People Are Freaking Out Over Allbirds and Rothy's Shoes — But Which Brand Is Better?

Here's everything you need to know about the extremely popular, extremely comfortable shoe brands.

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Mandy Moore and Isla Fisher Wearing Rothy's Flats
Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

If you've been paying attention to the world of comfortable shoes, you've likely heard of Allbirds and Rothy's. Both labels have only been around for a couple of years, but already have a long list of fans including style icons like Sarah Jessica Parker and Meghan Markle.

With any new or emerging brand, it's hard to know what is worth trying and — equally important — worth spending your hard-earned money on. So to make things easier, here's an explanation of the major differences between Allbirds and Rothy's.


I was a little confused when the first pair of Allbirds came across my desk at work. My initial thought was, "Wool sneakers, really? That'll never work." But boy, was I wrong. I was convinced my feet would end up hot and sweaty, but the material actually isn't thick, bulky, or itchy at all. Allbirds uses wool from merino sheep, which is extremely lightweight and absorbs sweat. I've worn the sneakers to the gym without socks (don't judge me: it's suggested on the brand's website), and my feet didn't end up stinky at all.

That was back in the brand's early days. Since the 2014 launch of the Runners, Allbirds has been on a nonstop search to find really unique materials for its products. Today, the eco-friendly lineup includes tree fibers and sugarcane. The brand's most recent launch is the Mizzle (that's a combination of the word mist and drizzle), a waterproof version of the popular lace-up sneakers made with a fluorine-free water repellent.

Over the years, the offerings have also multiplied. The Allbirds lineup now includes Loungers (a slip-on sneaker), Breezers (a flat), and the softest socks I've ever felt.

Allbirds Breezer Flat

Shop Now: Allbirds Breezer flat, $95;

Allbirds has amassed a huge cult following thanks to its sustainable business structure and easygoing return policies. The company generously allows shoppers to test out its shoes for up to 30 days; if you aren't impressed, you can send them back for a full refund. This is notable as it's pretty much unheard of for brands to accept returns on used shoes.


Rothy's opened for business two years after Allbirds in 2016. But when you have fans like Meghan Markle, there's no need to try and play catch-up. When the Duchess of Sussex stepped out wearing the comfortable flats last year, the world noticed and shoppers nearly crashed the brand's website.

Similar to Allbirds, Rothy's is also focused on creating sustainable products and makes its popular flats from recycled water bottles. But I really appreciate my pair of Rothy's because they are stretchy (a dream for wide feet), and machine washable. Living in New York City and running up and down subway stairs every single day really takes a toll on my shoes, so having a pair of comfy flats that I can easily clean is a lifesaver.

Rothy's Flat

Shop Now: Rothy's flats,$125;

The wildly popular flats were just the beginning for Rothy's. The brand continues to add new styles to its collection, from lace-less sneakers to loafers to — most recently — ankle boots. But flats are clearly the brand's bread and butter right now.

What's the difference between Allbirds and Rothy's flats?

Rothy's flats are constantly being compared to Allbird's flats. And when you first look at both styles, they do appear to be very similar. The major difference is the shape and fit.

Allbirds currently only has one style of flats: the machine-washable Breezer ($95; which comes in eight colors. It has a round-toe design and a snug fit that hugs your foot like a glove.

Rothy's, on the other hand, has both a round-toe design and a pointed-toe option that come in a bunch of colors and patterns. The price tag isn't cheap (they ring in at $145). But if you're someone who practically lives in flats, the investment is worth it.

When it comes to comfort, Allbirds went above and beyond, cushioning its flat with its signature merino wool material. And Rothy's nailed fit. The brand's shoes don't need to be broken in and are made from a super-stretchy knit.

It's definitely a close battle between the two brands, but, in my opinion, you really can't go wrong with either pair.

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