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Now that the warmer weather is finally here, many of us are looking to take our workouts outdoors.
When it comes to summer fitness, the proper footwear is essential to making your workout not only more comfortable, but easier on your body.
One footwear company that's earned a place in my heart is Allbirds. The eco-friendly, carbon neutral footwear and apparel brand has created some of my favourite pairs of flats and running shoes that not only look good but treat my feet like royalty.
When I heard that Allbirds was releasing their latest sneaker, the Tree Flyer, I decided to see if the rest of my team would love the lightweight and breathable running shoes as much as I do.
Yahoo Lifestyle Canada editors put a pair of Allbirds's newest sneakers to the test to see if the Tree Flyers get the team's stamp of approval.
Allbirds's Tree Flyers feature a Swiftfoam, a bio based midsole made from castor bean that provides plenty of bounce and cushion for every step you take. The uniquely shaped heel incorporates a flared geometric design that helps runners keep their stride stable and a lightweight, breathable eucalyptus knit upper to keep your feet cool while you move.
Like all Allbirds shoes, the Tree Flyers are machine washable, making them ideal for tough (and sweaty) workouts. Whenever your shoes need a refresh, you toss them in a cool, delicate wash cycle and let them air dry!
Elizabeth Di Filippo, Lifestyle & Features Editor
Let's get one thing out of the way: I love Allbirds shoes. I love them to walk in, I love them to workout in —basically I'm borderline obsessed with the brand and what they stand for. Although I'm biased, I will do my best to be impartial about the brand's latest performance runner.
Even though the Tree Flyers are designed for running, I'm currently 35 weeks pregnant and can barely do a brisk waddle around the block. That said, my feet have swollen during pregnancy and my previous runners are now too tight for me to wear (cue the tiny violins). The Tree Flyer's eucalyptus knit upper is very flexible and conforms to the foot — which is great for me and my ever-changing feet.
I will caution you — when the brand says these shoes are breathable, they aren't lying. As someone who hates wearing socks, it was a strange sensation to feel the wind through the knit upper; strange but not off-putting in any way.
Since I can't run (right now) I wasn't able to speak to the stability and bounce of the shoe. I can only say they are a welcomed relief for my very sore, very swollen feet when I need to lug my bump around the neighbourhood.
I'm looking forward to the days when I can see my feet, tie my own shoes and put these Tree Flyers through their paces!
Kate Mendonca, Shopping & Lifestyle Editor
I'll admit that while I'm not a big runner, I do love to start my day with a morning walk through the neighbourhood or a weekend hike with my family. So to put these running shoes to the test, that's exactly what I did.
I wore them on a trek through Toronto's High Park, which those who are familiar with the area know that it's plenty hilly, with a variety of paved and forested trails. The shoes felt surprisingly lightweight on my feet, and as promised, added an extra bounce to my step thanks to their SwiftFoam midsole. I also wore them on everyday outings to go shopping and run errands, and their comfort stood up to a day spent on my feet.
I've worn Allbirds shoes in the past and can say that these definitely are the most comfortable and lightweight of the bunch, which would be a big asset when running. Design-wise, I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'm a fan of the shoes' angular soles and neon colourway. However, for the comfort and sustainability with which they're made, I'll probably return to these running shoes again and again.
Kayla Kuefler, Shopping & Lifestyle Editor
If there's one COVID-time hobby I've stuck with, it's walking 10,000 steps a day. Since the start of the pandemic, my daily walks have been a solace to both my mental and physical health and, as you can imagine, have worn down their fair share of running shoes.
Because I'm such an avid walker, I was excited to see if the Allbirds sneakers lived up to the hype of the internet and the praises of my colleague Elizabeth. First impressions: They're very comfortable. The shoes felt lightweight and I could definitely feel a spring in my step compared to my other athletic shoes. While I have yet to take the sneakers out running, their lightweight build helped keep my feet from overheating during my summer strolls.
However, while I find the shoes incredibly comfortable, their bright, geometric design is a bit out of my style wheelhouse. In a perfect world, I would have preferred the comfort of the Tree Flyers with a sleeker, less bulky design.
Chris Stoodley, Lifestyle & News Editor
Running isn't necessarily my favourite physical activity, but I do enjoy walking to my local gym to power through some leg presses, do some dumbbell squats and work up a sweat on the elliptical — and honestly, these Allbirds seriously improved my workouts.
Endurance and strength are certainly key factors when you're charging (or suffering) through a workout, but it's also incredibly important to have solid, comfortable shoes. The Tree Flyers have a sturdy base that keeps you grounded when you're dropping for a lunge, but the soft knit shell of the shoe lets you bend your foot comfortably. Some sneakers from other brands I've previously owned also featured soft knit designs and you could easily feel your feet slip into the mesh layer, but these Allbirds grip around your ankle to ensure your feet aren't going anywhere.
While some of my colleagues aren't huge fans of the shoe's geometric edges, I'm all for an athletic shoe that breaks away from the boring, traditional mould that's usually used nowadays. Plus, it's pretty difficult to find something that ticks off the boxes of style, comfortability and being lightweight. But with these, I'd still prefer a non-neon colour that isn't so in-your-face screaming, "I workout!!!"
Hilary Hagerman, Lifestyle Managing Editor
I'm pretty meh on running shoes — as someone who walks a lot but never runs or hits the gym, I usually stick to either a pair of Converse or super-old Reeboks. That said, I've heard rave reviews about Allbirds from friends, so I was eager to try them out. First of all, the Tree Flyers were ridiculously comfortable right out of the box. I have low arches so a lot of sneakers hurt my feet, but these molded to my foot right away and caused no problems. The first time I wore them was for a 12-kilometre walk (a pretty bold choice for a new pair of shoes, IMO) and I was honestly blown away by how comfy and lightweight they were.
While some of my coworkers are on the fence about the design, I personally love how these shoes look — they're a stylish take on your run-of-the-mill sneaker, while still being comfortable. I was able to trial these in black, which went great with everything from leggings to jeans to skirts, but I'm hoping in the future they come in a purple or pink (like the Lux Purple the Tree Dasher 2 is available in).