If there was ever a running shoe tailored with Pacific Northwest sensibilities, it may be the Allbirds Tree Dasher. Their commitment to being an earth-friendly company – from the sourcing of the materials to the recyclable packaging – and a sustainability mantra of Measure, Reduce, Offset, are absolutely admirable and in line with most of us. Allbirds has been making a variety of shoes – from everyday sneakers to boat shoes – but the 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 activities.
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. 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.
- Eucalyptus Fiber Upper
- The upper is constructed from one-piece knit and stretches a solid amount to be flexible and also provide some snugness to keep your foot in place.
- 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, the one drawback I could is in the 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 unique loops.
- Caston 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 super 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 runs and continues to be comfortable and versatile. I absolutely anticipate buying myself more pairs in the future to utilize in all aspects of my life – running, casual, or otherwise. In fact, when travel is available again, the Tree Dashers will be perfect for a runcation – to wear in all settings without taking up space with multiple pairs.
Run Oregon (and Earth) approved!
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.