Allbirds—the now-famous sustainable sneaker—are they good for travel?
I have been an avid user of Allbirds Tree Runners since 2018. I remember the year easily because it’s the same year I went to Taylor Swift’s live show in Nashville, TN, and I felt immensely proud to go sporting my new planet-friendly travel shoes.
Since then, I’ve skirted across Canada in a van, lived in Mexico as a digital nomad (going on myriad adventures hiking to waterfalls, canyons, you name it), explored the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe from its mountains to its beaches, and even trekked on an active volcano in Guatemala right next to real, raw, ridiculously hot, lava.
That’s right—my Allbirds Tree Runners that were three years old even survived hiking on volcanic rock next to a slow-moving river of molten lava. I think you know what I’m getting at—they’re an awesome shoe for travel (and, apparently, even epic outdoors adventures).
On top of all that, I’ve used my Allbirds for their intended use: running, sports, and casual everyday wear. I’ve even used them as slippers.
Read more to find out whether the Allbirds Tree Runners might be the travel shoe for you in my review below!
P.S. It’s worth noting that this isn’t sponsored! I just really love my Allbird shoes and wanted to share an honest review.
Allbirds Tree Runners Review (Are They Good for Travel?)
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There are several types of Allbirds shoes, but in this review, I’m going to be sharing my experience over the years with the Tree Runners — the Allbirds OG sneaker.
But just so you can get an understanding of the Runners, Allbirds has variations of their “Tree” sneaker line made with breezy eucalyptus tree pulp and their “Wool” signature sneaker made with cozy ZQ merino wool.
Then, underneath Tree and Wool, they have various styles for different types of lifestyles and uses:
🌳 TREE LINE:
- Runners — the “one for all” sneaker in my opinion, made with either breathable eucalyptus tree fiber
- Dashers — the sporty version of the Tree Runners
- Breezers — a flat, ballet slip-on made for summer strolling
- Pipers — same low-top style as the Wool version, but in breathable eucalyptus
- Skippers — a classic, flat boat-shoe
- Loungers — same as cozy Wool style, but easy and breezy
- Toppers — high-top sneakers that look like copycat Converse
🐑 WOOL LINE:
- Runners — the cozy merino wool version of the Tree Runners
- Mizzles — the weather-proof version of the Wool Runners
- Dasher Mizzles — the no-slip, water-repellent running shoe
- Dasher Fluffs — extra fluffy version of the sporty Dasher
- Runner-Up Mizzles — the high-top style of the weather-proof Mizzles
- Runner-Up Mizzle Fluffs — the extra fluffy version of the Runner-Up Mizzles
- Dasher Mizzles — the no-slip, water-repellent running shoe
- Pipers — the low-top of the Wool line
- Piper Mids — the mid-cut version of Pipers
- Loungers — the cozy slip-on for lounging in colder weather
- Loungers Fluff — just as cozy on the outside as on the inside
It can get pretty confusing, but let’s focus on just the “signature” sneakers — the Tree Runners vs the Wool Runners.
Allbirds Tree Runners vs. Wool Runners
However, from what I’ve experienced and scoured online from reviews, the Wool Runners aren’t as “passe-partout” as the Tree Runners.
The main difference is the fabric, of course — breezy eucalyptus vs cozy merino wool.
The Tree Runners are airy, breezy, and lightweight. They are ideal for running, casual everyday wear in warmer above 20°C/68°F. The shape really conforms around your foot and ankle. That said, I think they’re great for walking, running, or even hiking.
The Wool Runners are cozy, toasty, and a bit sturdier. They are ideal for running and casual everyday wear in colder weather below 20°C/68°F. I’ve read that the Wool Runners are a bit “thicker” and don’t conform as much around your feet or ankle. I’d probably wear these if I lived in a city, but wouldn’t hike in them.
So why did I choose the Tree Runners over the Wool Runners for travel?
Since I travel and spend most of my time mostly hotter countries and regions (i.e. Mexico, Guatemala, Guadeloupe), the Tree Runners were a bit more adaptable to my lifestyle. I just can’t bear hot, itchy, sweaty feet so I needed something a bit more breezy and lightweight.
Why Allbirds Are Good for Travel
I travel full-time and can vouch for the comfiness of the Allbirds Tree Runners. Here’s just a quick list of reasons why they are good shoes for travel.
- Warm enough for traveling in spring, summer, fall
- Airy enough for summer vacations and hiking, running, or any sporty activity
- Stylish with any outfit, ideal for city trips to backpacking trips to beach trips
- Packs down a good amount in a backpack/suitcase without ruining shoe shape
- Doesn’t require socks as much as the Wool runners might, but still comfy with them
- Easy to wipe clean and machine washable
- Relatively quick to dry if wet; makes for a good protective water shoe
- Long-lasting before signs of wear and tear (mine lasted 3+ years of heavy use and travel)
That said, I don’t there’s any terrain my Allbirds Tree Runners haven’t been through; rivers, mountain peaks, dusty desserts, snowy trails, city sidewalks… you name it!!
Can You Hike in Allbirds Shoes?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve literally hiked up an active volcano in my Allbirds (promise, there are even photos in my guide to hiking Volcán Pacaya in Guatemala)—and they didn’t melt (unlike Paul’s boots that melted from a hot rock getting stuck in his sole, lol).
While Allbirds definitely does not replace proper hiking shoes or boots, I was able to get “get by” on short hikes and trails like the relatively flat, forested coastlines and terrain in eastern Canada.
I wouldn’t go proper hiking in them again, or backpacking, as they can get slippery. (As I’ve come to learn through experience.)
Wear & Tear from Travel
That said, Allbirds Tree Runners will show wear and tear after several years of use. That’s fairly normal for a shoe, and I think all considering (adventure-wise), they held up a fair bit before I needed to order a new pair.
So that leads me to the next question:
Would I buy another pair of Allbirds Tree Runners for travel?
Yes! In fact, I already did. My old Allbirds were getting “flattened” from use over the years. My big toes also created sizeable holes at the tops from repeated friction over the years. (Not gaping big, but you could definitely tell it was a hole and see the color of my socks peeping through 🧦.)
Compared to my new Allbirds, which fit like a suction-cup glove, my old ones feel like house slippers. The fit to the groove on the bottom all wore down. The old ones became slippery on the bottom, making walking up sandy trails complicated.
So, again, while you can travel far and wide in your Allbirds, don’t take them to the extreme (i.e. volcano hikes).
Are they perfect for traveling, as in, flying on planes, crossing countries on trains, walking miles across cities? Yes, for sure.
I hope this somewhat cheesy love letter to my shoes helps you plan adventures in yours. Where to next?! For more gear recs and general nomad tips, head to my Digital Nomad guides.
📍 PIN IT — ALLBIRDS TRAVEL SHOE REVIEW