Brooks VS Allbirds: Which Is Better?

As an avid runner looking to invest in a new pair of shoes, I set out to compare two popular brands – Brooks and Allbirds.

Brooks is renowned for its comfortable, supportive running shoes while Allbirds has made a name for itself with its focus on using sustainable materials. But how do they actually stack up against each other? Read on for a detailed comparison of these two footwear giants.

Comparison Table Between Brooks And Allbirds:

Founded In19142016
Comfort and FitVery comfortable with good arch and pronation supportComfortable with moderate arch support
Color OptionsWide range of color optionsMore limited color selections
DurabilityDurable, high-quality materialsLess durable materials
PerformanceExcellent shock absorption and support for runnersNot suitable for high-impact activities like running
Design and StyleTraditional performance running shoe styleSimple, stylish sneaker style
PopularityVery popular among runnersGaining popularity as a lifestyle shoe
Best Selling ModelAdrenaline GTSTree Runners

Brooks Overview

Brooks running shoes originated in 1914 in Seattle, Washington when the Brooks Shoe Company was founded. Though it started as a specialty shoe brand, Brooks eventually pivoted to focus on athletic and performance footwear in the 1970s.

Some of the long-running iconic features of Brooks shoes include:

  • BioMoGo DNA: An adaptive midsole foam that provides soft landings followed by firm toe-offs for propulsion.
  • GuideRails: An engineered support system around the midsole to limit excess pronation or inward foot rolling.
  • Flextra: Outsole rubber strategically placed for flexibility where the foot needs to move.
  • Ideal Pressure Zones: Designated cushioned zones on the outsole positioned under important areas.
  • Adjustable saddle: A structured component that customizes midfoot support and fit.
  • HydroFlow: Shock-absorbing cushioning units in the midsole for plush softness.

In addition to catering to regular neutral runners, Brooks offers stability, trail, walking, and casual shoes. Some of their most popular models through the years include the Ghost, Adrenaline GTS, Glycerin, and Ravenna.

With over 100 years of experience, Brooks uses proven technologies and innovations to create high-performance shoes suited for runners of all types.

Allbirds Overview:

Founded by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger in 2016, Allbirds exploded onto the shoe market as an innovative, eco-conscious brand.

Allbirds Founders

Based in New Zealand, Allbirds built its reputation on the use of merino wool as the core material in its shoes and loungers. The merino wool helps control foot temperature, wick away moisture, and provide natural flexibility.

In addition to merino wool, Allbirds incorporates other sustainable materials like eucalyptus tree fiber, sugar cane foam, and recycled plastic and cardboard.

This environmentally friendly approach is a huge selling point for the brand.

In just a few short years, the company has expanded its catalog to offer wool runners, loungers, flip flops, and other shoes and apparel.

The simple, straightforward design aesthetic gives Allbirds products versatility as both lifestyle and casual wear. The Tree Runner is by far Allbirds’ most popular silhouette.

Major Differences Between the Brands

1) Comfort and Fit

When it comes to comfort and fit, Brooks Running shoes really shine. They are specifically engineered to provide exceptional cushioning and support mile after mile, aided by innovative technologies like DNA LOFT and GuideRails.

The ample toe box, padded collar and tongue and smooth linings feel great, while the range of widths and pronation control options provide a truly customized fit.

Allbirds shoes offer pleasing comfort right out of the box, but their minimalist design does not provide targeted arch or pronation support. The lightweight Merino wool upper molds comfortably to feet, but the overall fit may feel less secure for serious running.

2) Durability and Performance

You can really tell the difference between an athletic performance brand like Brooks and a lifestyle brand like Allbirds when it comes to durability and performance.

Brooks shoes are built to withstand hundreds of miles of high-impact running thanks to sturdy components like durable rubber outsoles, breathable synthetic uppers, and cushioning that retains its spring even over long distances.

Allbirds use more fragile wool and plant-based materials in their construction that tend to degrade more rapidly with wear, especially with athletic use.

Brooks also excels when it comes to technologies that improve performance for runners through better shock absorption, energy return, and stability.

3) Price

You’ll typically spend between $100-150 for a pair of Brooks while Allbirds shoes fall in the $95-135 range. Considering the exceptional comfort, support and durability built into Brooks running shoes, they deliver excellent value for performance that lasts.

Allbirds shoes may seem attractively priced for their stylish look and feel, but their shorter lifespan makes the cost per wear higher over time. If you want shoes specifically for athletics, the extra investment in Brooks is well worth it.

4) Design and Style

When it comes to aesthetics, Brooks and Allbirds represent two vastly different design philosophies. As a performance running brand, Brooks prioritizes function over form with a sporty look focused on stability, support, and ventilation for the foot.

Meanwhile, Allbirds has gained attention for its stylishly minimalist sneakers made from natural materials like wool and eucalyptus fiber. For casual wear, Allbirds’ pared-down, sustainable style has wide appeal.

But hardcore athletes are still likely to favor the technical look and feel of Brooks’ shoes engineered for dynamic movement over long distances.

5) Popularity

As one of the leading names in specialty running, Brooks enjoys strong brand recognition and loyalty among runners as the shoes they know and trust mile after mile.

The growth of athleisure has also brought Brooks’ shoes into wider lifestyle wear. However, Allbirds has captured the attention as the “it” lifestyle sneaker brand of the moment, gaining celebrity and influencer fans who clamor for its comfortable and sustainable shoes.

Among serious runners, Brooks still holds the edge for performance credibility but Allbirds is making gains as an eco-friendly casual brand.

6) Target Market

The target market for Brooks running shoes is obviously devoted runners training for everything from 5Ks to ultramarathons. They need shoes specifically engineered to deliver support, stability, and responsiveness to withstand repetitive impact without injury.

However, the rise of athleisure means Brooks now markets select shoes to casual wearers as well. Meanwhile, the target market for Allbirds is environmentally-conscious individuals looking for laidback, low-profile kicks rather than high-performance gear.

Allbirds fans may run or workout in the shoes but intense athletic use is not what they are optimized for.

Final Verdict

In the battle of Brooks vs Allbirds, there is a clear winner when it comes to running shoes – Brooks.

For runners who log serious weekly mileage training for races and push their personal limits, choosing shoes specifically engineered for the demands of the sport is crucial for both performance and injury prevention.

The comfort, support, breathability and responsiveness of Brooks provide an exceptional running experience that enhances athletic potential. Additionally, their durable construction truly goes the distance, mile after mile.

While Allbirds makes quality, eye-catching lifestyle shoes from innovative sustainable materials, they simply can’t match what Brooks delivers for serious runners.

Their minimalist design and materials feel great for casual wear but lack the structure and durability needed for intense athletic training. Ultimately, if you’re a runner shopping for your next pair, Brooks should be the obvious choice.

Their uncompromising commitment to the needs of athletes through advanced innovations and customizable support results in shoes that allow you to pursue your personal best in comfort and safety. For impressive technology meeting impeccable fit and function, Brooks remains the clear leader in the footwear industry.

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