Vessi vs. Allbirds Shoes: Comfort and Sustainability (2023)
Vessi shoes are built with a 100% waterproof membrane that is perfect for wet climates. Allbirds offers select shoes that include a bio-based water-repellant, but unlike Vessi, not every shoe is water-repellant. Allbirds and Vessi both make very comfortable shoes, with a focus on sustainability, but Allbirds has a much broader range of options.
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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- 100% waterproof
- Small portfolio
- Limited edition color runs
Jump to: Full Review
- Not all waterproofed
- Many Options
Jump to: Full Review
If you are looking for a comfortable and sustainable shoe, comparing Vessi vs. Allbirds is the perfect place to start. Vessi offers a variety of stylish shoes made with water-resistant materials. The Allbirds Mizzle collection is also water-resistant. Allbirds provides a range of cool colors and styles.
Vessi vs. Allbirds: Comfortable and Sustainable
The Vessi brand is often compared to the Allbirds shoe brand due to their many similarities. Visually, the shoes are easily distinguishable, but the brand mantras and product qualities have much in common.
Of course, all of the best ideals in the world would make no difference if the shoes were not comfortable. Allbirds and Vessi shoes are both very comfortable. In fact, Allbirds was once called the most comfortable shoe on the planet.
Both shoe brands are popular with nurses because of the combination of comfort and waterproof materials. Vessi sneakers have the edge when it comes to the waterproof checkbox. Vessi's entire line-up is waterproof, compared to only a few shoes in the Allbirds line-up claiming water resistance.
The fact that both brands use eco-friendly materials and focus on sustainable practices is just icing on the top.
Vessi Shoes Are Waterproof
While Vessi sneakers are both comfortable and sustainably focused, their claim to fame is that they are built with a lifelong full waterproof feature. Some of the Allbirds sneakers, such as the Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles, are water-resistant, but Vessi waterproof shoes take things to the next level.
Unique Patented Waterproof Layer
Vessi shoes are made with a proprietary water-resistant membrane that repels liquid and debris while remaining breathable. They are comfortable casual shoes that keep your feet and socks dry.
While rubber boots come in and out of style, they aren't convenient for most purposes. Vessi's waterproof sneakers are extremely practical. They will keep your feet dry on a rainy day, and help protect your feet in environments like a hospital where you don't want your shoes to be porous.
Many shoes accomplish water resistance through a chemically driven waterproof coating. The Vessi brand avoids these chemical coatings. Vessi sneakers feature a Dyma-tex membrane technology, which features pores small enough to allow air and breathability but small enough to prevent liquid from leaking through.
The result is a fully waterproof construction that is one of a kind.
Sustainable Materials & Processes
Vessi's goal is to make waterproof sneakers while showing the world what it means to be an eco-friendly shoemaker. The footwear industry has a reasonably significant carbon footprint because of traditional material sourcing and manufacturing practices.
It also doesn't help that even the toughest shoes eventually wear out and have to be thrown out. To be part of the solution, Vessi is committed to eco-friendly manufacturing. Compared to a typical shoe manufacturer, Vessi has cut down water usage by 30%, reduced their energy consumption by a whopping 600%, and trimmed material waste by an astounding 97%.
Beyond manufacturing, Vessi shoes are entirely vegan. Manufacturing 100% vegan sneakers is more uncommon than you might think. While leather and suede shoes are less common than in the past, most cotton and polyester shoes use glue products derived from animals.
Vessi Footwear Is Expanding Its Portfolio
The Vessi brand has a growing number of sneakers available for both men and women. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance travel shoe, walking shoes, or boots to keep your feet warm during the cold months, the team has a shoe for you.
To that end, the brand recently added the Weekend Chelsea boot, which we are very excited about. The shoes feel much more flexible and comfortable than a duck boot or rubber boot but provide waterproofing. The Vessi soles are designed with high traction for slip resistance in wet climates.
Like many direct-to-consumer shoe brands, Vessi sneakers aren't available in half sizes. If you usually purchase a half-size shoe, simply follow the convenient fit guide they offer next to the sizing for each sneaker. For the most part, it makes sense to size up from your traditional half-size shoe, but each pair of kicks is a little bit different.
Vessi Sneakers Are Comfy And Slip Resistant
Good sneakers are nothing if they aren't comfortable shoes, so Vessi has invested time and other resources in developing a shoe that is lightweight and comfortable. Nobody wants to stand at their kid's soccer game with wet feet. That comfort starts on the top with weatherproof uppers.
The weatherproof uppers are convenient for everyday wear, regardless of what your day holds. Wearing shoes that will keep your feet dry is one less thing you have to worry about. And by the way, when the winter rolls around, dry feet are warm feet.
Many of Vessi's shoes include a knit upper, enhancing comfortability by gently hugging your foot.
Of course, the sole you stand on makes a big difference, too. Since Vessi sneakers are made with waterproof materials, it makes sense that the soles would be designed to handle slippery surfaces.
Beyond the high traction, the soles are designed for all-day comfort. The brand's intent is for you to feel like you are walking on clouds.
Allbirds Shoes Are Sustainably Focused
Sustainability is at the heart of everything Allbirds does. The Allbirds team believes so strongly in taking care of the earth that creating eco-friendly shoes isn't enough. They are setting out to reverse climate change.
By 2030, the company looks to reduce its carbon footprint to near zero. To accomplish this, the Allbirds team measures everything they do, including both the manufacturing and through their corporate operations.
Eventually, the company wants to turn climate positive. The Allbirds team plans to accomplish this through regenerative agriculture, renewable materials, and responsible energy.
They have big plans, and we love everything about it.
Made From Natural Materials
Choosing to make wool sneakers from responsible materials is at the heart of everything Allbirds does as a company. While some companies approach sustainability as an afterthought, Alllbirds shoes have always placed sustainability first.
Most synthetic materials are derived from various oil products, and we don't need to explain why that is bad. Allbirds searched high and low for alternatives and invented a few on their own. For instance, the soles are made from SweetFoam, a carbon-negative green EVA.
The shoe uppers are made from responsible materials such as eucalyptus fibers and merino wool. Heck, the Allbirds trail running shoes pair an FSC-certified natural rubber outsole with a unique upper blend that combines Tencel (eucalyptus lyocell) with merino wool fibers. Plus, the insole foam is made from castor bean oil.
It's not just sustainable. Their commitment to the planet is entirely innovative.
Benefits of Merino Wool
The Merino wool runners are essential to the brand identity. The warm and cozy ZQ merino wool is incredibly comfortable, but you don't have to worry about getting too hot, as the wool is also very breathable.
The technical term for this is thermoregulation. The superfine wool used for Allbirds sneakers is excellent for ensuring you never get too hot or too cool.
While some wool is scratchy, ZQ Merino wool is soft and smooth. It isn't scratchy at all, and you will likely find it pleasing to touch.
Merino wool is highly renewable because the sheep grow out their wool regardless of whether it is used for shoes or clothing. Shearing the wool actually helps the sheep to cool off in warm seasons.
Allbirds ZQ certified Merino wool meets very high standards for animal welfare.
Machine Washable - No Need To Wear Socks
For those worried about the wool getting too hot, the shoes are designed to be machine washable so that you don't have to wear socks. For most people, eliminating the socks is enough to regulate the temperature.
The removable insoles make it very easy to toss your shoes in the washing machine before letting them air dry.
Mizzle Sneakers Are Water-Resistant
In comparing Allbirds vs. Vessi, one big call-out is that they both have water-resistant shoes. Since all Vessi shoes have a waterproof membrane, they take the win here, but Allbirds Mizzle shoes are still worth considering.
The Wool Runner Mizzles are considered "water-repellant," which is great for unpredictable weather or wet climates. The water-repellent finish helps prevent shoes from ever getting soggy.
While some shoes achieve their water-repellant nature from chemical coatings, the Allbirds Mizzle sneaker uses a bio-based shield treatment that is much safer for the planet.
Vessi takes the cake because all the shoes they make are water-repellant, but also because they use a waterproof membrane rather than a coating. Both Allbirds and Vessi utilize eco-friendly materials.
Very Comfortable Sneakers
With all of the focus on sustainability, Allbirds shoes are still extremely comfortable. The Wall Street Journal once called them "the World's Most Comfortable Shoe." We love them.
The SweetFoam sole is very comfortable, and the uppers fit just right. You almost have to try them to believe it, but there is a good chance that your Allbirds shoes will become your go-to everyday sneaker.
Vessi Footwear Portfolio
While Vessi is still a relatively new company, their line-up of waterproof shoes is continually growing. And the waterproof component is critical. Sure, Vessi footwear works great for walking shoes or even for travel shoes, but the distinguishing mark that sets Vessi apart from all other shoe companies is that their shoes are 100% waterproof.
The Vessi Everyday Move sneaker is available for both men and women, as are all of Vessi's sneakers. The Everyday Move is perfect for walking or casual wear and various other everyday activities.
The Vessi Everyday sneaker features a slip-resistant outsole and waterproof membrane. The knit fabric upper allows your feet to breathe while keeping water out.
The Moves have an athletic vibe, so while you might not want to run a marathon in them, they would work great as travel shoes when you plan to do a lot of walking. The Moves work great in almost every situation.
The Vessi Everyday Moves are 100% waterproof, made from vegan materials, feature convenient pull-up tabs, and have a breathable knit. As noted above, Vessi shoes aren't available in half sizes, so size up for a snug fit or size up for a relaxed fit.
The original Vessi Everyday isn't quite as athletic and sporty as the Everyday Move sneaker. The more relaxed vibe makes it the perfect casual shoe. The original Everyday features a nice cushy sole, which is excellent for long days on your feet.
The molded insoles are intended to provide cloud-like comfort while providing the supportive arch needed to prevent your feet from tiring.
And here is another exciting feature: the shoes feature a built-in anti-odor layer which can be thrown in the washing machine any time you need a freshen up.
The Vessi Everyday sneaker is a nice-looking casual shoe that can be worn in any situation. It is very lightweight and breathable. Like Vessi's other shoes, it is vegan and 100% waterproof.
The Vessi Weekend Sneaker is designed with a silhouette reminiscent of a 90's skate shoe. Of course, it is built with new technology that makes it a much superior shoe. Still, the Weekend has an understated but edgy vibe that will help you showcase your personality.
Not only is the Vessi Weekend Sneaker 100% waterproof and made from vegan materials, but it is also machine washable. Call us simplistic, but we love the pure practicality of machine washable shoes. Nobody likes stinky feet.
The Weekend Sneaker is available in men's, women's, and kid's sizes. We suspect you may love the throwback silhouette so much that you consider purchasing it in multiple colors.
Vessi has had an impressive line-up of waterproof sneakers for several years now, but they didn't have any high tops or boots until recently. Enter the Weekend Chelsea.
It's a unique Chelsea boot in that it is made with a 4-way stretch knit fabric, rather than more traditional leather or synthetic materials. As a result, the Vessi Weekend Chelsea provides versatility and a range of motion unlike any other Chelsea boot on the market.
This is especially true when considering that the stretchy knit fabric is 100% waterproof. If you are looking for travel shoes that will work in wet climates, look no further than the Vessi Chelsea.
Since the boot is stretchy, it isn't designed for ankle support, but the extra ankle coverage is welcome all the same.
If you usually wear a half-size shoe, Vessi recommends that men size up. They suggest you size up for a relaxed fit and size down for a snug fit.
The Vessi Cityscape Sneaker is the lightest in the Vessi portfolio. You might notice that it looks very similar to the original Vessi Everyday shoe. Still, the laces are less traditional, and they essentially enable you to use the Cityscape Sneaker as a slip-on sneaker.
We hate tying laces, so we are all for this. We often loosely tie our shoes so they will slide on and off with ease, and the Vessi Cityscape takes this optionality to the next level.
Stylistically, the shoes carry an urbanite vibe, as the Cityscape name suggests that it might. Still, these are comfy shoes that anyone should at least consider as viable, everyday-type waterproof sneakers.
The Vessi Cityscape sneakers are lightweight, breathable, "creature-free," and 100% waterproof. All of the Vessi shoelaces are made from recycled polyester for durability.
Of course, what good would a shoe company be if they didn't make a comfortable slipper? The Vessi Sunday slippers are the ultimate lounging shoes.
While most Vessi sneakers feature a knit upper, the Vessi Sunday Slipper is made from vegan wool, offering super comfy coziness. What is vegan wool? Vegan wool is plant-based and generally made from a composite of cotton and other natural materials.
While the Vessi Sunday Slipper is designed to wear in and out of the house, it is designed for easy lounging. It also features the ever-popular collapsible heal, enabling you to slide the slippers on easily.
Allbirds Footwear Portfolio
Allbirds shoes took the footwear industry by storm. Not only do customers love the minimalist shoe look, they appreciate the comfort and admire the sustainability.
There was a time when only the "cool kids" wore Allbirds, but now the brand is everywhere, and for a good reason. Allbirds footwear also features a padded insole, which provides comfortable, yet reinforcing arch support.
While the wool runners were the original, The Allbirds portfolio has expanded quite extensively in the past few years, especially as the brand prepared to go public.
All of the Allbirds shoes are designed with sustainability in mind, so their everyday shoe collection is made from either eucalyptus or wool.
The Tree Runners and Tree Pipers are made from eucalyptus tree fiber and offer a light and breezy upper knit, perfect for warm weather. If that sounds appealing, you may also appreciate the Tree Toppers, which are essentially the high-top version of the Tree Runners, made from eucalyptus fibers.
The wool shoes offer Allbirds' more traditional look, and they are available in the Wool Runners, the Wool Runner Mizzles (which have the water repellant coating), the Wool Pipers, and the high-top Wool Runner-Ups.
As noted elsewhere in this article, the wool runners and the soft wool fabric generally work splendidly to keep your feet cozy, but they are also naturally great at thermoregulation.
We wear my wool runners all summer long, with no issues at all. We never feel too hot or stuffy. The Allbirds wool blend is plenty breathable.
We also appreciate the Allbirds sneakers feature a toe box that is just the right size. It isn't so tight that you feel claustrophobic or loose that your shoe feels insecure. The toe box is another design feature that the Allbirds team just nailed.
For a long time, the one apparent weakness for the Allbirds crew was that they didn't offer proper athletic shoes. That all changed when the company introduced the Allbirds Tree Dasher.
The Tree Dasher sports an upper made from a seamless, singular knit that provides a nice hug and superior comfort. Plus, the padded heel collar offers a little extra ankle support.
How much does Allbirds care about this signature running shoe? They tested the updated version of the Tree Dasher for nine months and had over 90 runners log thousands of miles during testing.
Any question of whether Allbirds was serious about running shoes was answered when Allbirds introduced the Trail Runners as a complement to the Tree Dasher. The Trail Runners feature Allbirds proprietary water-repellant finish, as well as a rugged outsole made from FSC-certified natural rubber.
The shoelaces are made from recycled plastic water bottles to ensure the entire shoe is considerate of earth-friendly practices. In comparing Allbirds vs. Vessi, the running shoes are a strong point for Allbirds.
Water Repellent Sneakers
It is worth noting that most people comparing Vessi and Allbirds are most likely doing so because both brands offer water-resistant shoes. Allbirds sneakers don't feature the 100% waterproof membrane featured in the Vessi shoes, but they feature a very effective bio-based water repellant.
The Allbirds Mizzles collection also has a non-slip outsole to provide ultimate traction.
The Wool Runner Mizzles is a take on the Allbirds classic, while the Wool Runner-up Mizzles are the water-repellant version of the high-top sneaker.
For those that like to run regardless of the weather, you will be happy to know that Allbirds offers the Wool Dasher Mizzles, which are a no-slip, water-repellent running shoe.
Slippers & Slip-Ons
Lastly, Allbirds offers a few slippers and slip-ons for those days when the mood is all about relaxing.
The Loungers are available as Tree Loungers (eucalyptus fiber) and Wool Loungers. Since we work from home, we use the Wool Loungers as our indoor shoes because they offer cushion and arch support.
For this reason, they also work well as a packable travel shoe or just to run some quick errands around town.
Women might also grab a pair of the Tree Breezers, which are beautiful and cozy flat made from a silky smooth eucalyptus blend.
Which Is Better for Active Lifestyle?
The truth is that it may come down to whether you prefer the Allbirds style or the Vessi style.
Vessi is commonly thought to have the strongest arch support, but Allbirds has been called the comfiest shoe on the planet for a good reason.
If you are looking for an everyday shoe that you can lace up tight to keep up with your hectic lifestyle, we recommend considering the Vessi Everyday Move. It's an athletic shoe at heart, built for all-day wear.
On the other hand, if you are interested in a purpose-built athletic and running shoe, the Allbirds Tree Dasher is the obvious choice. Plus, if you want a waterproof athletic shoe, the Dasher is also available as a Wool Dasher Mizzle.
Vessi and Allbirds Alternatives
We love bothAllbirds and Vessi sneakers, but they aren't the only brands on the market. Depending on your intended use, you might also consider a pair of Cariuma sneakers or On Cloud running shoes.
Cariuma Sneakers - Sustainable
Like Allbirds and Vessi, Cariumas are made with sustainability as a cornerstone. More than 65% of Cariuma shoes are now Vegan.
Notably, Cariumas are made in a classic skate/surf silhouette. The founders are from Brazil, and they set out to help save the Amazon forest while developing a comfortable casual shoe they would be proud the wear.
The result is Cariuma. And by the way, Cariuma shoes are very competitively affordable. If you are on a tight budget but want something eco-friendly, check out Cariuma sneakers.
The only downside is that they don't have waterproof shoes, which might be a sticking point since you are comparing Allbirds vs. Vessi.
On Cloud Shoes - Waterproof
On the other hand, if sustainability is nice to have, but waterproof is a must-have, we recommend that you consider On Cloud running shoes.
While Allbirds has developed a few running sneakers, they are still a relatively small part of the overall portfolio. On Cloud specializes in running shoes, so if you are a running or fitness enthusiast looking for waterproof sneakers, On Cloud may be the best alternative to Allbirds or Vessi.
In comparing Vessi vs. On Cloud, the On Cloud shoes are the better athletic shoe, but determining the better casual shoe probably comes down to style preference.
One thing we will note is that rocks and seeds and random other items tend to get stuck in the On Cloud sole.
Allbirds vs. Vessi: Which is The Better Everyday Sneaker?
If you are looking for a casual shoe to wear around town or the perfect travel shoes to keep your feet warm and dry while you are away from home, Allbirds and Vessi are both great options.
Allbirds sneakers are uniquely comfortable, so we recommendAllbirds as a go-to sneaker. With that said, if you prefer the style that Vessi offers, or if you place a premium on having 100% waterproof sneakers, go with Vessi and don't look back.
Which Is The Better Waterproof Shoe?
Vessi footwear offers a better waterproof system because it relies on a waterproof membrane rather than a water-repellant coating. The waterproof membrane allows Vessi footwear to achieve waterproof, snowproof, windproof, and even a sand-proof status.
The Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles and Wool Dasher Mizzles are still great for rainy days and have plenty of water-repellant to get the job done. Still, Vessi offers an entire portfolio of waterproof shoes with a built-in membrane, and that is hard to beat if finding waterproof shoes is your priority.
Allbirds has a broader line-up, including running shoes. Allbirds was once called the most comfortable shoe on the planet by the Wall Street Journal. Our experience is that this rings true, so we think you should have at least one pair of Allbirds in your closet.
Still, Vessi has the better waterproof system, so if your daily routine or job gets a little sloshy, then Vessi is the way to go.
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