The Coolest Pieces of Gear We Tested This Week

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Here at Men’s Journal, we test a slew of different products for our job—and everyday life. Here, with no particular theme, is the gear we love this week. We think you will, too.

 

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Vans SK8-Mid Reissue Ghillie MTE

Fall’s never long enough. We go from blissfully brisk to dreadfully dark, wet, and frigid so damn quickly, it pays to invest in kicks that can transcend the seasons. Vans’ SK8-Mid Reissue Ghillie is a new addition to their All-Weather MTE family, taking inspiration from more traditional hiking shoes. We love the laces—a nod to backpacking boots—and weather-resistant leather upper. You get the richness in color and cool, casual aesthetic with all the protection you need against rain, snow, and anything else that blows your way. Our favorite features: vulcanized lug outsoles for added grip; padded collars for added comfort and support; and a toasty added layer between the sockliner and outsole for added warmth once winter settles in. [$95; vans.com]

Lego Voltron
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Lego Voltron
If you were in grade school in the mid-80’s you understood, once summer was over, your Saturday mornings were a one-two punch of sugary cereal and cartoons. For me, it was Trix and Voltron—with a healthy dose of ThunderCats and Transformers thrown in. Earlier this summer when Lego announced they were releasing a Voltron I had mixed feelings: Would the build really replicate the joy I experienced when playing with five lions that joined forces to become the defender of the universe? Spoiler: It sure does. I assembled the lions, and all 2,321 pieces in the set, over a three-week span. While Voltron isn’t part of the brand’s more involved Technic line, it’s a satisfying build that has some really interesting structural components that help hold this massive robot together. We appreciate how the arms and legs join the main body (it’s an interesting click-fit system) as well as the detail on the sword. Sure, there are some parts I’d nitpick about: the heads on most of the lions don’t rotate, the black lion’s missing a lower jaw and the scale of the legs is a little weird. But if you grew up forming a blazing sword in front of the tube, this will feel like more than a toy. [$179; lego.com]

Adidas Ultraboost
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Adidas Ultraboost

Finding a solid pair of running shoes shouldn’t be that difficult—but it is. From shoes that are too loose, too tight, too thin, or just uncomfortable, it’s tough to find something “just right” for your feet. So I was pretty excited when I tried out the Adidas Ultraboost and found they were not just extremely comfortable, but easy to run in. Before I used them, a friend told me that wearing them would be like “walking on marshmallows”. After pounding the pavement—and track… and trail…—and playing some basketball, I can say with certainty that my friend was absolutely right. The shoes are form-fitting, soft underfoot, but still supportive and sturdy. An added bonus: They’re stylish, too. [$180; adidas.com]

Wicked Audio Shred 2 Wireless Sport Earbuds
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Shred 2 Wireless Sport Earbuds from Wicked Audio

As an avid gym-goer and (less than enthusiastic) commuter, I find myself wearing headphones more often than not. These budget-friendly buds exceeded my expectations in both sound and comfort. The sound quality is more than sufficient, but my favorite feature on these earbuds is the “neck-lock technology.” The rechargeable battery and controls sit on the front of your chest, with a magnetic clasp in the back keeping them secure. It keeps the weight of the battery from weighing down the buds. They feel weightless, even after an hour-long or treadmill run. [$54.99, wickedaudio.com]

Astral Loyak water shoe
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Astral Loyak water shoe
Relying on sandals or flip-flops is never a good idea when kayaking. When I’m scaling wet, slimy rocks while carrying a 10-foot boat I need a secure grip. When I took Astral’s Loyak water shoes on a recent trip it was more for the traction and the promise of fast draining than the looks. The canvas uppers are treated to repel water and the tongue and area above the toes are a stretchy mesh that won’t trap water. The rubber outsole has 3mm lugs for a secure grip on wet docks, ladders, and boats. They’re comfortable enough to wear on land, too. I wore them during a trip to the grocery store and a post-paddle cookout. They do trap sand, but the insole is removable and a quick rinse with a hose, or dunk in the water, is all you need to get back in business. [$85; astraldesigns.com]



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