Allbirds is trying to win back Silicon Valley with a weird sock shoe

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  • Allbirds says it has created the world’s first carbon-neutral shoe.
  • The brand calls the M0.0nshot the culmination of a years-long effort to cut carbon from its business.
  • Allbirds is seeking to stage a comeback, but reaction to the design online has been muted.

Allbirds says it has created the world’s first-ever carbon-neutral shoe: a space-age knit boot called the M0.0nshot.

Once the darling of tech bros and finance guys extolling the original shoe’s comfort and eco-friendliness, Allbirds has lately been on a quest to find its next big hit.

The company teased the M0.0nshot in a preview last March, and officially unveiled the shoe Tuesday in Copenhagen at the Global Fashion Summit. 

But this latest lunar-inspired design landed with a rather earthly thud, with online commenters describing it as “weird,” “unattractive,” and “goofy as hell.”

Others were quick to draw comparisons between the large bioplastic logo badge and the TC Tuggers tee shirt knobs from Tim Robinson’s “I Think You Should Leave” comedy sketch show.

Like every aspect of the shoe however, the company said the badge serves an important function in attaining a net-zero carbon rating.

The bioplastic captures and stores methane, a greenhouse gas which is 30 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, helping to further offset costs elsewhere in the shoe’s carbon equation.

For context, an MIT study previously estimated that a normal pair of running shoes generates around 30 pounds (or 13.6 kilograms) of carbon emissions due to raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and other life-cycle factors.

A little less than two years ago, Allbirds and Adidas collaborated on a similar low-carbon effort and was able to get the number down to less than 6.5 pounds (2.94 kilograms).

With the M0.0nshot, Allbirds said it takes this number down to zero, which is why “0.0” is featured in the name of the shoe. The company also published an open-source “recipe book” for the footwear and asked other shoemakers to come up with their own low- or no-carbon offerings.

The announcement follows a busy year for the company, which has embarked on a hiring and innovation spree in the hopes of revitalizing the brand’s slumping popularity and sales.

“They need a hit product pretty badly,” Wedbush Securities analyst Tom Nikic previously told Insider.

“As we thought about this ‘shoe of the future,’ we were clear that M0.0NSHOT couldn’t look like something from the past,” the project’s design lead Jamie McLellan said in a press release. “We’ve not just reimagined the science of a sustainable shoe, we’ve reimagined the design, too.”

The M0.0nshot is expected to ship in Spring 2024. The company hasn’t shared pricing, but interested sneakerheads can sign up on Allbird’s website to the the first to know.

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