Allbirds Riser Review: Retro-Inspired Eco-Friendly Sneakers

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  • Allbirds have introduced a classic lifestyle shoe made with durable materials: the Risers.
  • The Allbirds Risers mark the brand’s next venture into vintage-inspired sneakers.
  • Take a look at our first impressions and see how we like to style the Allbirds Risers below.

The Allbirds success story began with the practical and eco-friendly Wool Runners. Then they turned to performance models, like their collaboration with Adidas on the Adizero x Allbirds 2.94 kg CO2e, which boosted the brand’s popularity. Now their loyal customer base has allowed Allbirds to play with lifestyle designs. With this new phase comes the Allbirds Risers, a retro-inspired everyday sneaker.

Rubber-soled, sharp-edged risers mark the next step in Allbirds’ exploration of timeless silhouettes. Previous Allbirds Pacers were inspired by the classic tennis shoe. The Allbirds Risers have a distinct 70s feel, but are made in a way that manufacturers of that era could only imagine. Their creation is another example for Allbirds of showing their true commitment to sustainability.

For its initial release, the Allbirds Riser is available in men’s sizes 8-14 and women’s 5-11. It is available in 4 colors: Hazy Indigo, Honey Rust, Natural Black and Natural White.

A close-up image of a sneaker.

This label indicates that Allbirds Risers has a carbon footprint of 9.21CO2e.

Gabrielle Chase / Initiate

What Risers Bring to the Allbirds Design Profile

The Risers are as expressive as you might expect from other cut and sewn multi-material sneakers, such as leather and suede, but instead are built to Allbirds high standards of durability. They’re made with Allbirds’ five signature natural materials – Organic Cotton Canvas, Tencel, Merino Wool, Sweetfoam and Natural Rubber – to create a super comfortable, multi-dimensional sneaker.

The Risers retain the practicality of the original Allbirds designs. But the structured heel is the main giveaway they started leaning on the retro trend. The Honey Rust colorway, for example, uses a vintage palette not seen in previous styles. Her remaining colorways are more subtle and easy to style, like Allbirds.

A model wearing sneakers has her legs crossed while sitting in a chair.

The Honey Rust colorway gives the Allbirds Risers a retro touch.

all the birds

How the Allbirds Risers feel on foot

A woman sits cross-legged on a park bench.

Allbirds risers are very comfortable and can be styled effortlessly.

Gabrielle Chase / Initiate

When I first put the Allbirds Risers on, I noticed the extra thick interior merino wool heel padding. My ankles benefited from this extra support as I spent the day walking around Brooklyn on uneven pavement. The rubber exterior of the soles provided excellent traction, while its thick interior provided support and felt like a sponge.

Of our latest Allbirds sneaker reviews, the Risers fit my wardrobe the best. They are modest enough that they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. After a weekend of wearing the Risers, I can see myself choosing them over my other sneakers for runs because of their walking comfort.

I ordered the right size and they fit perfectly, although the downside of Risers is that they only come in whole sizes. Allbirds suggests going up a size if you’re between sizes or have wide feet, but if you realize yours don’t fit properly, you can return them for free within 30 days.

An overhead view of a cardboard box and sneakers.

The Allbirds Risers arrive in minimal packaging.

Gabrielle Chase / Initiate

Amir’s opinion on the Allbirds Riser

The Allbirds Riser sneakers in blue

The Allbirds Risers are ideal sneakers for an athleisure outfit.

Amir Ismael / Initiate

The new Riser sneaker might just be Allbirds’ most unique sneaker yet. Not only does it live up to the durability standards the brand is so well known for, but it also reflects the design elements I love in retro sneakers.

Its cut-and-sew panels and mix of materials make it feel like a modern take on a familiar classic, while accents like the square-shaped midsole give it a distinctive futuristic edge.

For a casual look, I paired the Riser sneakers with a gray tracksuit and blue knit socks that play off the shoe’s color and material mix. I usually take the size of the Allbirds which are only available in full size, but I found the Risers a little big. You can see extra space at the heel of the shoe. — Amir Ismael, Editor, Insider Reviews

The Allbirds Riser sneakers in blue

The Allbirds Risers have a remarkable heel that is unique among other Allbirds sneakers.

Amir Ismael / Initiate

The bottom line

Allbirds lifts are sure to be well received by their customers for their reliability and versatility. With fashion trends moving in an endless circle, the choice to draw on the past for design inspiration is a smart one, because a comfortable everyday sneaker is something that will never go out of style.

The current trend towards sustainable fashion gives Allbirds a head start when it comes to sensible footwear options. With the Risers, we see the brand taking full advantage of the opportunity to be creative, using the innovative resources at its disposal.

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