First Look: Allbirds Launches Performance Apparel ‘Twice as Breathable’ as Pure Synthetic

Like Allbirds shoes? Well, Allbirds’ first apparel collection is here to match.

Allbirds’ first performance wear-specific apparel collection is here. With it, Allbirds is introducing six “natural performance” products designed in a variety of styles and for all types of exercise. The collection went through thousands of hours of testing and over 70 iterations, the brand told us.

“With the athletic apparel industry relying on polyester, 700 million tons of carbon are released into the atmosphere each year. Natural materials are the only way to reduce that impact,” Allbirds said of its choice to make performance wear from natural sources.

The main materials Allbirds uses? Eucalyptus tree fibers and good ol’ merino wool. For these styles, these fibers make up the lion’s share of each piece.

The garments also include elastane, recycled nylon, and polyester — all of which are Bluesign-certified. The pieces contain 30-36% non-merino or tree fiber materials. Though, that’s enough of a difference to have a boost in breathability.

The natural materials are more sustainable, and efficient, than traditional oil-based synthetics. Allbirds is claiming its performance apparel is two times more breathable than strictly synthetic-based fabrics on the market.

Other properties that the plant and merino fabrics boast? Sweat-wicking, quick drying, and stretchiness. All the items in the collection come in neutral colors (black and gray), as well as a few limited edition colors for this inaugural season. And Allbirds has collections for both women and men.

Plus, we got our legs in a pair of the Natural Run Shorts to see how the new material fits, feels, and performs. Read on for details.

Allbirds Natural Run Collection

Allbirds Performance Wear: Six Styles

Natural Legging and Bike Short (Women’s)

  • Material: eucalyptus tree fibers and merino wool
  • Features: women’s styles, lightweight jersey material, high-waisted design
  • Price: $98 (leggings), $68 (short)

Natural Run Form Tank (Women’s)

  • Material: eucalyptus tree fibers and merino wool
  • Features: women’s style, built-in shelf bra,  ¾-crop top length
  • Price: $68
Natural Run Form Tank
A woman doing yoga in the Run Form Tank and Natural Run Leggings.

Natural Run Tank (Women’s)

  • Material: merino wool
  • Features: women’s style, cooling mesh fabric
  • Price: $48

Natural Run Tee (Men’s)

  • Material: merino wool
  • Features: cooling mesh fabric, unisex cut
  • Price: $58
Allbirds run tee and shorts
A runner in the Natural Run Tee and men’s Natural Run Short.

Natural Run Short (Men’s/Women’s)

  • Material: merino wool
  • Features: lightweight wool fabric, men’s (7-in. inseam) and women’s styles (4.5-in. inseam)
  • Price: $68

Shop the Allbirds Natural Run Collection

Allbirds Natural Run Short: First Look Review

We ran, walked, and moseyed around town in a pair of Allbirds Natural Run Shorts. In many respects, these shorts are noteworthy because, well, they’re not really noteworthy. They look, feel, and perform like running shorts.

A tag on the inside lists the carbon footprint associated with each pair’s production. The Natural Run Short carries a 12.1kg carbon score.

Though predominantly merino, these shorts don’t feel like the darling wool that has become an outdoors staple. Instead, the shorts feel only slightly stretchy, and they’re coarser and smoother than wool. To be honest, it doesn’t feel natural or synthetic — thankfully, they are very lightweight, airy, and breathable.

(Photo/Adam Ruggiero)

As a strict running short, the Allbirds fit a little baggier than more technical shorts. There’s no liner, but they feel light and, as advertised, super breathable.

The fabric does hold water more than pure synthetic, so as you sweat, expect the waistband to soak a bit. But they dry reasonably quickly — again, not as fast as technical options, but well enough.

On the plus side, being mostly merino, the Natural Run Short resists odors better than a poly pair. It’s not stink-proof, but it won’t take on the run-funk as readily as synthetic options.

For comfort and performance, the Natural Run Short is solid, if not great. The only real drawback for runners is that while there are 3.5 pockets (two hand pockets, one rear pocket, and one mini-stash pocket inside the left-hand pocket), none have zippers or Velcro to secure belongings. As such, I wouldn’t trust credit cards, keys, or a phone on long or fast runs.

On the flip side, the shorts look and feel like a good pair to wear around town — and for that, pockets and all are just what the doctor ordered. Shop the Allbirds Natural Collection.