Runner Reviews Allbirds Tree Flyer Running Shoe
When Allbirds arrived in 2016 with simple, comfortable sneakers that signaled environmental awareness and comfort, they had a home run. In 2018, the direct-to-consumer footwear brand claimed to have sold over a million pairs of its candy cane-soled sneakers. As they continue to dive into different plant-based materials (breathable eucalyptus fibers) and categories (athleisure mix-and-match, cushioned carbon-negative sandals), their sneakers have also been upgraded for serious runners. Their new running shoe, released this week, is called the Tree Flyer, which the brand calls its “most technical style yet.”
The $160 Tree Flyer is a performance and support-centric design, built for running. It joins Allbirds’ popular and well-reviewed $135 Tree Runner 2, designed for lighter workouts, which was released as a model update earlier this year. The sneaker features the brand’s new, more cushioned, castor seed-based SwiftFoam midsole, replacing their signature Sweetfoam. We asked fast company editor Amy Farley, an occasional runner of many, many more miles than me, to put them to the test. Although she declined to take them on an Ironman for the sake of my story, she said, “I can’t talk about long distances, but I can say that for a four-mile run – cobbled and dirt – they feel wonderful. I usually run in a pair of Hoka Bondi X shoes, which are known for their super springy, rocker-like midsole. The Allbirds Tree Flyer midsole, which has a similar shape, though less pronounced, feels slightly stiffer than Hoka’s; but my knees and back, which are only two years away from disc surgery, didn’t seem to notice.
The brand said it sent samples to more than 130 runners, who collectively ran nearly 4,000 miles with the Tree Flyer, seeking feedback on the shoe’s more technical elements (traction, rebound, toe spring , etc.), as well as durability and comfort. For Amy, the Tree Flyer offered more arch support than other running shoes she owns, but the secret sauce is really in the versatility. “The big difference,” she says, “is the eucalyptus fiber upper, which wraps around your foot like a comfortable, breathable sock. Usually you notice your foot is in a new shoe. Putting on the Tree Flyer, my feet felt like they were coming home. Another bonus with the Tree Flyer, according to Amy: “They’re cute, they look technical without being too explicit about it. . . I tell you look, Hoka Bondi X. I will probably wear these not only for running, but also as walking and standing office shoes.
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