Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review in a nutshell: sustainably made running trainers that look and feel good for distances up to 10K.
Admittedly, I wasn’t blown away by the original Allbirds Tree Flyer, but I thought it was a good effort and hoped to see the franchise develop in the future. Intended as a tempo trainer for shorter distances, the Tree Flyer used a bio-based midsole and a naturally-made upper to maintain the sustainable image of the brand while, hopefully, making the shoes more appealing to diehard runners.
The new Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 addressed the issues with the first iteration, including the baggy upper I didn’t like, and doubles down on sustainability even more. Is it a better running shoe than the first version, and more importantly, is the Tree Flyer 2 the best running shoe from Allbirds to date? Let’s find out.
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: price and availability
The Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 was launched in July 2023 and is available to buy now at Allbirds UK, Allbirds US and Allbirds AU for a recommended retail price of £150/ $160/ AU$ 240. This is the same price as the predecessor of the shoes were sold for. It's currently available in eight colourways for both women and men. I tested the Limited Edition Blizzard/Pure Azure (Blizzard Sole) colourway.
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: specifications
- Heel Drop: 8.5 mm (Forefoot: 22.0 mm, Heel: 30.5 mm)
- Weight: 8.37oz/ 237.3g (W7) | 10.63oz / 301.5g (M9)
- Best For: Running, walking, fitness classes, home/gym workouts
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: design and build quality
Allbirds mainly focused on updating the ergonomics of the Tree Flyer 2. Most people, including myself, noted that the upper of the first iteration didn't provide enough support for shoes designed for faster-paced training. The toe box, in particular, was too roomy to help you switch speeds quickly.
The Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 features a new, flexible, breathable knit upper made with TENCEL Lyocell (eucalyptus tree fibre), which was re-engineered to provide a more secure fit. The upper is also overlaid with bio-based TPU skins for even more support and lined with ZQ-certified Merino wool for 'signature' Allbirds comfort.
Further reinforcement can be found on the toe and midfoot for lateral security, increased stability and durability, and element protection. Allbirds also added an external heel counter to keep your feet in check in the rear. An added heel tab helps you get into the shoes more easily.
The shoe's sustainability has also been improved: the Tree Flyer 2 has a carbon footprint of 7.21 kg CO2e (which Allbirds offsets to zero) – 2.71 kg CO2e less than its predecessor. It is much better than some of the competition, using non-bio-based EVA foams, synthetic uppers, and non-sustainable rubber outsoles.
Speaking of the outsole, the Allbirds Tree Flyer features an updated natural rubber compound and lug pattern perpendicular to the tread direction. This 'refreshed' lug design is said to function like teeth on the road to help improve traction, especially on wet surfaces.
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: performance
Allbirds did the most sensible thing with the Tree Flyer 2, and instead of trying to add a carbon plate or super-optimise the foam, they toned down the marketing. Let me explain. The OG Tree Flyers were marketed as tempo training shoes designed for fast-paced runs; the new Tree Flyer 2 is described by the brand as such:
"Whether you're running a 10K or for ten minutes, the Tree Flyer 2's comfortable, lightweight, and responsive design helps you enjoy the full experience of your run."
No more tempo runs; the new iteration is all about having fun when running short distances. And for that purpose, the Tree Flyer 2 works really well. There is some energy return, and thanks to the reinforced upper, the lockdown sensation is much better than before. The new heel tab helps get in the shoes quickly, and the woolly upper provides excellent step-in comfort.
Maybe a bit too good, as I found the reinforced areas of the toe box pressed against my toes when I ran. This might be due to my feet being too wide; either way, there was a bit of unwanted pressure at the top of my toes, which I'm sure would adversely affect my toenail longevity, should I use the Tree Flyer 2 for longer runs. However, the shoes are said to work best for runs up to 10K, and for those distances, it's not that much of an issue, especially if you have narrow feet.
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: verdict
The Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 is admittedly a better running shoe than its predecessor. It provides better lockdown, and thanks to the reinforced areas of the upper, I expect the shoes to last longer while keeping your feet secure. The foam is peppy, even though it isn't as responsive as some other tempo trainers.
It was a clever choice from Allbirds to remarket the Tree Flyer franchise and make it more of a daily trainer. It makes more sense to position the shoes in that market segment. For up to 10K runs, the Tree FLyer 2 provides more than enough energy return, and it looks good enough to be worn on the street, too, which is a bonus.
Thanks to its sustainable credentials, I expect (B-Corp) Allbirds' Tree Flyer 2 to be very popular among the Gen-Z population. Considering how environmentally friendly these shoes are, they behave very much like your average running trainer. And that's not bad for running shoes with zero carbon footprint.
Allbirds Tree Flyer 2 review: also consider
With its redesigned mid-foot band to the updated mesh upper, the Pegasus 40 is yet another iteration of Nike's legendary yet affordable running shoe franchise. If you need comfortable, reliable and breathable daily trainers for walking, jogging, or running, you can't go wrong with the Peg 40. Read my full Nike Pegasus 40 review.
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is one of the most comfortable, responsive and supportive entries to the long line of Fresh Foam trainers from NB. The new foam is softer yet offers more control over your stride than Fresh Foam, and the Hypoknit upper allows plenty of room in the toebox if that's what you need but also offers support. Read my New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 review.
The ASICS' Gel-Nimbus franchise underwent significant changes for its 25th birthday. The Gel-Nimbus 25 uses a new Gel (PUREGEL), new midsole foam (FF Blast Plus ECO), new knitted upper and new outsole, making the now 25-year-old shoes feel fresher than ever. Thankfully, the shoes are also more sustainably made (although not as sustainable as Allbirds' shoes). Read my full ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 review.