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Disclosure: I’ve been an Allbirds devotee since sometime in 2016 when I first tried their original Wool Runners. Since then, I’ve spent countless dollars on different styles and colors of Allbirds and have learned the ins and outs of what makes each shoe great. Allbirds are pound-for-pound some of the most comfortable and versatile shoes you can buy. But each style has its pros and cons. So, after years of field work, here are my top five favorite Allbirds shoes, ranked:
The Wool Runners are the OG, the original shoe Allbirds released when they launched back in March 2016. The self-proclaimed ‘world’s most comfortable shoe’ has made the brand a millennial household name, and even in 2020 is still extremely popular. The Wool Runners are made from 100% New Zealand Merino wool, making them incredibly comfy and soft. They’re an amazing shoe for everyday wear, but despite the name I wouldn’t recommend actually running in them (unless you’re being chased). The wool upper lacks the stability of a typical running shoe, so if you’re into the cardio thing, the Tree Dashers are a better bet. The one thing I will say that bothers me about the Wool Runners is that the wool lacks structure and the toe box can show what looks like wrinkles. Wearing thicker socks can help fill out the toe and counteract this, though. All in all, a great, classic shoe with iconic looks and supreme comfort.
If you’re looking for a light, breathable, trendy alternative to your leathery old Sperry boat shoes, the Tree Skippers are for you. I’ve had the white pair for three summers now, and they’ve held up incredibly well, despite sweaty summer feet, buckets of sand, saltwater, and miles run chasing kids around. The Tree Skippers fit more snugly than any other pair of Allbirds I own. Personally, if you’re a half-size, I’d recommend sizing up. But I love the light weight, slim profile and understated look of the white Skippers. They pair perfectly with your brightest Vineyard Vines polo and seersucker shorts (if you’re into that vibe). The Skippers are made from a breathable, mesh material derived from Eucalyptus trees and are easy to wash. Just please, whatever you do: don’t wear socks with these.
The Tree Runners are the ‘Goldilocks’ of the Allbirds Runner line-up: they’re more technical and versatile than the OG Wool Runners, but more casual and less sporty than the performance-focused Tree Dashers. Allbirds Tree Runners are made from the same breathable mesh material as the Tree Skippers, albeit with a more athletic profile.
Their versatile design makes them great all-day shoes. You can wear them to work, wear them to do light workouts in, or dress them up and wear them out on Friday night. They have Mariah Carey-eque range, more so than any other pair. Like most of the shoes on this list, they’re easily washable and comfortable with or without socks (I rarely wear socks with these and they’re fine). The biggest beef I tend to have is that I wish they made them “laceless.” I frequently find myself stopping to re-hide the laces inside the tongue of the shoe, which can be annoying if you’re on the go. OCD tendencies aside, you really can’t go wrong with these. With a 4.8 / 5 star rating, customers definitely agree.
The Wool Pipers are the new kids on the block, and they’re the shoe I’ve been hoping Allbirds would make for years now. The Pipers are Allbirds take on the classic “everyday sneaker,” the low profile low-top, stylish shoes that go perfectly with jeans or chinos. The Pipers are made of the same 100% Merino wool as the Wool runners, with a stretchy, comfortable upper and a solid sugarcane-derived midsole. Pipers are perfect for those who prefer a casual, classic stance rather than the elevated sole and definitive athletic design of the Runner styles. With wool-lined heels, Pipers keep heat on your feet all winter long. Personally, I can’t wait until they come out with a version of the Pipers in the Allbirds signature mesh.
Coming in at #1 on our list, The Allbirds Tree Dashers are the culmination of years of product innovation from the Kiwi crew, and it shows. The Tree Dasher is Allbirds’ first true foray into the running shoe world, and after having run 107 miles in them over the course of 4 months, I can confidently say they are a legit competitor to Nike, Brooks, New Balance and others.
The greatest thing about the Tree Dashers is their versatility. Not only is this a competitive piece of training gear, this is a shoe you can wear all day long. Crush a solid WFH session, hit up Target and then boom – straight to the streets for a casual 2.5 miles. The Tree Dashers have a beautiful sleek profile, look great in jeans, and dress up well for nights on the town.
They’re easily machine washable – take out the laces, scrub ‘em down with liquid laundry detergent, throw the shoes and insole in the washing machine on ‘gentle,’ and let ‘em air-dry (or tumble dry on low heat if you can stand the noise). I’ve splashed around muddy soccer fields, trekked around dusty pumpkin patches and splashed them in the surf at the beach. They always come out looking basically brand new.
As for how they are to run in – they’re not *perfect,* but they’re very good, especially for me. I have wide, flat feet, so the Dashers are great because they feature a wide, stable toe box. This provides an extra layer of stability and balance, which gives me more protection and confidence on uneven terrain. To put it simply, with Allbird’s Tree Dashers, you’ll always land on your feet.
The only drawback I can note is that they are slightly on the heavy side – weighing in around 12.3 oz (size Men’s 12). So, there are definitely more lightweight options if you’re trying to hit your PR on race day. But if you’re looking for a sustainable, stylish, versatile, and comfortable runner, you really can’t beat the Allbirds Tree Dashers.
You most certainly can wear both Allbirds Wool and Allbirds Tree shoes without socks. The Tree Runners, Dashers and Skippers are ideal to wear sans-socks because they’re breathable mesh uppers allow for heat and odor dissipation. I’d probably recommend wearing their wool shoes with socks, because it helps retain the shoe’s structure a little better. However, I’ve worn all without socks and it works either way.
If you’re looking at a pair of the wool shoes, size up. I made this mistake with my first pair. I am a consistent 11.5 across most brands. However, I’m a 12 in Allbirds. I default to size 12’s whenever I buy a new wool pair and I haven’t had an issue since.
For styles that offer half sizes (like the Tree Dashers), Allbirds recommends going with your true size, unless you have a wide foot (like me), in which case you should go to the next size up.
Sadly, there is not. Trust me, I’ve looked. Since Day One, Allbirds has shied away from discounting their products. On Black Friday this year, they’re even increasing all prices $1 in support of climate change. However, Allbirds consistently delivers amazing value for the price you pay for their products, so don’t let that deter you from buying.
Yes! They’re the ‘world’s most comfortable shoe.’ Their wool shoes are soft and supple, made of 100% merino wool from New Zealand. They feel like slippers you can wear in public. And their Runners line are made from a breathable mesh material derived from sugar cane. The cushiony midsoles provide both stability and comfort when running or training.
I can confidently say Allbirds are worth every penny. In terms of value for money, you can’t beat the style, selection, materials and utility of Allbirds. They never run discounts, but it doesn’t matter. You somehow always feel like you’re getting what you paid for.