When you first get into running, the best purchase you can make is a versatile, everyday pair of running shoes. These are the kind of shoes that should take away a lot of the hurdles from lacing up and getting out on the road as often as possible. The new Allbirds Tree Flyers are running shoes with that potential for a lot of people. That’s what the company is aiming for here with their new midsole foam and updated design: a do-it-all shoe that can appeal to new runners and experienced ones alike.
When Allbirds made the jump to producing sustainable running shoes, as it has with its other shoes, it did so with mixed results. Its first running shoes were fine but trailed behind the competition in a lot of ways. Now, only a few models in, the Tree Flyers feel like a big leap forward for the company in the area of sport and fitness—specifically running.
In my initial weeks with the shoes, I’ve been impressed overall. The price isn’t quite in line with other comparable shoes, but their performance has become much closer. The Allbirds Tree Flyers are worth considering for people who run regularly and don’t stick to one path.
- Stable ride with good traction
- Lightweight upper suitable for a lot of weather conditions
- Sock-style upper may be unsupportive around the ankle
- A comparatively expensive running shoe
Buy at Allbirds.
Allbirds Tree Flyers Specs
Allbirds says the Tree Flyers are made for everything, basically, from long-distance to tempo runs and even races. To accomplish this broad goal, the shoes have a weight of 9.49 ounces and a heel drop of 8.5 milliliters. It makes them light and nimble. To me, they don’t feel as heavy as Allbirds’ other running shoes, the Tree Dasher 2—even if it’s only about an ounce difference.
One of the other things I noticed while out on the road was the Tree Flyers’ wider heel. The shoes have a little wider base all around. I generally like that type of feel under my feet and think it was more stable in regular daily use.
The eucalyptus fiber upper is like a sock, meaning it flows as one piece without a separate tongue. I like this style in theory, but it usually results in not being able to secure the area as well on your ankle. That’s the case with the Tree Flyers. The top of the shoe felt looser on my runs. This was especially evident on quick turns or when weaving in and out between people.
The inside heel lock helped keep my foot in place, and the upper around the forefront of my foot was tight enough to keep it from slipping around too much. If I’m being picky, though, I would like one more pair of eyelets higher up, closer to my ankle.
Running With Tree Flyers
While Allbirds really wants to push the Tree Flyers as a shoe for any distance, but in my experience they seemed more limited. Running a 5K route every day felt good, but as I pushed the shoes farther into the 5-mile and beyond range, I became less enthusiastic about their comfort.
I think the new SwiftFoam midsole leans toward being more firm than it does springy. As long as you’re not expecting a bouncy ride, however, I don’t think most people will be disappointed with what these shoes offer. This midsole foam is responsive and will help push you to be faster. Be aware that it does have the possibility of feeling harder under your feet on the longer runs.
The traction on the outsole was capable, and I never felt the possibility of slipping while running across sidewalks, streets and, occasionally, grass. All around, there’s a lot to like about the way the Tree Flyers handle.
In years past, manufacturing with sustainable materials was a big topic of discussion. These Tree Flyers still utilize wool and feature plant-based areas from top to bottom, but today this is more normalized. Allbirds has kind of proven that reducing emissions doesn’t need to reduce running results, so there’s less to say about it now.
Should You Buy the Allbirds Tree Flyers?
These shoes are versatile enough to handle a lot of running types, but in my testing I found them to be effective for daily use with shorter distances. I think the Tree Flyers actually lend themselves best to newer runners who are building their way up and finding their running style—though experienced runners don’t need to shy away.
Even though there are some minor gripes I can make about specific areas of the shoe, the main concern here isn’t performance, it’s price. I think there are other shoes that have even more versatility or ride similarly but at a lower price. The cost of Tree Flyers could be a hurdle for people buying their first dedicated running shoe.
The value of Allbirds has always been a little lopsided, though. The cost of using sustainable materials means you’ll pay more for Allbirds products, at least in the near term. Regardless, the Tree Flyers demonstrate how Allbirds continues to make strides in its performance running shoes.
Buy at Allbirds for $160.
Newsweek may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.