Allbirds Tree Dashers Review: Sustainable, Comfortable Running Shoes

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I’m a huge fan of Allbirds shoes, so I was excited when they released a new high-performance shoe designed for running.

The Allbirds Tree Dashers have the same features I love in my other Allbirds—they are ultra comfortable, machine washable, and made from sustainable materials.

They also have an understated look and come in neutral colours, which makes a nice change from the neon of traditional running shoes. The Dashers are excellent multi-purpose shoes—you could wear them walking around the city as well as on runs and to the gym.

Even if you don’t plan to do any jogging, it’s worth considering the Dashers if you want a more supportive shoe than the rest of the Allbirds range.

In this Allbirds Dashers review, I share the pros and cons of these running shoes after running over 140km (87 miles) in them in the last five months. Most of my runs are 5 – 10km (3 – 6 miles).

The Tree Dashers are available in the same design for men and women, so this review applies to both, although I tried the women’s version.

I also compare the Allbirds Tree Dashers vs Allbirds Wool Runners (which confusingly aren’t designed for running despite the name), which I love for general wear.

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Note: Allbirds sent me the Dashers for review but this is my honest opinion. Simon and I have both paid for Allbirds shoes before and as we travel light, we wouldn’t keep travelling with shoes we didn’t love.

Allbirds Tree Dashers Details

Type: Neutral, Cushioned, Light Stability Running Shoe
Heel Drop: 7mm (Forefoot: 15.5mm, Heel: 22.5mm)
Weight: 265g (9.3oz) per shoe (size US8)
Colours: 14+ colours including neutral options
Price: US $125 with free shipping and 30-day return (prices vary by country)
Buy From: Allbirds website in many countries including US, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Allbirds Tree Dashers on the Allbirds website

Allbirds Dashers Sizing

Allbirds Tree Dashers come in half sizes to ensure the perfect fit. They fit true to size for most people, although Allbirds recommends going up a half size if you have wide feet or prefer a roomier fit.

I bought the same size (US8) as my Allbirds Wool Runners and they fit perfectly. At first they felt slightly bigger than my Wool Runners, but I appreciate the roomy toe box as my feet often swell when running.

If you are unsure about sizing, you can easily return them with the Allbirds generous return policy—see below.

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Allbirds Tree Dashers Pros

Free Shipping

Allbirds are available online in the US, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and Korea.

Best of all, shipping is free for all orders over $50.

In the US, standard shipping takes 5 – 10 business days to arrive from when the order is placed. My Allbirds orders in Australia and New Zealand have only taken 2 – 4 days.

Like all Allbirds shoes, the Dashers arrive in simple packaging that’s easy to open. They use just one box made from 90% recycled cardboard that works as the shoebox, shopping bag, and mailer all in one.

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30-Day Free Trial

Allbirds has an amazing returns policy—you can return any of their shoes for free within 30 days—even if you’ve worn them outside! 

This is so important and unprecedented for running shoes as I find it impossible when trying on shoes to know if they will feel good when I’m out on a run. I have wasted money on shoes before that turned out to be uncomfortable after a few wears.

It makes the decision on whether to try the Allbirds Dashers so much easier—if they don’t work out for you, for whatever reason, you can return them with no questions asked.

It’s easy to return the shoes by attaching the included return label to the box they were sent in. You don’t have to pay for return shipping.

Allbirds donates the lightly used returned shoes to charity for use by people in need.

Erin walking on the beach in Allbirds Dashers

You have 30 days to try Allbirds out in the world to see if they work for you

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Comfortable

My Allbirds Tree Dashers felt comfortable straight away, which is a superpower all Allbirds shoes have.

I find new shoes often feel too stiff or bulky or just too different from my old worn-in shoes. Incredibly, even on the first wear, the Dashers felt almost as comfy as my old shoes I’d run over 600km in.

I had no break-in period and no blisters or rubbing, even when wearing them without socks.

The Dashers have a seamless, flexible knit upper (like the Allbirds Tree Runners) which feels soft with a good amount of stretch.

Allbirds Tree Dashers running shoes in Thunder

They don’t have a traditional shoe tongue but are more of a slip-on style with laces to adjust the fit. This feels lovely on the feet and the front fits snuggly like a sock—secure but not tight.

I especially love the padded wool heel lining which adds cushioned support and locks the foot in place.

Allbirds Tree Dashers
Allbirds Tree Dashers
See my Allbirds Wool Runners review if you are looking for a comfy, cosy shoe for walking and casual wear.

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Supportive

The Tree Dashers have good arch support and there are many reviews by people with plantar fasciitis who love them for pain-free walking.

For running, I find they have just enough spring but not too much. They have a firmer landing than some running shoes, which is good for a bit of speed (not that I’m a fast runner, but I have run intervals in them).

Allbirds says they are designed for maximum energy return. I doubt professional racers will be wearing them (they are a little heavy) but for the average runner, they work well.

Erin running on the beach in Allbirds Dashers

The wider heel is designed to be stabilising. I’m more of a fore/mid foot striker and find there’s a good amount of cushioning up front, and there’s even more if you land on your heel.

I’ve had no aches, pains or injuries when running over 140km (87 miles) in them in the last few months, which is always a good sign.

Allbirds Tree Dashers review

Breathable

The breathable mesh upper is made from eucalyptus trees and doesn’t leave my feet too hot on a run.

I haven’t worn them in the summer yet, but I’ll report back on how they do in hotter temperatures.

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Can be Worn Without Socks

Allbirds Dashers running shoes

The Allbirds Dashers feel smooth and comfortable on my feet if I wear them barefoot. I often do this for walks, but for running I prefer to wear socks.

The Allbirds Trino Sprinter socks are designed to fit perfectly with the Dashers—see my review below.

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Range of Colours

Allbirds Tree Dashers come in over 14 colours including black and other neutral designs. I really appreciate this as so many running shoes only come in neon shades which I’m not a fan of.

I have them in Thunder which is a dark blue (almost black) upper with white sole.

Check out the full range including limited edition colours on the Allbirds website.

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Attractive and Versatile

I love the simple, understated design with no logos or graphics. Unlike most running shoes, I think they are attractive enough to wear in daily life—around the city as well as on walks, runs, and gym trips.

In fact, many of the reviews on the Allbirds website are from people who use them for walking or work rather than running. Here’s a sample:

  • “With my plantar fasciitis these give tremendous support and my feet don’t hurt at the end of the day.”
  • “10/10 quality for healthcare workers in the acute care setting!”
  • “Have such a hard time with shoes due to bunions. I put these shoes on and went to work for 12+ hours for 3 days in a row—my feet never hurt at all.”

Odour Resistant

After five months of wear, my Dashers still don’t smell. I’ll keep you posted on whether that lasts!

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Machine Washable

If your Dashers do get smelly or dirty, they are machine washable! I haven’t had to wash mine yet, but I’ve chucked my Allbirds Wool Runners in the washing machine three times.

Allbirds recommends removing the insoles and laces, washing them on a gentle cycle with cold water in a delicates bag in the washing machine, and air drying.

While you should definitely avoid putting them in a dryer, I don’t bother removing the laces, I throw the insoles in separately, and I don’t use a delicates bag. My Wool Runners have survived this just fine.

I also find the Dashers are easy to spot clean with a cloth or sponge.

Wearing my Allbirds Dashers on the trail

Wearing my Allbirds Dashers on the trail

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Sustainable

The Allbirds Tree Dasher is carbon neutral due to sustainable practices like using natural, renewable materials and offsetting emissions.

It’s a vegetarian shoe as it doesn’t contain leather, but not vegan as they do use a little wool.

The materials the shoes are made of include:

  • SweetFoam midsole made from renewable sugar cane. This prevents the need for EVA, a polluting, petroleum-based plastic foam used in most shoe soles.
  • Castor bean insole that emits less carbon than petroleum-based foam.
  • Upper made from FSC Certified eucalyptus trees.
  • Laces made from recycled plastic bottles.

Durable

After five months of running and walking in my Dashers, they show no signs of wear except for a few smudges on the white soles.

Based on my experience with other Allbirds, I expect them to be durable in the long term and will update this post after more use.

Like all running shoes, though, they will likely need to be replaced after running 300 – 500 miles (500 – 800km).

Consistent Design

The most annoying thing I find about running shoes is when you find a pair you love but then a year later, when you come to replace them, they’ve changed the design and you have to start from scratch trying to find a pair that feels good.

Based on their other shoes, I’m hoping this won’t be a problem with Allbirds running shoes and they won’t feel the need to change the model every year.

Being able to go online and buy a new pair and know exactly what to expect will be a huge bonus.

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Allbirds Tree Dashers Cons

May Lack Cushioning for Long Runs

So far I’ve only run up to 10km (6 miles) in my Allbirds running shoes, and I’m not yet sure if they’d be shoes I’d want to wear for training for a half or full marathon.

The soles do feel quite firm to land on, so if you prefer a very soft, cushioned, bouncy sole, these might not be the shoes for you.

Also, they are not a stability shoe, so if you need extra support for your feet that roll in or out, these don’t provide that.

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Limited Grip

The soles of the Allbirds Tree Dashers

The soles of the Allbirds Tree Dashers

I’ve found the soles have a decent amount of grip, but they are definitely not trail running shoes and you may find them slippy in heavy rain.

That said, so far I haven’t had any issues in the conditions I’ve run in them: road, gravel trail, grass, boardwalk, muddy (but fairly flat) forest trail, and sandy beach.

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Not Super Lightweight

While the Dashers don’t seem heavy, when I put them on the scale, they were heavier than my other shoes due to the bulkier sole.

My size 8 Dashers weighed in at 265g (9.3oz) per shoe while my old ASICS Dynaflyte 2 running shoes were 224g (7.9oz) and my Allbirds Wool Runners (casual sneakers rather than running shoes) were 204g (7.2oz) per shoe.

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Cost

At $125, these aren’t the cheapest shoes and they are $25 more expensive than the Allbirds Wool or Tree Runners (not designed for running), so if you are just looking for casual or walking shoes, you might not want to pay the extra.

Running shoes are expensive, though, so I don’t think the price is unreasonable. My previous pair of ASICS were the same price as the Dashers, and some running shoes can be much more.

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Allbirds Tree Dashers vs Wool Runners

Allbirds Tree Dashers vs Wool Runners

My new Allbirds Tree Dashers (left) and old (in need of a wash) Allbirds Wool Runners (right)

If you are looking for a pair of shoes to run in, definitely choose the Allbirds Tree Dashers as they are specifically designed for running and offer more support.

If you want a casual or walking shoe, either pair could work. Here are the main differences:

Allbirds Tree Dashers:

  • More arch support
  • Bouncier, more cushioned soles
  • A little bulkier and heavier
  • Wider heel for stability
  • No tongue (seamless, one-piece upper)
  • Less cosy
  • More breathable
  • Come in half sizes
  • Versatile as can be worn for running too

Allbirds Wool Runners:

  • Warmer
  • Ultra cosy and soft inside
  • Lighter
  • Thinner soles
  • Less athletic look

I love both shoes, but for everyday wear and short walks, I prefer my Wool Runners for the cosiness. I love how they feel like slippers and they keep my feet warm even when worn without socks. That said, in summer I may prefer the cooler fabric of the Tree Dashers for hikes.

If you prefer more arch support, the Dashers will likely work better for you. One reviewer says: “The comfort of this model is the best yet. Not a runner but I can wear all day. Better than the other Allbirds models I have.”

If you are travelling and want a multi-purpose shoe you can wear for exploring and the occasional run—the Tree Dashers are a better option than the Wool Runners.

For now, I’m very happy to travel around New Zealand with both the Allbirds Tree Dashers for running and the Allbirds Wool Runners for daily casual wear.

See my Allbirds Wool Runners review where I also compare them to the Tree Runners (a summer version of the casual sneaker). 

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Pair with Allbirds Trino Sprinters Socks

Allbirds Tree Dashers in Thunder with Trino Sprinters socks

Allbirds Tree Dashers with Trino Sprinters socks

The Allbirds Trino Sprinters are running socks designed to fit perfectly with the Tree Dashers. I have a couple of pairs and love them.

They are made from silky smooth Trino material which consists of 46% recycled nylon, 35%  TENCEL Lyocell, 15% Merino Wool, and 4% Spandex.

I find them breathable, moisture-wicking (even when my feet got soaked in the ocean), and odour-resistant. Seriously, I wore them for four runs without washing (for research purposes!) and they still didn’t smell!

They also seem to be durable, unlike some thin merino wool socks I’ve used in the past which developed holes quite quickly.

The low-cut design fits just over the top of the Dashers with a tab in the front and back. I find they fit really well and don’t fall down. They are a thin fabric without any padding (but with reinforced heels and toes), which I prefer for running as my feet get hot otherwise.

Allbirds running socks are available in eight colours and cost US$15. If you add a pair to your shoe order, the shipping will be free.

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Summary: Are Allbirds Tree Dashers Good for Running?

Erin walking on the beach in Allbirds Tree Dashers

I was dubious about how well a casual sneaker company could compete with athletic shoe brands, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my Allbirds Tree Dashers and I plan to continue running in them.

I love how comfortable they are and I haven’t had any injuries or issues while running in them. The lowkey design and neutral colours make them a versatile shoe I can wear for other activities too.

What really makes them stand out from other running shoes is Allbirds’ commitment to sustainability and use of renewable materials.

Finally, with a 30-day free trial, there’s no reason not to give them a go and see if the Dashers work for you.

Check out the Allbirds Dashers range here.

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Other Shoe Reviews

  • Allbirds Wool Runners – These cosy sneakers are on my feet every day from autumn to spring. The perfect shoes if you don’t like wearing shoes.
  • Tieks Ballet Flats – Beautiful, comfortable flats that fold down small to fit easily in my luggage. I’ve been travelling with these for over 7 years and have even worn them all day at Disney without discomfort.
  • Tieks vs Rothy’s – The battle of the flats.
  • Our Carry-On Packing List – See the other shoes and clothes we travel with.

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2 Comments (4 pingbacks)

  1. Fascinating — would love to hear more about how traveling light has worked for you for getting unexpectedly stuck in NZ for the last several months.

    Reply ↓

    • Ha! We’re not really travelling very light at the moment. We have a car and have bought lots of extra things like kitchen equipment and pantry supplies plus some extra gear for hiking and a few items of warm clothes for winter. We could manage without but there’s really no need to and it’s nice for once to have some extra items. We’ll donate it before we leave the country.

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