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Allbirds Tree Toppers Review

The newest in their line, this high-top is the first to incorporate all of the company’s sustainable materials.

By: Kristi Teplitz + Save to a List

Light, airy, cute, and oh-so comfy, the Allbirds Tree Toppers are the first closed-toe shoe that Allbirds has made incorporating their award-winning, SweetFoam shoe sole. 

Haven’t been following Allbirds and didn’t know they won awards earlier this year? Let’s back up and explain a bit before I get into my review of the Tree Toppers.

Wool (Wool Runners)

Allbirds, a certified B Corporation, was founded with a deep commitment to sustainability, and the brand launched in 2016 with their classic Wool Runners. Often described as the “world’s most comfortable shoes”, these merino wool sneakers are light, comfy, stink-resistant, eco-friendly, and machine washable. They quickly became a Silicon Valley favorite and earlier this year the company announced they had sold over one million pairs of shoes (within about 2 years of launching the brand). 

Everywhere they can, Allbirds tries to stick to their commitment to sustainability, which is why you’ll find recycled laces, bio-based eyelets and merino insoles in all of their shoes.  

Eucalyptus (Tree Line)

In March 2018, and just in time for warmer weather to start showing up, Allbirds launched their “Tree” line of shoes. Still incredibly light and comfortable, the uppers of these shoes are made from a material derived from eucalyptus pulp. The Tree Collection's mesh-like textile is breathable, smooth to the touch, and breezy, keeping your feet comfortable in warm weather.

SweetFoam (Flip-Flops)

In August 2018, Allbirds debuted their limited-time Sugar Zeffers, a flip-flop whose sole is made out of sugar cane instead of harmful petrochemicals. The molecular structure of the foam is the same as regular shoe sole foam, the feel of the foam is the same, but it's actually made from plant materials. Two years in the making, this SweetFoam sole is the first carbon-negative EVA foam ever developed, and Allbirds has open-sourced their SweetFoam formula in hopes that other brands in the footwear industry will follow suit. (That's a big deal!) Allbirds VP of Innovation & Sustainability, Jad Finck, says "Our goal was to innovate and show the industry that this could be done. But if this is actually going to take hold and have an impact, it is critical for this to scale beyond ourselves.”

Tree Toppers (and on to the review!)

In November, Allbirds launched their Tree Toppers. An old-school high-top design and their first shoe to incorporate all of their sustainable materials, these shoes don't disappoint. They're just as airy and breathable as their Tree line shoes, which I like given the high-top design - my feet never get too hot or sweaty. The slightly-stretchy material fits snugly around my foot and ankle, hitting just above my ankle bone, and the interior material is super soft and prevents any chafing around my ankle. And like their predecessors, they're also machine-washable. 

I did not have a chance to try the Sugar Zeffers (the flip flops), so the Tree Toppers are my first exposure to the SweetFoam sole. They definitely feel different than the typical Allbirds sole, but not in a bad way. They're springy and responsive while still being super light, comfy, and flexible. The soles (at least in the design of the Tree Toppers) have less heel lift than their typical soles, which gives them a footbed connection feeling similar to Vans.

I read a couple reviews of people saying they felt the Tree Toppers were made for a narrower foot, and I have not found that to be the case. I prefer shoes with a wider toe box and my feet are totally comfortable in these kicks. And if you do have narrow feet, the flexible uppers can be synched tighter so you feel snug as a bug in them.

Perfect for travel and everyday wear, I say to check off another win for Allbirds. It's fun to watch the company grow and expand their lines while listening to customer feedback and staying true to their commitment to sustainability. That's not an easy task in general, and in less than three years of being in business, Allbirds is already making huge strides to have positive environmental impacts on a massive and over-crowded market.

What awards did they receive? Allbirds was announced Footwear News’ Brand of the Year Winner, they were included in Time Magazine's 2018 Best Inventions, listed as one of Time Magazine's 10 Smartest Sustainable Products of 2018, and they received an Innovation Award at Outdoor Retailer this fall.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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