Do Allbirds Mizzles Make For a Go-To Travel Shoe?
As a semi-frequent traveler who looks to pack pretty light, I’m used to taking only one pair of shoes with me on any given trip. Thus, whatever shoes I’m taking with me need to not only be comfortable but also adapt to different situations — including the possibility of damp weather. That’s what attracted me to the Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles (as I mentioned in my travel product roundup).
Originally my plan for reviewing these shoes was to wait until I could take them on a trip and try them “in the field,” as it were. But, with no definitive travels on the horizon, I figured that a particularly rainy week here in Springfield was the next best chance to put them to the test when initially reviewing them — and have now added a snowy trek to my experience. So, without further ado, let’s dive into my thoughts on the Allbirds Mizzles and their potential as a traveler’s companion.
What’s a Mizzle?
When you visit Allbirds’ site, you’ll come across a few different styles of shoes. On top of that, you may notice that there are both their famed Wool Runners alongside Wool Runner Mizzles — so what’s the difference? While the two shoes may look remarkably similar, Mizzles are made to be water-resistant. Instead of soaking through your shoe and dampening your socks (the worst!), Mizzles are treated with a special coating that causes water to bead and roll away instead.
Incidentally, when I first started looking at Allbirds, I was considering the regular Wool Runners as a light and comfy travel shoe. However, once I discovered the Mizzles option, I decided that made more sense as there have certainly been times I’ve had to deal with rainy days when traveling — and did I mention how much I hate having wet socks? Anyway, with the Runner Mizzles costing an extra $20 ($115 compared to $95), I figured it was worth the extra cost and placed my order.
Coupon codes, shipping, and more
Like any savvy online shopper, before completing my Allbirds order, I did a quick Google search looking for coupons or affiliate links. Instead what I found was a page on the Allbirds site explaining why they don’t offer any discounts (although they are currently running a promo code for health care workers, but that’s a special case). Hey, I guess that’s one way of knowing you’re getting the best price!
While there were no coupons to be found, the good news is that Allbirds offers standard shipping (5 to 7 business days) for free. Alternatively, you can upgrade to 2-business day shipping for an extra $15 or 1-business day for $25. They also have 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy — that I thankfully didn’t need to make use of.
Also worth noting is that Allbirds does not have half sizes for this model of shoe. Therefore, they recommend going up a size when in doubt. That’s what I did (going from 8.5 to 9) and definitely think that was the right call.
My Experience with Allbirds Mizzles So Far
Ordering my Allbirds and breaking them in
Backing up to my ordering experience, one thing that I was slightly disappointed by was that there were fewer color options for the Mizzles when compared to the regular Runners. That remains true, although they have recently added a few more options for Runner Mizzles. If I were buying today, I might go for the new Aurora or Pacific colors (the latter is seen in the photo above), but I’m still satisfied with my Savannah Night selection — which, incidentally, I no longer see listed as a hue option.
Something else I didn’t mention when discussing my internal debate about upgrading to the Mizzles was the thickness of the shoe. See, for some reason, I have a bad habit of poking holes in the top of my shoes. Despite my best efforts, I guess my toes are just very sharp. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, I read online that the Mizzles featured a thicker layer of fabric than the regular option, which would hopefully prevent a similar fate — after all, what’s the point of having waterproof shoes if you have holes in them?
After getting the shoes, I think I made the right call going with the thicker option. While I’m fairly confident that I won’t poke through the toe of the shoe, it’s not so thick that it’s uncomfortable. That said, one thing I’d definitely recommend is making an effort to break in the shoes a bit before traveling with them. Although the new-condition shoes fit well, I did feel like the top was pressing down on my foot just a bit. Therefore, I could see this getting really annoying on a plane where your feet might swell. Luckily, after a few wears, this was no longer an issue.
My first wears
As I noted at the top, I was really hoping to take my Mizzles on a trip before writing this review (specifically to Paris where we not only do a lot of walking but it also seems to rain frequently when we visit). Alas, while I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these shoes on a plane, they did make a road trip with me to Chicago a couple of weeks before the country went on lockdown. At that point, I was still breaking them in, but they held up well to all of the walking we did — but it didn’t happen to rain during the weekend we were there.
At long last, when originally reviewing my Allbirds, I got to see how the Mizzles performed in bad weather. On our nightly walk following a heavy rain, we encountered a few puddles that I had no problem navigating with my new shoes. Moreover, the following night, we were walking in a light rain (plus some more puddles), yet my feet remained dry. Of course, I was still curious about just how much water the shoes could handle without letting any in. So, what better way to do that than to stick them under the sink? Sure enough, even with the faucet at full blast, no moisture made its way through, which is pretty darn impressive. You can see it for yourself in my video review below:
A snow experiment
While keeping my feet protected from rain is one thing, this past week, I got to see how they held up against frozen precipitation. With temperatures only a few degrees above freezing, I decided to take my Mizzles for a walk, trudging through both snow and slush along the way. The first thing I noticed was that my feet remained warm despite only wearing socks of typical thickness. Even better, while some snowflakes did stick to the shoes from time to time, it was easy to shake or wipe off when needed.
I will say that there were a couple of instances where I feared that water had somehow worked its way into the shoe since I felt a cold spot on the side of my foot. However, it seems that this was just due to some snow or cold water that had stuck to or soaked a spot on my shoes. After a couple of minutes, the cold sensation went away and, upon returning home, I confirmed that my socks were not the slightest bit wet — even though the cuffs of my jeans were. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed with this experience, which surely would have been pretty miserable in most other sneakers.
Next, although the Mizzles are comfortable for walking and do seem to do a good job at keeping your feet dry, they may not be right for all activities. Despite being named “Runners,” I would not recommend trying to jog in them as they don’t provide the same heel support or cushion you (or at least I) would want for that. However, Allbirds has since released an actual running shoe line called Dashers and now has a water-repellent version of the shoe I’m very interested in.
Worth an upgrade?
Finally, if there were any doubts left that I have about how my Mizzles will hold up to real world weather conditions I may face when traveling, it’s that water might still make its way into my shoe if I were to step into a deep puddle. If this too concerns you, then you may want to consider their high-top option — the Wool Runner-Up Mizzles. These go for $135 and, upon further reflection, may have been the way to go. In fact, several months after ordering my low-tops, I ended up ordering a pair of Runners-Ups for myself.
Final thoughts on Allbirds Mizzles
Even though I have yet to take them on a full-fledged trip, I’m excited about the prospects my Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles present. Having seen the way they handle water and snow during some home trials, I’m hoping that they’ll be able to make getting stuck in any type of precipitation slightly less miserable the next time it happens. Of course, it’ll also be interesting to see if the water-repellent starts to wear off at any point — but I’m certainly hoping not (and they’ve made it nearly a year so far without issue). So, if you’re looking for a comfortable shoe with some versatility and style, the Allbirds Mizzles might be worth adding to your travel go-tos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles are comfortable for casual walking, keeping your feet warm and dry when needed while still being breathable. However, those wishing to jog or run in their Allbirds may prefer the Tree Dashers.
While Allbirds may be more expensive than discount options, their unique features and natural materials make them a premium product. Personally, I’ve been impressed with the Allbirds Mizzles’ ability to keep my feet dry in wet weather, making them worth it.
Yes. However, Allbirds recommends removing the insoles and laces first, utilizing a delicates bag, and running them through the “gentle” cycle on your washing machine. It is also recommended that you allow the shoes to airdry instead of using a dryer.
Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles are water-repellent. The shoe’s treatment will allow liquids to bead and run off of the shoe, but water may enter your shoe if it is submerged. You can see the water repelled when running water over them in this video.
Allbirds mostly run true to size, however most lines do not offer half-sizes. In these situations, the company recommends going up to the next available size.
Since Allbirds Wool Runners are made of wool, they may stretch slightly as you break them in. According to the company, you can expect them to stretch a quarter inch after a few weeks of wear. As a reminder, the company does offer a 30-day no-questions-asked return period.
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Also published on Medium.