The 13 backpacks our team swears by for long commutes and weekend trips

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Tortuga Outbreaker

  • Backpacks are perfect for anyone who commutes or carries a lot of gear when out and about.
  • Whether you’re looking for style or utility, there’s a backpack out there to meet your needs.
  • We asked our team for their favorites and incorporated picks from our other guides, too.

Backpacks became my go-to item when I started working in an office. Simply put, I found it to be the best way to carry all my daily essentials – laptop, book for the commute, and lunch when I remembered to pack it – without destroying my already tension-prone shoulders.

Although the word “backpack” still reminds me of middle school, modern-day styles are anything but childish. It’s possible to find a backpack that’s equal parts cool and functional, too.

A good everyday backpack should fit what you need, come with built-in organization, and shouldn’t strain your shoulders and back.

Here are the 13 best backpacks we love:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

A favorite backpack among members of the Insider Reviews team is the Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack. It’s a wonderful carrier because of its eight color and three-size options. The backpack’s quick-dry neoprene material is water-resistant, hand-washable, and perfect for gym trips, work commutes, and day hikes alike. 

There’s an interior pocket to store your laptop and even a pouch to hold an extra pair of shoes. This work-life balance bag, as Dagne Dover describes it, is also insulated and evenly distributes weight to add comfort to its sophisticated design.

Dakota Neoprene Backpack (button)
Tortuga Outbreaker

Tortuga Outbreaker

The weather-resistant Tortuga Outbreaker was tested by Jen Gushue, guides editor, along with eight other top travel backpacks on the market, and it was a top-performer for its convenient storage options — enough to house four-to-five days of travel necessities. Aside from the zipper-bordered main compartment, there are two large mesh compartments on the opposite side, as well as impressive organization pouches throughout. 

The adjustable harness system features a wide hip belt that makes traveling customizable and comfortable. It’s a splurge for sure, but worth the price tag.

Outbreaker (button)
Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel Bag

Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel Bag

If you’re looking for a shoulder bag that can store as much as an airport carry-on, but want to spend a little less than the Tortuga pack, the Timbuk2 Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel Bag is a comparable all-in-one option. It will store anything you need in its sack-like structure and comes with small side pockets and a water-resistant pocket for shoes or laundry.

Even when fully packed, Jen Gushue noticed it felt lighter than some of the smaller-capacity bags they tested, and it also landed a spot as one of the top picks in the best travel backpacks guide.

Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel Bag (button)
The North Face Jester Backpack

The North Face Jester Backpack

For a backpack apt for carrying books, your laptop, and other study essentials, look no further than The North Face Jester Backpack. Buying Guides Fellow Victoria Giardina selected this as the top carrier for college in our best backpacks for students guide, notably for its large laptop compartment — the tried and true school staple.

Whether you’re commuting to class or en route to the library, the backpack’s durably-padded design features a large main compartment, two mesh water bottle pockets, and even a reflective bike light loop for evening campus walking.

Jester Backpack (button)
JanSport Big Student Backpack

JanSport Big Student Backpack

Similar to The North Face, the JanSport Big Student Backpack is clad with organized storage compartments to carry textbooks, a pencil pouch, and study materials. It also comes in different fun colors and patterns.

Style and Beauty Reviews Fellow Katie Decker-Jacoby swears by this backpack for its durability, size, and storage — the trio that made her repurchase it when she was a student. She loves the flexibility of the polyester material and its ability to endure all weight and wear. It’s also the top overall pick in our best backpacks for students guide.

Big Student Backpack (button)
Dakine Split Adventure 38L Backpack

Dakine Split Adventure 38L Backpack

For an easy-to-carry backpack for weekend trips, the Dakine Split Adventure 38L Backpack is especially fit for those who don’t want to roll luggage with them on a flight. Home and Kitchen Reporter Owen Burke said he hasn’t found another bag broken down so simply and thoughtfully, from its convenient laptop sleeve and two outer compartments to its suitcase-like inner straps and interior storage pockets.

Out of these features, Burke is most impressed by the laptop sleeve. It doesn’t run all the way to the bottom of the bag but instead sits an inch or so up, so that when you place (or drop) your backpack, you’re not running the risk of damaging your laptop — a flaw he has found in some other designs.

Split Adventure 38L Backpack (button)
Yeti Panga 28 Backpack

Yeti Panga 28 Backpack

The Yeti Panga 28 Backpack is also one of Owen Burke‘s favorites, particularly for its ability to withstand any weather conditions. As a part-time captain, he noticed other “waterproof” backpacks not living up to their claim.

This carrier comes with a heavy-duty airtight zipper and is crafted with high-intensity tear-proof nylon and TPU. Burke’s Yeti even managed to find its way into the smoldering cinders of a bonfire and still came out shining. For easy access, he finds the addition of the velcro-attachable, waterproof Sidekick convenient.

Panga 28 Backpack (button)
Fjallraven Raven 28L Pack

Fjallraven Raven 28L Pack

Deals Reporter Sarah Saril was initially drawn to the Fjallraven Raven 28L Pack because it comes in nine colors and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be an excellent carrier for travel and daily use. It compactly collapses yet has enough capacity to store her 13-inch MacBook, Nintendo Switch, chargers, a change of clothes, and travel necessities. 

Aside from its versatility, the Fjällräven has a ton of internal sorting pockets. It’s made from durable G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco in recycled polyester and organic cotton, making the back panel and shoulder straps especially comfortable.

Raven 28L Pack (button)
Haerfest Large Nylon Travel Backpack

Haerfest Large Nylon Travel Backpack

The Haerfest Large Travel Backpack‘s durable nylon materials, adjustable shoulder straps, and excess pockets aren’t the only features Style and Beauty Editor Ashley Phillips adores. The ability to store two laptops is a sleek and rare feature that makes it a standout.

Though Phillips says the large size is slightly overpowering for her five-foot-two frame, she finds it perfect for travel because of the front hidden slip pocket that easily stores boarding passes and other documents. Its generous size and reliable functionality make it a great option that also conveniently fits on top of checked luggage.

Large Nylon Travel Backpack (button)
Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack

Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack

The long-form, buckled Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack is a multi-use carrier that’s exclusive to hiking. Though Personal Finance Reporter Liz Knueven has taken it on trails before, she finds it best for traveling and said she was never questioned by airline companies if it will fit in a bin or under the seat.

The polyester pack has many built-in compartments that are easy to store small items. Kneuven said it has held up, it’s affordable at less than $50, and comes in a variety of colors.

40L Hiking Backpack (button)
The Daily Edited Pebbled Leather Backpack

A  model wearing the The Daily Edited Pebbled Leather Backpack on their back

Nylon backpacks may be durable, but they’re not always the most aesthetically pleasing option to pair with formal workwear. When style and beauty editor Ashley Phillips needed something more spacious than a tote bag but that wouldn’t look out of place with a nice dress or silk blouse, she turned to this leather option from The Daily Edited

The pebbled leather hides scratches more easily and the simple silhouette works as an alternative to a briefcase. The one drawback is that there’s no dedicated computer sleeve, but she found that there’s enough room to store a 13-inch laptop. You can also adjust the padded shoulder straps and add a monogram to make the bag feel more customized to you.

Pebbled Leather Backpack (button)
Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack

The Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack in dark moss hanging from a stroller

Dagne Dover’s Dakota backpack may be more well known, but the brand’s Indi diaper backpack is also worth checking out. Former style and beauty fellow Jacqueline Saguin swears by this bag for travel, even though she doesn’t have any kids. 

The bag is overflowing with organizational pockets that keep everything in its place, so you don’t have to go digging for toiletries or your ID as you pass through airport security. You’d never know the Indi is a diaper bag because of its clean design, and as another travel hack, Saguin uses the fold-up changing mat as a portable work-from-home station. Currently, only the small size is available, but it’s typically offered in medium and large sizes too.

Indi Diaper Backpack (button)
Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

A model posing with two of the Fjallraven Kånken Water Resistant Backpacks in orange and yellow

The Kanken backpack is another Fjallraven favorite, and it’s also the brand’s signature style. It’s offered in more than 50 colors and multiple sizes to best fit your storage and laptop needs. Along with its cool Scandinavian design, what makes this backpack special is a built-in sitting pad you can pull out at a moment’s notice. Senior story producer Emily Hein counts this bag as her go-to and says that “The included sitting pad is especially useful in the summer — a saving grace at parks and beaches.”

Hein also says there’s a good reason you’ll spot these so often on the streets of New York City. “It’s spacious enough to fit all my necessities for the day (including my 13″ laptop, albeit tightly), but not bulky or noticeably heavy.”

Kånken Backpack (button)
Check out our other portable carrier guides

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The best travel backpacks

The best backpacks for students

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Read the original article on Business Insider

Everlane is having a huge summer sale right now, and we hand-picked the best deals

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Everlane model wearing a black hoodie and a white bikini bottom
  • Starting today, Everlane is hosting a huge sale with hundreds of items for up to 60% off.
  • You’ll find underwear for as low as $6 and T-shirts as low as $9.
  • The sale continues as long as inventory lasts, though we predict most styles will go very quickly.

Everlane is the name behind many of our favorite wardrobe staples. It’s where we’ve found our go-to slip-on sneakers, comfortable loungewear sets for working from home, and dozens of other basics that have made their way into our everyday rotation.

And while the transparent pricing model already makes Everlane fairly accessible, it just got even easier to fill up your closet thanks to the retailer’s huge Summer Sale. Starting today, July 19, you can find nearly 1,000 styles for men and women at up to 60% off.

Everlane doesn’t often host sales, so this is one event we recommend checking out. Most of the styles included are summer pieces, like crewneck tees for $12 and a pair of strappy sandals for $19, but you can also get ahead of the fall season with classic cashmere sweaters discounted to just $40.

The sale will continue while inventory lasts, but with prices like this, we don’t expect that to be very long. Just keep in mind while making your selections that many, though not all, of the items are final sale.

You can see some of the best items included in Everlane’s Summer Sale below, or head straight to the site to start shopping here.

The best women’s style deals from the Everlane Summer Sale

The Weekend Tiered Dress (medium)The ReNew Sport Sandal (medium)The Forever Slip-On Sneaker (medium)The Perform Legging (medium)The Square-Neck Bikini Top (medium)The Luxe Cotton Tie-Front Tee Dress (medium)The Canvas Overalls (medium)The Clog (medium)The Paperbag Dress (medium)The ReCotton Tee (medium)

The best men’s style deals from the Everlane Summer Sale

The Cotton Crew (medium)Modern Snap Backpack (medium)The Slim Fit Japanese Oxford Uniform (medium)The Slim Fit Jean (medium)The Cargo Jogger (medium)The Denim Chore Jacket (medium)The ReNew Short Parka (medium)The Italian Wool Trouser (medium)The Casual Blazer (medium)The Seersucker Short-Sleeve Shirt (medium)The Trainer (medium)

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The CDC still recommends face masks for those who aren’t yet vaccinated – here are the best places to find them online

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Etsy face mask
  • It’s been over a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • Vaccines are becoming more available, but the CDC recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks.
  • We rounded up the all of best places to buy them, how to properly wear them, and how to clean them.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Aimee Desrosiers, PA-C, MS, MPH, a practicing infectious diseases physician assistant in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

It’s been a year and four months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Although vaccination numbers are increasing daily, it is still super important to have proper face masks. According to the CDC, it’s recommended that unvaccinated people continue to wear face masks in public. It’s also worth noting that some places like public transportation and private businesses may require you to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

To help you stay healthy, we rounded up all of the articles we’ve written about cloth face masks so far. Below, you’ll find the best places to buy them online as well as what to look for and how to wear them effectively.

Where to buy cloth face masks online:

Etsy

Etsy

Check out the highest-rated options on Etsy here

Etsy has a large selection of homemade masks for sale. It’s a great place to find quality cloth face masks if you haven’t found one by a well-known name brand that you like. Buying from Etsy is also a great way to support small businesses.

Amazon

3M

Check out affordable cloth face masks for adults and children on Amazon here

Amazon offers a handful of brand name masks, along with generic face masks in large bulk and one-time use surgical masks. Previously, Amazon limited purchasing surgical masks and other medical-grade equipment to verified healthcare workers, but as supply and demand have evened out, you can now pick them up here too.

Uniqlo

uniqlo airism mask

Read our full review on the Uniqlo Airism Face Mask here

The Uniqlo Airism Face Mask was a major hit when it launched in Japan early last year. By the end of 2020, it became available in the United States — and it was clear why they were so popular. The masks are lightweight, breathable, and washable. They’re great for wearing in hot weather as well as for double-masking over a surgical mask. They’re available in sizes for adults and kids.

Everlane

everlane mask

See all of Everlane’s face masks here

Everlane makes a variety of face masks, from basic cotton options that are great for running quick errands to more fitted options with a contoured nose. The masks are sold in packs of two, three, or five, and each purchase benefits the ACLU.

Best face masks we’ve personally tested

Vida face masks

Here are the best face masks we’ve tested

Over the past year, we’ve collectively worn a bunch of masks, whether for personal use or for product reviews. Here, you’ll find all of our favorites and why we like them.

Best masks for double masking and how to do it

Uniqlo Airism Mask

Read our full explainer on double-masking here

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doubling up on face masks is a good idea and “makes common sense.”

If you already have single-use surgical masks, you should still invest in a good cloth face mask for doubling up. Here, we’ve rounded up the best masks for double-masking and a full explainer on why it’s a good practice.

Kids’ face masks

Cubcoats face mask

Find affordable cloth face masks for kids here

In some instances, kids need masks too. If you’re searching for masks that fit the faces of your little ones well, you’ll find many affordable options here.

Lightweight face masks

Old Navy

Check out lightweight, breathable face masks to help you stay safe on hot summer days here

If you’re particularly interested in masks that are easy to wear in the summer, you’ll want to go with one of these lightweight options. Materials like linen or lightweight cotton are still protective but a bit more comfortable to wear in the heat. 

Best face masks for working out and running

Best Face Mask 4x3

Find the best face masks for working out and running here

Whether you’re working out outdoors or in a gym operating at minimal capacity, you’ll want to wear a mask that’s breathable and secure. These are the best options for running and workouts.

Stylish face masks

vida face mask

Check out the brands making stylish, reusable cloth face masks here.

Many of your favorite brands in the textile industry (including those that normally make clothes, shoes, bags, bedding, and more) are using some of their resources to produce masks. Whether you’re a brand loyalist, you want a mask that matches some of your other wearable items, or you simply want a mask from a brand you’re familiar with, you’ll find it here.

How to solve common annoyances associated with face masks

Etsy face mask

Common annoyances that come with wearing a face mask — and how to solve them responsibly

From eating and drinking to concealing your mouth from those who read lips, there are some annoyances that come with wearing masks. Fortunately, there are also solutions to these problems — and none of them include skipping a mask altogether. 

Should I wear a mask even if I’m vaccinated?

Vaccine distribution

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than two weeks since your single-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a two-dose vaccine, you are not fully protected and should continue all safety precautions outlined by the CDC.

Why is it important to wear a face mask?

Everlane Face Mask

Wearing a face mask decreases the likelihood of you potentially transmitting the virus, but if everyone in the community around you wears a mask, then it decreases the likelihood of them transmitting it to you.

According to the CDC’s most recent estimates, 40% of people infected with the new coronavirus may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. 

Whether you’re asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or showing mild symptoms that could be brushed off as a common cold, there’s still a possibility you’ve contracted the new coronavirus and can unknowingly spread it to others. For this reason, the CDC recommends that everyone, not just those who show symptoms, wear a face mask outside the home.

Note that cloth face masks are not medical grade and that additions like filters have not been proven to be any safer or more effective. 

What to look for in a face mask, according to the CDC

A snug fit that sits comfortably against the side of the face and does not gap; ties or ear loops that keep it secure; completely covers the nose and mouth, and fits securely under the chin; two or more layers of fabric; breathability without restriction; and the ability to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape.

How to measure your face for a face mask

While most masks are designed to fit most faces, some will come in more specific sizes like small, medium, and large. If you’re stumped on which size to order, the best way to figure it out is to measure your face and then choose based on the brand’s size chart. You’ll want to use a garment tape measure to get these two measurements:

Measurement #1: Across your face — Going over the bridge of your nose and under your eyes, measure the width of your face.

Measurement #2: From nose to chin — Start from the bridge of your nose and go down to the bottom of your chin.

How to properly wear a face mask, as recommended by CDC’s Dr. Paige Armstrong

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ray-Ban’s sunglasses are popular for a reason – here’s why they’re worth the money, plus our favorite pairs

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Ray Ban

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If a company has been thriving for years, it’s safe to say they probably make pretty good stuff. Ray-Ban has been making functional and cool eyewear since 1937. Today, the brand still offers some of the best sunglasses on the market. Here, we lay out why we love these sunglasses and answer frequently asked questions about the brand.

What kind of UV protection do Ray-Ban sunglasses provide?

While sunglasses have become a fashion accessory all on their own, at the core of it, they’re made to protect your eyes. Every pair of Ray-Bans delivers on this front. All Ray-Ban lenses have UV protection, but the exact level varies among the types of lenses. Here’s what Ray-Ban offers:

  • Classic lenses absorb 85% of visible light and block most blue light while providing a “natural vision” because they don’t alter the colors you see around you.
  • Mirrored lenses reduce glare for visual comfort near snow and water. Colors look clearer and brighter.
  • Polarized lenses block more than 99% of reflected light around you, eliminate glares, and enhance contrast. Everything looks clearer and brighter.

Does Ray-Ban offer prescription lenses?

Another great feature from Ray-Ban is the ability to get prescription lenses. Choose from a wide range of classic Ray-Ban frames and make them yours with custom prescription lenses. You can even make them polarized.

Of course, nice lenses need to be complemented by equally nice frames, and luckily, Ray-Ban has those, too. You can find high-quality metal and acetate options in small, standard, or large sizes to get the perfect fit. A majority of Ray-Ban customers go for the standard size, but if you’re on the fence, you can check out the brand’s size guide.

The high-quality frames, protective lenses, and just-right fit make Ray-Bans equal parts performance and fashion. That means they’re just as fit for a leisurely day on the town as an active day on the water, in the snow, or wherever you like to go.

What kind of sunglasses does Ray-Ban make?

From the iconic to the contemporary, Ray-Ban has a strong selection of stylish pairs fit for every face. You’ll probably recognize Ray-Ban’s three most classic pairs: The Aviator, The Wayfarer, and The Clubmaster. While eyewear trends come and go, these three pairs are classics. Insider Reviews social media associate Victoria Gracie swears by her Ray-Ban Clubmasters. “In the past,” she said, “I’ve had trouble finding sunglasses that fit my face well, but Ray-Ban’s Clubmasters seem to do the trick. The quality is also top-notch – I’m not as careful as I should be with my Ray-Bans, but they’re still in pristine condition, and the mirrored lenses don’t even show any scratches.”

In fact, the Aviators and Clubmasters have even earned spots in our guides to the best women’s sunglasses, best men’s sunglasses, and best polarized sunglasses – they’re that good. In the rare event that you don’t see a pair you like, you can even design your own pair from scratch.

Our personal favorite Ray-Bans

woman wearing a pair of ray ban sunglasses in front of the colosseum in Rome
Style and beauty editor Ashley Phillips wearing a pair of round Ray-Ban sunglasses in Rome.

Erika Classic (small)

Personal Finance Insider reporter Liz Kneuven has both prescription and regular Ray-Bans. She credits her love for the Erika sunglasses ($153) to the unique shape that’s slightly round but still angular. “Before those glasses got really popular, it was hard to find anything that shape. They’re just so flattering,” she says. “For me, it’s all about the shape. I’ve owned and shopped for several pairs of nice sunglasses, but I’ve never been able to find any other round-ish ones that complimented my face shape like the Ray-Ban Erikas do.”

The Round Metal sunglasses ($161) are by far my favorite Ray-Bans, and truthfully, my favorite sunglasses ever. I’m already on my second pair. Inspired by musicians in the 1960s, the style is just retro enough. They’re understated but universally flattering, and they edge up pretty much any outfit I wear. Whether it’s a sundress and sandals or ripped jeans and a plain white T-shirt, the gold frame and dark green lenses on these match everything. While they are a little pricey, I feel like I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth of wear. Plus, I’d rather pay a little extra for comfort, quality, and the peace of mind that my eyes are actually protected from the sun.

Style and beauty editor Ashley Phillips is also a fan of the Round Metal sunglasses. “I like how these have a cool retro feel, but at the same time they go with basically everything. And even though the wire frame looks delicate, I’ve owned this pair for years and it’s still in great shape.”

How much do Ray-Bans cost?

The range of prices you’ll come across when shopping for sunglasses is huge. You could pick up a pair for five bucks at the local bodega or drop over $500 on a pair from your favorite designer label. Ray-Ban falls pretty central on the spectrum, with pairs starting around $150 and going up to about $500 for ones made with an ultra-light titanium frame.

With Ray-Ban, you know you’re getting quality lenses and durable frames that can keep up with you through whatever activities your day brings. Cheap sunglasses are a great way to try out new trends without spending too much money, but many pairs are more fun than functional and don’t offer enough UV protection. On the other hand, just because a pair of sunglasses is very expensive that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a higher quality UV protection. You may be paying more for the designer label. I’ve spent more than $150 on sunglasses from other brands and was ultimately disappointed at how they (barely) blocked the sun from my eyes. From these experiences, I’ve decided that $150 on a pair of Ray-Bans is actually pretty fair – just do your best not to lose them.

If you’re looking for a pair of Ray-Bans with prescription lenses, you may also be able to receive reimbursement from your insurance company. Both Ray-Ban and retailers like GlassesUSA accept several types of insurance plans.

A close-up of the Ray-Ban round metal sunglasses
A close-up of the Round Metal sunglasses ($161).

The bottom line

Ray-Ban is a heritage brand, and for good reason. They’ve stayed true to the classics, but have also managed to keep up with the trends without losing sight of their brand. The end result is a brand with universal appeal that everyone from your younger brother to your best friend to your grandma will be proud to rock. Whether you’re a Ray-Bans loyalist, or new to the brand, it’s definitely a great place to pick up your next pair of sunglasses.

Shop all sunglasses at Ray-Ban.

Shop Ray-Ban sunglasses at GlassesUSA.

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Allbirds’ sustainable ‘Tree’ sneakers were a game-changer when they debuted in 2018 – here’s how they’ve held up after 3 years of regular wear

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allbirds tree runners
The Tree Runner in Mist.

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.

The materials

Allbirds_2057_Shot_23_NavyTreeRunner_W_3646
Allbirds in a limited edition blue color (since replaced with navy).

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

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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:

Navy Runner
Allbirds Tree Runners in a discontinued Kauri Navy color

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.

Allbirds_2057_Shot_2_RoseTreeSkipper_W_0289 (1)
The pink skippers are no longer available, but Allbirds has released various neutrals to take its place.

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.

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New colors for the men’s Skippers include plenty of neutrals and some more playful options like bright yellow and blue.

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.”

Shop all styles from the Allbirds Tree collection here.

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