Over the last year or two, Allbirds has been making a real push into the running market. Which makes sense– if you already have a tried and true comfort shoe for everyday use, why not transition that into the active lifestyle segment?
That said, our experiences with Allbirds initial attempts (Tree Dasher, Trail Runner SWT) have been mixed, to say the least. Real running shoes require more than just small tweaks here and there, and the Dasher just seemed like the standard Allbirds shoe with a little bit of lipstick.
Suffice it to say we were skeptical when Allbirds told us they’d be coming with their most technical running shoe to date, The Flyer.
On paper, it sounded great. According to Allbirds, “the style is lighter, can go longer distances, and introduces a brand-new midsole innovation, SwiftFoam™, which is 30% lighter than SweetFoam. Additionally, it has increased cushioning and energy return with a rebound of 70%, and it is more efficient and faster without compromising stability and support.”
Also, it looks like the shoe counterpart to the Tesla Cybertruck, so we’re all in on that.
It’s been tested for over a year by over 130 runners with nearly 4000 miles, but honestly, that means nothing to us because similar claims have been made for the Dasher. And let me tell you– with that shoe, those wear-testers either provided terrible feedback or Allbirds didn’t listen.
However, while I’ll be the first to say that while those shoes were mediocre at best, the Flyer is a legitimate piece of performance footwear.
I’ve already put in over 20 miles in the show across several runs (up to 10K, since that’s the intended range for the shoe), and I have to say, it’s a really nice shoe.Shop Allbirds – Men Shop Allbirds – Women
The eucalyptus-based Tree upper is a knit design that’s truly one of the better knit uppers I’ve worn. It actually locks down the foot nicely with just enough stretch for movement, as opposed to the Tree Dasher which was much too roomy and had our feet sliding all over.
That new SwiftFoam midsole? Like past midsoles, it’s still made from castor beans, but it remains very comfortable, both for walking and for running. I was surprised at its level of responsiveness.
Another highlight of the shoe that would typically go unnoticed is the aggressive outsole traction. The Flyer corrects the poor traction on the Dasher, featuring a pretty aggressive pattern and lug depth, which almost borders on trail. In fact, I think this outsole is a better trail pattern than their actual trail shoe, the Trail Runner SWT.
The only real downside? The laces. They’re absolute garbage and come untied almost every run (even while double-knotted), something I never experienced before. Change them out immediately. Not sustainable at all, but necessary for your mental health.
All-in-all, this is a huge step forward for Allbirds in the performance scene. And they’ve managed to do it with mostly sustainable materials and a low carbon footprint, which is a feat in itself.
While we still have a full review of the shoe coming, we can tell you that if you’re an Allbirds fan looking for a legit running option, this will certainly fit the bill. This shoe is a great do-it-all shoe for the casual runner, where it can fit the bill of a daily lifestyle shoe, travel shoe, and short-distance running shoe.
You can pick up the Allbirds Flyer on May 17 at 8 a.m. for $160 by using the shop link below.Shop Allbirds – Men Shop Allbirds – Women