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Allbirds vs Giesswein: Merino Wool Sneaker in comparison

Allbirds or Giesswein? Who makes the better Merino Wool sneaker (from a purely subjective point of view, of course)? For some time now, We have been showing advertising from the Allbirds brand on Facebook. Example pleasing?


A large part of our editorial team already wears the Merino sneakers from Giesswein and has already undergone a detailed test last year (see Giesswein Merino Runners Test). We were all the more surprised that suddenly a completely new shoe brand appears, which has also taken care of the theme of merino wool sneakers and really raises it extremely similarly. The design, appearance and colour designs of the sneakers is really very similar to the Giesswein shoes from Austria. Since we love the Giesswein shoes, we wanted to find out the advantages and disadvantages of the respective sneakers in a direct comparison. Especially since the Allbirds sneaker is obviously worn by so many stars like Leonardo Di Caprio, Barak Obama, Ashton Kutcher or Hugh Jackman. We have listed more stars and celebrities below.

In comparison to the two Merino shoes, we came across some surprises that we wouldn't have guessed! For example, we wouldn't have thought that Allbirds had launched the Wool Sneaker before! But there are even more surprises in our benchmark Test Allbirds vs Giesswein and, in our opinion, a clear and perhaps even surprising winner.
Allbirds vs Giesswein

Allbirds or Giesswein?

Before we look at the Merino Sneacker of the two brands in detail, let's first compare the two brands. Even if this is not a long-established traditional company like Giesswein, we were quite surprised that the Allbirds brand is not as new as we had suspected.

Allbirds vs. Giesswein: Markenvergleich

 AllbirdsGiesswein
Gründung:20141954
Massenproduktion der Merino Wool Sneaker im Jahr20162016
Firmensitz:Silicon Valley / San Francisco, Kalifornien
Wien, Österreich
Firmengründer:- Tim Brown (gebürtiger Engländer, ehemaliger neuseeländischer Fußballspieler)Elisabeth und Walter Giesswein
Geschäftsführer:- Tim Brown (gebürtiger Engländer, ehemaliger neuseeländischer Fußballspieler),
- Joey Zwillinger
Markus und Johannes Giesswein
(Familienunternehmer in dritter Generation)
Branchen-SchwerpunktHerstellung nachhaltiger Schuhe aus Merino-Wolle.
Seit 2018 sind auch Schuhe aus Eukalyptusfasern und Zuckerrohr hinzugekommen.
Nachhaltige Kleidung aus Wolle. Dabei stehen vor allem die Hüttenschuhe/Hausschuhe aus gefilzter und gewalkter Wolle, aber auch Trachtenkleidungen und seit einigen Jahren auch die Merino Sneacker im Vordergrund.
Mittlerweile stellt das Unternehmen aus Merino Wool Boots und Ballerinas aus Merino-Wolle her.
Crowdfunding Erstfinanzierung für Sneacker:Der erste allbirds Wool Sneaker wurde u.a. durch ein Kickstarter-Projekt finanziert, bei dem 119.000 Dollar in 5 Tagen zusammengetragen wurden.
Später kamen noch andere Teilnehmer und unterstützten das Projekt mit 7,25 Millionen Dollar.
Der erste Giesswein Merino Runner wurde ebenfalls über eine Kickstarter Crowdfunding-Kampagne vorfinanziert. Es wurden dabei 50.000 Euro Kapital eingesammelt, viel wichtiger war dem Traditionsunternehmen aber die neuen internationalen Kontakte und der Test, ob ein nachhaltiges Markt-Interesse an dem neuen Produkt besteht.

Allbirds or Giesswein in Close Up

Here very much both shoes in detail. As you can see, the two differ quite clearly in the processing of merino wool:

allbirds giesswein close up

While allbirds can see the seams pretty accurately, Giesswein has left the wool more in a “shaved look”. Both shoes, however, feel equally soft. In addition, Giesswein now also offers the so-called Merino Knit shoe, in which the wool was knotted. This gives you an even more extensive result in the surface, as you can see here:

Difference merino wool knit or merino runners

Allbirds vs Giesswein Cons

To put it bluntly: If the other shoe manufacturer did not exist, we would probably not be able to expose anything to either of the two merino sneakers. However, since there are two such similar products, a comparison is almost obvious. In the following table we would like to show (quite pessimistic) only the negative elements compared to the competitor product:

Allbirds Merino NachteileGiesswein Merino Nachteile
Stoff ist deutlich dünnerSchlichte Verpackung
Schuh fühlt sich beim Tragen etwas kälter anRückgabe-Prozess enthält Rückfragen
Dicker Zeh drückt sich beim Tragen deutlich ab (Zehenhubel)Keine Fersenlasche zur besseren Einstiegshilfe
Sohlen quitschen je nach Untergrund ein wenig auf dem BodenLogo auf auf dem Stoff
Die Zunge ist zu Drünn und wirft dadurch schneller Falten beim TragenSohle hat rillen, wodurch Kieselsteine oder Dreck eher hängen bleiben
Durch Faltenbildung kommt nach wenigen Stunden tragen ein jucken und unangenehmer Abdruck dazuAktuell noch kein Schuh der von Prominenten getragen wird.
Kein zweites Paar Schnürrsenkel
Keine orthopädischen Einlagen als Add On möglich (siehe weiter unten)
Sohle wird nach außen breiter und wirkt dadurch wuchtiger/ klobiger

Here are some photos from our comparison test Allbirds vs Giesswein Merino Runners. It should be noted that our gieswein shoes are already 1 year old. but we wanted to show you the different profiles of the soles in comparison:

Unfortunately, our most negative point is really the fabric thickness of the Allbirds shoe. This leads to an unnecessary wrinkle in the shoe in the tongue. In addition, foot is very apparent when walking, which makes the shoe appear unnecessarily “wobbelig”. Unfortunately we didn't make a video of it ourselves, but you can see it very well in the following video. In addition to the annoying toe-hub, which just always pushes through and somehow looks “uncool”, the video even criticizes that after a year of wear and tear on this toe-hub, the Allbirds shoe has signs of wear and tear on this very toe hub. So it's not just us. Or how do you see it?

At this point, gieswein has obviously simply used something firmer, which does not raise this problem.

Allbirds vs Giesswein Benefits

Allbirds VorteileGiesswein Vorteile
Tolle VerpackungAngenehm zu tragen
Coole oder moderne Verkaufsabwicklung mit einem animierten Schaf, welches einem über den Versandstatus hinweist.Auch ohne Socken gibt es keine Abdrücke oder schwitzigen Füße
Hintere Lasche an der Ferse ist positiv und hilft beim Einstieg in den SchuhStoff ist leicht und doch stabil verarbeitet, wodurch es keine Zehen-Hubel gibt.
Trendiger Schuh, der auch von prominenten Stars getragen wird.Schuh kann mit günstigem Imprägnierspray wasserdicht gemacht werden.

General benefits of merino wool sneakers

The following video shows the benefits of merino shoes in a fun way. Of course, since the video is an advertisement of giesswein, the shoe of this brand is in the foreground here, but the same applies basically to all Merino shoes:

The following English-language video highlights the advantages of merino shoes in general but also the historical background of Allbirds. Before minute 1:30 you see the founder of Allbirds, who used to be a famous footballer:

Allbirds vs Giesswein in a worldwide comparison

Allbirds are currently ahead of the world in the race for the Merino Runners. This shows the table of trends around the most common searches on Google very clearly:

This is probably due to the fact that the traditional company Giesswein initially focused primarily on the European area (and especially on Germany, Austria and Switzerland), while Allbirds thought directly globally. In addition, it has helped Allbirds a lot that it has received active support from various celebrities.
In newspapers such as the New York Times, the Allbird Wool sneaker was praised very early on, which quickly helped it to make a breakthrough:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/technology/allbird-shoes-silicon-valley.html

In Europe and especially in Germany, however, Giesswein is (currently) clearly ahead and allbirds is slowly preparing to conquer the market here through Facebook advertising and other marketing strategies.

Who will make the race long-term, or whether the two Wool-Sneackers can continue to coexist in parallel, remains to be seen.

Allbirds vs Giesswein Merino Wool Runner Price Comparison

The Allbirds-Runner costs 110 Euros or 115 dollars. Included in the set is really only the shoe. The newer Allbirds Mizzle comes with an impregnation/coating that wards off “cloudy drizzle”. Mizzle also means “light rain” or “niesel”. As a result, the shoes will cost 130 €. In our opinion, a normal shoe impregnation can be made much further, as we have already proven in our test for the gieswein shoes.
Unfortunately, there are currently no Allbirds voucher codes to use that we could name here. It therefore remains at the above prices.

The Giesswein-Runner costs 129 euros. Included in the set is an additional pair of laces, which allows you to give your sneaker a more individual look in just a few simple steps. Very nice as we find. 20 Euro this additional luxury is to us but not worth ;-) We are all the more grateful for the current promotion, in which Giesswein gives 10% discount on all products in the online shop, if you go through this page in the shopping cart the following coupon code:
Giesswein Voucher

Remember the coupon code FBDE10 and save 12,90 Euro on this Merino-Runner Shop-Landingpage!

With this voucher, the Giesswein Merino-Runner costs only 116,10 Euro has a few free laces with it and comes without the (us very disturbing) toe-stroke.

Allbirds vs Giesswein Merino Wool Runner Sustainability

In terms of eco-balance and sustainability, both shoes don't do much. One could complain that Allbirds ships its shoes worldwide (ours came to us from the Netherlands, for example, according to the post stamp), but that would be a little too critical, because both shoes are a product that is offered worldwide. Allbirds remembers that his laces were made from old PET bottles:

A pair of Allbirds laces are made from a recycled plastic bottle. Recycling can be so beautiful.

Very cool idea as we find :-) And before anyone asks, the laces still felt very soft!

Allbirds vs Giesswein Exchange Right

Here both companies are really top and very fair! Although the exchange at Allbirds is mostly in English and a few questions are asked in the return process (although they say beforehand that no questions will be asked), the eventual exchange was not a problem. It is only important that you actually send the shoes back in the appropriate shoebox!

Here's the process we had to go through at Allbirds:

Swap Allbirds

Allbird's return

Allbirds 30 days exchange right

Send Allbirds back

Afterwards we sent the parcel with DHL and got our money back after a few days. So, in fact, without any problems. Very pleasant!

Allbirds vs Giesswein Add-Ons

What is an add-on? Well, both at Giesswein and Allbirds you can buy additional products for the shoe:

Additional products for Giesswein Merino Runner:

  1. Laces in classic or colorful (although there is already an additional pair of classic laces) for 19.95 Euro
  2. An interchangeable footbed (flat, but with an extra Lagre merino wool for maximum comfort for 19 euros
  3. An orthopaedic interchangeable footbed, which we really like, provides the necessary support for people with a vertical foot. Costs 39.95 Euro, but we can absolutely recommend. Fit in case of need also in the Allbirds, where there is currently no such deposit.

Also here: Who goes through this page can then use the coupon code FBDE10 to save 10%.

Additional products for Allbirds Runner:

Currently, Allbirds offers only a few matching socks called Trino™ to his Merino Runner shoes. There are socks that you can see as well as so-called “Trino™ Hiders” which you don't see in the shoe but still don't have to be barefoot. Although the socks are also made of an air-permeable combination of wool and wood, we actually find it unnecessary to sell socks to the Merino Runners, because one of the advantages of these shoes is that you can wear them without socks :-) The fact that the Trino™ socks cost between 14- and 18 Euros depending on the model has not really persuaded us to make a purchase for it, so we can't say anything more about the wearing comfort here.

Allbirds Celebrity Fans

As mentioned earlier in the Allbirds advert, many celebrities wear Allbirds shoes. Here is a list we could find:

  • Leonardo Di Caprio (even invested in the company himself)
  • Barak Obama
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Courtney Cox
  • Mila Kunis

Barak Obama even buys a shoe version he signed in the Allbirds stores:

Allbirds alternative shoes


In addition to the general Allbirds shoe made of merino wool, Allbirds has now built up a wide range of other shoes. The Mizzle-Shuhe with special anti-rain coating were added in 2019. Otherwise, Allbirds has besides the runners from:

  • Chairs
  • Skipper
  • Toppers
  • Runner-Ups

In addition to the different model variants, we find the different fabrics that Allbirds uses interesting. In addition to merino wool, alternative raw materials such as tree fibres from eucalyptus trees are also used. The shoe is called Allbirds Tree Runners.

Allbirds Mizzle

As I said, However, Allbirds is regularly in the process of introducing new shoe variants. Since september 2019, for example, the Allbirds Mizzle has been in the race for the cotton sneakers. The special feature of this shoe is a fluorine-free water-repellent coating and a deeper purchase profile in the sole, so that the shoe can also be worn on rainy days without getting wet feet.

Funfact Allbirds Mizzle Advertising

When advertising the shoe, however, they were still in the “children's shoes” as you can see here, if you look at the video with sound ;-)

Actually, we welcome the way to a more water-repellent surface, although we have to say that we have had very good experiences with gieswein by simply using a suitable impregnation language (more on this in our Giesswein Merino Runner Test). We have had very good experiences with this impregnation spray and have now treated all our gieswein sneakers with this spray.

Even in stronger rainy weather, this results in a (beautiful) beabeam effect on the Merino shoes:
Impregnated Giesswein SneakersOnce stamp on the floor with the shoes and the rainwater dribly dribly down again from the wool and the shoe remains dry:
Giesswein always dry after impregnation

Giesswein alternative shoes

In addition to the Giesswein Merino Runners, which have been on the market since 2014, Giesswein has always been known naturally for its slippers, which are made of merino wool, felted and offered in a wide variety of designs. Especially with children, the Giesswein slippers are extremely popular. For this reason, Giesswein has certainly taken the decisive step and offers its giesswein Merino Runners for children. In addition, a new version of the so-called Giesswein Merino Wool Knit has been available since 2019, which we have also reported on. The Wool Cross X for men and women is the jogging version of the popular wool shoe. Here we find the step a little too daring and for the time being we prefer to stick to the tried and tested jogging shoe models.

Giesswein Merino Wool Boot

giesswein merino wool bootWe find a really cool model the new Giesswein Merino Wool Boot, which will certainly make the hearts of some women beat faster in autumn and winter. In any case, the first samples of the women of our editorial staff were very positive. Unfortunately, the boots are currently only available for women and only in very restrained colours such as grey, black, sand and blue. Here we would like to see the more peppy colours of the Merino Runners!

Allbirds or Giesswein? Conclusion from our comparison

So what is the conclusion from our Giesswein vs Allbirds review? We were really amazed that such a similar product was pushed forward by two different brands in an almost identical period of time. We were a little disappointed at first that the look of the two Wool sneakers differso little from each other. A purchase decision and purchase recommendation can therefore be carried out less by the individual look than by the actual feeling of wearing. Surprisingly, however, this decision was quite clear for the traditional company Giesswein. why? Okay, at least for the European area, there is more sustainability in gieswein in terms of the eco-balance than with the Merino-Sneacker from the USA. Admittedly from an economic point of view, we would rather support Austria than the United States, but none of this played a role in our decision.

We were particularly disturbed by the wearing feeling of the Allbirds sneaker, which would not have been so negative if we had not had the direct comparison to the Giesswein sneaker. Similarly, the clearly visible toe-hub in the Allbirds shoe disturbed much more, which solved Giesswein more elegantly. Overall, the Giesswein shoe looks more suitable and harmonious in the overall concept, while Allbirds was able to score even more in the “cool” marketing appearance, the packaging and the target approach. Since the feeling of wearing is more important to us than the one around it, the Giesswein Merino Runner is the clear winner for us! It doesn't really matter if you choose the Merino Runner or the Merino Wool Knit, which differ only in terms of appearance, but not in the feel of wearing.

Allbirds Voucher

Unfortunately, Allbirds does not currently offer a coupon code, so you can only buy the cool merino sneakers directly from the shop. Here are more recent Facebook ads about the Allbirds Mizzle and where to buy them:

Giesswein Voucher

Giesswein offers various voucher codes if you go through this page in advance. Basically, however, only a single coupon code is required, which can be used in conjunction with this landing page, since all Giesswein coupon codes are always a 10% voucher. The 10% voucher from Giesswein is valid for the complete online range in the shop, which we find very fair and which secretly leads you to browse something in the shop when you buy it. In any case, this coupon code is an important reason why we always recommend the purchase of Giesswein products via the online shop and not via Amazon!
Remember the 10% coupon code FBDE10 (or IG10) and save 12.90 Euro on this Merino-Runner Shop landing page!

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