Allbirds trail runner swt

Allbirds’ First Trail Running Shoe Is Based on Mountain Bikes, Pool Paintings

The natural-fiber shoe brand takes aim at ‘gritty’ trails, oil-based materials, and the ‘overly serious, aggressive’ approach taken by traditional shoes.

Allbirds today announced its very first trail running shoe, the Trail Runner SWTAnd with it, the brand marks its entrée into a category dominated by brands known for performance and technological innovation.

And while the New Zealand-American brand believes its debut shoe will handle the demanding conditions that define the category, its primary focus seems to be more on the mentality and approach to trail running than simply the run itself.

“Soft, curved shapes (mimicking jelly beans) inject a sense of playfulness and irreverence in a category that tends to be overly serious, aggressive,” Allbirds’ marketing says of the SWT’s design.

Allbirds trail runner swt

And that’s not all. The shoe’s lugs follow an entirely different design approach than its competitors. Whereas many brands use sharper stepped lugs to “bite” into loose terrain — and strategically place them for maximum traction — Allbirds employed bulbous treads inspired by mountain bike tires built for “rolling through nature versus clawing through it.”

And the lug placement? According to Allbirds, that took cues from David Hockney pool paintings.

Allbirds Trail Runners SWT

In keeping with the brand, the SWT uses mostly natural materials. The “SWT” stands for “Sugar, Wool, Tree,” a nod to the sugar-based “SweetFoam” midsoles; ripstop upper made with wool, eucalyptus tree fiber, and recycled poly; and a natural rubber outsole.

Allbirds trail runner swt

The Trail Runners SWT cost $138 and come in both men’s and women’s styles — each in white, black, and the limited-edition “Diablo” red.

Allbirds advertises a weight of 12.36 ounces per shoe and claims the SWT was tested more than 2,000 miles by trail runners and hikers for use in wet, dry, grassy, muddy, and mountainous conditions.

Learn more and buy a pair for yourself online at Allbirds.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.