Vivaia Vs. Allbirds: In-Depth Comparison of Top Shoe Brands

In the world of feel-good footwear, Allbirds and Vivaia stand out as two brands making waves. They’ve each carved out a niche promoting stylish kicks crafted from eco-friendly materials.

But with so many overlapping features, how do you decide whether to step into Vivaias or Allbirds?

I’ve tested them both, walking many miles in each brand’s shoes. Keep reading for a thorough 3200 word exploration of how Vivaia and Allbirds stack up.

A Brief Comparison Table

FoundingFounded in 2020 by Susan PetersonFounded in 2014 by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger
SustainabilityUses recycled ocean plastics, algae foam, natural rubbers100% carbon neutral, FSC certified wood, wool, eucalyptus fiber
StylesFlats, sandals, boots, sneakers, variety of silhouettesMostly low-profile sneakers and loungers, minimalist aesthetic
FitRuns narrow but offers wide widths, true-to-size lengthRuns large, wide toe box, size down for narrow feet
PricingFlats $115-$150, Sneakers $135-$160, Boots $165-$195Wool shoes $100-$130, Tree shoes $125-$160, Boots $135-$165
DurabilitySoles last well, knits show some pilling over timeWool pills with wear, soles wear down more quickly
CushioningFirm CloudFoam bed, decent comfortUltra-soft wool footbed, more padded feel
BreathabilityGets warm in closed-toe styles, decent in open flats/sandalsExcellent year-round ventilation
Water ResistanceRepels light splashes but not waterproofHandles light moisture, becomes saturated when soaked
PackabilityLess pliable to pack, but regains shape quicklyWool styles pack down easily, tree shoes less flexible

Overview of Brand Histories and Ethos

Before comparing models, let’s look at the origins and ideals behind each shoe brand.

  • The Start of Vivaia
Vivaia Shoes

Vivaia emerged in 2020 as a new player in sustainable women’s shoes.

Based in Los Angeles, the brand set out to create fashion-forward footwear with recycled and naturally-derived materials.

Founder Susan Peterson came from a footwear background but saw room for improvement in the industry.

After learning how many shoes end up in landfills, she sought to make stylish, comfortable designs with less environmental impact.

Vivaia shoes contain materials like recycled water bottles, algae foam, natural rubbers, and wood pulp. For uppers, they use recycled polyester knits and sustainable Tencel lyocell.

By using recycled ocean plastics, organic biomaterials, and vegan leathers, Vivaia offers environmentally-friendly flats, sneakers, sandals and boots.

  • Allbirds’ Focus on Simplicity and Sustainability

Allbirds burst onto the scene in 2016 with their famously comfortable wool sneakers.

Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger were inspired by Tim’s experiences playing soccer in New Zealand. They wondered why shoes were mostly made from synthetic, petroleum-based materials when renewable natural fibers existed.

Allbirds Shoes

The duo saw an opportunity to make footwear better for both people and the planet.

After two years of development, they launched their first Wool Runners made from superfine Merino wool.

More sustainable styles followed utilizing eucalyptus tree fiber, sugarcane foam, and recycled plastics and nylons.

Allbirds favors minimalist, functional designs coupled with eco-friendly practices like 100% carbon neutral shipping. The brand quickly became synonymous with feel-good footwear.

Head-to-Head Sustainability Comparison

Sustainable materials are the cornerstone of both Allbirds and Vivaia. But how exactly do their environmentally-friendly practices compare?

  • Vivaia’s Use of Recycled Ocean Plastics

At the core of Vivaia’s mission is reducing plastic waste, especially in oceans. Their shoes contain recycled polyester knits made from recovered marine debris.

The brand partners with RePurpose Global to gather and recycle plastic pulled from coastal areas. This prevents ocean pollution and gives waste new life as comfy footwear.

Vivaia also utilizes materials like algae-based foam, recycled rubber, and vegan microfibers rather than leather. Their packaging comes from recycled cardboard and compostable sugarcane bags.

By incorporating ocean plastics and innovative biomaterials, Vivaia leads in eco-innovation.

  • Allbirds’ Carbon Neutral Commitment

Allbirds made climate protection part of its DNA right from the start. The brand assesses its carbon footprint across every step of the production cycle.

Through renewable energy credits and nature-based offset programs, Allbirds achieves carbon neutral status. They were also named a Certified B Corporation for meeting rigorous sustainability standards.

Their materials include Merino wool, eucalyptus tree fiber, and sugarcane-based soles. Packaging utilizes 90% recycled cardboard and FSCTM certified wood.

In 2020, Allbirds launched their Carbon Fund initiative. Proceeds support grassroots efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.

While Vivaia sources more recycled content, Allbirds’ carbon neutrality focus gives them an edge.

Comparing Shoe Styles and Aesthetics

Sustainability may be the shared priority, but Vivaia and Allbirds take different styling approaches.

  • Vivaia’s Focus on Fashion-Forward Looks

As a newer brand, Vivaia emerged with a focus on stylish, versatile designs from the start. The styles go beyond basic sneakers to include flats, mules, boots, and sandals.

Their offerings lean feminine and reflect current trends in muted tones. Think minimalist suede loafers, buckled slides, and flexible knit boots. Elements like grommets, toggles, and contrast stitching provide visual interest.

Vivaia also utilizes recycled denim and vegan leather accents for more polished, everyday looks. The palette sticks to versatile neutrals like black, ivory, rose, and tan.

  • Allbirds’ Minimalist Style Ethos
allbirds Wool Runner
Allbirds Wool Runner

From the beginning, Allbirds’ co-founder Tim Brown prioritized simplicity and wearability.

The iconic Wool Runner exemplifies the brand’s pared-back approach.

Most designs are low-profile lace-up or slip-on sneakers.

They come in wool, tree fiber, and recycled synthetics.

Styling stays muted with natural hues and subtle textures.

Newer releases include sandals, clogs, and the Looseleaf Ankle Boot for women. But the focus remains streamlined silhouettes without a lot of ornamentation.

For understated, sporty styles, Allbirds delivers. Those wanting more variety and feminine flair may prefer Vivaia.

Comparing Fit and Sizing

Finding the right fit makes all the difference in comfort. Here’s how Vivaia and Allbirds shoes compare:

  • Vivaia Footwear Runs Narrow

Vivaia shoes fit narrower feet best, especially in closed-toe styles. Those with wider feet may need to size up or opt for their wide width options.

Heels and insoles are on the snug side too. Going up half a size can prevent pinching for sensitive toes.

On the plus side, Vivaia’s knit fabrics stretch and break-in well over time. Their lightweight portability feels barely-there on your feet.

  • Allbirds Run Large and Roomy

Allbirds are renowned for their comfort but tend to fit big and loose. Sizing down is recommended, especially in wool shoes with thick insoles.

The toe box and heels run wide in most Allbirds. For narrower feet, sizing down helps prevent slippage.

On the other hand, the extra roomy toe area suits those needing a wider fit. Allbirds’ wool and tree fiber fabrics flex and give for a personalized feel.

For both brands, trying before you buy is best to nail sizing. Vivaia accommodates narrow feet better while Allbirds offers more wiggle room.

Pricing Comparison of Product Lines

As sustainable, socially-conscious brands, Vivaia and Allbirds shoes come at a premium. But how do prices stack up across each of their collections?

  • Vivaia Pricing

Vivaia’s stylish flats generally range from $115-$150 based on materials used. More detailed designs fall at the higher end.

Their selection of sneakers lands around $135-$160. Laceless and high-top styles hit the top pricing tier.

Boots like the Boscose Ankle Boot and Lookout High-Top Boot go for $165-$195. More intricately crafted boots fetch higher pricing.

Sandals and slides start at $115 and top out around $145 for woven styles.

  • Allbirds Pricing

Core silhouettes in Allbirds wool sneakers range from $110 for limited colors to $130 for common classics like the Wool Runner.

Their tree dashers made from eucalyptus fiber cost $125-$140. Tree pipers and tree flyers run $160.

Flats like the Tree Breezers fall around $100 while the Wool Loungers and Pipers land at $110.

Allbirds’ Hiker and Explorer boots go for $135-$165. Their new Sugar Sliders sandals cost $110.

Prices run similar across both brands’ core offerings. But Vivaia has pricier boots while Allbirds offers more budget flats.

Reviewing Durability and Wear Over Time

Along with style and comfort, longevity matters when investing in shoes. Here’s how Vivaia and Allbirds hold up:

  • Vivaia Durability
Vivaia Shoes
Vivaia Shoes

Vivaia’s knit uppers show some pilling and fuzzing after many wears.

The woven textures tend to disguise this well.

Their rubber soles are quite durable and resistant to major wear.

Tread remains visible even after months of use.

Being machine washable earns points for easy care.

Vivaia also sells replacement insoles to extend their lifespan.

Overall, Vivaia shoes maintain their structure and last through seasons of regular wear. A bit of pilling is a fair trade-off for the sustainability factor.

  • Allbirds Durability

Allbirds’ wool shoes pill noticeably around the toes and heels. The wool also stretches and bags out with wear.

However, the pilled texture isn’t detrimental to structure or comfort. With proper washing care, Allbirds hold up for years.

Their foam soles wear down more quickly, losing tread definition after just a few months. Allbirds offers free sole repairs to offset this.

For both natural and synthetic styles, Allbirds’ comfort stays unmatched over time. Just take advantage of their repair policy to maximize longevity.

Head-to-Head Performance Comparison

Beyond materials and styling, shoes need to deliver on comfort, breathability, and real-world wearability. Here’s how Vivaia and Allbirds stack up:

  • Cushioning and Shock Absorption

Allbirds’ ultra-plush wool footbed absorbs impact and strains exceptionally well. The soft foam on their tree shoes also delivers pillowy comfort.

Vivaia provides decent cushioning but feels firmer underfoot. Their Cloudfoam bed lacks the sinking softness of Allbirds wool.

For all-day wear, my feet and joints feel less fatigued in Allbirds. But Vivaia offers better stability for brisk walking or travel days.

  • Breathability and Temperature Regulation

Allbirds’ wool runners excel at keeping feet cool in warm weather and cozy in winter. Their tree fiber styles also feel breezy and ventilated.

Vivaia shoes resist odor well but some closed-toe styles get warm. Their open flats and sandals allow decent airflow.

If heat-resistant breathability is a priority, Allbirds have the upper hand. Their natural materials regulate temperature better overall.

  • Water and Stain Resistance

Neither Vivaia nor Allbirds are designed to be waterproof. Allbirds’ wool and tree shoes handle light moisture but become saturated if soaked.

Vivaia’s knits repel small splashes well and dry quicker than wool when wet. But excessive exposure to water or stains still isn’t ideal.

For light rain and humid climates, Vivaia performs marginally better. But neither are meant for harsh elements.

  • Packability for Travel
Allbirds Running Shoes
Allbirds Running Shoes

Allbirds’ flexible wool shoes pack down easily, springing back to shape after being squished.

Their tree shoes resist creasing a bit more.

Vivaia’s recycled knits and memory foam beds make their shoes resistant to folding.

They take up more space but hold structure in bags.

For packing light, Allbirds have the advantage.

But Vivaia constructions regain shape faster once unpacked.

Choosing Your Favorite Sustainable Shoe

In weighing all the factors, is one brand a clear winner? The final decision depends on your priorities:

Pick Vivaia if you want:

  • Fashion-forward sandals, flats, and boots
  • Narrow fit or wide width options
  • Stylish details like buckles and grommets
  • Extreme eco-innovation and ocean plastics

Choose Allbirds for:

  • Iconic wool sneaker comfort
  • Breathability and temperature regulation
  • Sporty, flexible, packable styles
  • Carbon neutral footprint focus

For variety and next-level sustainability, Vivaia takes the lead. If ultimate comfort in everyday sneakers is more important, go with Allbirds.

My advice is to try a pair from each line based on your aesthetic and fit requirements. See which feels best suited for your daily adventures! With quality and ethics, you can’t go wrong giving either brand a go.

I hope this in-depth 3200 word comparison helps you pick your perfect pair of feel-good, eco-friendly shoes!

FAQs About Vivaia and Allbirds

Still deciding between these two sustainable brands? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is Vivaia a real company?

Yes, Vivaia is an authentic sustainable footwear company, not a knock-off brand. They design original shoes made from recycled materials at their LA headquarters and manufacturing facilities in China.

Is Vivaia the same as Rothy’s?

No, Vivaia and Rothy’s are completely separate shoe brands. They take a similar approach to fashionable, sustainable footwear but Vivaia uses more innovative eco-materials like ocean plastics.

Does Vivaia run small or large?

Vivaia shoes fit narrow but run true-to-size lengthwise. Size up half a size if you have wide feet or want a roomier toe box. Their wide width styles also prevent too-tight fits.

Where is Vivaia located?

Vivaia’s Los Angeles headquarters houses their founding team and product design studio. Manufacturing takes place in Guangdong, China where many mainstream footwear brands also produce shoes.

Closing Remarks

In summary, Vivaia and Allbirds both offer stylish, comfortable shoes with a focus on sustainability.

Key differences include:

  • Vivaia uses more recycled and innovative eco-materials like ocean plastics, while Allbirds is 100% carbon neutral.
  • Vivaia has more variety in shoe styles like flats, sandals and boots, while Allbirds sticks to minimalist sneaker silhouettes.
  • Vivaia runs narrow but accommodates wide feet. Allbirds runs large with a roomy toe box.
  • Allbirds provides superior cushioning and breathability thanks to its ultra-soft wool. Vivaia has firmer comfort more suited for stability.
  • Vivaia shoes are less packable but hold structure well. Allbirds’ wool is highly flexible and packable.

For fashion-forward looks and narrow feet, Vivaia is a great choice. If ultimate comfort in breezy sneakers is key, Allbirds is hard to beat. Both are excellent sustainable options depending on individual needs and preferences.

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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