By Travel + Leisure Staff
July 09, 2019
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Courtesy of Allbirds

Allbirds' sneakers have skyrocketed in popularity since the brand's launch in 2016. It's rare to walk a few blocks in New York City without spotting a pair. Here at Travel + Leisure, they're an editor-favorite and one of our A-list travel advisors, Josh Alexander of Protravel International, packs them for every single trip. Even Barack Obama is a fan. 

Allbirds' sneakers certainly have a long list of pros. For starters, they're designed to feel like a slipper; you could even (gasp!) go sockless if you so choose. Each pair costs less than $100. They're machine-washable. They're sustainably made — Allbirds uses materials like recycled bottles, merino wool, and eucalyptus tree fiber. And design-wise, they're simple, sleek, and surprisingly logoless.

But are they really the perfect travel shoe? Five editors on the T+L team took Allbirds' trendy Wool and Tree Runners for a spin to find out.

Allbirds Tree Runners Reviews

“In addition to being super comfy (I swear they feel like they’re molded to my feet), I prefer to travel with closed-toe shoes and the Tree Runners are easy to pull on and off at the airport. I will say that the fit is meant to be snug and I don't wear them with socks, so perhaps they're not for you if the idea of standing barefoot on an airport floor grosses you out. (But that's also why you should definitely get TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry!) The sleek shape works well with everything from athleisure wear (hello, airport uniform) to casual dresses, thus helping to tackle the age-old question of how many pairs of shoes to pack. I also love that you can easily throw them in the wash when they inevitably need freshening up.” — Karen I. Chen, Editorial Producer

“I love wearing my Allbirds for when I go to work out. Note: not for when I’m actually working out. I’ll wear them commuting to and from my Pilates class because I love how lightweight and breezy they are. But I don’t feel that there’s enough arch support for a full workout in them. Nonetheless, they’re my favorite shoes to slip on real quick when I’m in a hurry and my only pair of sneakers that are breathable enough to wear in the summer.” — Kim Duong, Digital Assistant Editor

“I was ALL about my Allbirds Tree Runners after wearing them on the world’s longest flight — they’re so light and comfy, I never took them off (even when slippers were very kindly provided by Singapore Airlines). I stand by my declaration that they are the ideal airplane shoe, but I’m less impressed with the experience I’ve had with them on the ground. To be fair, I have one very flat foot and am extra prone to soreness, but once I started trying to wear my Allbirds on particularly active days, I realized they don’t give the support I need (and they don’t have enough room to add an insole). They’re great for lounging — and isn’t that what most activewear is really for these days? — and get bonus points for being so easy to clean. But if you’re looking for a pair of sneakers you can walk miles or work out in, I don’t think these are it.” — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor

Courtesy of Allbirds

To buy: allbirds.com, $95

Courtesy of Allbirds

Allbirds Wool Runners Reviews

“Wearing Allbirds' Wool Runners is like wandering around outside in your slippers, and no one bats an eye. They really are as comfortable and light as my colleagues say. But they do have a few quirks you may not encounter in your everyday sneaker.

First thing's first: Allbirds touts the fact that their shoes can be worn without socks. But the superfine merino wool — no matter how breathable it's designed to be — can lock in some unpleasant odor on a hot day. Luckily, the shoes are easily washable. Which brings me to my next point: I chose an impossibly cute, yet utterly impractical color for my Allbirds. In anything less than optimal weather, the lavender color shows every smudge. An errant step into dirty New York City puddle water is practically a death sentence for the light purple fabric. Any day I wear my Allbirds usually ends with dropping them in the washing machine. If you're looking for a bit less maintenance, I'd recommend choosing one of their darker colors.

Finally, your big toe is going to take a starring role in the first few weeks you wear these sneakers. The snug fit often leaves that toe straining against the fabric, but they will eventually stretch out. After the initial break-in period, you'll have a perfect pair of travel shoes on your hands!” — Abby Williams, Senior Audience Engagement Editor

“The hype is most definitely real: these are the coziest sneakers I own. I grab them constantly on weekends and they’re a go-to for long days spent flying or road-tripping. However, the insoles that come with them aren’t all that supportive for a day full of walking, so I replaced them with a set of Superfeet insoles (amazon.com, $50) that have a lot more arch support. They can get by as a gym shoe in a pinch, but I prefer them more in a casual context. I also find them to be best suited for below 70-degree days — they can get a bit too cozy as a summer shoe, and though I haven’t tried Allbirds’ Tree line, that seems to be a better summer fit.” — Richelle Szypulski, Senior Associate Editor

Courtesy of Allbirds

To buy: allbirds.com, $95

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