When Allbirds debuted its first-ever running shoe, the Tree Dasher, this time last year, I couldn't wait to get my toes into a pair; everything from the sleek design to the name piqued my running enthusiasm. Now, 365 days later, the eco-friendly shoe brand is back with a sophomore design: the Tree Dasher Relay. I've gotten to know the OG Dasher pretty well since trying it out when it first launched, so I was excited to see how this lace-free take on the breezy running shoe would stack up. Below, read my full review of Allbirds' newest eco-friendly sneaker as I take it for a real-life test RUN.
The biggest difference between the Dasher and the Dasher Relay is the laceless upper (see picture below for reference). The overall look is super sleek and modern — visually similar to water shoes that I used to wear during aqua-spinning classes. While the Dasher comes in a rainbow of colours, the Relay is currently available in just three limited-edition hues (with presumably more on the way): black, white, and a chic heathered mauve (the colour I tested!). The Relay features the same renewable earth-friendly materials that Allbirds' become known for; recycled stock-yarn uppers crafted from FSC-Certified eucalyptus trees, dual-density midsoles crafted from "the world’s first carbon-negative green EVA", and removable castor-bean sockliners that emit "less carbon than petroleum-based foam".
The cushiony midsole feels like walking on a very supportive marshmallow and is as kind to your arches as it is to the earth.
Karina Hoshikawa, R29 Beauty & Wellness Writer
The Dasher quickly won me over with its lightweight, comfortable support. Seriously, I feel like I could run for miles in 'em. I have small feet, and my Allbirds size is a women's 5. (The brand recommends people take their true size, but I personally feel like the Dashers run about a half size large.) I took the same size for the Relay and was pleasantly surprised with the fit. They slipped on and off in seconds but felt totally secure while on. In the interest of getting a full snapshot of the shoe’s versatility, I wore my new pair out for several activities of varying intensities: leisurely neighbourhood strolls with my dog; jogs on my apartment-friendly treadmill; dance HIIT classes on Obé Fitness. From hopping up and down to hitting a moderate stride, the Relays always made me feel light on my feet. The cushiony midsole feels like walking on a very supportive marshmallow and is as kind to your arches as it is to the earth.
For someone who's looking for a comfortable slip-on with good arch support, the Dasher Relay checks all the boxes.
KARINA HOSHIKAWA, R29 BEAUTY & WELLNESS WRITER
For someone, like me, who's looking for a comfortable slip-on with good arch support, the Dasher Relay checks all the boxes. Serious runners may require more technical performance specs from their footwear, and that's okay too! At $175 (the same price as the Dasher), the Relay is more of an investment than a basic running shoe from mass brands; that said, if you're making moves towards a more sustainable lifestyle (which, yes, very much includes the goods you buy), then you can't go wrong with ordering a pair of the carbon-neutral runners for yourself. But be warned: once you put them on, you'll never want to wear another shoe again.
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