After doing my Allbirds vs. Everlane Tread face-off, I consigned my Allbirds, wholly devoted to the Tread sneaker.
I couldn’t deal with the blazing-hot wool uppers on the Allbirds, but I find the Tread sneaker too bulky for the profile I’m going for in many of my outfits. I decided, on a whim, to check Ebay for Allbirds’ “Skipper” style - a slip-on reminiscent of a boat shoe - in their “tree” fabric. I found a pair for about $40 that the seller described as a store display sample. In reality, they appeared brand new.
Related Reading: Choosing Sustainable Sneakers | Tread by Everlane Vs. Allbirds
About The Tree Skippers
The tree skippers are made with eucalyptus fiber uppers, Allbirds’ classic merino wool insoles (produced humanely), and light foam soles. The woven uppers are meant to provide a breathable alternative to their original wool sneakers. They come in whole sizes only, so I went with my usual 8.
Tree Skippers Review
I slipped my feet into the Tree Skippers, ready to embark on my 2-mile round trip walk from my apartment to school. I opted to try them without socks, as this is what Allbirds and others have recommended. The insole is incredibly comfortable - the shape and support felt better than the Allbirds sneakers I previously owned - and I experienced no rubbing or discomfort at or around my toes. Allbirds writes on their website that the foam sole is crafted to distribute weight evenly for better alignment, and that felt true. My knees and legs didn’t feel as taxed as I expected them to after the trip.
However, I ended up with chafing that felt exactly like rug burn on both heels. My heels are notoriously sensitive anyway, and they moved up and down in the shoe a small amount as I walked. I think this was a consequence of my heel shape rather than wrong sizing - I don’t think I could go down a size because they would be too short.
If I were in a standard workplace that didn’t require a ton of walking, I don’t think I would have noticed an issue. But as walking shoes, I would gauge possible discomfort by how close you are in fit to the whole sizes offered and whether you have a history of heel discomfort. These felt great on my feet when I was just standing or sitting in class, so next time I’m going to try them with socks, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll add moleskin to the heels, as I had to do with the Everlane Day Glove.
I was surprised that these weren’t perfect because I’ve read only positive reviews from other bloggers. Just goes to show that individual differences matter when it comes to fit and comfort, and no review - or shoe - is one-size-fits-all.