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- Allbirds‘ Tree Collection features lightweight sneakers sustainably made from eucalyptus pulp.
- The collection has six styles: Runners, Skippers, Loungers, Toppers, Dashers, and Breezers.
- Read our reviews of the Runners and Skippers, plus an update after nearly three years of wear, below.
Chances are you’ve heard about Allbirds, the internet-famous $95 sneakers made from soft Merino wool.
We’ve tested them before, and our team universally feels that they’re pretty much the most comfortable shoes out there (read our review on the wool Loungers here, the Runners here, and the Runner-Up Mizzle here). In fact, an Insider Reviews survey showed that Allbirds was one of our readers’ favorite products that they have purchased as a result of an article we wrote.
There are a lot of reasons people like these shoes beyond just how comfortable they are. They’re also relatively affordable from $95-$145 a pair and they’re easy to clean with a simple spin in the washing machine. But for some, the biggest draw is the fact that the company maintains a deep, unshakable commitment to sustainability.
It’s this commitment that led the brand in early 2018 to develop and introduce an even more sustainable set of shoes made from trees – or more specifically, from a textile engineered using eucalyptus pulp.
According to Allbirds, this material uses 95% less water and cuts its carbon footprint in half when compared to traditional footwear materials.
Naturally, considering that merino wool prices have been steadily climbing, we wondered if the production of these shoes was intended to offset the increased cost of producing their wool line. After all, Allbirds is beloved in part because their shoes have maintained a steady and reasonable price since the very start. But the brand assured us that the idea for new, sustainable textiles had been in the works since before they even launched their original Runners in 2016.
We spoke with the founders of Allbirds, Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, who told Insider that they’ve always envisioned Allbirds as a sustainable material innovation company. “For us, it was about creating a brand that challenges the status quo and redefines what it means to make something ‘better.”
The Tree Collection styles
The line, aptly named the “Tree collection,” is made up of six styles, including the Runners and Loungers that we already know and love, a pair they call the Skippers, which are similar to a boat sneaker, and a high-top Topper sneaker.
The material creates a cooling effect by wicking moisture away, making them perfect for summer. The makeup of the insoles has stayed consistent, so you can still expect the same comfort level as their classic pairs. The women’s styles come in up to 11 colors, and the men’s styles come in up to 12 colors.
As longtime fans of the brand, our team was given the chance by Allbirds to test out the Tree Runners and Tree Skippers. Keep reading to find a breakdown of each of our experiences with the styles (spoiler alert: they’re still really, really great).
Read our initial reviews, plus an update after nearly three years of wear, below:
Mara Leighton, Insider Reviews senior reporter:
March 2018 review: Allbirds is one of my favorite companies to shop from because they have always exceeded expectations on comfort, quality, and style. In other words, they’ve earned my trust as a valuable buy. I don’t feel bad dropping money on a new pair of shoes from them because I know I will wear them until they’re borderline disintegrating – and I will be glad every time I put them on. It sounds like an exaggeration, but they’re really that comfortable.
I tried the Tree Runner in navy, which is actually a nice dark green-blue in person (less bright than a true teal), and – again – Allbirds has exceeded my expectations. They’re crazy comfortable, the silhouette is flattering and close-fitting, and I love the smooth but texturized upper. The stylistic contrast of the thick laces is a really nice touch, and the semi-muted color means they go with basically anything.
The sole feels familiar (it’s the same structured, wool-lined insole found in my Loungers) and supportive, but the upper is even more breathable than my other pairs.
While I wouldn’t buy Allbirds if they weren’t consistently making the most comfortable shoes I own, I also love that they’re using sustainable materials (and encouraging innovation). They feel ridiculously good on, and any conscious consumer can feel great about buying them.
March 2021 update: Three years after testing them, these are still both my go-to travel shoes and my favorite pair of Allbirds. They’re comfortable, noticeably cooling, and perfect for all-day wear. The navy has held up well over time and shows negligible signs of wear after semi-frequent use.
Connie Chen, Insider Reviews senior reporter:
March 2018 review: I wear my Wool Runners regularly and am always more than happy to talk about how wonderful and comfortable they are to anyone who’s curious, so I was excited to learn about this newer style from one of my favorite brands. Itching for the feel of summer, I opted for the Tree Skippers, which are a modern twist on the classic boat shoe.
Again, Allbirds’ surprising materials have proven to be successful. I never would have guessed that the textile was made from eucalyptus pulp, but it provides an interesting, eye-catching texture that’s more unique than that of a traditional boat shoe. Eucalyptus is known for its cooling properties, so I appreciate that the Skippers offer the ideal casual summer look while also keeping my feet cool in warm weather. The Stone’s neutral, sandy color (color no longer available) reminded me of the beach and can really match with any color you wear on top.
Like Mara said, slipping into the shoe felt soft and familiar since it has the same wool-lined insole and heel cup of Allbirds’ other offerings. I’m also almost certain that these Skippers are more comfortable than the Runners, which is an impressive feat.
March 2021 update: My universal test for whether a pair of shoes is truly supportive and comfortable is how they feel when I wear them to a music festival. These all-day events are the ultimate battleground and involve a lot of walking, standing, and dancing – my Tree Skippers passed the test again and again. I like that they look even more casual than regular sneakers, which is why you’ll often find me wearing the Skippers on the weekend, regardless of the season.
I have discovered over the years, however, that the Skippers are more finicky to care for, perhaps because there’s less material and they have a thinner sole than the Runners. I think the mesh knit material is not as resilient as wool and is prone to slight shrinking and warping, so I would recommend that you either get a darker color or be extra careful while drying them post-wash.
David Slotnick, senior transportation reporter:
March 2018 review: “I tested out the Tree Skipper in Kauri Stone (color no longer available), and think I’ve found the perfect summer shoe. They feel like a combination of a boat shoe and a sneaker – I’ve never found the former very comfortable, but sneakers can be warm or restrictive during summer. The Tree Skipper is lightweight and breathable, and, to my delight, feels like a nice, properly-supportive shoe that would be equally fitting for walking around a city during vacation, wearing on the way to the beach, or on a boat. I can tie the laces to keep them on as I walk – even if I walk quickly or run – although I can kick them off without untying them if I want to.”