Allbirds Inc., known for its eco-friendly sneakers, bet people want to train in wool.
The startup is launching a new range of sports equipment in merino wool and yarn created from eucalyptus pulp. The fabric, which lasted for two years, is Allbirds latest attempt to rethink the garment industry’s long-standing reliance on polyester and other man-made fibers.
Allbirds’ efforts to get people to wear woolen shoes were a resounding success, as their sneakers quickly became Silicon Valley favorites. It must now sell consumers the credit for sweating in leggings made of similar materials, while competing in an industry dominated by Lululemon Athletica Inc., Nike Inc. and other companies that tout lightweight, moisture-wicking gear. .
Allbirds executives say wool is naturally suitable for exercise. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture, while regulating temperature, according to Tim Brown, co-CEO of Allbirds.
Polyester, which is a type of plastic typically made from petroleum, is one of the most widely used fibers in the world, according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. But synthetic fabrics like polyester get rid of plastic particles that end up in the oceans.