Allbirds is a brand that keeps on giving. In the past month, the sustainable footwear company donated $500,000 worth of shoes (about 5,000 pairs) to healthcare workers before rolling out a “buy-one-give-one” donation model that allows folks to purchase and donate shoes for those on the front lines of the pandemic. And now, the company is making its first foray into performance footwear and launching an all-new running shoe—so we can enjoy some fresh air with sustainable, comfy, and cool-looking trainers on our feet. And there’s a give-back component to the new shoe launch as well.
The Tree Dasher is Allbirds’ first dip into technical running shoes made with natural fibers. Traditionally, athletic shoes have almost exclusively been crafted from plastic, which takes an enormous toll on the environment.
The Dasher’s sleek single-piece knit upper is made of eucalyptus fiber (Allbirds’ go-to sustainable material) paired with merino wool, making for an exceptionally breathable knit that naturally wicks sweat and has antimicrobial properties. (That means no more stinky athletic shoes!) Another bonus: The upper is made in Allbirds’ signature slip-on design. There are laces on the shoes for extra stability and security, but they don’t play as prominent a role as laces normally do in running shoes. As our tester found, “You just slip the shoes on, and they hug your foot.”
The insole is made with a contoured castor-bean sock liner that features a wool-lined heel pad that has extra cushioning to avoid the dreaded heel blistering. And to top it off, the Dasher’s midsole is made of “Sweetfoam”—i.e. extra-durable foam made from sugarcane. This all-natural foam supports you atop the rubber sole, which has a unique geometric shape to help stabilize and propel you through your motions.
But an athletic shoe’s design is only as good as its performance. That’s why Allbirds tested the Dasher over thousands of miles with more than 50 amateur and professional athletes to ensure the shoe’s durability, stability, and cushioning. After testing the Dasher ourselves, we can vouch for its road-worthiness.
“I need a lot of support in my shoes, otherwise my knees and legs hurt a lot,” our Fast Company editor reported. “The Dasher provides a lot of padding in the sole. It honestly felt like my whole foot was getting a massage when I wore them. I am not a runner, but I used them for HIIT workouts and walks, and they worked very, very well.”
The Tree Dasher is currently available in charcoal black, along with three other shades—light blue, salmon, and mint green—that will add a playful pop of color to your quarantine workout outfit. And the shoes are machine washable—so you can go out on muddy walks or dusty runs and clean them up easily without fear of them getting destroyed.
In typical Allbirds fashion, the company is celebrating the launch of the Dasher with an opportunity to give back. For every 5K run logged as part of an upcoming Strava challenge, Allbirds will donate $1 to the World Central Kitchen, with a goal of reaching $50,0000. The Strava challenge runs from May 7 to 14; entries open April 30.
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