If you’ve heard about Allbirds and are still on the fence about buying your first pair, then keep reading my Allbirds Tree Runners review!
About Allbirds Tree Runners
Allbirds has stolen the show in the past few years with their sustainable footwear (and, recently, cozy apparel). All of their items are made from naturally-sourced or recycled ingredients and come in attractive minimalist designs.
Somehow nearly all of their products feature Merino wool, including their shoes, which sounds like it would be hot and scratchy, but feels surprisingly airy and silky.
These sneakers can be worn all day and feature uppers from a breathable tree fiber rather than wool, making them much more accommodating for healthcare settings.
The Allbirds Tree Runners are the new, airy, tree-fiber alternative to the Allbirds Wool Runners, which are sort of like their woolen sister shoes. Some specs on the Tree Runners:
- Price: $98 (free shipping and returns)
- Part of the Allbirds Runners series
- Available in Women’s and Men’s sizes
- Breathable tree fiber eliminates odor
- Bouncy midsole made from Brazilian sugarcane
- Machine washable
- Includes 30-day no-questions-asked return policy
- No half sizes
- Lacks typical running shoe support
- Pricey (Allbirds never runs sales)
Things to Consider Before Buying Allbirds Tree Runners
Just to be blunt here, if you have special foot needs or requirements, these probably aren’t going to be the shoes for you. We have written extensively on orthopedic shoes for nurses, shoes for nurses with wide feet, as well as shoes for nurses with plantar fasciitis, and the Tree Runners are not built for any of these sets of needs. Continue reading this Allbirds Tree Runners review where we detail more on the stability and support.
Similarly, if you have flat feet or high arches and specifically are seeking supportive running shoes, then there is still a great Allbirds shoe for you, just not the Tree Runners. I’d recommend the Allbirds Tree Dashers, which is their line of running shoes built for performance versus more casual wear. Read more in our Allbirds Tree Dashers Review.
Style and Design
As the old adage goes, “you get what you pay for,” and from the get-go, the shoes arrive in style with lovely packaging (which, of course, is from 90% recycled cardboard).
What you’ll notice first-off with these shoes is the silky weave-designed fabric. The fabric is crafted with eucalyptus tree fiber that allows for more breathability than you get with the Wool Runners. With these sneakers, you actually don’t need to wear socks, making them perfect for throwing on in a pinch.
For this Allbirds Tree Runners review, I tried out a color in their Classic series, Kaikoura White, as we were also testing out shoes for our roundup of the 12 Best White Nursing Shoes. I nearly always prefer a monochrome shoe, but there are also tons of color combo options that are changing frequently. Some of their Limited Edition colors are pretty bright and flashy, which may be a fun alternative to the more neutral Classics that are always featured.
All their sneakers have a pretty minimalist look that you can expect from shoes that have taken off in the Bay Area. Although they have no logo on the sides, you’ll find their name imprinted on the back of the shoes.
Unsurprisingly, it’s their sleek design and lack of logo that makes these shoes pretty easy to identify when being worn out and about. I gifted my sister a pair of the Allbirds Wool Runners last year and she receives tons of compliments on them.
The insoles for these shoes feel great and are pretty springy. I have naturally flat feet and the built-in arch doesn’t make my feet hurt at the end of the day. That said, I don’t have any special needs for my feet, so I get along fine wearing these shoes all day with nothing more than the support from these insoles.
Replacing your insoles
After a lot of wear, you may notice that your shoes are feeling a bit more rundown (or, dare I say, stinky). In the past, you’d just get a new pair of sneakers, but since the Allbirds are machine washable, you’ll probably find that they’re staying wearable for longer.
Rather than spring on a new pair of kicks, you can just pay $15 and get a new insole. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Related: Prepping for the NCLEX? Start Here.
Comfort and Extended Wear
I’ll be the first to admit that before I started this Allbirds Tree Runners review, I found the idea of wool in or on my shoes to be a very weird concept. Wool used to be reserved for items that smelled like moth balls and got put in a box for most of the year. Wool was also an item that I thought was never allowed to get wet.. or else.
Thankfully, Allbirds is not a brand that conforms to my childhood experience of woolen items. The wool interior inside these shoes is wildly comfortable and feels like a hug on your feet. It’s not scratchy (again, wasn’t wool supposed to be itchy?) and it still feels breathable. I am wearing these sneakers in the middle of summer (sockless) and my feet still feel cool and cushioned.
Can they be worn all day?
For all the healthcare workers out there seeking sneakers that can handle a 12-hour shift, my answer is.. kind of.
Although my feet didn’t hurt after being worn all day, these sneakers definitely feel more like a casual pair of shoes that don’t have a lot of support or shock absorption. The fabric is pretty stretchy and gives with movement, and as I’ve mentioned a few times now, these don’t feel like typical bulky running shoes.
When I was trying out different Allbirds, I actually found that I preferred the Allbirds Tree Dasher for more supportive footwear to be worn for more extended periods of time. However, I prefer the casual look of the Tree Runners, and find them more universal for other outfits beyond scrubs.
Thankfully, with their generous return policy, you can be the judge for yourself here. It’s likely that, even if you find the Tree Runners to be not supportive enough for work, you’ll keep them around for casual wear outside of the workplace.
How to Wash Allbirds
Washing your Allbirds is simple and only requires a couple of steps before you have a freshly washed pair of kicks. Here are the steps:
- Remove laces and insoles
- Put the shoes in the washing machine with a gentle detergent on cold cycle
- Air dry shoes (DO NOT TUMBLE DRY)
From some experience, the insoles can get stinky, especially if you are wearing your Allbirds without socks like me. You are encouraged to wash the insoles by hand. Or, as mentioned earlier, you can just buy a new pair of insoles for $15 and skip the hassle.
Allbirds Tree Runners Review FAQ
Do you wear socks with Allbirds?
The Allbirds Tree Runners were designed for going sockless. For the Tree Dashers, however, it’s recommended to wear the Trino Sprinters, which are specifically designed for pairing with this sneaker.
Can you return your Allbirds?
Yes! Allbirds has a generous return policy for shoes. Return them within 30 days, no questions asked, with all labels still intact and you’ll get a full refund. For socks and underwear, however, packaging must be unopened.
Are Allbirds Tree Runners worth it?
Yes! These casual sneakers are comfortable enough to be worn all day! Their stylish design and low impact on the environment is just icing on the cake.
Are Allbirds Tree Runners supportive?
The Allbirds Tree Runners are supportive, but not as supportive as a traditional running shoe. If you’re seeking a ton of support, we recommend the Tree Dashers instead.
Do Allbirds Tree Runners run true to size?
Yes, both the Tree Runners and Tree Dashers run true to size.
Are Allbirds good for flat feet?
The Allbirds Tree Dasher is the best Allbirds running shoe for flat feet and can be worn all day without foot pain – trust me, I have flat feet and wore them during an entire shift!
Allbirds Tree Runners Review by Nurses
Alternatives to the Allbirds Tree Runners
As we’ve mentioned a few times, for those of you who are looking for the running-shoe equivalent within the Allbirds name, you can turn to the Allbirds Tree Dashers. These sneakers offer a much more structured support that you’ll find in performance running shoes.
They are a bit pricier than the Allbirds Tree Runners, coming in at $125. These sneakers made our #1 spot for the 9 Best Shoes for Doctors in 2021.
Nurses have long been advocates for the Adidas Cloudfoam, which also were featured among the top of our 8 Tennis Shoes for Nurses list. These sneakers have a similar fit as the Allbirds Tree Runners and can be worn without socks. They feature a slip-on model specifically created for an easy-on casual style.
- Women's specific fit
- Cloudfoam memory sockliner and textile lining
- Easy, everyday runners
Final Thoughts on Allbirds Tree Runners Review
If you have no major foot needs and are looking for a cute pair of casual sneakers that can be worn all day, with or without socks, then the Allbirds Tree Runners are the shoe for you!