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Comfortable, casual sneakers are hard to find. Many options lack essential cushioning, support, and/or don’t have adequate room for your toes to roam free.
I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz around the brand Allbirds and was eager to give their casual sneakers a try.
I ordered the Allbirds tree runner in Kaikoura white, in search of a clean, lightweight, casual spring and summer sneaker that looked a bit more polished than your average running shoe.
How did they work out, and did I keep them?
Keep reading for my first impressions of the Allbirds tree runner.
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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Read the full disclaimer.
Allbirds tree runner review
Allbirds is a company that’s newer to the sustainable shoe game and prides itself on being eco-friendly and comfortable.
As a certified B corp, environmental friendliness is at the forefront of their mission, including sourcing sustainable materials, using recycled packaging, and recycling gently used Allbirds to communities in need.
They sport a full lineup of casual to athletic shoes designed for practicality with minimalist style.
At this time, they’re even offering a 30-day no-risk trial of their footwear.
Allbirds tree runner Specs
- Made from lightweight, breathable eucalyptus fiber
- Cushioned midsole is made from a sugarcane-based green EVA
- The shoes are machine washable to keep everything looking (and smelling) fresh
- Allbirds says these shoes are best for walking, warm weather, everyday wear
Pros of the Allbirds Tree Runner
- Machine washable
- Easy to wear without socks
- Great for warm weather
- Supportive for neutral feet
- Plenty of room for your toes to spread out
- Padding at the back of the heel to prevent rubbing over the Achilles tendon
- 30-day no-risk trial period
Upon trying these shoes on, they were extremely comfortable. They were easy to wear without socks and seemed like they were soft and cut properly as not to give blisters.
I also love the fact that they’re machine washable. I’m also a big fan of Rothy’s for this reason which helps keeps your shoes smelling fresh (especially if you’re wearing them without socks).
The Tree Runners also have plenty of room for your toes to spread out. This helps avoid foot issues that can arise from cramped footwear, such as neuromas, joint pain, plantar fasciitis, and irritation to bunions.
Walking with a more natural foot position helps strengthen your feet over time, improving healthy movement patterns, balance, and mobility.
The 30-day no-risk trial period is a plus. I really wish more companies offered a trial period for shoes.
Not everything feels great for everyone, and if a product is really that wonderful, companies should be confident to stand behind a no-risk trial period. It’s pretty difficult to determine if the shoes will work for you while trying to try them out carefully without getting them dirty.
Cons of the Allbirds tree runner
- Not enough medial support you have flat feet
- Don’t come in ½ sizes
- Not workout shoes
- Not recommended for cold weather
First of all, the elephant in the room, these shoes aren’t cheap. At the time this article was written, the tree runners sold for $105.
This is competitive for good quality shoes, but if you’re looking to minimize your shoe collection, these can only be worn casually; however, these are not workout shoes (despite the name Tree Runner).
If you’re looking for good cross-training workout shoes, check out my NOBULL trainers review.
Allbirds also participates with Rakuten, so you can usually grab some cash back through them. Use my referral code to earn up to a $30 bonus on your first qualifying purchase, just for signing up!
I have a neutral to high arch and found the support very comfortable. If you pronate, you’ll likely find there is a lack of arch support and general stability medially vs. a shoe made from different materials. The lightweight fabric will not keep you from overpronating, so if you’re sensitive to arch support, these may be a pass for you.
The tree runners only come in whole sizes, and ultimately this was the biggest con for me. They say this shoe runs a little big and to size down if you’re in between sizes.
I normally wear a 9-9.5, so I ordered a 9 but didn’t find that it ran large. While the 9 seemed perfectly comfortable trying on inside my home, I could foresee my big toe wearing a hole in the fabric in the future. These sneakers are too expensive to be worn out quickly.
I’m not convenient to an Allbirds store and was getting ready for a move, so I didn’t have time to do the whole exchange dance. At the time, I also wasn’t aware they had a 30-day no-risk trial period, and shoes could be returned no questions asked. I’m sure I’ll give a size 10 a try in the future.
Though I think the tree runner is a very comfortable shoe, I ultimately ended up returning this pair seemed a tad too small with the potential to wear out quickly at the toe. I plan to try the next size up in the future, but the option for ½ sizes would be preferable.
I do think many people would be happy with this shoe, and the whole size only may not be an issue for some. It’s a fantastic option to stay comfortable and casual as long as the sizing and support work for your feet.
I’m sure I’ll be checking out the next size up soon. Stay tuned for an update.