Erica Biegen


September 28, 2020


On March 20, sustainable lifestyle brand Allbirds put out a tweet to healthcare workers: “To our US healthcare community - we want to thank you for being on the front lines and helping to keep our communities healthy. We hope a pair of Tuke Matcha Wool Runners on us might be a small token of our appreciation.”

A subsequent tweet offered an email address at which people could request the shoes, and the response was overwhelming. Within just six hours, Allbirds announced they had received tens of thousands of emails.

To meet the demand of healthcare workers who continued to request shoes over the next few days, the company launched another initiative inviting its customers to help give back to frontline workers, too.

Allbirds tweeted: “We would love to continue to find a way to give Wool Runners to the thousands of remaining healthcare workers who have reached out and are protecting our communities during this crisis, but we need your help.” The company added: “As of today, and while supplies last, if you purchase a pair of Allbirds in the U.S., we will also split the cost of donating a pair of Wool Runners. Or if you’d like to simply donate a pair, we’ve created an option that allows you to do that too.”

A designated page on their website now allows customers to donate a pair of Wool Runners, the signature Allbirds sneaker, at the reduced price of $60 from the shoe’s usual price of $95.

A History of Social Consciousness

Known for its sustainable and exceptionally comfortable sneakers–and established as a Public Benefit Corporation and certified B Corp–, Allbirds has always had social consciousness weaved into its brand mission and identity. In the early months of the coronavirus outbreak, it felt natural for the company to utilize its unique product and materials, and the reach of its platform, to support healthcare workers on the front lines.

Founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger created an innovative sneaker made of merino wool and designed to stand out for its comfort level. But the company was also built with the mission of reaching a carbon footprint of zero (which it achieved in 2019), and spreading values of environmental sustainability throughout the business community.

Allbirds recently became the first fashion brand to label all of its products with their “Carbon Footprint” indicating the amount of carbon emitted to make and use the product. With the mantra of “making better things in a better way,” Allbirds has taken part in a variety of initiatives aimed at making the world a better place and helping communities in need.

When COVID-19 hit, Allbirds answered the critical need of getting comfortable shoes to healthcare workers spending significant amounts of time on their feet treating coronavirus patients.

The company has since donated $500,000 worth of shoes, and, according to their website, still has “a long list of friends who need support.”

It Doesn’t End at Shoes

Allbirds has also helped those in need during the coronavirus by working with chef Jose Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen, which has been donating fresh meals to communities affected by COVID-19.

In May, the company hosted the Allbirds Dasher 5K and pledged to match all 5Ks achieved between May 7 – May 13, 2020, with a $1 donation to World Central Kitchen.

Already conscious of its role in giving back to the environment and the community, Allbirds maximized its product, and athletically- inclined base, to give back to healthcare workers and communities in need—one pair of wool sneakers at a time.

For more information, or to donate a pair of shoes, visit

About the authors

Erica Biegen