NEW YORK (AP) — Online shoe brand Allbirds plans to more than double its store count next year, hoping to reach shoppers who want to touch and try on its wool shoes.

The company says it plans to open 20 stores in 2020, bringing its total number of stores to about 35 by the end of the year.

While big box stores are closing locations, online startups like mattress seller Casper and men's clothing brand Untuckit are expanding into brick-and-mortar stores.

Allbirds said it can't ignore shops since most footwear sales are still happening inside stores. Plus, the stores help explain the unusual materials used in its shoes, such as wool, tree fiber and sugar cane.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.