If there was ever a running shoe tailored with Pacific Northwest sensibilities, it may be the Allbirds Tree Dasher. The company has an earth-friendly mantra – of Measure, Reduce, Offset and the Allbirds Tree Dashers are their initial foray into the running world.
At first open, the Tree Dashers reminded me of one of my favorite shoes – the Brooks Revel 2 – a simplistic black and white colorway with an upper that almost looks “too casual” – like it’s a trainer disguised as a running shoe.
The Men’s Tree Dashers come with 8 color options – ranging from the simple (black, as we received) to more pizazz (red or green). However, all are pretty muted in color and even the flashier options look sleek and not overpowering on the eyes.
In fact, you may notice that the Upper consists of a lot of “nothingness”. And that’s actually both intriguing and refreshing. In a running shoe world where flashy is often well-received (heck – I LOVE myself some bold footwear), it’s amazing to see a construction with essentially NOTHING on the top. Heck, outside of a small logo on the upper heel and some script on the back sole, there isn’t even a logo. It just feels…pure.
They seem like a perfect option for those of us who go from one activity to the next – either from strength training straight to running or from a casual run to meeting up with friends for drinks (when that was something that happened). Despite their solid construction (see details below), they also have a sleek look and are comfortable enough to utilize with most any casual activity. Ultimately I think the upper is a little loose and I had some challenges finding that ideal fit as a result. It has definitely held up to shorter, more casual runs and activities, but I don’t think this is going to be something I will be able to be comfortably locked down in for more intense workouts.
Comfort & Construction:
Anyone who has worn something from Allbirds in the past has generally remarked at how comfortable they are on the feet. The Tree Dashers are no different in most settings. If they can continue creating solid running shoes with the unique eco-friendly materials, then the future of running shoe construction may be turned on its head in due time. Some unique parts:
- Sugarcane Midsole (aka Sweetfoam)
- Most running shoe midsoles utilize materials derived from petroleum – not exactly the most earth-friendly material.
- I was impressed with how these feel when running – a nice middle ground that’s not too firm, yet not overly springy as well. It’s a nice middle-ground cushioning that seems capable of holding up to impact.
You will also notice the thicker outsole in the picture above – making it more of a figure 8 than I expected. It’s definitely roomy and those with wider feet may appreciate this more than those that prefer a narrower structure. There is of space for flexibility inside the Tree Dashers, but if you prefer/need a really tight shoe – you may find there’s a little bit too much room for an ideal fit. The rounded laces, coupled with the upper, also made finding a truly secure fit a bit of a challenge as well.
- Eucalyptus Fiber Upper
- The upper is constructed from one-piece knit and stretches a solid amount to be flexible. Over time, we found that it lacked some snugness to keep your foot in place for longer distances. There hasn’t been a ton of issue with the fit, but for anything over 5 miles, we just felt that foot security and stability wasn’t on par with other running shoes.
- Bio-nylon Eyelets
- I have mentioned in many of my shoe reviews that I have pretty accommodating feet – there aren’t a lot of shoes I can’t run in right out of the box. For those who may have a need for more personal fit necessities, we found a drawback in the laces and eyelets. I had no issues with their fit, but if you typically need some unique lacing to keep your foot in place, it may prove a little more challenging given the loops and non-flat lock lacing. It was sometimes hard to get that security desired with these two coupled – especially past shorter distances.
- Castor Bean Insole
- Yet another spot where a change in will benefit the earth and remove petroleum-based foam, and is contoured to provide flexible, anatomical support.
- I found the insoles quite comfortable and supportive, but they are also removable if you need to do so.
- Merino Wool
- They have utilized their signature wool on the heel along for comfort, as well as supporting the foot in the shoe – and again taking out more non-eco-friendly materials as a result.
To be honest, considering that this is Allbirds first running shoe, by a company where this is NOT their primary work, what they have made is impressive. It is not the lightest shoe in the world (over 12 ounces in my size 12), so it may more of a training and everyday shoe than a racing option. It has held up well to numerous short runs and continues to be comfortable and versatile. I think it has a little more work to do for more serious running-specific needs and I think fills a niche of being a pair that can be worn in casual settings and do some running in a pinch. In fact, when travel is available again, I feel the Tree Dashers will be perfect for a runcation – to wear in all settings without taking up space with multiple pairs.
Shoe & Price:
- Men’s Tree Dashers ($125)
- Renewable Materials
- Machine Washable
- Minimizes Odor
- Flexibly Conforms To Your Movements
- Heel Drop: 7mm (Forefoot: 15.5mm, Heel: 22.5mm
- Type: Neutral, Cushioned, Light Stability Running Shoe
Run Oregon sometimes receives running shoes and gear to test. We post our honest impressions with the intention of helping you determine if a product will be right for you. Learn more about how Run Oregon conducts reviews through our transparency page here.