Sometimes a shoe is not just a shoe

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

people raising their hands
Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Thank You, Santa Claus, for making this the best gift ever!  Allbirds trend in Silicon Valley is over! 

The Wall Street Journal reports, “Allbirds customers’ average annual spend has dropped by more than $31 since 2018.” Which means slowing revenue growth and increasing losses. And a primary reason, as Journal points out, is that tech bros and brogrammers have moved on from the near-ubiquitous shoe brand and its bland sneakers.  “Tech bros ditching their Allbirds? It’s like tigers tossing aside their stripes,” the Journal quips.”Few fashion items are as closely associated with the coding crowd as the muted kicks from this San Francisco startup.” 

Fashion is a reflection of a culture’s values and beliefs. And for most of the past decade, technology and all its symbols were part of the cultural zeitgeist. With the near ubiquity of technology, its societal impact, and the outrageousness of its leaders, Allbirds’ fading popularity symbolizes how modern society views technology and its role in culture. To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes, a shoe is not just a shoe.


For as long as I can remember, I have despised Allbirds. I felt they were tasteless and pointless. Despite popular claims, they weren’t that comfortable. Despite the founders’ claims that they were eco-friendly, the sheer lack of longevity proved it otherwise. They symbolized intellectual laziness.

Allbirds came out of nowhere and were on the feet of every brogrammer in Silicon Valley. Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown, two alumni of Stanford (Read more...)