Run — Don’t Walk — To Get A Pair Of Allbirds’ New Performance Sneakers

Run — Don’t Walk — To Get A Pair Of Allbirds’ New Performance Sneakers

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Allbirds has developed nothing short of a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why. The brand makes some seriously hefty claims about its products that, for the most part, ring true: You can pop them in the wash, you can wear them without socks and they boast temperature control features that make them suitable for all climates.

When I got the chance to test out the Tree Flyers, Allbirds’ most technical performance sneaker yet, I was thrilled. As a certified personal trainer, I’m always looking to recommend athletic gear to help support my clients’ progress. Read on to find out why these new shoes make the cut.

Allbirds’ Tree Flyers contain all the necessary specs to make them appropriate for running long distances, from a cushiony footbed with plenty of flexibility to breathable materials conducive to high-intensity and high-impact activity — and they look good while doing it.

What is the Allbirds Tree Flyer? The brand’s latest foray into footwear is designed to increase comfort as you hit quicker strides and boost endurance for longer mileage. It achieves this by infusing the midsole with new SwiftFoam technology, which was developed to cut impact on joints that often contributes to injury. The upper is made of a breathable, responsibly sourced eucalyptus fiber, and the tread is derived from natural rubber. The shoes come in women’s sizes 5 to 11 and men’s sizes 7 to 14 (both including half sizes), they’re available in colors like beige, yellow and black and they ring up at $160 per pair.

First impressions When I opened the box, I audibly exclaimed, “Damn, they didn’t have to go that hard.” I was referring, of course, to the geometric design at the heel that is at once striking to look at and nerve-racking to run on.

When I put the sneakers on, more magic happened. They fit “like a glove” both in the sense that the sizing was on point, and because they clung snugly against my instep and heel in a way few sneakers have achieved. I was pleased to find a pull tab at the heel to facilitate pulling them on, but in true glorious Allbirds fashion, you can slip right into them like a slipper. This is an absolute joy for those of us who frequently rush out the door and can’t be bothered to lace up each time.

Putting the Tree Flyer to the test Running I’ve been a runner my whole life, so I’ve sunk my feet into quite a few running shoes with impressive specs. The Tree Flyers were no exception. Many running shoes bill themselves as breathable based on their fabric alone while fundamentally failing to consider air ventilation. Not only are the Tree Flyers made with lightweight eucalyptus fibers, but their toe box features enough tiny mesh holes at the vamp to make for a makeshift A/C, which is ideal for reducing foot perspiration and common skin conditions associated with it like tinea pedis or athlete’s foot.

I’ll admit: The Tree Flyers featured a couple elements that made me nervous to run in them. Firstly, the lace eyelets begin lower down the instep than I’m used to, which compromised some ankle support. I’m grateful to have an adequate base of ankle stability from all those hours tiptoeing in the dark to the fridge at 2 a.m., but that might not be the case for most folks. If you’re going to run in them, make sure you’ve performed adequate ankle stabilization exercises beforehand to reduce your risk of injury. It can be something as simple as balancing on one leg to performing lateral jumps or calf raises.

Next, I anticipated the geometric heel that had me swooning during unboxing would be a problem from a functional perspective once I hit the treadmill. My feet are predisposed to supination, where my weight rolls toward the outside of my feet. The angular design of the shoe — very much intended to provide support, which I appreciate — tipped my foot ever so slightly toward pronation, creating a rolling inward effect. I felt a true anatomical shift in my gait, and while it felt a little different than what I’m used to, it’s probably better for my feet in the, ahem, long run.

Walking During testing, I made sure to choose a walking activity that involved different forms of dynamic movement. I couldn’t think of anything more f

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