Allbirds Tree Runners Review (2020) | My Favorite Travel Sneakers

Allbirds Tree Runners review

My honest Allbirds Tree Runners review! Find out why they’re my favorite style of Allbirds and whether they’re really as comfortable as people say.  

I first came across Allbirds shoes back in 2015 on a New York lifestyle blog and I was immediately intrigued.

I had just finished living in New Zealand for a year (where Allbirds founder Tim Brown is from), and the shoes were touted as slip ons you can wear without socks that are equal parts comfy, warm, and stylish. 

They sounded a little too good to be true with a price tag of only $95, but I kept my eye on the Allbirds brand for a few years. 

I watched as they quickly took the sneaker market by storm in the US and internationally.

In 2020, I finally decided to get two pairs of Allbirds sneakers to test them out for myself and to see if the hype was justified.

I went for their two most popular runner styles – the Allbirds Tree Runners and the Allbirds Wool Runners. 

Although I plan to do a detailed post comparing both shoes, in this Allbirds shoes review, you’ll get the full rundown of the Allbirds Tree Runners because they’re my favorite of the two. 

So, let’s dive into my full Allbirds review and why I think the Tree Runners are some of the most comfortable shoes for travel and an active lifestyle. 

Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. I also received one complimentary pair of Allbirds shoes and bought a second pair for myself, but all opinions are my own. 

allbirds shoes review

Allbirds Tree Runners Review 

First Impressions & Packaging 

My Allbirds shoes showed up at my house about a week after I ordered them online.

Although it wasn’t surprising with how sustainably-focused the company is, I was impressed with the minimalist packaging and the fact that no plastic is used.  

Allbirds packaging is made up of 90% recycled cardboard that doubles as both a shoebox and a mailer.

As soon as you open your Allbirds box, you’ll find the shoes right there and ready to wear without any additional plastic or packaging to cut through.

Another aspect I loved about my Allbirds Tree Runners was there wasn’t a need for a breaking in period.

The shoes fit perfectly the first time I wore them and I didn’t have to deal with any painful blisters or sore feet.

More than that, they were incredibly comfortable from the first wear.

They felt cloud-like as soon as I slipped them on directly out of the box. 

This was a huge plus for me because I tend to have sensitive feet and usually need a decent amount of time to break in new shoes.

With my Allbirds, I was able to bypass any kind of uncomfortable breaking in period and enjoy their comfortable fit from the beginning. 

allbirds packaging

Sustainable Materials 

One of the defining aspects of the Allbirds Tree Runners is that they’re made out of trees!

To be exact, they’re made out of eucalyptus tree fiber. 

This means that the shoes aren’t just comfortable, they’re also breathable, natural, and renewable.

And in addition to being made from sustainable materials, Allbirds buys carbon offsets to make sure the shoes are completely carbon neutral. 

The eucalyptus fiber has a cooling effect to make sure your feet don’t get too warm – a feature I appreciate since my feet sometimes overheat in the Wool Runners. 

The insoles are made out of merino wool (another sustainable resource) and castor bean oil for that unique cushion that helps make Allbirds some of the most comfortable slip-on shoes.

In addition to how soft they are, the insoles are moisture-wicking and odor-reducing.  

And even the Allbirds Tree Runners shoelaces are sustainable – they’re made out of 100% recycled polyester.

Basically, the equivalent of one used plastic bottle is equal to one pair of Allbirds laces. 

Finally, the Allbirds Tree Runners use bio-based TPU in the shoelace eyelets, which is an environmentally-friendly and natural material that’s tough and resilient. 

It’s clear that Allbirds takes their sustainability efforts seriously. 

This is refreshing to see in a shoe brand when so many sneakers use synthetic materials that aren’t the best for the environment. 

most comfortable sneakers - allbirds tree runners

most comfortable shoes - allbirds tree runners

Pricing 

At only $95 for the Allbirds Tree Runners, you don’t have to break the bank to indulge in a good pair of walking shoes. 

It’s hard to find a quality pair of sneakers for under $100 these days, but Allbirds does a good job of providing a ton of value for the price of their shoes.  

In terms of the other styles, the majority of Allbirds shoes are all $95 except for the Tree Toppers and the Wool Runner Mizzles that are $115.

Their most expensive pair is $135 for the Wool Runner-Up Mizzles, which are their high top water repellent shoes.  

Besides the actual shoes, if you want to replace the removable Allbirds insoles at any point, those are $15.

Lace kits are only $10 and come with three sets of Allbirds laces.

Although you don’t have to wear socks with their shoes, Allbirds also sells pairs of comfy socks made from wool and tree that range from $12-$16 per pair. 

Sizing 

Before I bought my Allbirds online, I visited a physical Allbirds store in San Francisco to try on a pair and see what size would fit me best.

I’m usually a women’s 9.5, but Allbirds unfortunately doesn’t do half sizes.

The Allbirds website says to size down if you’re in between sizes, but I wanted to see for myself if sizing up or down would be more comfortable.

This was easy to do since the Allbirds San Francisco store is conveniently close to me. 

Once I went in and tried on a few pairs for myself, I found sizing up to a women’s 10 actually worked best for me. 

One thing to note about Allbirds sizing is that the women’s and men’s shoes are made exactly the same.

This means if you like a color that’s only in the men’s line or vice versa, it’s the same exact shoe so you just have to size appropriately.

For instance, I actually ended up ordering a men’s 8 for my pair of Allbirds Tree Runners, because I liked the color options better for the men’s line.

It’s a good rule of thumb for Allbirds sizing that women’s sizes are sized up by about 1.5 compared to men’s sizes.

So a men’s 8 is essentially the same as a women’s 9.5. 

allbirds sneakers

Comfort 

Without a doubt, the Allbirds Tree Runners are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn.

They’re so comfortable that I sometimes wear them around the house instead of socks because they do such a good job of keeping my feet warm and cozy.

It’s almost like wearing slippers.

I’ve always loved walking everywhere, usually for hours on end, but I’ve been even more excited to take walks since I bought the Tree Runners because they’re so comfortable.

And so far I haven’t had any soreness from wearing the Tree Runners, even after wearing them all day and walking for miles. 

The comfort factor is where Allbirds shoes shine and the Tree Runners are no exception.

It’s hard to beat the cloud-like feeling of merino wool insoles and shoes that keep your feet perfectly warm in most climates. 

The Tree Runners might be a little lightweight for colder weather that gets below 30 F, but at least for coastal California weather, they’re perfect. 

If you’re looking for comfy shoes that keep your feet warm (but not too warm) and provide a decent amount of support, the Tree Runners are a good option.

Style & Versatility 

Another aspect I like about Allbirds shoes is how stylish and versatile they are, and this is especially the case with the Allbirds Tree Runners.

The Allbirds Tree Runners feature a minimalist style with subtle branding on the heel of the white sole.

Although I wasn’t sure at first how much I would like the mesh material of the Tree Runners, once I put them on I loved their sporty look.

The Tree Runners are also a more narrow fit than the wool runners, so I like how the design of them curve with the shape of your foot and have a slightly more snug fit.

Lastly, the Tree Runners are incredibly light and versatile enough to wear for a variety of situations, whether that’s brunch with friends or doing a light workout in your backyard. 

These have quickly become my shoes that go with everything since they go with about 75% of my wardrobe of leggings, jeans, pants, shorts, and workout outfits.

The only outfits I haven’t tried them with yet are dresses and skirts, but I could see my harvest mauve Tree Runners going quite well with more casual dresses. 

allbirds women's tree runners

are allbirds worth it

Durability 

Since I’ve only had my Allbirds Tree Runners for about a month, I can’t say much about their durability yet.

I plan to update this post every few months with any additional info on durability as I wear them more. 

So far I’ve mostly worn them around San Francisco, taking the puppy for walks, and while doing at-home interval training workouts that involve a lot of lunges, squats, burpees, and jumping jacks. 

I want to test them out soon on some easy hiking trails.

Although I don’t know if they’d be the best to take on more strenuous hikes since they don’t offer a lot of ankle support or the grip of trail shoes. 

The main aspect I’m concerned about in terms of Allbirds durability is how well the mesh material of the Tree Runners will last longterm.

I’ve read in other Allbirds reviews that the mesh can easily stain and get snagged on things if you’re not careful, so that’s something I’ll be mindful of as I put them to more use.  

Again, I plan to update this post as I continue to wear my Allbirds and see how well they withstand my active lifestyle.

I’ve been wearing my Allbirds Tree Runners almost every day, so I’m getting a lot of use out of them and testing their wear most days.

So far, I haven’t had any issues in terms of their durability.

Lack of Odor

The Allbirds Tree Runners are made from natural materials that are moisture-wicking and odor-reducing.

With that said, I’ve still heard other people say their Allbirds started smelling a little bit after a decent amount of wear.

So far I haven’t had any issues with my Tree Runners smelling bad, but I also usually don’t have issues with smelly shoes. 

If you tend to get smelly feet when you wear shoes without socks or you’re prone to sweaty feet, it’s probably better to wear socks with your Allbirds, at least part of the time.

best shoes to wear without socks - allbirds tree runners

Other Features of the Allbirds Tree Runners

Removable Insoles 

Another feature I like about Allbirds shoes is the removable insoles.

Allbirds insoles are not only made of comfy merino wool and plant-oil based foam, but they’re easily removable so you can wash them or replace them when you need to. 

Allbirds offers replaceable insoles for $15 if you’ve worn yours down.

The removable insoles are also ideal if you have high arches and need a more supportive insole.

It’s easy to replace the insoles with your own more supportive option, while still enjoying the other benefits of Allbirds shoes.

allbirds insoles

Lightweight & Warm 

I’ve never considered wearing sneakers without socks before owning my Allbirds Tree Runners because my feet tend to always be cold, but these shoes make it easy and even preferable to do. 

As I mentioned above, the Allbirds Tree Runners almost feel like I’m wearing slippers.

They keep my feet a nice temperature no matter if I’m working out or going for a walk around the block, all without socks. 

With that said, I live in California so I don’t have to deal with cold weather very often.

On colder days in the Bay Area, I tend to wear my Allbirds Wool Runners for an extra layer of warmth, but I’d say my Allbirds Tree Runners are warm enough 90% of the time. 

They’re also super lightweight, which is a huge plus for me as a regular traveler.

I like bringing a nice pair of sneakers on trips for long walks around new cities or easy hikes or workouts in my hotel room, but I don’t like the added bulk. 

Allbirds Tree Runners are packable and lightweight enough that I don’t mind bringing them in my carry-on. 

Easy to Wash 

This is a feature that is talked about a lot in Allbirds reviews and I always find it a little odd since most sneakers I’ve owned have been washable.

With that said, it’s still nice to own washable sneakers for easy cleaning and to keep them relatively new-looking no matter what adventures you get up to. 

Allbirds Tree Runners are easy to throw into the washing machine on low and let dry overnight. 

Free Shipping

One aspect I appreciate with Allbirds, especially with the relatively affordable price of their shoes, is that they offer free shipping in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and China.

That’s a lot of countries to offer free shipping to!  

How to Return Allbirds 

Allbirds returns and exchanges are made easy with the company’s great return policy.

They offer free returns and exchanges for 30 days after your purchase, no questions asked – even if you’ve worn them outside. 

allbirds returns and exchanges

Choosing a Color for the Allbirds Tree Runners 

Allbirds has come a long way since their first line of Wool Runners that were mostly neutral greys.

Allbirds colors now range from their original grey sneakers to colorful limited edition shoes that feature bright and fun shades. 

It’s also important to note that the women’s and men’s lines have different colors, even for the same style shoe.

Since it’s the exact same shoe construction for men’s and women’s Allbirds (you just have to figure out the sizing equivalent), it’s worth it to look at both lines for the full color range. 

The most versatile sneaker colors for the Allbirds Tree Runners are their chalk, charcoal, mist, and wheat, which all follow a neutral color palette.  

However, some of the best Allbirds colors are their limited edition colors that offer a color pop or unique sneaker color.

My personal favorite is the men’s Allbirds Tree Runners in harvest, which is the pair I ended up getting for myself. 

When choosing the right Allbirds color for you, make sure to look at your current wardrobe and think about where and when you’d most often wear them.

If you plan to have them as an everyday shoe, it could be good to start with a more neutral color that goes with everything in your wardrobe.  

If you like the idea of a color pop shoe that still goes with the majority of your outfits, depending on what color you wear most often, go for the more colorful option. 

The Tree Runners are also known to stain more easily than the Wool Runners, so keep that in mind when choosing lighter colors. 

I decided to go with one pair of Allbirds that offers a color pop (my harvest Tree Runners) and one more neutral pair (my natural grey wool runners). 

Looking for more stylish and comfortable travel shoes? Check out my full Tieks review here, my other go-to travel shoe. 

allbirds colors
When choosing my Allbirds color, I looked at what I already had in my wardrobe and what type of color pop I wanted for my go-to daily sneaker.

Common Questions About Allbirds Tree Runners 

Can You Run in Allbirds Tree Runners?

They’re called runners after all, right? 

I’ve worn my Allbirds for running short distances, interval-type workouts, and I’d probably even wear them for a casual pickup basketball game.

However, I wouldn’t say they’re the best for long-distance running.

If you’re okay with not having the usual support of a regular running shoe, running in Allbirds works.

But if you’re a regular runner who does a lot of long-distance running, it’s probably better to go with a proper running shoe and use Allbirds as your daily sneaker. 

Where are Allbirds Made?

The merino wool in Allbirds comes from New Zealand, but the shoes are manufactured in Italy and the company’s headquarters are now located in San Francisco. 

Do Allbirds Ever Go On Sale?

With a relatively affordable regular price for Allbirds shoes, Allbirds sales and Allbirds coupons aren’t really a thing. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable pair of Allbirds, I’d recommend going on Poshmark, an app that lets you buy and sell used shoes and clothes at a discounted price.

In fact, my housemate bought her barely used Allbirds Wool Runners on Poshmark for $28 (including shipping and tax). 

Do Allbirds Stretch? 

Although the Allbirds Wool Runners are meant to stretch, the Allbirds Tree Runners use less stretchy material.

With that said, when I asked the guy working at the Allbirds San Francisco store if my Tree Runners might stretch, he said they should stretch a little to fit my foot if they were slightly tight around the toes. 

In general though, it’s probably best to make sure the Tree Runners fit your foot well. I would go a size up if they’re too tight instead of relying on stretching them out. 

Do Allbirds Have Arch Support?

Allbirds insoles provide some arch support that is probably supportive enough for the majority of people.

However, if you have high arches or sensitive feet, you might need to replace the Allbirds insoles with your own insoles that have more arch support. 

For me personally, I have pretty flat feet and I haven’t felt any soreness from walking around in my Tree Runners for hours on end. 

Are Allbirds Tree Runners Good Workout Sneakers? 

Yes!

I guess it depends on the workout, but I’ve been using my Allbirds Tree Runners for Kayla Itsines, Bikini Body Guides (BBG) workout three times a week. 

I also just started going on short runs with my Tree Runners as part of my morning routine and they’ve been great for that. 

The only thing I’d mention for the Tree Runners is that the mesh material is fairly soft and thin.

If you’re doing something like weightlifting or basketball (where people are prone to step on your feet), it might be better to wear sturdier shoes. 

Are Allbirds Tree Runners Good for Hiking? 

I haven’t had a chance to take my Allbirds Tree Runners on a proper hike yet, but I’ve taken numerous long city walks in them.

They seem fine for somewhat easy terrain, but if you’re doing an all-day strenuous hike it’s probably better to wear proper hiking shoes with better traction and ankle support. 

shoes that go with everything - Allbirds tree runners

How Often Do Allbirds Come Out With New Colors? 

There’s no telling when new colors of Allbirds will be released as it seems fairly random. 

One thing I’ve noticed is that they release “seasonal” colors in the spring, fall, or winter, with colors that reflect the colors of that season.

But don’t expect new colors to be released every new season, or for new colors to last forever (as most are limited edition colors). 

Are Allbirds Tree Runners Waterproof?

No, Allbirds Tree Runners aren’t waterproof.

In fact, they’re probably the worst Allbirds style to wear in rainy weather (besides maybe the flats) because the mesh material will easily soak through. 

This is one of the downsides of the Tree Runners as I prefer my travel shoes to be waterproof.

With that said, Allbirds recently came out with their Mizzles style, which is their first line of water repellent Allbirds shoes.

The Mizzles shoes still aren’t fully waterproof, but better to wear on rainy days compared to the Tree Runners. 

If you’re looking for a full list of my favorite comfortable waterproof walking shoes, check out this post

Can You Wear the Allbirds Tree Runners Without Socks? 

Yes.

Allbirds are known as some of the best shoes to wear without socks. 

With their moisture-wicking, breathable, and odor-reducing materials, the Tree Runners were designed to be worn on their own.

If you’re prone to sweaty and smelly feet, it could still be worth it to wear light socks, but in general, the Tree Runners are a great pair of sneakers to wear without needing socks. 

Why I like the Allbirds Tree Runners the Most Compared to Other Allbirds Styles

Okay, to be fair I’ve only tried out the Allbirds Tree Runners and the Allbirds Wool Runners so far (although I plan to try out more in the future).

However, after wearing both styles for a decent amount of time and for a variety of activities, I can safely say I love the Allbirds Tree Runners the most. 

It’s hard to beat how lightweight the sneakers are for carrying with me in an overnight bag.

They also keep my feet the perfect temperature and are still somehow breathable, whereas my Wool Runners are cozy but sometimes make my feet overheat.

Lastly, I like the sporty look of the Tree Runners compared to the Wool Runners. 

In general, I find the Tree Runners to be a more versatile shoe.

They’re packable, sporty enough to wear for workouts or even short runs, and keep my feet a nice temperature whenever I slip them on.

I honestly haven’t found a better sneaker than the Allbirds Tree Runners and I plan to wear mine for a long time to come. 

allbirds wool runners vs allbirds tree runners

allbirds wool runners vs allbirds tree runners
Side-by-side comparison of Allbirds Tree Runners vs Allbirds Wool Runners.

Where to Buy Allbirds Tree Runners 

You can buy Allbirds Tree Runners either online or in-person at an Allbirds store.  

There are now Allbirds stores in a decent amount of major cities around the world, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin, Washington DC, Auckland, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Berlin, and Tokyo. 

Even though I went and tried on shoes at the Allbirds San Francisco location, I still bought mine online because there were more color options than what I found at the store.

So that can be a good option too if you live in a city where there’s an Allbirds store – go in person to try on a variety of styles to figure out which one you want.

Then you can order the color you want online if they don’t have it in stock. 

Otherwise, if you don’t live in a city with an Allbirds store, the Allbirds return policy and simple exchanges make it easy to purchase a pair (or two) and change or return them for free if they’re not a good fit. 

Are Allbirds Worth it? 

100% yes.

Since buying my Allbirds Tree Runners, they’ve become my go-to sneaker for travel and daily life around San Francisco.

And at $95 it’s hard to beat such a versatile and comfy sneaker.

I’m already inspired to try some of their other styles in the future because I’ve had such a good experience with their Tree Runners and Wool Runners. 

If you’re looking for a quality pair of new sneakers, Allbirds Tree Runners are a good option for those who lead an active lifestyle, or who simply want a comfortable shoe to wear around town. 

where to buy allbirds

 

Have you tried Allbirds yet? What style of Allbirds do you like (or would want to try out) the most? 

 

Looking for more minimalist travel gear? Check out my full review of the Pakt One travel bag here

Mimi McFadden
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