This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
Finding a solid pair of comfortable sneakers for travel is no easy feat. You need to strike the (seemingly impossible) balance of comfort, style, and versatility.
After spending years wearing athletic shoes that weren’t the most, ahem, fashion-forward, I was about ready to give up my search when I randomly strolled into an Allbirds store while on vacation in Austin. My feet were achy, sore, and blistered from walking up and down South Congress Avenue in my stylish yet not-so-practical slip-ons, and I was desperate for comfort. Almost immediately after slipping on the Allbirds Tree Runners, I was hooked—so much so that I wore them every day for the rest of the trip. Fast-forward several months later and they’ve yet to let me down.
The perfect travel shoe should be comfortable enough to wear for hours on end without blistering, supportive enough to keep feet pain-free, and lightweight enough to pack in a carry-on without taking up too much room. The Tree Runners offer all this and more. Not only are these sneakers light and stretchy enough to easily slip on and off while zipping through airport security, but they’re also just as easy on my feet as my favorite pair of Uggs (yet much more functional and fashionable).
The shoes are also true to size, and, even better, you won’t even need to break them in ahead of time: Just slip them on, tie up the laces, and get going. They’re made with eucalyptus, which is known for its breathability and thermo-regulating properties, keeping your feet surprisingly cool. I’d also be remiss not to mention the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The eucalyptus fiber is Forest Stewardship Council-certified (meaning it’s derived from responsibly managed forests) and the shoe laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, the insole foam is constructed from castor bean oil, which has a lower carbon footprint than traditional petroleum-based foam, while the midsole features sustainable sugarcane-based EVA.
What’s more, the midsoles make me feel like I’m walking on an actual cloud. I love the shoes’ minimalist aesthetic, too, and the 14 beautiful color options—ranging from crisp white and baby blue to bright purple and burgundy. The classic colors all pair well with almost any look, while the limited-edition varieties are well-suited to those looking to add a pop of color to neutral outfits. Although I was a bit nervous about buying a white pair, they are so easy to clean that it hasn’t been an issue. Whenever I notice a stain, I take out the laces and throw the rest of the shoe in the washing machine before letting them air-dry.
Even when I was wandering through Austin in 85-degree weather, my feet stayed completely dry and odor-free, even without socks (I've worn them both ways, though I tend to go with socks). I don't wear them for intense exercise or running—while they’re fantastic for walking and everyday wear, they don’t offer the ankle support—but other than that, I rarely part with my beloved Allbirds Tree Runners. Instead, I just find myself adding more pairs to my wardrobe.