What’s Helping Me Stay Fit While My Favourite Pilates Studio Is Closed

I’ve had countless conversations with friends over the last few weeks about what we miss the most from our old lives. I always come back to the same two things. Eating at restaurants or pubs with friends and family, and going to Pilates.

At the end of last year I made the switch after five years to try a new Pilates studio, and started attending Athletica Pilates in Sydney’s Annandale. I moved across for a few reasons. It’s down the road from my house (please don’t start following me home), it offers small, intimate classes of up to four students, and a variety of studio equipment (not just Reformer like many other studios). I now move around from the Wunda Chair to the Reformer Bed to the Trapeze Table.

I was just starting to notice a huge difference in the shape of my body — longer limbs, leaner muscles, flatter abs — when my beloved studio made the difficult decision to temporarily close its doors for the safety of its students and staff.

It’s currently offering live mat classes, but until classes resume in person, I’m finding alternate ways to stay fit and motivated. I’ve always been a runner (well, on and off for the last ten years, but the last 18 months I’ve been ‘on’) and remained loyal to Asics or Nike as my shoe of choice but for the past three weeks I’ve been trialling the new Allbirds sneaker, The Dasher (the style is available for men and women). Full disclosure, the running shoe was sent to me to trial ahead of its release (on April 29), and it’s done a fantastic job of making me excited to jump out of bed each morning and go for a run. It’s funny how new exercise clothes/shoes can do that.

If you’re unaquainted with Allbirds , let me introduce you. I’ve been a fan of the brand since I tried its Women’s Wool Runner style a couple of years ago — more of an everyday walking/weekend sneaker — and I like to wear them without socks. It might sound gross, but because they’re made out of wool and they’re moisture wicking, they’re totally breathable. I throw them in the washing machine every couple of weeks and they come out looking brand new. If I’m travelling, they’re the first thing I pack for trips where I know I’ll be clocking up 20,000+ steps a day exploring.

Allbirds was born out of a desire to create a sustainable sneaker, made with natural materials and fibres, and without flashy logos. A certified B Corp business, the environment is just as important to founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger, as its bottom line.

The business launched with one product — the Wool Runner — and has grown consciously with each new release. Its latest, The Dasher was built to perform, with nature front of mind. It’s created using a sugarcane sole, renewable eucalyptus and superfine merino wool, ensuring you leave a lighter footprint.

The first time I took them out for a spin was for a 5km run down by the water at Blackwattle Bay. It’s a pretty flat run, mostly on a track. I left the socks at home, to see if they’d have a similar moisture-wicking feel to the Wool Runner. My husband thought I was insane, running for 5km’s without socks, but it was actually fine. My feet were sweatier than usual when I got home, but no blisters, and in no way did it feel uncomfortable.

I’ve worn them every few days for the last three weeks for my daily run (now with socks, to avoid the sweaty feet) and they’ve quickly earnt a regular spot on rotation. I always have a few pairs of running shoes on the go. I like to rotate to change the way impact and load is distributed. If I know I’ll be running on concrete, I wear a cushiony sole. If I’m running on tar (where there’s a bit more give than concrete) I can get away with a thinner, lighter sole.

I like these for when I’m running along a track — plus, if I want to grab a takeaway coffee or groceries post-run, I just throw on a jacket (this one from P.E Nation) and I feel like I’m wearing a proper ‘outfit’. They can double as a running shoe and an every day sneaker, and I’m all about anything with a dual purpose.

Shop Allbirds The Dasher ($225) if you’re searching for a new pair of runners that can also double as an everyday sneaker.

Allbirds Tree Dasher $225