Former All Whites skipper Tim Brown has swapped his soccer boots for merino wool shoes designed by his company Allbirds, which launches in New Zealand and the US today.
In 2014 Brown launched a kickstarter campaign to help launch the company and produce a test version of the shoes, dubbed Wool Runners. The campaign reached its target in four days. The Wool Runners are composed of New Zealand merino wool with a vegetable oil based polyurethane insole.
Brown and co-founder Joey Zwillinger, a biotech engineer and renewable materials specialist, spent more than two years perfecting a textile suitable for shoes using superfine merino.
"Today we're ready to start changing the way the world thinks about shoe companies," Brown said. "We have a design philosophy centred on simplicity and the use of innovative natural materials."
Allbirds raised more than US$2.7 million in an investment round led by New York based venture capital fund Lerer Hippeau Ventures, with high-profile investors including Ben Lerer, co-founder of digital media company Thrillist, and David Gilboa, co-founder of online eyewear company Warby Parker.