Model: Tree Dasher Running Shoe
Key Features: Unique one-piece upper made from FSC® Certified eucalyptus trees – Dual-density SweetFoam™ midsole is made with sugarcane and is the world’s first carbon negative green EVA – Allbird signature ZQ Merino wool heel lining – Flared heel to provide more stability and pronation control in the ride.
Ride Comfort: 7/10
Stability & Durability: 8/10
Best For: Short to Medium Distances
Release Date: Available Now
The Allbirds Tree Dasher is an interesting running sneaker, designed by a brand who have had serious success in the lifestyle footwear market, but have never before tried to enter the running market. This is a good first effort. The Tree Dasher “reimagines the traditional running shoe with natural materials engineered for serious performance” according to the brand. But does it work?
The USA-New Zealand brand took America by storm in just 4 short years with a hugely successful Kickstarter and marketing blitz that touted the brand’s commitment to footwear made from natural materials. Look now at 2020, and Allbrids has a reported valuation near $1.5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, and a cult-like following of eco, style-minded consumers. But up until now, those consumers have remained in the lifestyle category.
For us the Tree Dasher is fine. Yes, we said it, just fine. We tested it out over a week, which included road running and some HIIT training. The shoe has a somewhat comfortable natural ride (we found it took a while to break in) with a thick, airy midsole that can take a serious hammering on the road. Its extra wide heel is a welcomed comfort addition for stability and pronation control on runs that allows you to feel solid with each stride you take. It’s lacing system left me wanting, with only 4 eyelets you find yourself stopping mid-run to retighten the shoe or double knotting the laces. Aesthetically however, for us, this is a pretty ugly shoe. A glance at images online it appears a streamline, agile knit shoe reminiscent of the Nike Flyknit series. However on opening the box you’re greeted by an oversized, bulky looking sneaker that looks like, in our Lifestyle Editors words, “like a 50 year old dad trying to be cool”. And the same can be said for the wider public, a quick post on Instagram stories and I was bombarded with messages about how “weird” the sneaker looked. So you be the judge.
Now this isn’t a bad review, its just honest. In a market place that is literally overflowing with competition, and technology beating down the door of what is possible from a shoes performance you need to step up your game if you want to be a serious competitor, and right now for us Allbirds is flaying near the back of the pack.
Is this a good running sneaker? Yes. If you’re looking for something that is light, mediocre and will do the job on short runs in sunny weather and you don’t mind how it looks, then this is a great shoe for you. It also kind of makes you feel good because of the sustainability factor, which is a great feat in itself and we applaud the brand for its efforts, but for us, this simply wasn’t enough. But as the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Editors Note: In terms of fit, it also runs a little large as with any knit sneaker, so we’d advise you to go down half a size.