived from plastic water bottles. The company also stands behind its sustainability efforts and has expanded with different shoe styles and fabrics.

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If you’ve ever sprinted through an airport to catch a tight connection, you know the importance of a good travel shoe. Watch this video to find out which travel shoe is right for you. Want more expert tips and vacation inspiration? Subscribe to SmarterTravel on YouTube!

Allbirds vs. Rothy’s: Comfort

Winner: In testing out both shoe brands, Allbirds are a clear winner in the comfort category.

The merino wool fabric really does feel like walking on a cloud in comparison to the signature fabric of Rothy’s. That’s not to say that the fabric in Rothy’s isn’t comfortable, it’s just not as soft and cushiony as the merino wool and tree fiber fabric of Allbirds—and it’s true, you don’t even need socks (but you can still wear them if you want them).

All the styles of Allbirds have flexible soles that allow you to walk (or run) for miles in comfort. This is in comparison to two of the Rothy’s styles, the boot and sneaker, which have much harder soles and aren’t as comfortable after a full-day’s wear.

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Allbirds vs. Rothy’s: Versatility

Winner: Rothy’s take the cake in the versatility category with dozens and dozens of color options and prints, as well as more refined styles. I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on my leopard-print sneakers.

Rothy’s styles range from pointed flats to mid-ankle boots, and can be worn for anything from business meetings or casual meals to walking tours around a city. Rothy’s also has a kids’ collection, and a few of the styles could be considered unisex.

That’s not to say that Allbirds doesn’t have a variety in its styles. To date, the brand has expanded to offer high-top sneakers, flats, and slip-on styles in addition to the original sneaker-style, but the brand maintains its more casual aesthetic throughout these products. Allbirds does get major points for having both a men’s and women’s collection and for offering more unisex styles.

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Allbirds vs. Rothy’s: Materials

Winner: This one is a tough one as both brands use high-quality and environmentally friendly materials, but I have to give it to Allbirds for pioneering the trend of merino wool while also offering a lighter-weight fabric.

I’ve had my Allbirds Wool Runners for years now and can attest to the longevity of merino wool. Its naturally breathable, moisture-wicking (yes, still), and temperature-regulating and still manages to be super soft. The laces are made from recycled bottles and the company uses packaging made from 90 percent recycled cardboard. For the brand’s more lightweight fabric, Allbirds uses a tree fiber called TENCEL Lyocell. It’s similar to cotton, but uses 95 percent less water. Allbirds also gets points for innovation here, with its combo fabric—Trino—a blend of merino wool and the tree-based fabric. There are even two styles now made with a water-resistant wool fabric, dubbed Mizzles. Oh, did I mention that all styles are machine-washable, too?

Again, this category was a tough call because Rothy’s also goes above and beyond when it comes to its fabrics and their sustainability. To start, Rothy’s signature fabric is made via 3D knitting from plastic water bottles and so far, the company has reused over 37 million plastic bottles. The outsoles of its shoes are either carbon-free rubber or vegan leather, and the foam insoles are made from recycled materials. Rothy’s are also machine-washable, so when they get stinky, you just need to refresh them with a quick wash. Rothy’s also uses sustainable packaging and each shoe is knit to shape, so there’s less waste.

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Allbirds vs. Rothy’s: Price 

Winner: Allbirds is the winner here with an average price of $115 per pair of shoes (styles currently range from $95 to $135), while Rothy’s shoes average $150 per pair (current styles range from $125 to $175).

Allbirds doesn’t win this category just because the shoes are less expensive; since both brands use similar sustainability practices and materials, I would consider them to be of the same value.

Overall Winner: Allbirds

If you’re in the market for a more casual travel shoe for comfort, Allbirds is your winner. However, if you’re a business traveler or are in need of dressier and more versatile styles, Rothy’s should be your go-to for comfortable travel shoes. Both shoe brands have top-notch sustainability practices, are comfortable, and offer on-trend styles.

You Tell Us: So, which shoe brand is right for you? Comment below and tell us why either Rothy’s or Allbirds are your go-to pair. Have another travel brand that you love or a face-off you’d like to see? Tell us and we’ll do an in-depth comparison.

Shop Styles from Allbirds and Rothy’s

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window—best view in the house."

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