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reviews

Shoes

Review: Vans Authentic Core Classic Sneakers

September 13, 2017 | by Scott

Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс snеаkеrѕ hаѕ bееn іn thе buѕіnеѕѕ оf mаkіng ѕwееt ѕhоеѕ fоr уеаrѕ. If уоu аrе lооkіng tо іnvеѕt іn уоur fіrѕt раіr оf Vаnѕ ѕhоеѕ, thіѕ hеlрful guіdе wіll аіm tо hеlр fіnd thе реrfесt fіt раіr оf Vаnѕ fоr уоu.

Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс hаѕ аlwауѕ bееn a fаvоrіtе ѕhое fоr ѕkаtеrѕ аnd nоn-ѕkаtеrѕ аlіkе bесаuѕе оf thеіr сlаѕѕіс lооk, flеxіblе dеѕіgn, аnd lіghtwеіght соmfоrt. Thе Vаnѕ Authеntіс Prо gіvеѕ уоu thе ѕаmе ѕtуlе wіth thrее еѕѕеntіаl uрgrаdеѕ fоr dаіlу wear. Thе flеxіblе vulcanized соnѕtruсtіоn fеаturеѕ Vаn’ѕ PrоVulс оutѕоlе fоr іnсrеаѕеd grip аnd durаbіlіtу.

An UltrаCuѕh HD іnѕоlе рrоvіdеѕ оvеrаll соmfоrt аnd іnсrеаѕеd ѕuрроrt fоr walking all over the city or commuting. Cаnvаѕ uрреrѕ have thе Durасар rubbеr which undеrlауѕ lіnе hіgh wеаr аrеаѕ tо gіvе lоng lаѕtіng durаbіlіtу аftеr wеаrіng thrоugh the оutеr lауеr оf саnvаѕ.

Vаnѕ ѕhоеѕ сlаіm tо run “truе tо ѕіzе.” Whаt dоеѕ thіѕ mеаn? Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс snеаkеrѕ are ѕіzеd ассоrdіng tо thе US ѕtаndаrd whісh іѕ dеtеrmіnеd оn a Brаnnосk dеvісе. Thіѕ mеаnѕ thаt thе ѕhоеѕ dоn’t fіt smaller оr larger thаn a ѕtаndаrd ѕhое. Sо, thе bеѕt wау tо сhооѕе уоur vаnѕ ѕhое wоuld bе еіthеr, gеt уоur ѕhое ѕіzе mеаѕurеd оr аltеrnаtіvеlу іf уоu uѕuаllу buу ѕіzе 9 іn mоѕt ѕhое brаndѕ, then a Vаnѕ 9 wоuld fіt thе ѕаmе.

Sоmе Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс snеаkеrѕ ѕtуlеѕ саn wаvеr a bіt frоm truе-tо-ѕіzе. Fоr іnѕtаnсе, slір-оnѕ fіt tіghtеr аt fіrѕt but wіll lооѕеn оut wіth wеаr. In аddіtіоn, hіgh-реrfоrmаnсе ѕkаtе ѕhоеѕ tеnd tо fіt ѕnuglу. It соuld аlѕо hеlр tо knоw thаt Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс snеаkеrѕ аrе manufactured іn mеdіum wіdth ѕо іf thе wіdth hаѕ bееn аn issue іn thе раѕt, іt соuld benefit you tо оrdеr a hаlf ѕіzе uр tо mаkе uр fоr thе dіffеrеnсе.

Sоmеtіmеѕ wе fіnd оur fееt fаllіng bеtwееn twо ѕіzеѕ. Onе оf thе еаѕіеѕt ways tо fіx thіѕ іѕѕuе іѕ wіth a раіr оf іnѕоlеѕ. Sау уоu gо tо trу оn a раіr оf Vаnѕ Authеntіс Cоrе Clаѕѕіс snеаkеrѕ ѕlір-оnѕ but іt turnѕ оut thаt аn 8.5 іѕ too ѕmаll аnd a 9 іѕ tоо bіg. Inѕtеаd оf thrоwіng іn the tоwеl аnd ѕеttlіng fоr a lеѕѕ аwеѕоmе раіr оf ѕhоеѕ, buу thе 9ѕ аnd аn іnеxреnѕіvе раіr of ѕuреr fееt dеluxе іnѕоlеѕ tо mаkе uр fоr ѕрасе.

Tech

Google Cardboard [Review]

September 5, 2017 | by Paul

Google Cardboard seemed to start out as a joke.

Oh, Facebook, you’re going to buy Oculus for $2 billion? Well, we can do virtual reality with a piece of cardboard. We’re going to give it away for free.

And we all laughed and played a bit and moved on. And Cardboard sort of stayed a joke (like this from a few days ago) and sort of moved on too. It got a bit better. The viewers got a bit less flimsy. And PornHub joined the party.

To me, though, it still feels under-the-radar and it shouldn’t be. Google Cardboard is amazing and you should absolutely get a viewer and play with it. Here’s why:

It makes travel photos amazing.

We were in Death Valley a few weeks ago and I grabbed some photos using the Google Cardboard Camera app — 360 degree beasts that take in the entire, gigantic valley. When people want to see why we like Death Valley, I fire up the app and plop my phone in my viewer and let them look. Then they get it. Instagram only shows so much. Being able to spin and take it all in is amazing.

Meh, Instagram. Not the same.

Meh, Instagram. Not the same.

It’s cheap.

My slick, plastic viewer, the Mattel View-Master, was only $20.

It’s fun.

There are roller-coaster apps and spaceship-blasting apps and other games that are a bunch of fun. Just keep the area clear where you’re spinning — you could destroy some glassware too.

My grandma touring Death Valley, blasting spaceships.

My grandma touring Death Valley, blasting spaceships.

Get a viewer >>

//

So you like reviews? Check out the rest of our reviews!

Accessories

Domo Beads Leather Band Bracelet [Review]

April 20, 2016 | by Josh

Bracers are manly. A bracelet is just a small bracer, albeit one that won’t protect your forearms in a sword fight. Therefore bracelets can be manly.

Watches are becoming less common because our cellphones have a clock built in. Watches are status symbols. Not everyone is into status symbols.

Enter the Domo Beads Leather Band Bracelet, regularly priced at $27. A “leather bracelet [that’s] hand-tooled, conditioned, and dyed from top grade leather.” It’s a simple thing, but this accessory stands out in its simplicity.

I love this bracelet. I’ve had it for 6 months now, and I’ve only taken it off when I get in the shower or gone swimming in a pool or the ocean which has resulted in a nice patina on the leather.

Original (spot-on) product image

Domo Beads Leather Band Bracelet

6 month patina (showing the little of the nearly-original coloration by the fastener)

Domo Beads Leather Band Bracelet 6 months

Domo Beads ordering experience

I would order from them again, if you’re looking for me to cut to the chase.

What can I say besides it being pretty easy? It’s a small company, so the ordering process still felt like a small company. Time from order to shipment took a little longer than I’d like, but my delivery arrived eventually. They did a good-to-great job packaging and the product I received was exactly like I ordered.

The Conclusion

It’s aged well because it’s high quality leather and I’ve enjoyed watching the patina develop. Additionally, it’s gotten me a few nice compliments and even a hip coworker of mine went out of his way to buy his own he liked it so much, no joke.

If you’re thinking about a bracelet as a great, simple, alternative to wearing a watch every day then I’d highly recommend this leather band from Domo Beads.

//

Domo Beads didn’t pay us for this review with money or product. If they had paid us with money or given us free product we would tell you about it and you’d be super jealous.

So you like reviews? Check out the rest of our reviews!

Timex Weekender Review Banner
Accessories

Timex Weekender Watch with NATO Strap Review

March 9, 2016 | by Josh

Update 3/9: Amazon has these marked down to just $25! If you were tempted before, but decided not to pull the trigger, you’re inaction has been rewarded.

Get a Timex Weekender for $25 (was $30) >>

Original review published September 2015:

The Timex Weekender is a classic watch that is very versatile when you’re putting together outfits. Some folks swear by them, and others can’t stand how loud the ticking is! Well, here’s our take on this staple. Let’s do the Pro/Con thing!

 

Con: This watch ticks… loudly

The internet is filled with reviews like this one from the Woot forums:

Timex Weekender Noisy Review

Now this might get me detained by the Internet Police, but I think this watch is pretty quiet. Does the watch tick? Yes. Does it tick loudly? If I have my watch-arm under my head watching the TV late at night, yes I can hear it. Is it insufferable? Not in the least.

Now this all comes with a few caveats:

  1. I keep all of my watches in my drawer when I’m sleeping to keep the clutter down on my bedside table.
  2. As my friends can tell you, I’m deaf. It’s from too many punk rock shows growing up.
  3. I live downtown Chicago on a major street. My threshold for “loud” is higher than people living in rural areas.

If noise is a deal-breaker then you should be ignoring quartz watches and looking at automatics like the ubiquitous Seiko 5 if you’re going for the same look as the Timex Weekender without the noise. Or even quieter than that are smartwatches like the Apple Watch (for your iPhone), the Motorola 360 (for your Android + looks), or the Pebble Steel (for your Android + 7 day battery life).

For those of you that don’t require complete silence at all times, we’ll continue with our review!

 

Pro: NATO Straps are awesome

The Timex Weekender I bought came with a NATO Strap. If you’re unfamiliar with these, here’s the lead paragraph from Gear Patrol’s article on them:

Whether or not you know exactly what a NATO strap is, you’ve definitely seen one. A trend item that has aggressively taken hold of the watch industry, NATOs can be found on just about any watch, from $35 Timex Weekenders to $7,000 Rolex Submariners to $50,000 Patek Philippes. Some watch enthusiasts may scoff at the idea of putting a $15 strap on an expensive timepiece, but NATOs are a fun, functional and quickly interchangeable way to show off your watch.

NATO Straps

If you search for the Timex Weekender on Amazon you will come across a myriad of listings because of the different strap offerings.  It matters less which band you choose when you buy, and more that you can pick up handfuls of straps in the future that fit your watch and will match your outfits. Just search for 20mm NATO Straps and you can have the pick of the litter for about $15 a piece! They look sharp, feel great, and they take just seconds to swap out. I’m sold on the NATO strap.

 

Con: No date on the watchface

I’m used to looking at my Pebble Steel for the date. And my text/email/calendar notifications. And the weather. My other watch, a mechanical watch from Orient, doesn’t have notifications either but it does have the date. I didn’t realize how often I check my watch for the date until it wasn’t on my wrist any more. It’s a drag pulling my phone out of my pocket for something so trivial. I’m surprised how much it bothers me, landing the lack of date squarely in the “cons” category.

Timex Weekender Watchface

 

Pro: Indiglo

I’m old enough that I remember when Timex first started advertising Indiglo on their watches. Having Indiglo on my watch (this is my first Timex since I was a kid) was a real joy, and very useful. I was taken aback by how bright it is compared to my Pebble Steel! I can use it to help me look for my phone in the dark!

 

Con: It’s thick

This point is nitpicky: At 9mm it wears about as thick as my Pebble Steel (10.5mm) because the strap is a slip-through, meaning that the strap is between the watch and my skin. It is slimmer than my Orient watch but I was still hoping for something a little bit more sleek. I guess you can’t have everything.

Timex Weekender Thickness

Pro: It’s incredibly cheap

Right now it’s $30, and we’ve seen it on sale for even less than that! That’s an impulse-buy price-point for a watch. That’s inexpensive enough that you could buy backups. Instead of buying backups, though, you could buy a couple of 20mm NATO Straps and match your watch band to a number of outfits for less than you’d spend on any of the other watches we mentioned in this review!

 

Conclusion:

At $30 there’s no reason not to buy a Timex Weekender. If it’s too noisy, just put it in a drawer or gift it to someone on Christmas. Or listen to your music a little louder and damage your ears like me! I really do enjoy this watch. It’s nice having something that’s dressed-down compared to my Orient, but that isn’t as intrusive as the notifications on my smartwatch are. I also enjoy wearing things that I don’t mind if they get ruined. I have a feeling this watch will last a long time, but at $30 I won’t be devastated if I lose it. I’ll just buy another!

Get your own >>

//

Own this watch?  Did you have a different experience than I did? Do you think I’m deaf, or crazy? Leave a comment.  

Can’t get enough of reading reviews? Here’s another one for the Sperry Top-Sider Oxford shoe.

 

Baywood Tortoise Hybrid
Accessories

Baywood Hybrid Tortoise Sunglasses Review

March 2, 2016 | by Josh

The Baywood Hybrid Tortoise are the best sunglasses I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. I’ve had them for 7 months now, and it’s been a busy 7 months, so here’s my review.

I’m listening to the waves crash ashore in Mexico right now. I’ve had a few cervezas and I plan to have a few more, so lets get to the point here.  These sunglasses are tortoise frames with bamboo arms with Baywood etched into one arm and an anchor etched into the other. They’re sharp and preppy.

Baywood Tortoise Hybrid etched arm

Durability/Quality 10/10

I was concerned about the construction for no other reason than I had never purchased from the Baywood company before. I was pleasntly surprsied how well constructed these sunglasses are. These sunglasses have made it through trips to Vietnam and Mexico now with plenty of daily wear in between.  The lenses haven’t scratched even though they’ve dropped in the sand, and they have held up through being roughly packed and worn through a number of situations.

Sun Protection 10/10

I have very light blue eyes — I’ve had my eyes sunburned through normal pairs of sunglasses before. Polarization is a must. These glasses have kept my eyes safe all week with the sun beating down on me.

Comfort & Fit 10/10

They don’t fall off easily like my old Oakleys did.  I have a pretty big dome, and these glasses are tight but not-too-tight, comfortable without me having to worry about losing them on a scooter ride on the back roads of Vietnam.

Compliments 10/10

No joke, the wood + tortoise gets a lot of compliments. It’s nice to have an accessory like your sunglasses noticed.

Baywood Hybrid Tortoise etched arm anchor

Price 10/10

Pricier than gas station sunglasses, sure. But at $45, the quality of construction is there, and I’d put these in the same league as my Ray Bans or Oakleys, but for half / one-third the price.

Get your own Baywood Hybrid Tortoise sunglasses >>

Merrell Sole
Shoes

Merrell Freewheel Lace Shoe Review

February 24, 2016 | by Josh

This Merrell Freewheel Lace shoe review is both an initial review, and an update about 9 months into ownership. Feel free to read the whole thing, but if you just want to check out the updated portion then scroll on down to the bottom!

Why I initially picked these shoes last year

I recently moved to a big city where I’m more reliant on walking and public transportation than driving. I have a pair of Reef Deckhand 2 boat shoes that I’ve loved, but they get soggy in the rain and I wore through the sole in after a couple of weeks of heavy walking. So I needed a new pair of shoes.

I knew what I was looking for: shoes that can withstand heavy walking and a little biking in any weather. I want them to be casual and comfy enough for my style but also toned-down enough so that I can wear them to work without looking like I just finished a workout.

I instantly gravitated towards Merrell’s shoes. I’m an avid outdoorsman, and I’ve had the same pair of Merrell mid hiking boots for over a decade. I wanted that kind of reliability and durability in a shoe.

Merrell Freewheel Lace

I decided on the Merrell Freewheel Lace in the Goose finish. On arrival, they were chunkier-looking than I expected. I immediately swapped out the round navy laces that were reminiscent of most camping footwear and swapped in a pair of flat white laces like you’d find on most sneakers. When I strapped them on, I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were compared to my old boat shoes.

How I felt after owning them for two weeks (rating 6/10)

  1. They are really comfortable, even if I’m putting on 5-10 miles in a day
  2. They hold up well in the rain
  3. My feet don’t overheat in the summer sun
  4. My wife really likes them
  5. I really dislike they way they look from above

That last point kills me.  These shoes have so much going for them, but if you’re a golfer you’ll understand the idea of loving or hating how your club looks at address. Even if the club is perfectly fine, your feelings about the club “looking funny” when addressing the ball negatively impacts your ability to hit great shots consistently. It may sound silly at first, but psychological factors are still factors.

The toebox looks chunky from above (the view that only you get of your shoes), and every time I look at the shoes when I’m wearing them all that I can think of is a pair of Crocs. When did I turn into Mario Batali? I took a picture (below) and now even I think I’m crazy. I can’t see it in the picture, but when I glance at my shoes right now in person I can see it. Gah! Crocs!

Merrell Freewheel Lace Top

I love almost everything else about these shoes. The Merrell Freewheel Lace was logically the correct decision, and I’m going to keep wearing them because of that. Even though I, illogically, despise how they look when I look down at them (except when I look at a photo of how they look). Maybe I’ll gain some weight so I can’t see my feet quite so easily. Or maybe I should just get over it.

How I feel now, after 9 months (rating 8/10)

These shoes are bombproof. It helps that I waxed them this past fall at the same time I was waxing my boots. They were water repellent when I got them, but now they are waterproof. They’re great for those slushy Chicago days when I want to wear sneakers into the office but I don’t want to deal with wet socks all day.

Merrell Freewheel Lace Waxed

As you can see, the shoes ended up darker (as you’d imagine) so I threw the round navy laces on them that originally came with the shoes. At this point I treat them like comfortable, lightweight low-top boots. They’re still not the sexiest shoes I’ve ever owned, but they’re wonderfully utilitarian! The sole wear is also minimal compared to how many miles I’ve put on them.

It’s hard to get a picture of the luster they have now. They’re not dull any longer, they’re not glossy either, but they’re obviously waxed. Perhaps a better photographer than I could have captured that.

I’d buy these again. I like they way they look better than most technical hiking shoes, but they’ve held up just as well. The comfort, durability, & utility of these shoes over time is the reason I bumped my review up to an 8/10

They haven’t come down in price, probably due to the quality construction.

>> Pick them up at Amazon for $109 or Zappos for $110

//

Merrell didn’t pay us for this review, nor did they give us free gear. If they had I would have told you, and you would be jealous. Hit us up on Twitter, Merrell! 

If you’ve never waxed your old shoes or boots check out this video. Basically: Clean the leather, repair it if needed, saturate the leather with water, apply your wax (I used Nikwax, hence the video below), wipe off the excess, allow the boot/shoe to dry completely before use.

 

Sennheiser HD 598
Tech

Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones [Review]

February 17, 2016 | by Josh

I picked up the Sennheiser HD 598s about a month ago because I felt it was time to invest in a pair of headphones that could carry me through the next decade. The Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are certainly that pair of headphones, though there’s a caveat to that statement that I’ll get to in a bit. The Sennheiser HD 598s can regularly be picked up at retail for $150, and in gently scratched boxes from Amazon Warehouse for $100. That Amazon Warehouse price is what got me to finally pull the trigger!

Why new headphones?

I was frustrated with the bass response of my comfiest pair of headphones, also my cheapest pair of headphones, the Sennheiser HD 201 (on Amazon for around $20, no joke). The Sennheiser HD 201 is a great headphone for the money, don’t get me wrong. They are a huge upgrade over your cellphone-manufacturer-issued earbuds, but they don’t deliver what you’d call a rich cinematic experience.

I was also frustrated by my Sol Republic On-Ear headphones. I wear glasses and the on-ear headphones press my ear against the arm of my glasses and into my head. If I wear the headphones for over an hour they start hurting, which is a no-go for gaming sessions or airplane rides.

Why the Sennheiser HD 598?

The Sennheiser 598s are regularly suggested for their excellent soundstage at their original $250 price, much less at their reduced $150 retail. You can now imagine my glee when I found them for just $100 at Amazon Warehouse, which seems to be a regular thing now!

Sennheiser HD 598 two

My Review

Sound stage: 5/5: Holy crap I can tell where the bad guys are coming from now when I’m playing an FPS! I always though everyone else was better at using their radar than me or something, always knowing that I was sneaking up behind them. Nope! Now I’m a psychic, too!

Sound: 3/5: Really excellent highs, mids, and lows compared to any other headphones I have. The sound on these headphones is more similar to that coming out of my (too expensive) home theater setup than what I’d expect from headphones. Why 3/5 then? Here’s the caveat: They’re open-back headphones. That means that I can hear everything going on around me. And if I want to drown out that sound by turning up my volume? I have to let everyone else hear what I’m listening to loud and clear. My wife will laugh at the YouTube videos I’m watching at an unreasonable volume when she’s across the room, which is no-bueno for trying to rock-out in a work environment.

Design Quality: 5/5: There’s a weight and an attention to small details that makes these feel like quality headphones. They feel very fancy compared to my Sennheiser HD 201s, which now feel like cheap plastic (they were only $20 after all).

Comfort: 5/5: The Senn 598s are far comfier than my Sol Republic on-ear headphones. They’re also comfier than the Sennheiser HD 201s. The cloth padding cover instead of the pleather makes a big difference when I’m working/gaming/flying for more than 8 hours and don’t want to take my heaphones off.

Sennheiser HD 598 padding

Value: 5/5: I’d pick these up again for $150, and I’m pleased-as-punch that I got them for just $100. Great bang for the buck!

Bonus: The Sennheiser HD 598’s cable is replaceable via one end that locks into the earpiece. It comes with 2 cables, one 3 meter cable and one 1.2 meter cable. That means that I can leave my 6 foot cable plugged into my desktop at home (and have it properly routed so that it’s out of the way for gaming), and take the 3+ foot cable on the train to work. It’s easy, and the locking mechanism feels very high quality. I was impressed!

Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD 598s are the best headphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. While the open-back design results in significant sound leakage, it just means I have to be careful with my volume on public transport and at work with my volume levels. My mom would be proud that I’m keeping my music quiet now. I do have these headphones at work, so even the open back isn’t hampering my usage of the headphones.

>> Check out if Amazon has the Sennheiser HD 598 on scratch & dent sale for $100

>> Otherwise pick up brand-new Sennheiser HD 598 headphones for $150

Smartwool header
Accessories, Clothing

Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Socks Review

February 3, 2016 | by Josh

To celebrate a new job, I decided to overhaul my sock drawer with Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Socks (and undies from Uniqlo). I feel like I’m treating my feet like royalty every day!

Why Smartwool?

I’ve had a few pair of Smartwool socks for the past decade. I’ve loved their thinner socks because it avoids the “mushy” feel that Smartwool’s cushioned socks have. Even though their ultra thin socks are really thin, they’re still a Merino wool blend. That means that they’re warm, as well as doing a great job keeping your feet dry. That coupled with how comfortable they are makes for happy feet!

The two different types of Smartwool socks I picked up were as follows: Smartwool PhD Ultra Light socks are just a little bit thinner than what I’d consider to be normal* sock thickness. The Smartwool PhD Light (no Ultra) socks are closest to normal* sock thickness.

*Normal sock thickness is hereby defined as the thickness of the ubiquitous Hanes crew socks sold at department stores everywhere.

Let’s get a little dorky about what makes these socks great

These socks also have what Smartwool calls the “4 degree elite fit system” which “uses two elastics for greater stretch and recovery.” That’s the crisscross pattern across the top of the foot, and it no-joke keeps the sock material taught around your foot on even your longest, most high-impact days and even if your foot ends up drenched by accidentally stepping in a puddle. Even on my soggiest commute days my feet are much happier wearing my Smartwool socks than any of the cotton socks that I own. Plus (or maybe, more importantly) the criss-cross pattern looks sweet!

Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Detail

Additionally the socks have “ReliaWool” technology which makes the sock material very durable in the high-impact areas. That includes the ball & heel of your foot, as well as around your ankle where your shoe/boot will rub.

I know, I’m sounding like an advertisement. The thing is that Smartwool isn’t fucking around with their fabric mixes or the technology they’re putting in their socks, and I’m 100% on board!

The Verdict

Great reliable fit.

Thin, but still warm.

Wick moisture better than any sock I’ve ever worn.

The Smartwool PhD Ultra Light socks are wonderful. I see no point in buying any other socks.

Keep an eye on Sierra Trading Post for deals and act fast when you favorite size/fit is available.

Buying advice:

  • Their crew socks are great for wearing with pants
  • Their micro socks are no-see-ums with my NB 501s.
  • Their mid crew are a very awkward height. You’ll see my pale-ass leg if I’m wearing pants and I cross my legs wearing them. That’s a no go for me.

The Caveat

The Internet, as you may know, is much hotter on Darn Tough socks than Smartwool. Anecdotally, I prefer Smartwool, but I get it if you want to go with the consensus on this one. I think we can all agree though that loading up on Smartwool OR Darn Tough socks is a much better use of your money than spending any more money on crappy cotton socks!

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Disclaimer: Smartwool didn’t pay me or give me free stuff for my review. I wish they did, but they didn’t. If they had offered I would have accepted it and told you about that too. You’d be jealous AF.

Uniqlo Airsim
Clothing

Uniqlo Airism Boxer Brief Review

January 27, 2016 | by Josh

I treated myself to an upgraded underwear drawer to celebrate a new job, and I decided to go with Uniqlo’s Airism Boxer Briefs. I’m not happy with my decision.

I’ve loved my pairs of Smartwool boxer briefs. They’re 100% Merino wool. If you’re keeping up on your base layer fabrics, you’ll know that it’s great at wicking moisture away from the skin. Smartwool did a great job making their boxers ultra-thin too, minimizing the warming nature of the Merino wool. Why didn’t I go with a full drawer of Smartwool boxers then? I thought I’d be clever and find something more affordable than $60 boxers (though they are on sale for just $37 from Backcountry.com at the time that I’m writing this).

The Uniqlo Airism boxer briefs have been recommended by men’s style blogs for years. With those high recommendations, and the fact that they’re just $12 a pop, how could I go wrong? Let’s walk through the good and the bad.

The Good

The Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs are silky smooth to the touch — both with your hands and on your unmentionables. The cut gives you a great fit (I got mediums for my 5’10, 180 lb. skinny-fat frame). They also make my ass look great. And not just according to me, my wife even said so!

Uniqlo Airsim 2

The Bad

They’re warm. It’s winter in Chicago and they’re still warm. The fault is partly the fabric (they keep my legs warm), and partly the making-my-ass-look-great (compression-based swamp-ass is a thing).

They’re a polyester/Spandex 90%/10% blend, or so they say. I have 2 blue, 2 grey, and 2 black pairs and the fabric of each is slightly different in fit and feel though they all behave the same. Polyester is supposed to be cooler than wool and wick moisture as well. All three different colors and fabrics insulate the heat and moisture with very little wicking action compared to my Smartwool boxers.

The Verdict

The combination of the boxers keeping me warm (too warm) and the lack of moisture wicking compared to my other boxers will keep the Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs on the B team of my underwear drawer. They may get occasional wear because I like they way they look and feel, but because of the discomfort caused by the heat and moisture build-up over time, there’s no way I can regularly wear them.

I’ll keep the boxers I have (because who returns underwear, really?) but I will not recommend the Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs to anyone, nor will I buy any more for myself.

I’m keeping an eye out for future sales on the Smartwool Boxer Briefs. They are amazing, and I should have bitten the bullet to purchase them in the first place. Shame on me for trying to save a buck when my family jewels are on the line! Honestly, I’d rather wear my standard Jockey boxer briefs (about $30 for a 3 pack) than the Uniqlo Airism.

And next time, I’ll buy a test pair when contemplating an addition to the team.

//

Please contact me directly if you’d like my used underwear. I’m sure that we can work something out.

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Clothing, Life

Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket Review

January 6, 2016 | by Paul

I picked up a Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket during a recent one-day sale. And I really like it.

The thing is very, very light. So light that the only bad reviews are about it being lighter than last year’s version.

Me? I don’t care. It’s exactly what I want — something I can stuff in my backpack and throw on when it’s cold and/or windy. I’ve worn it while the weather’s dipped into the higher 40s and been perfectly comfortable. On top of a sweater and paired with gloves, I’ve been more than warm-enough during my Chicago commute this winter. That tune may change if temps start dropping consistently below 20. It’s deceiving though. The thing is so lightweight and windproof that it’s easy to forget how warm it is. I’ve worn it on a bunch of too-warm days during this surprisingly-warm December when I should have just thrown on my fleece.

Gripes? The zipper is on the “wrong” side. But I can get used to that. Evidently, that’s an American zipper thing. The things you learn on the Google … you can also nerd-out on fill weights over here.

But other than that … I even like that the pockets zip up from the bottom (so an incomplete zip still prevents your change or keys from spilling out). Not every jacket does that. The fit is nice and trim too. And not every jacket is this price. The competition starts at $100+.

Good news is that they’re still on sale today.

Want one? Free shipping starts at $50.

Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket, $70 (was $80)

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SPRZ NY Men’s Light Down Hooded Jacket, $100

Uniqlo SPRZ NY Light Down Hooded Jacket

Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Quilted Vest, $40 (was $60)

Uniqlo Mens Ultra Light Down Quilted Vest

Shop more Uniqlo sale items here >>