If you ask most travelers, especially ultralight or one bag travel types, the most difficult part of packing is unequivocally shoes. You might be planning your trip and realize you need hiking shoes, casual day shoes, running shoes (gotta burn off the drinks somehow). In an ideal world, a minimal traveler would find one pair of travel shoes to rule them all. But that’s easier said than done. It turns out, Allbirds, those minimal-looking wool shoes you’ve seen all your techie friends wear, happen to be pretty good at traveling too. Meet the Allbirds Tree Skippers.
– Lightweight and pack-able
– Look nice
– Made from sustainable fabrics
|– For minimal travelers, single-use|
A few years ago, it seemed like all your Silicon valley type friends started wearing these nondescript, basic-looking shoes. Touting the benefits of merino wool, Allbirds came on the scene to “disrupt” the shoe industry. Organic materials, natural odor and weather repelling benefits, and a sustainable supply chain are the benefits. Since then, the brand has expanded to a few different shoe types and materials.
I tried to resist as long as I could. I didn’t want to proliferate the stereotypes I likely already exhibit. But, eventually, I caved. I was looking for some casual trainers that could replace my old Seavees (which I don’t recommend at all). The twist, though, is that I wanted these to be good as travel shoes. The shoes need to be lightweight, packable, versatile, and look relatively decent. The Allbirds Tree Skippers seemed to foot the bill.
Allbirds Tree Skippers
Made from eucalyptus, the Tree Skippers keep to the sustainability principles Allbirds built with their flagship Wool Runner. The material is soft and extremely comfortable. Like their other shoes, the insole is lined with wool for comfort and odor repellent qualities (they say you can go sock-less, but I don’t recommend it).
They fit true to size, so I’d go with your typical size.
A seemingly random comment on fit; if you wear a heavy-duty insole with these, then the fit starts to get a little odd. Since the side profile is a little low, you might feel like your foot is going to slip out of the shoe. Again, it might just be an issue with me, but worth noting nonetheless.
The silhouette is pretty streamlined and will remind you of the vans, Seavees or Keds of the world. So, if that’s not your style, then I would probably stop reading already. But if it is, you’ll feel pretty comfortable with these.
I’ve had these shoes for a year or two now, and they’ve held up extremely well.
One of the major benefits of Allbirds shoes is wash-ability. Throw them in the washer, let them air dry, and they’ll be good as new. Now in practice, I’ve noticed a few smudges on my white shoes, particularly difficult to get off, even after washing.
As a travel shoe, these things are incredibly easy to pack down and weigh next to nothing—two huge bonuses for the minimal or ultralight traveler. At the same time, they are pretty single-use, so if you’re planning any adventure travel, leave these at home.
And make sure the weather is going to be nice. These struggle with rain…badly. They pretty much absorb any amount of water and, after a minute or two in a light drizzle, they get very uncomfortable very quickly.
The Allbirds Tree Skippers are a solid travel shoe. If you’re doing primarily city-based travel in nice weather, you can’t go wrong with these. Depending on the trip, these could be the only shoe you have to bring, a definite bonus for one-bag traveling.