Disclosure: The Allbirds Tree Dasher 2 was purchased with our own money.
Daily Running Co Sustainability Project
This review is part of Daily Running Co’s Sustainability Project where we run in pairs of shoes targeted to reduce our impact on the environment. As part of the Project, we want to assess and determine the experience, feasibility, and learnings from threading lighter as a user. At the end of the project, we will publish a report on our findings.
Introduction to Footwear
Tree Dasher 2 is Allbirds update to the company’s first performance footwear. While the company has released the Tree Flyer in 2022, the Tree Dashers remains the less expensive between the two. For more detailed information on the Tree Dasher 2, you can refer to my first initial review of the Tree Dasher 2 can be found in the link below.
Prior to the review, it is important to establish my runner profile to better gauge my opinions on the shoes. For example, a lighter runner will experience differently the effects of midsole compared to a heavier runner. I am on the heavy side for a runner (75kg – 80kg) range and stands at 1.75m tall. My average weekly mileage ranges from 30km to 35km. I am a mid-foot/fore-foot strike with a neutral foot. I am normally a US size 11, with 2E wide foot, although it varies depending on brands.
Statistics of the Running Shoes
- Weight: 328 grams (11.57 oz)
- Stack Height: 16.5mm to 23.5mm (7mm drop)
- Insole Thickness: 4mm (Castor bean oil-based foam)
- Forefoot width: 12 cm
- Midfoot width: 6.5 cm
- Heel width: 10.5 cm
Does My Five Key Pointers Still Hold After 100 KM?
My five key initial pointers were:
- A comfortable & functional upper,
- A supportive, stable & well-cushioned midsole,
- An outsole which works well but puzzling,
- Heavy, Heavy, Heavy
- Threading Lighter for Our Planet
The upper construction of the Tree Dasher is certainly very comfortable. So much so that my feet felt like they are in a set of comfortable clothing. While Allbirds has utilized a single knit upper, ventilation is acceptable with a number of holes to allow for airflow. Lockdown provided from the upper is sufficient for this bulky yet bouncy footwear.
The midsole is something I love as it provides a resilent cushioning with slight pop. As a heavier running, some of the softer foam compresses too quickly during runs and make it undesirable. But not the Sweetfoam here with Tree Dasher 2.
The support and stability of the Tree Dasher will be welcomed by people looking for these features. With the wide base and extended midsole of Tree Dasher, the level of stability is certainly presented in a less intrusive manner than a medial post or harder foam.
What Has Changed Then?
The rate at which the outsole materials wear down has diminished after the initial wear and tear. As suspected, the outsole moulds to the way an individual runs. It reminded me of Nike’s Rival Fly 3 which has the same happening. Therefore, the individuals do not have to be super concerned as they witness the initial wear down of the outsole. However, I wonder if there are any scientific or reason behind the design choice. Afterall, all outsoles will mould to the runner after a certain distance.
Durability of this Pair of Running Shoes?
At 100KM, aside from the forementioned wear in the outsole, the midsole and upper are holding very well. There have been some changes in the compression of the midsole which is now softer and bouncy compared to initial on foot feel. The Tree Dasher 2 is a well-built pair of footwear which you do not have to worry extensively of it breaking down prematurely.
Can this be a Potential Choice for Performance Running?
To be very honest, no. There is one key reason, the weight of the footwear. I had high hope for the Tree Dasher 2 to be the champion in the run for sustainability trophy, but the weight is something deterring me from doing so.
To be clear, this is not saying the Tree Dasher 2 cannot be used for running or training. You can if you want to and you definitely can do so. The capability of its midsole and the upper give it a real chance of being a daily trainer with a sustainability focus. If the weight of the footwear can reduce, I think this is a serious competitor in the market. Most of the weight is concentrated in the bottom half of the shoes, making it slightly clunky on foot. If the weight is reduced, perhaps below 300 grams in my size, I think it will go into my rotation for training pretty easily.
The Tree Dasher 2 could be for those looking for a resilient midsole which provides some degree of rebound, runs typically lesser than 10KM on any day, and want to thread lighter for our planet.
Allbirds continued to update its performance footwear series with the Tree Dasher 2. In my opinion it is not targeted 100% for the performance running but more for the mass user. Nonetheless, the Tree Dasher 2 is indeed a statement piece with a strong sustainability message for both the product and the brand.
The Tree Dasher 2 has great potential to be the daily trainer for people with a green heart. Yet, the weight of the Tree Dasher 2 impedes it from achieving that. The technologies, design, comfort, and to a certain extent performance built into the Tree Dasher 2 make it a very compelling choice for training with a lighter footprint.
Yet it seems that the Tree Dasher 2 will not be the only footwear from Allbirds for running. The release of Tree Flyer took over that spot from the Tree Dasher 2. Perhaps the Tree Flyer might give me what I want but it is more expensive (USD160) in comparison to the market. There are many other options for runners at that USD160 price point. As such, for the runners looking for a performance footwear from Allbirds to replace your legacy performance footwear, there still leave things to be desired. As an average consumer, I think the Tree Dasher will be more suitable given its style and price over the Tree Flyer.
In the future, sustainability will not just be a good to have, the company which can deliver performance running footwear at a market competitive pricing will change the game. Alternatively, company which can continue re-making and extending the lifespan of materials used in footwear will create competitive advantage hard to obtain.