An Avid Runner & a Fitness Class Junkie Review Allbirds' New Running Sneaker

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Sneakers are notoriously hard to shop for online. It’s not like you can exactly tell where they’ll give you blisters or if they’ll run small by scrolling through some product shots. And while customer reviews are entertaining, we trust the experts way more than Donna in Wyoming who woke up on the wrong side of the bed before spilling her heart into a surprisingly dark review of tennis shoes. Which is why we had two PureWow staffers test out Allbirds’ new running shoes, the Tree Dashers ($125). Our in-house running expert, Catrina, and I, a self-proclaimed workout junkie, took the shoes for a spin and reported back after two weeks of wear. Here’s what we thought about the Allbird Tree Dashers.

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Catrina Yohay, Runs About 8 To 10 Miles Per Week

1. When you first put on the shoes, what was your first impression?

Man, are these comfortable!

2. How did the sneakers fit?

They ran a bit small on me. I usually wear an 8.5 in Nike, ASICS and APL, but I’m a 9 in New Balance, so I went with an 8.5 for these and, though I was able to run, 30 minutes later my toes were starting to feel cramped and smooshed. Bottom line: I'd suggest sizing up a half size.

3. What are your thoughts about the overall design of the shoe?

It's reminiscent of Allbirds’ typical, everyday shoe, but with way more padding in the sole and a breathable sock exterior. The square heel was definitely different and at first, it felt a little clunky. But I also thought it gave the shoe a more athletic look, so it slowly grew on me.

4. How did they feel on an actual run?

These shoes didn't need any breaking in, with the first wear I felt like I'd been using them for weeks, and the super-soft construction just molded to my feet. I also wore a proper running sock, the Swiftwick Flite ($20), so I didn't experience any blisters or irritation. My tell for a good running shoe? When I completely forget I'm wearing them. I don't want to be thinking about how shock absorbent they are or how springy the sole is. I just want to feel light and free and run without discomfort. These totally checked that box.

5. What type of runs are these sneakers best for?

Definitely short distance runs. I'd probably max out on five or six miles with them before my feet started to hate me. I also wouldn't do any speed or track work in them since their ankle design isn't super supportive. Some runners love lightweight shoes with thinner soles so they can really feel the ground beneath them, but these are not those shoes.

Catrina’s Overall Thoughts:

If you're a casual runner who prefers a simple, supportive shoe without all the bells and whistles, I'd definitely suggest giving these a try. They’re a nice blend of running sneakers and casual shoes. I could see myself wearing them for a quick two-mile jog around the block where I end up at the grocery store and finish off some errands. On the other hand, I don’t love how limiting they were. If I'm investing in a pair of running shoes, I want to be able to use them for a multitude of training purposes, not just short runs. However, I thought the quality was good and the price was fair, so if you're looking to take up running but don't want to shell out $225 for a new pair of shoes, these are a great alternative.


Dena Silver, Works Out About 6 To 7 Times Per Week

1. When you first put on the shoes, what was your first impression?

These feel exactly like my first pair of Allbirds: Soft to the touch and so unbelievably light, that they feel like walking on clouds. (Apologies for the corny description, but it’s truly the first thought that crossed my mind!)

2. How did the sneakers fit?

They definitely felt a little bit snug when I first put them on. I got a 7.5, my normal size, although I do tend to size up to an 8 in sneakers. However, after removing the innersoles to replace with my own, thinner orthotics the Allbirds felt much more comfortable—like my big toes were no longer pushing against the front.

3. What are your thoughts about the overall design of the shoe?

I was a bit concerned about the sock fit, since I’m so used to wearing sneakers with an adjustable tongue that can be tightened or loosened depending on how my feet feel each day. Regardless, I found these Allbirds to be just supportive enough; I didn’t even have to pull the laces super tight to feel like my foot was being hugged by these sneaks. Admittedly, I like to wear my workout sneaks sans socks and I’m happy to reveal that these kicks did a great job of wicking away sweat and keeping nasty odors out.

4. How did they feel during an actual workout?

I’m always looking for a barely-there sneaker, since my preferred IG live fitness instructor (love you, @Javipee) recommends doing his sculpt classes without shoes—something I actually can’t do because of a foot problem. These Allbirds are the closest I’ve gotten to that barefoot feel but they’re still sturdy enough for long, social-distance walks around the block.

5. What type of workouts do you think these shoes would be best for?

You could wear these for truly any type of at-home (and yes, in-studio/gym) class, regardless of intensity. They can handle burpees and mountain climbers, jump squats and side lunges and even rounds of shadow boxing. But they’re also great for lower impact sweat sessions. After two weeks of wearing these, they’re showing little to no wear, so I can trust that they’ll last for plenty of future workouts.

Dena’s Overall Thoughts

If you’re a fan of the OG Allbirds but wish they came with more support or if you’re tired of buying pair after pair of Nikes that last for just two months before you have to toss them, you’ll probably fall for these running sneakers as I did. Admittedly, I’m not a runner but knowing these kicks were designed with the health of my feet in mind gives me peace of mind. And anything that makes my afternoon workouts feel slightly less strenuous? I’m all about it.

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Dena Silver

Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.
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