Reviews

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Renew Crater Review

The most sustainable Chucks ever

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Today we’re looking at a really special sneaker — its the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Renew Crater. As you can guess from the name, it is a sustainably made shoe as part of Nike’s Move to Zero initiative.

These actually dropped in North America back in July 23rd, but they only just went on shelves here in Asia, available in Converse stores in Malaysia and Singapore and online at Lazada.

Sustainability is the way to go

The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Crater is a complete re-imagining of the classic Chuck Taylor 70 silhouette, but with completely new and updated recycled materials.

The entire shoe uses at least 40 percent recycled materials by weight.

The midsole is made entirely out of Nike’s Crater foam which is made from 12% recycled rubber. That recycled rubber comes from Nike Grind, which is made from recycled surplus manufacturing materials.

Meanwhile the upper inherits from Converse’s Renew initiative, and is made out of a new material called Morphlon. It combines recycled polyester with industrial textile waste scraps to create a material that feels like classic canvas.

Converse’s popular Renew line has always been a personal favorite of mine in the way they use recycled materials. It gets a nice little jumpstart thanks to Nike’s Move to Zero initiative and the use of the new crater foam.

The Converse Craters might not have the same hype as Nike’s Sustainably made Space Hippie Collection when they dropped, but I really think these are one of the most interesting takes on the Chuck Taylor 70s in a while.

They come in three colorways right now, there’s the Charcoal Chambray Blue, which is the one I’m checking out.

Then there’s the White/Chambray Blue which looks okay, and then there’s the Black Chambray Blue which is my personal favorite of the three.

ICYMI: Nike owns Converse now

Starting from the box, I have to admit it’s still weird seeing the Nike branding on a Converse box.

It’s the same Nike Move to Zero Box you’d get with any of Nike’s Move to Zero shoes, like the Space Hippies, the Air Jordan 1 Crater, or any of the new Air Force 1 Craters as well.

Only difference here is the Converse branding. I feel like this box is going to be very confusing for people that don’t know that Nike owns Converse, so imagine you head into a store and buy this shoe and get a Nike box.

It’s weird but I’m guessing Nike was hoping that the branding power of their Move to Zero initiative would give some hype to this shoe. That’s why the Nike branding has been used on the box.

Materials and design

Coming to the shoes themselves, the first thing you notice when you take them out of the box is how crazy light they are. Usually with a pair of Chuck Taylor 70s you expect some amount of weight but these, they’re just so light. It’s crazy.

Starting with the upper, the Morphlon material feels smooth, like canvas, but is made from a blend of recycled polyester and waste scraps, putting old materials to new use.

As you might already know, Morphlon is a 100% recycled blend composed of 50% recycled polyester and 50% recycled post-industrial waste scraps.

It actually feels and looks pretty great, in this Chambray Greyish color here.

Snazzed up Chucks

Like all Chuck Taylor 70s, the lateral side has a clean, minimalist look while the medial side has the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star badge which also seems to be made out of recycled materials.

The lateral side also has these two ventilation holes at the bottom of the mid-panel to help with breathability, with a little bit of white stitching around it to give this area a bit more structure.

Moving on to the toe box area…

The toe cap is one of the most iconic parts of the Chuck Taylor 70s and the reinterpretation here looks a little weird admittedly.

They’ve given the toe cap an unfinished kind of look which you’ll either love or hate but the material on the toecap, which is also the material used for the eyestays, is 85% recycled, which is awesome.

Moving upwards, you’ll see that the eyestays also have this textile overlay in a unique unfinished rough design to them, almost seemingly broken up into three sections by this orange stitching.

This is different from the usual minimalist metal eyestays you’d see on a usual pair of Chuck Taylors.

The webbing and stitching you see around here is all 100% recycled as well. Apart from that, you’ll see these charcoal colored flat laces weaving through the eye stays.

Underneath the laces, there’s the tongue which is made from the same recycled canvas material as the rest of the upper, with this white pull tap nylon piece on top. that has the Converse logo branding in different orientations, and “2020” stitched on.

This pull tap fabric on the tongue seems a little unnecessary to me but I’m not sure if it’s here for just aesthetic reasons or whether it was necessary to hold the laces in place.

Coming to the inside of the shoe…

There’s a 100% recycled dark grey mesh sockliner, with a neon green cushioned ortholite insole that is 20% recycled, and looks very similar to the one on the Nike Space Hippies.

Apart from that, coming to the back of the shoe, you have this orange stitching that is done throughout the back that I think is supposed to simulate a heel cup.

There’s a tiny bit of reinforced material here as well, so this section is a little stiff to ensure no heel slippage.

At the back of the shoe, you’ll see more of that white stitching that runs up the sneaker towards the white pull-tab on the heel that has black stitching.

That entire upper sits on a full length Nike Crater Foam midsole that is shaped to look exactly like the midsole on a pair of Chuck Taylor Highs.

Crater foam holding things down

We’ve seen Crater foam used on several of Nike’s sustainable series of shoes, from the Space Hippies to the Jordan Crater, the Air Jordan 1 High Crater, the VaporMax 2020, and even the more recent Air Force 1 Craters.

Nike’s Crater foam basically uses about 12% Nike Grind rubber for a lightweight and responsive cushioning. Nike Grind materials are created from recycled athletic footwear and surplus manufacturing scraps.

So basically, they’re taking all leftover materials from outsoles and midsoles in the manufacturing process. They grind them all up together and create the Nike Grind Rubber that is used in the Crater Form in this midsole and outsole.

A fun little bonus of this process is that no two midsoles will ever be the same because of the sheer amount of different recycled materials used with all these different speckles of materials.

What I love about the implementation here is that instead of the vulcanized midsole you’d see on a usual pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars, you have this one piece Crater form that is shaped exactly like the midsole on a standard pair of Chucks.

Even moving downwards, the thread pattern on the outsole is exactly the same as a standard pair of Chucks, with the Converse All Star branding.

It’s just so awesome and so well done.

But the main advantage here is that instead of the usual flat kind of feeling you’d get from a standard pair of All Stars, with the All Star Craters you have a really lightweight pair of shoes that also feels a lot more flexible, plush, and responsive compared to the flat stiff cushioning you’re used to getting from All Stars.

Granted its not Nike React or Adidas Boost levels of cushioning but it’s much better than a standard pair of Chucks, which makes these probably the most comfortable pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars you’d ever wear.

Which was a fun surprise because I really did not expect much from these shoes.

Fit and sizing 

Coming to sizing and fit, these fit the same as any other pair of Chuck Taylor All Star Highs.

All Star highs generally tend to fit a little large so you’d want to go down half a size for sure. For example I’m a UK 11 but I generally go down to a size UK10.5 for All Star Highs.

Of course, the best way to know for sure is to head on over to a store and try out a pair.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

All in all, I think Converse has actually done a great job with the All Star Craters.

As a huge Converse fan, from a purist point of view I will admit that there’s a few things I wish they did not do here. The orange stitching at the back for example, to simulate a heel cup, is a little out there. Maybe if they used a more subtle muted color, or just left that area alone, it would have been a much cleaner shoe.

Honestly, I’m just not a fan of the little orange stitching everywhere, so it’s mostly just the color choices, maybe. But I get that they were going for a more unfinished look here.

From a comfort point of view…

You guys have to check out this shoe. If you’re a fan of the Chuck Taylor All Star Highs and you want a more comfortable version, this is where it’s at.

It’s quite impressive how Converse and Nike made such a lightweight shoe here. With the soft recycled materials used and the soft Crater foam, it’s just way more comfortable to wear than a standard pair.

I just wish that maybe they made a more purist version but that’s just me.

I also feel like a low top version of these shoes would just be crazy popular.

These do seem to be sitting in stores though so if you want to know what I’m talking about, just head on over to a Converse Store to try out a pair and let me know what you think about them.

At the end of the day, the Chuck Taylor All Star Craters are Converse’s most sustainable shoe ever. They are literally reducing the carbon footprint of footwear manufacturing.

I’m really hoping these shoes catch on. Maybe if Converse makes a more purist looking version because that might catch on really well, and more people switch to that shoe instead of the standard All Stars which almost everyone has.

Now that might actually make a huge impact for sustainable footwear.

Reviews

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Review: Pro Enough?

How does it set itself apart from the rest of the line?

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While the similarities between Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are less distinct than ever, the iPhone 12 Pro sets itself apart enough. Other than that, consumers got more confused with the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max on the line.

Are you curious to know if the iPhone 12 Pro is your GadgetMatch this 2020?

You can find out more in our iPhone 12 Pro review by clicking this link.

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Reviews

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Superstar Shoes Review

Walk in Miles’ shoes

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For those of you that might have bought the Spider-Man: Miles Morales game you may have noticed that it appears that Miles has switched allegiance.

From the sweet Air Jordan 1 Highs that he famously rocked on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film to this — a new pair of black and red Adidas Superstars that he wears in the game.

This has been super controversial, both in the sneaker community and the comic book community as well to an extent. Like many others, I agree that the Jordans were a part of Miles and the story line of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

But here’s a thing — this is the 2020 game. It’s a completely different story line to the 2018 animated movie.

So as much as it might be painful to see Miles sporting something other than his Jordans, think of this as Miles from another universe — because that’s really what he is. A universe where he just so happens to be a huge three-stripe fan.

The Spider-Man Miles Morales Superstars dropped this November 19th for US$ 75 in the US.

Unspectacular box

Starting with the box — it’s disappointing to see that Adidas keeps slacking off when it comes to the unboxing experience. They had a chance to create a really cool box for this collab, but nope, we have the usual blue Superstar box.

Opening it up, you have the usual Superstar wrapping paper, and the shoes, with the usual Superstar size tag and this Marvel Gamer verse tag.

Coming to the shoe itself and starting with the toe box, you have the usual Superstar Shell Toe, that’s in a black color here instead of the usual white color.

Moving along the upper of the shoe, it’s in a red leather material with the Adidas Three Stripes on the side in a black color.

This black and red design is supposed to be a nod to the Spidey suit that Miles Morales wears in the game.

Above the black three stripes on the mid-panel you’ll see the word “SUPERSTAR” in black to the side of it.

Coming to the top of the shoe you’ll see the usual Superstar regular lacing system with these flat black laces. Unfortunately, no extra pair of laces here.

You’ll also notice a tiny black lace tag here with the PlayStation symbol. Since this awesome game is only available on PS4 and PS5.

Miles Morales Superstar

Moving on, underneath the laces you have this black leather tongue which seems to have a bit more padding than usual. This is to make them feel even more comfortable on feet, compared to a usual superstar.

At the top of the tongue is the usual branding tag with the Adidas trefoil branding. It’s in this red black on the back leather, keeping in theme with Miles’ Spider-Man suit.

Coming to the inside of the shoe, you’ll notice the Marvel branding on the inside of the tongue, along with a black leather sockliner that feels pretty good against your feet.

There’s the usual Adidas superstar outsole, this time in a black synthetic leather with the Adidas branding in a red color towards the heel.

And then lastly, coming to the back of the shoe you have the usual Superstar heel tab but this has the Spider-Man logo in black and red occupying the heel tab.

Miles Morales Superstar

I know Adidas did this to give it some Spider-Man feel… 

because as you probably noticed there’s not a lot of it on the rest of the shoe, apart from the Miles Morales suit colors used.

Below that you have the same red synthetic leather material as the rest of the upper.

Moving on, that entire upper sits on the usual Superstar rubber midsole. But this time instead of the usual white rubber midsole and outsole, we get this black rubber midsole with this lining of the red outsole below it.

And then, coming to the bottom of the shoe, you have this red rubber outsole in the usual superstar thread pattern.

That’s about it in terms of design.

Fit and sizing

Coming to fit and sizing, the Adidas Superstars tend to fit true to size but Adidas sizing is pretty unpredictable.

I feel like these fit just like any other pair of superstars, true to size but if you have wide feet like I do, I definitely recommend going up half a size.

For example I’m a size UK 11 so I wanted to go up to a UK 11.5. Unfortunately, there were no half sizes available so I went up to a size UK 12. It fits okay but I have a bit more room in the toe box area than I’d like.

In terms of comfort, honestly it kinda feels like every other pair of Adidas Superstars but slightly more comfortable because of that well padded tongue. When it comes to cushioning, it’s a rather stiff, flat kind of feeling underfoot since there’s really not too much going on there..

But, to its credit, it is a very stable shoe and it’s pretty durable. So if you want a really stylish pair of everyday sneakers, and you’re okay with how the Superstars feel underfoot, this is a pretty solid option to check out.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

As much as I know that these are supposed to look exactly like the shoes Miles wears in the game, I have to admit, I’m kind of a little disappointed.

I just feel like there’s more they could have done, with the color blocking and the PlayStation and Spider-Man logos. They could have also, at least, made the box in the Miles Morales Black and Red colors.

Miles Morales Superstar

I feel like these are shoes made for kids, who would love to wear what Miles Morales is wearing in the game, which is totally okay. Granted, Miles was actually wearing mid-top Superstars in some suits, but it looks like the physical versions are only available in low-tops.

But these are not really for the same crowd of comic book nerds like me who would have copped the Jordan 1 Origin Story, which I feel was much nicer put together.

But then again, maybe this is the best that Adidas’ designers would come up with after talking to Marvel, Sony, and Insomniac Games who had to produce the same shoe in the game as well.

Miles Morales Superstar

At the end of the day, if you want to wear the same shoes as the coolest Spider-Man, here ya go. They’re comfortable, they stand out, and if you’re a Spider-Man Miles Morales fan, you’re going to love these.

Plus how cool is it to wear the same shoes as the in-game Miles, right?

SEE ALSO: Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS4 Review

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Lifestyle

MOK & MOK Mini review: Smoking just got smoke-free!

The future of tobacco?!

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MOK Mini

Government warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.
The following is intended for readers 18+

Over the past decade, we’ve seen various changes in the smoking and tobacco industry. Technology played a key role in developing new ways of smoking that, surprisingly, people are adopting. From traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices emerged.

The revolution doesn’t stop, seeing how Heat-not-Burn (HnB) devices arrived. This innovation is setting the stage for a smoke-free smoking experience. Such an example is MOK — which is now conquering Asia and Europe.

A bit of history, MOK arrived last 2019 in the Philippines. With a disturbing issue in second-hand smoking, the arrival of this HnB device was promising for the archipelago. I’ve always wanted to test it, but it was only a year later when I got my hands on MOK’s revolutionary devices: MOK and MOK Mini.

MOK

The first HnB device MOK offers… is named MOK. It’s a split device comprised of a holder (which I call a heating stick for sticks) and a pocket-sized charger where you can insert the holder for charging and safekeeping.

MOK Mini

The unit I have came in Navy Blue with gold accents. However, its shade of Navy Blue looks like Onyx in most circumstances. Nonetheless, it came in a matte finish for an easy grip.

The combination of gold accents and matte finish made it look fancy, allowing MOK to evoke a classy and luxurious appeal. It complemented my accessories and didn’t look out-of-place when placed together with my Playboy Clutch bag.

Using MOK is pretty straightforward. Simply insert its specially-designed COO sticks in the holder, then press the button for two seconds to turn it on. The light will turn blue and blink to tell you it’s turned on.

Once the blue light stopped blinking, it will start the heating process. Afterward, the light indicator will turn from blue to red to signify that it’s safe for you to start using the device. MOK makes it easy for you by vibrating every time the mode changes, so you don’t have to count or wonder when it’s ready to use.

When the light indicator is gone, that’s when you know the holder needs to recharge. The holder can last up to four minutes. This is where the pocketable charger comes in handy — to allow you to consume up to 20 sticks if it’s at 100% capacity, which can last for one hour and 40 minutes. That is if you’re a heavy smoker.

From my own and my smoker friends’ experience, we got lazy to charge the holder every time we need to consume a new stick. The laziness that comes can make or break the smoker’s experience: either we learn how to reduce consuming more than one stick, or we go back to using traditional cigarettes.

What’s in the box?

MOK comes in a fancy box. Inside is a pocket charger, a holder, 10 cleaning sticks, a cleaning brush, a micro USB charging cable, an instruction manual, and a quick how-to guide.

MOK Mini

MOK Mini is the smaller version of MOK, which makes it more pocketable than its sibling. It can easily slide to pretty much anything, which makes it perfect for my girl friend who doesn’t like carrying anything that won’t fit in her compact sling bag.

MOK Mini

It’s currently the smallest HnB device available, working smartly to deliver the same satisfying flavorful experience. It preheats faster at just 12 seconds while allowing you to consume up to 12 sticks at 100 percent battery capacity. Every stick can be experienced for at least 4 minutes, so you can do the math.

Just kidding, we don’t like to do the math. The MOK Mini lasts for less than an hour in continuous usage. It doesn’t come with a separate charger so its battery life can be easily depleted. Although, it charges fairly quickly for an hour and a half using its USB-C cable.

What’s in the box?

MOK Mini comes in a smaller box. Inside, you can find MOK Mini, a MOK cleaning brush, a USB-C charging cable, and a quick how-to guide.

Heat, not burn! What’s the process like?

MOK Mini

Both devices use MOK’s proprietary Heatmaster system — a cutting-edge technology designed to heat specially-designed tobacco, instead of burning it. It’s a flavorful experience similar to traditional cigarette smoking, only without the smoke produced.

When there’s no smoke, you get to puff the nicotine to yourself without inhaling harmful chemicals passing toxins (created by smoke) into an innocent individual near you. In essence, the non-combustible process made MOK’s promise true: a smoke-free, enjoyable experience.

The future of tobacco?

MOK is exclusively enjoyed with COO — specially-designed Heat-Not-Burn sticks that offer the same tobacco experience. It uses real tobacco leaves and comes in three variants: Golden Hue for a balanced, classic tobacco taste; Blue Hue for a refreshing hit of menthol; and New Wave Capsule, mint with a bit of lime.

If you’re wondering if you can use existing cigarettes in the market, no, they won’t fit. I tried it first-hand out of curiosity. Although, having MOK and using exclusive sticks made it feel like I’m part of an exclusive community — of casual and heavy smokers switching to an alternative with lesser risks.

In some countries, HnB devices are being used to swing heavy smokers into consuming less. For MOK, they aim to capture the existing smokers as their market, to help make the world smoke-free, one smoker at a time. They don’t even sell to consumers who aren’t smokers.

The goal is simple: reduce smoke and then hopefully quit someday. Slowly, but surely. If this is the future of tobacco, then it’s a future worth considering.

Maybe one day, second-hand smoke will be a thing of the past and all we have are battered lungs of smokers who really don’t have it in them to quit. Just kidding. Or maybe not.

Is the Mok Mini your GadgetMatch?

MOK and MOK Mini offers an alternative to smokers wanting to reduce their tobacco consumption and hopefully quit one day. For others, these HnB devices allow them to enjoy a guilt-free tobacco experience: no more second-hand smoke for other people. Yay?

For the right reason, MOK and MOK Mini makes for a revolutionizing accessory. The two HnB devices’ differences in size, battery capacity, and design can surely fit any smoker’s lifestyle. Here’s to hoping it can pave the way to a better future.

MOK Mini

MOK and MOK Mini is available in Japan, Korea, Maldives, and European Countries.

In the Philippines, MOK and MOK Mini retails for PhP 3,490 and PhP 2,490 respectively. Its COO HnB sticks are priced at PhP 120 for a pack and PhP 1,200 for a ream. It is currently available at MOK specialty kiosks in Eastwood Mall, MetL!ve, SM North EDSA, SM Manila, and SM Sta Mesa.

You can get it online through MOK’s official stores in LazMall and Shopee Mall, as well as from 60 major vape shops within Metro Manila. Nearly 500 branches of 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson offers MOK’s HnB devices, too.

It’s also conveniently available in selected GrabMart hubs. Delivery of orders is guaranteed within 90 minutes or less, that is if the hub is near you. Purchasing from official retail partners promises a twelve-month warranty.

SEE ALSO: 9 gift ideas for the man of your life

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