Allbirds are quickly becoming a mainstream running shoe product on the market, especially for those seeking out a fitness lifestyle shoe to take around with them from the trails, the gym, but also to work and on casual outings.
The Allbirds Tree Runner has become an increasingly popular running shoe for its ability to handle more technical terrain while still providing an approachable lifestyle aesthetic.
Are Allbirds Tree Runners actually good for running?
Allbirds Tree Runners are sensible for low mileage runners who are also seeking an active lifestyle shoe that can be their “do-it-all” stylish active shoe that gets the job done without any extra frills.
Although they may not be the high mileage trainer that many will want from allbirds shoes, they still have a lot of value to offer for those more dedicated to a well-rounded active lifestyle.
- Fit: True to size
- Neutral Daily Trainer/Lifestyle Shoe
- Heel-Toe Drop: 15mm (wowzers)
- Flexible Midsole Conforms
UPPER - Materials and Lockdown
The Allbird Tree Runner comes equipped with a proprietary knit that feels smooth and breathable at the very first instep, which is quite expected given how it is visually portrayed, but it’s nice to feel that it actually provides what it says it will.
This feels like marketing, but I felt the placebo effect of a cooling sensation from the eucalyptus tree fiber responsibly sourced from FSC® Certified forests.
The lacing system felt smooth and the lockdown was pretty solid for the knit upper it was provided. The sockliner is good, but not great when I am comparing them to the instep feeling of a brand like Nike, Hoka, and Brooks.
Some may say that isn’t a fair comparison, but these are solid running shoes, so it is going to be compared to other running shoes.
I found it quite breathable, but if it was a cold day then a good pair of socks would keep my feet warm enough.
Finally, the toe box was definitely made to be a little wider, and the upper knit material has enough flexibility to make me think it’ll work for a wider foot, but maybe only up to an E width, an EE may feel a little snug.
SOLE UNIT - Flexible Ride & A High Offset
The Allbird Tree Runners were pleasantly surprising with the midsole design. It is contoured to add plenty of flexibility within your stride and toe-off (more on that later) and it has a little more bounce than I originally thought it would provide. Called the SweetFoam, it provided a “low to the ground” feeling, but the ground contact was surprisingly cushioned in the heel.
To throw a shout out to Allbirds, this midsole is the world’s first carbon-negative green EVA foam for a running shoe. That is awesome!
It’s obvious this shoe was made for a heel-striker, as the cushion in the heel is ample, and the 15mm heel-to-toe offset encourages striking on the back of your foot.
As a midfoot striker myself, it did feel like I had to change my gait cycle just a little bit to feel comfortable running more than 2-3 miles at a time in this shoe,
Although that offset is quite high, the flexibility from the grooves in the midsole did make up for some of the ground contacts issues I experienced.
Being able to quickly recover from an unfamiliar heel strike because of a flexible transition was a welcome surprise.
I think Allbirds knows that its foam isn’t amazingly plush or responsive enough to compete directly with the big-name running brands, but its insole works to fill in those gaps by providing a quality instep feeling that is cushioned, moisture-wicking, and odor-reducing insole.
I would still highly encourage you to wear socks when you run.
Durability Prediction - 400 Miles (645 km)
Keeping in mind that this is more of an active lifestyle running shoe rather than a dedicated daily trainer, I think you can get about 400 miles out of this midsole. That is including all of the other stuff you’re going to be doing in this thing like “day-to-day” stuff, work, walking, other forms of workouts, etc.
If you are looking for a dedicated daily trainer, then it feels like there are plenty of other more favorable options out there at a similar price point.
However, this may be one of the best “all-around” lifestyle shoes out there right now. So I would not consider Allbirds tree runners a legitimate running shoe.
Best Uses - Short Runs, Cross Training & Lifestyle
Although it’s run, this is not really what I consider to be your next high mileage, daily trainer. It is super solid if you are in a pinch and need to get a short run in or try something new, but I don’t think many will want to grab this shoe to prepare for their next marathon.
That being said, it is sleek, stylish, and versatile. So it can be a great lifestyle shoe to do a little bit of everything in.
For example, if you are someone who goes to work, then directly to the gym to sneak in a quick 2-3 miles on the treadmill then some general strength training or HIIT circuit then this will be a super solid option for you.
Furthermore, it could be a great travel shoe if you can only bring one pair of shoes and know you will be walking a lot, running and working out a little, and need something less offensive for fancier gathering than the Allbird Tree Runners are a great pick!
Take tough runs in stride with the Tree Runners. Made with eucalyptus fiber, it breathes and flexes with your every step. Good for your performance. Good for the planet. The Tree Runners is a true win-win.
How You Can Care for Them
Unlike most other running shoes, these are casual sneakers you can wash these shoes quite often and quite safely so you can keep the smell and dirt away.
That being said, there is a protocol to follow, so the following suggestions come somewhat from Allbirds, but also from my personal experience in the shoe.
Definitely remember to pull out the insoles and laces before washing them. Allbirds recommends that you put your shoes into a delicate bag before tossing them in the washing machine.
Wash them on the gentle cycle with cold water. Detergent is fine, but make sure it’s on the mild side.
Directly from the Allbirds website:
“Handy tips: Don’t put them in the dryer. And don’t worry, they’ll go back to their original shape in no time. You can hand wash your laces and insoles on their own.”
Sustainability Features - The X-Factor
Something that Allbirds is dedicated to is the sustainable practice of creating these shoes. They source the materials and manufacture the shoes in a way so that each shoe is carbon neutral.
This is special and shows that it is possible to actually make a solid running shoe sustainably for the masses.
Allbirds deserves a big thumbs up for working to be a completely sustainable company.
Are Allbirds Tree Runner Shoes Actually Good for Running?
In the end, I would say that Allbirds are good for running as long as you have a more well-rounded training style that includes other cross-training activities and an active lifestyle. This means someone who may run closer to 20-25 miles a week, with runs no longer than 5-6 miles in one go. They are good shoes, not great.
It really just isn’t a marathon runner’s mileage shoe. I think Allbirds is getting closer and closer to creating a true trainer, but it’s not quite there. When comparing the Tree Runners to other shoes on the market, even within the same price range ($100-120), there seem to be better options out there.
If you are looking to support a sustainable and friendly company trying to do good in the world then I would definitely recommend looking into grabbing a pair of tree runners, even if it’s more for cross-training and daily life.
It is a comfortable shoe that checks most of the feature options people look for, but it’s just not quite for the “mileage hogs” out there.
An alternative option might be the Tree Dashers. The Tree Dashers are known for a supportive midsole and their focus has been "comfort over culture. With a firm ride and solid foundation, the Tree Dashers might be a better fit for you.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.