The world’s most comfortable shoe has officially arrived in Philly. That’s the distinction that Time gave to startup sneaker label Allbirds (allbirds.com) in 2016 for its minimalist design and ground-breaking approach to materials: Each pair is made using environmentally friendly components like superfine merino wool, Eucalyptus tree fibers and Brazilian sugarcane. Since then, these cool kicks with a conscience have been spotted on celebrities like Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jessica Alba and everyone who’s anyone in Silicon Valley, where the company was founded.
Allbirds has 21 stores around the world, but Philadelphia was always on the short list of locations for co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger—Tim Brown is the company’s other founder and CEO—who spent time in Philly while attending Wharton. “We knew that Walnut Street was the right spot for its mix of local and national brands,” says Travis Boyce, head of global retail operations. “We knew we had a big fan base there based on e-commerce.” The Philly store is among the first to open in the age of COVID-19, reflecting a new approach to retail with controlled capacity and an updated store layout. As retail has a moment of reckoning, Boyce says the brand’s commitment to sustainability is even more important to shoppers. “People want to buy things that resonate with them and align with their personal values. They want to do something that’s better for the world.”