HomeTravelAre they really worth it? Our honest review

Are they really worth it? Our honest review

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My husband and I have each owned a pair of Allbirds Tree Skippers for 3 years now. But are they worth the hype? Here's our unbiased review.

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Once in a lifetime, a pair of shoes comes along that is so comfortable and versatile, it replaces all of the other shoes in your suitcase: the Chosen Shoe. In the of case of my husband and I, that shoe is the Allbirds Tree Skippers, and yes, we are that disgusting married couple that wears matching shoes. And, occasionally, clothing. I know, we’re gross.

I’m not going to claim it that Allbirds Tree Skippers will change your life or anything (well, unless you spend a significant amount of time dealing with foot pain and/or other shoe-related maladies, then it really might) BUT … y’all, these shoes are legitimately worth the hype.

That said, are they perfect? Well, there are a few downsides you’ll want to be aware of. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to justify the cost of these shoes – or talk yourself out of buying them. Let’s go!

By the way: No, this post was NOT sponsored, and we purchased these shoes ourselves.

2021 Travel Tip: Fully vaccinated and feeling ready to travel again? YAY! Us too! But things can change quickly, so as soon as you buy your tickets, make sure to buy travel insurance in case you need to unexpectedly delay, cancel, or extend your trip. We recommend World Nomads and SafetyWing. For more details, head to our travel insurance guide!

Looking for more suggestions for versatile travel shoes and other travel essentials we love? Take a look at these posts, or start here for our top suggestions.

How We Evaluated Our Shoes

Jeremy and I don’t just fall in love with every shoe – or every piece of travel gear we test, for that matter. We are persnickety. And we have a set of specific criteria we’re looking for in a good travel shoe:

✔ Comfortable to walk (and stand) in for at least 12 hours straight with minimal pain. And that means no pain the next day, either.

✔ Durable enough to withstand the elements: rain, snow, dirt, dust, etc. We don’t want to be worrying about shoes while we’re mid-adventure!

✔ Well made, and don’t need replacing every year.

✔ Lightweight and flexible, so that we can shove them into a backpack or suitcase without taking up a ton of space or adding a ton of weight.

✔ Looks great and goes with multiple outfits.

In order to test out our criteria, we’ve both put the Allbirds Tree Skippers through the wringer. We each got our first pairs of Tree Skippers about 3 years ago (yes … we own multiples), and they’ve come with us on just about every warm weather adventure since!

We’ve worn our Allbirds Tree Skippers on the beach in Costa Rica, pounding the pavement at Disney World, traversing cobblestone streets in Austria, exploring Glacier National Park in Montana, and hiking dusty paths in California (that last one wasn’t intentional – Lia forgot her hiking shoes – but it definitely still counts).

And we’ve both found that these shoes are perfect for *almost* any scenario or adventure.

But enough about our extremely scientific shoe experiments. Let’s get to the good stuff and dive into what specifically we love about these shoes.

Lia and Jeremy Allbirds Animal Kingdom Disney World
Wearing matching Allbirds Tree Skippers in front of the Tree of Life! How appropriate.

What We Love About the Allbirds Tree Skippers

Let’s start with all the reasons why we love our Allbirds Tree Skippers.

✔ They’re up for a challenge.

We always put our travel shoes to the test before deciding whether or not to recommend them, and we started off with a rigorous test: a week in Disney World. We are extreme about our Disney-ing – I once landed myself in a wheelchair after a full day of walking/standing/low-key running from ride to ride in the wrong shoes.

The verdict: the Tree Skippers were super comfy, even after 5 straight days of 20k+ steps in the sweltering Florida heat!

I even once took my gorgeous bright white Allbirds on a dusty hike. I mean, they got filthy and I had to throw them in the wash as soon as I got home, but my feet stayed comfortable the whole time. 

That said: I don’t recommend hiking in these if you can help it. Traction on slippery, dusty slopes was a bit of a challenge, and like .. they’re way too cute to get that dirty. Don’t be me! But the point is, in a pinch, they can handle it, and that’s pretty amazing.

✔ They’re the perfect city walking shoe.

Not every pair of shoes – especially barefoot style shoes, which we both prefer – are suited for long walks on hard asphalt.

But with the cushy wool insert, the Tree Skippers provide just enough padding so that even after 8 or 10 miles of pounding solid ground, our feet still don’t hurt!

I’ve taken to wearing these on all of my long daily walks through my neighborhood, as well as on city exploration days while traveling.

Lia in Allbirds shoes while standing on a log with rocks below

✔ The sole is zero-drop and flexible.

I converted to barefoot-style shoes after a nasty bout of Plantar Fasciitis – you can read more about that in my women’s travel shoes guide – and while the Allbirds Tree Skippers are definitely not barefoot shoes, they do have some of the essential qualities that I look for to avoid foot pain.

Namely, plenty of space for my toes to move (check) and a totally flat sole (check) that is flexible enough to move with my feet (check). For my needs, the flat, flexible sole of the Tree Skippers is absolutely perfect.

That said, if you do prefer a little arch support, the insoles do provide a bit. For more space and less support, they’re easy to remove. But lovers of arch support are more likely to gravitate towards some of the other Allbirds styles with thicker soles, such as the Tree Runners, which are made from the same lightweight, knit upper material.

✔ They look great and go with everything.

Was anybody else obsessed with Dirty Dancing growing up? The Tree Skippers remind me of the shoe Baby wears in her little dance practice montage scene up the stairs (you know, this one). I feel like I’m channeling that movie every time I wear these, and it makes me feel ADORBS.

The point is, these cute walking shoes go with everything: jeans, leggings, shorts, even dresses! I have yet to find something they don’t look good with, and I’ve been trying.

Meanwhile, Jeremy likes that the Tree Skippers are a casual middle ground between sneakers, basketball shoes, and a boat-shoe vibe (except not douchey). They work with shorts, jeans, and everything else he’s tried them with. 

✔ They’re incredibly lightweight.

Because the Allbirds are made with lightweight knit fabric and flexible foam soles, they’re incredibly lightweight. Which makes them perfect for throwing into your suitcase or backpack!

We often wear these shoes on travel days because they’re so comfortable, but when we do stick them in our suitcases, they slide easily into a shoe bag and take up almost no room. And you don’t need to worry about compressing them – you won’t damage them by squishing them in there.

✔ They’re perfect for both hot and cool weather.

The knit fabric is full of tiny, barely-noticeable little eyelets that help your feet breathe. Plus, the material of both the shoe itself (eucalyptus)  and the insoles (merino wool) naturally helps regulate both temperature and moisture, so you don’t end up with moist, sweaty feet in the heat of summer or freezing cold feet on a chilly fall day.

Nature is pretty freakin’ high-tech.

We own a pair of Allbirds for every season, from the waterproof Mizzles to the warm wool slip-on Loungers (yes … we are major Allbirds fans, can you tell?) But the Tree Skippers are the perfect 3-season shoe, and our go-to pick for spring, summer, and fall.

That said, in the spirit of evaluation, I have worn my Allbirds in cold, rainy weather. And while I don’t recommend wearing them in the rain – your feet will definitely get wet – my feet weren’t cold thanks to the warm wool insoles!

Jeremy at Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Florida.
Balancing out our Disney World test with a test day at Universal Studios, for good measure. It’s only fair.

✔ They don’t get stinky.

Allbirds insoles are lined with high-performance merino wool, which is naturally anti-bacterial and one of our absolute favorite travel textiles. The wool lays on top of a sustainable foam made from castor bean oil for a cushiony, moisture wicking, and odor reducing insole.

What that means is that Allbirds shoes fight that stinky shoe smell even when you don’t wear socks. And you really don’t have to wear socks with the Tree Skippers – they’re THAT comfy. Plus, they look way cuter without socks.

That said, after a few months of serious wear *ahem* it’s a good idea to take out the removable Merino Wool insoles and give them, and your shoes, a nice soak. I soak mine in Oxyclean, Woolite and water.

✔ They’re made with sustainable materials.

Sustainability is incredibly important to us, especially since as frequent travelers, we need to go above and beyond to offset all of our carbon emissions. And Allbirds shares our commitment to respecting our environment: as a company, Allbirds is committed to fighting climate change as a fully carbon-neutral company from the ground up.

We LOVE supporting companies whose values align with ours, and Allbirds is one of those special, responsible, ethical companies that we feel really, really good about supporting! (Hence why we each own SEVERAL pairs of Allbirds shoes and are starting a collection of Allbirds clothing, too. Send help.)

As for the Tree Skippers shoes, the comfortable knit upper fabric is made from ethically grown & harvested eucalyptus pulp. The laces are made with recycled polyester. The insoles are made from merino wool (no sheep are harmed in the making of merino wool) and castor bean foam. And the shoe itself is carbon neutral.

There’s a LOT to love about the Tree Skippers, but in the interest of full transparency, there are also a few drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know.

Lia Walking on Beach in Corcovado National Park Costa Rica carrying a pair of shoes
Carrying my red Tree Skippers on the beach in Costa Rica, because otherwise they’d fill up with sand. No shoe is perfect, right!?

What We Don’t Love About the Tree Skippers

Nobody’s perfect, and there are a few downsides to know about the Tree Skippers before you commit. Here’s what we don’t love about these shoes:

✘ These shoes are best for wearing on pavement.

I’d love to be able to say that the Tree Skippers are versatile enough to go from a day of city exploration to a hike, but honestly, they’re best for wearing on pavement.

In my experience, the traction on slippery, dusty slopes isn’t great … plus they’re way too cute to get that dirty.

And while I do wear these shoes to the beach a lot, I always have to empty them out afterwards from the sand that comes in through the tiny holes in the knit fabric!

That said: ladies, if you’re looking for a warm-weather shoe that is truly versatile enough to wear all day long no matter what activity you’re doing, I highly recommend my beloved leather Teva sandals! These aren’t your mom’s Tevas or the ones you wore to summer camp in middle school – they’re cute AF, great for pounding pavement, and also excellent hiking and water shoes. I’ve got a full writeup about them in my women’s travel shoes guide.

✘ The toe box could be wider.

Both Jeremy and I prefer a wide toebox, so our feet and toes have a full range of motion (another crunchy barefoot-style shoe thing). But we have to admit that super wide shoes are way less cute, so in this case, we’re happy to sacrifice a bit of width.

That said, we both find that the Tree Skippers are stretchy enough to allow our toes to move freely, thanks to the knit fabric upper, which keeps our feet comfortable. But our Editor-in-Chief, Richie, who also wears barefoot-style shoes, unfortunately found that they were too narrow for him to be comfortable.

Other than comfort, there’s another downside for folks with wide feet: in Jeremy’s case, the extra little bit of stretch has resulted in two tiny holes at the widest part of his feet.

Of course, it took 3 years of near-daily wear to develop those holes, and they’re totally fixable with a little basic sewing, but it’s undeniably because these shoes are a touch on the narrower side.

✘ Not suitable for cold or rainy weather.

The Tree Skippers are firmly 3-season shoes, and not the right shoe for when it’s rainy or very cold. And unlike many of Allbird’s other styles, there isn’t a cold-weather option made from wool.

✘ Requires semi-frequent cleaning.

All of our Allbirds shoes are a tad bit high maintenance and require semi-regular cleaning, especially in the lighter colors They do show dirt fairly easily, and like any shoe worn without socks, the odor-repelling insoles will eventually need some refreshing. (That said, Jeremy’s charcoal and my red Tree Skippers don’t need cleaning very often).

About 2-3x a year, we throw all of our Allbirds shoes and their insoles into a bucket and fill it with water, Oxyclean, and Woolite. Let it sit for while, swish it around a bit, dump the water out, and let the shoes air dry. Voila, clean as new!

You could also throw the shoes in your washing machine, but you’d need to first remove the laces and the insoles (don’t wash the insoles in your washing machine!) But we’re lazy, and we find the bucket soaking method is easier.

The bottom line: The Tree Skippers are our favorite 3-season shoe, and our go-to pick for city travel and long days of walking/standing on pavement. That said, we do wish they were a little wider. Also, if you don’t want to have to wash your shoes a few times a year, pick a darker color!

Couple wearing bright colors at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The couple that wears matching shoes and cute Disney outfits together … blogs together, probably. Anyway, Jeremy is wearing the Wool Loungers in yellow and I’m rocking my beloved white Tree Skippers.

Other Allbirds Shoes We Love

The Tree Skippers were our first foray into Allbirds fandom, but since then, we’ve each gone full-in and purchased multiple pairs of Allbirds shoes.

We’ve also been giving them to family members at Christmas each year for the last several years. If there was an Allbirds Cult, we’d definitely be card-carrying members.

So, although the Tree Skippers are definitely BAE, here are the other pairs we’re huge fans of:

Lia, Jeremy, and Mulan in front of the
Matching in Tree Pipers on a windy day in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Allbirds has yet to make dog shoes, but when they do, you know we’ll be getting a pair for Mulan…

Made from the same material as the Tree Skippers, these shoes are chunkier than the Tree Skippers – and way trendier. Jeremy has them in gray, and I have them in white. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that I feel like a cool Gen Z youth when I wear them instead of a rapidly aging Millennial. And the men’s version looks hella good on Jeremy, too.

That said, we don’t often take them on trips because they’re bigger and less flexible than the Tree Skippers, and I can’t wear them comfortably for as long. But they’re definitely a favorite for each of us for wearing at home!

Do you wish you could wear cozy slippers in public without people judging you? That’s what these shoes achieve. They’re super soft and insanely comfy! Jeremy has them in yellow, and I have them in purple.

These shoes are perfect for chilly days (don’t wear them on hot days unless you really enjoy sweaty feet). And because they’re easy to slip on and nice and wide, they’re also my go-to pregnancy shoe. At 8 months pregnant, they are the only shoe I am able to put on myself and wear comfortably all day long.

However, the Wool Loungers require more frequent cleaning than the knit versions, because the wool upper tends to soak up and show dirt and oil easily – which means they’re not durable or rugged enough to be great travel shoes. Also, although the sole is flat, it’s a little heavier and thicker than the Tree Skippers sole, and these shoes take up more suitcase room.

We typically wear these at home during fall and winter, and leave them in the closet when the weather is warm.

Jeremy rocking his cozy, water-repellent Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles
Jeremy rocking his cozy, water-repellent Wool Runner Mizzles on a walk with Mulan. (She was not impressed.)

Jeremy’s newest addition to his Allbirds collection are the water-repellant Mizzles. You’re supposed to wear them to go running on rainy days… but let’s be honest, Jeremy is not going running in these. Athleisure is a vibe. You don’t actually have to be athletic to pull it off. Right?!

He does, however, wear them on cold, rainy days, and they’re insanely soft and cozy and keep his feet protected from the elements.

He has them in burgundy, which also makes them the perfect go-to shoe for the holiday season. Festive!


Are you all geared up to buy a pair of Allbirds Tree Skippers, or are you still on the fence? What other Allbirds or shoe-related questions can we answer for you? Drop us a comment below!

Looking for more suggestions for versatile travel shoes and other travel essentials we love? Take a look at these posts, or start here for our top suggestions.

xo Lia & Jeremy signature graphic

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Here are our favorite travel tips & resources for saving money and planning travel logistics! For more tips, check out our travel tips resource page or our guide to planning a trip.

  • Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they’ve got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we’re not fans of Airbnb’s unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
  • Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it – visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
  • Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
  • Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor’s office or a walk-in pharmacy.
  • Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local’s perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use Kayak to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
  • Luggage Storage: Whenever we’re checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we’re running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
  • VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you’re connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!

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