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Some might say I’m an Allbirds fanatic: I own a pair of the brand’s iconic Wool Runners and Wool Dwellers slippers. So when I was offered to test its new Tree Dasher 2 shoes — the second generation of its best-selling running shoes— I couldn’t wait to see what the hype was about.
In case you’re not familiar, Allbirds has become hugely popular over the past few years for its sustainable approach to footwear. To help limit its environmental impact (the fashion industry collectively dumps 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually), the company uses carbon-reducing materials like wool and tree fibers in its shoe uppers. Styles also feature SweetFoam midsoles made of Brazilian sugarcane to create the world’s first carbon-negative EVA polymer, as well as castor bean oil-based insoles, which emit less carbon than petroleum-based foam. And for the carbon it does emit, Allbirds invests in offsets to fund projects that neutralize its footprint.
But that’s not all: All the label’s shoe laces are made with plastic bottles and shoe boxes with 90% recycled cardboard.
What are the improvements to the new Allbirds Tree Dashers 2.0?
Compared to the original Tree Dasher, the 2.0 takes Allbirds’ carbon footprint-reducing initiatives a step further with performance in mind. Like the original, the Tree Dasher 2.0 has a flexible, soft upper made of eucalyptus tree material, SweetFoam midsoles and a durable rubber outsole. Some of the improvements include:
- A more responsive and cushioned midsole, so you get comfort and bounce with every stride
- An improved heel collar to help anchor your foot in place
- A grippier lug pattern for better traction on mixed terrain
- An angular heel to reduce weight in the heel and promote smoother heel-to-toe transitions
- Reflective details so drivers, bikers and other runners see you on the road
At 10.3 ounces, the new Tree Dasher also weighs 0.3 ounces less than the original pair and has a lower carbon number at 10.7 kg, versus the original’s 11.3 kg.
My thoughts on the Tree Dashers 2.0
Much like the brand’s famous Wool Runners, the new Tree Dashers are super comfortable and feel great for all-day walking. But if you’re a serious runner, this pair is lacking many of the high-performance features you’d expect in a running shoe.
For starters, this shoe is made for a certain type of runner. Yes, it’s got a shock-absorbing midsole that provides great cushioning, but it wasn’t enough for my high arches.
About two miles into my run, I started to feel slight arch pain, so they’re probably not ideal for runners who have a similar foot type and cover higher mileage. Or, you might want to switch out the insoles for custom ones. While I appreciate the improved heel collar with merino wool padding, these running shoes don’t offer much in the way of stability, such as medial posts, from what I can tell. That said, if you have a neutral gait (you don’t overpronate or supinate) and don’t need a lot of support while running, you might like these shoes.
What I did love about these shoes is their lightweight and sock-like upper. They fit perfectly around my feet and are very breathable. I also really liked the angular design on the heels, which provided smooth heel-to-toe transitions to help propel me forward. The traction is also decent; I ran with them on the road, as well as on the trails at my neighborhood park. They withstood the muddier trails from the melted snow and rain a few days before and loose terrain with small rocks and fallen branches.
What’s also great about the Tree Dashers 2.0 is that they’re machine-washable, which is rare for other running shoes, so you can keep your kicks fresh run after run. You just have to remove the laces and insoles before throwing them inside a delicates bag and into the wash.
Overall, I think the Tree Dashers 2.0 shoes are perfect for walking, easier runs and jogs and less intense/low-impact workouts. I wouldn’t trade them for your go-to running shoes or cross-trainers, but they’re versatile to wear from your low-impact workout to a short run in the park. And thanks to their stylish design, they’re great for upgrading your athleisure look.
Now available to shop on Allbirds.com, the style retails for $135 and comes in sizes for both women and men. Grab it in a white, black and white or orange colorway, as well as a warm cocoa-inspired hue.