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STORE SPACES

First Look: Hot online start-up opens NYC store

BY Marianne Wilson

The maker of what it calls “the world’s most comfortable shoes” has set up shop in New York City.

Allbirds, the eco-friendly online brand with a fast-growing and devoted following (especially in the Silicon Valley), has opened its second brick-and-mortar location, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The company opened its first store, on the ground floor of its San Francisco headquarters, in April.

Allbird’s footwear is made from renewable Merino wool. (The company says that the wool minimizes odor, regulates temperature, and wicks moisture.) The brand offers only two products — a “lounger” and a casual sneaker — for men and women. The shoes are available in several colors, and sell for $95. The company offers a 30-day trial period — with no questions asked on returns.

Allbirds’ SoHo outpost has a simple, minimalist design that reflects its shoe styling. There is a wavy seating platform with circular stools where customers can try on products. There is also a life-size hamster wheel, where shoppers can test out running in the sneakers.

“We know it’s important to provide customers with a tactile experience to really feel the uniqueness and quality of our product,” Joey Zwillinger, Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO said in a report by Footwear News. “Being in SoHo makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers and also visitors from around the country and world. This is just the start of things to come in the physical space from Allbirds.”

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