When people mention Allbirds to me, my mind goes to a couple of different places. Silicon Valley tech bro, medical workers doing the rounds, and definitely commuter-friendly. To be quite frank though, I didn’t necessarily see them as a workout trainer on par with my trusty Nike TR 7s. But because I love to be proved wrong, I was super excited to test a pair of the brand’s latest addition to its environmentally-conscious footwear options: The Tree Dasher.
Dubbed as “a running shoe powered by the sun, rain, and soil,” Allbirds’ new drop has some components that will look familiar to existing fans. Featuring a supportive rubber outsole, the insole is made from castor bean oil, while the cushy midsole is made from a sugarcane-based foam. The upper is crafted with a renewable eucalyptus fiber (the same stuff that’s in the Tree Breezers, Skippers, and Runners), blended with merino wool for added durability. Having never owned a pair of Allbirds prior to receiving a pair for review purposes, I have to say that I was surprised at how thin yet sturdy the material was. I was worried about how these textiles would hold up to hitting the pavement, but during about a dozen socially-distanced walks, I have to say — my feet felt pretty supported and protected. Oh, and did I mention, insanely comfortable? Seriously, I 100% get the hype now.
According to the brand, these underwent "thousands of miles" of testing before the final product was realised. However, with many of us adhering to quarantine policies, there was only so much that I could put these through — at least for the time being.
I did my best to take these out for a walk if I was getting some air, but mostly put the Tree Dashers through some of my go-to home workout moves to see how they stacked up to my Nikes: Squat and lunge circuit training, plenty of jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and even some dance cardio videos, because why not? (This Doja Cat three-minute routine has been on repeat lately.) All in all, consider me impressed — my feet felt cushioned and supported thanks to the substantial sole, and I have peace of mind knowing that these are pretty easy to clean — just remove the insoles and laces and wash them in a delicates bag. (I am a Virgo, after all.)
However impressive the tech specs are, the Tree Dashers are also a genuinely well-designed running shoe. For starters, the whole thing is crafted in one piece, with no tongue. To me, it has the feel of a slip-on style, but with laces. I went with Cyclone, a fresh minty green that I hoped would inspire to go out for more early-morning walks, but the other three options offer something for every style preference. There's Geyser (a cool light blue), Flame (a muted red), and Thunder (a charcoal grey). At £120, they are a step up from the £95 price point of the brand's top-selling styles, but comparable to the weather-proof Wool Runner-up Mizzles priced at £120. That said, I'd say it's competitively priced when you consider that other popular workout trainers can run close to £200.
While I could've never (ever, ever!) imagined testing a running shoe under these circumstances, I have to admit that I'm already looking forward to the day when I can jog in Brooklyn's Prospect Park (or, you know, my local Blink for that matter) with these on my feet. I'll be updating this post when that time comes but for now, I can vouch for the Allbirds Dashers being a strong contender for indoor workout shoes if you're looking to level up and go with a sustainable buy.
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