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With a popular sustainable running shoe of their own and a boundary-pushing collaboration with Adidas, Allbirds has made a name for itself in the athletic footwear category. After showing just how capable they are at performance sneakers, the natural next step was off road. Our review of the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT details how the shoe gains traction on uneven grounds.
Designed for trail running, hiking, and all-terrain walking, the Trail Runner SWT features a durable water-repellent upper, a sock-like fit to keep dirt and debris out, and durable outsoles with 4mm multi-directional treads for traction in all conditions.
Just like any other pair of our favorite Allbirds shoes, the Trail Runner SWT uses sustainable materials throughout the design. You’ll find seven colorways with a blend of merino wool and eucalyptus tree fiber on the shoe’s upper, sugarcane-based SweetFoam midsoles, merino wool heel liners, merino wool and recycled polyester ripstop, recycled plastic shoelaces, castor bean oil-based insoles, and natural rubber outsoles.
Despite being rugged and trail-ready, the Trail Runner SWT is still impressively lightweight. In comparison to the Tree Dasher 2, Allbirds best selling performance running sneaker, the Trail Runner is only 2.06 ounces heavier.
What the Trail Runner SWT is like to wear
As much as I appreciate the sustainability and comfort of Allbirds, my personal taste typically draws me to more unique and collectible sneakers, but the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT is my new favorite for outdoor activities.
I don’t have many hiking shoes in my collection, but out of the few that I do have, the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT is the best because of its subdued styling and lightweight feel.
While most hiking shoes take on a technical and rugged aesthetic that looks out of place in casual settings, the Trail Runner SWT can easily be worn when you’re not on the trail. In addition to hiking, I’ve worn these while biking and they performed just as well. At 12.36 ounces, they’re far lighter than most traditional hiking shoes so you can comfortably do other activities you’d typically want lightweight shoes for.
Aside from how they look on feet, the Trail Runner features similar comfort technology to other Allbirds performance running sneakers. The upper isn’t as breathable as any of the all-knit shoes due to the water-resistant mudguards, but it’s a solid trade-off for maintaining dry feet while trekking.
Sizing and fit
I typically wear a size 8.5, so I go with a size 9 in the Allbirds sneakers that only come in full sizes. However, the Trail Runner SWT and other performance models from Allbirds come in half sizes, which is a major plus.
I chose a size 9 before knowing this model was available in half sizes and I do have a little extra room at the toe, but the sock-like design still makes them secure on my feet. I would recommend ordering true to size, but if you’re planning on wearing your Trail Runners with thicker hiking socks, go up a half size.
The bottom line
Reviewing the Allbirds Trail Runner SWT made it abundantly clear that this is a great shoe overall, and yet another indication that Allbirds is not complacent in the footwear industry. The brand has done an excellent job at making laid-back, cozy footwear, but its steady crossover into performance proves the brand can succeed at making all types of shoes.
At $140, the Trail Runner SWT is more expensive than other Allbirds shoes, but that’s expected for a performance model. Compared to similar hiking shoes, they’re still relatively affordable and, in my opinion, more versatile due to their subdued styling.