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Allbirds unveils Tree Runner Go sneaker as it refocuses on core products

The shoe features improvements to the original design and comes after the successful launch of the Wool Runner 2.

Allbirds unveils Tree Runner Go sneaker as it refocuses on core products

Footwear brand Allbirds launched a new sneaker over the weekend called the Tree Runner Go. The launch is part of the company's strategic transformation plan to focus on core footwear franchises. Courtesy of Allbirds

Dive Brief:

  • As part of its plan to refocus on its core footwear franchises, Allbirds launched a new Tree Runner Go sneaker over the weekend that features upgrades from its original Tree Runner shoe. Those include an elevated design, 14% more of Allbirds’ signature SweetFoam for cushioning and up to 50 times more durability than the original Tree Runner, according to a press release.
  • The Tree Runner Go retails for $120 and is available in five colors and in full and half sizes across men’s and women’s on Allbirds’ website and in stores.
  • The new sneaker arrives as Allbirds recalibrates, after in recent years changing its top leadership, pulling back from the apparel space and initiating layoffs.

Dive Insight:

Allbirds, an early DTC success story, is going through a rough patch.

Earlier this month, Nasdaq gave the brand a delisting warning for not meeting compliance standards after its stock price fell below $1 for 30 consecutive days. The company has until Sept. 30 to regain compliance.

In March, Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger stepped down as CEO and was replaced by then-Chief Operating Officer Joe Vernachio. At the same time, the DTC brand said it would close 10 to 15 underperforming stores in the U.S. this year and that it expects revenue to be down as much as 25% in 2024.

A foray into the apparel space in 2020 to diversify Allbirds offerings appeared to go too far too quickly, and the brand began retreating from that effort two years later.

So to get back on track, Allbirds is sticking to what it does best. That means launching a new sneaker.

When the brand launched in 2016, so did its first shoe, the iconic Wool Runner, a minimalist sneaker made of natural textiles.

The Tree Runner debuted the following year and has been one of its bestsellers ever since, according to a company spokesperson. It also helped to inspire the design of the new Tree Runner Go.

“Our core offering since inception has always been footwear, and we’re doubling down on that,” an Allbirds spokesperson said in an email to Retail Dive on Monday. “As part of our strategic transformation plan, outlined in March 2023, we are sharpening our focus on our core footwear franchises to drive growth and assortment productivity.”

The company said the Wool Runner 2 was “the first expression” of the new strategy when it was unveiled last fall. The Wool Runner 2 “was our best-performing launch in more than a year,” the spokesperson said.

Since launching on Saturday, the company said the new shoe has been positively received.

Despite the recent setbacks, Allbirds is continuing to launch new products. In June 2023, Allbirds debuted a zero-carbon footprint sneaker dubbed the “M0.0NSHOT” that’s primarily made of carbon-negative regenerative wool. 

That was followed two months later by a new vintage style sneaker, called the Courier, which originally retailed for $125. The shoe is now $98 on the brand’s website and uses materials such as organic cotton canvas, Tencel Lyocell (a eucalyptus tree fiber) and natural rubber.