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Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type 1 review: A head-turner

Unusual look for performance sneakers

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If something has an underscore in the name, it must be pretty interesting right? Here we have a really special pair of sneakers to check out from Reebok — these are the Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1

A quick backstory

The Zig Kinetica system started out way back in 2010 when Reebok released their first sneakers with the ZigTech design called the Reebok ZigPulse.

These sneakers came in a bunch of colorways. Reebok even started advertising them along with Lewis Hamilton to really show off how cool these new ZigTech sneakers were.

Reebok got a whole bunch of celebrities onboard with the ZigPulse so the sneakers had a bit of a buzz around it. However, as popular as they might have been at the time, we never really heard much about it since then.

Fast forward to today, almost a decade since the first Zig sneaker launched, the Zigtech makes a return in the form of a reworked Zig Kinetica system with the Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1.

One look at these sneakers and you can see how they have a really avant-garde, edgy vibe. I guess that’s to be expected from a show with an underscore on its name.

An absolute head-turner

Honestly, these sneakers look gorgeous. In fact, the first time I heard about this sneaker was when I saw someone post an on-foot shot of them, and initial reaction was daaayuuumm those are some sweet-looking sneakers.

Reebok partnered with Garbstore founder and designer Iam Paley, who is the artistic brains behind the design.

He’s also the designer behind the Garbstore x Reebok “Outside In” Collection back in 2014, when they flipped the uppers to inside out on a few Reebok Classic flagships sneakers. So when you hear Ian Paley, you know it’s going to be an interesting design.

Wearing the Zig Kinetica out, they really turn heads. Especially if you wear them to the gym where they most definitely stand out vs the ocean of regular gym sneakers out there.

It’s a neat combination of clustered materials that make up the upper, ensuring the sneaker doesn’t look anything at all like everything else out there.

There are three colorways, but I think I got the best looking one. There’s also a slightly more formal colorway that has a black outsole, and one that has a white outsole.

The white colorway has suede that will definitely be more prone to dirt and smudges so you might be better off getting the black colorway instead.

Still, most of the upper is a mesh material — which is also quite hard to clean.

To be more precise, the Concept Type_1 features 15 individual segments that make up the upper on each pair. Each layered on top of each other to make up the final design.

There are segments with suede overlays that seamlessly surround a very breathable mesh upper. The fused overlays actually look quite nice, especially when you notice how they worked the lacing system into them up top.

This is actually a little hard to see in photos or videos but there really is nothing else above or below the mesh. There’s no cloth or fabric. It’s just the mesh by itself.

The mesh has a durable, tough feel to it, with a bright metallic shine that really glistens in outdoor sunlight. It almost gives these sneakers a different look between indoors and outdoors.

There’s also one more interesting aspect to the upper – an adjustable strap that goes right across the midfoot area.

I love how the strap extends a little past the upper, and hangs over the outsole.

It’s an interesting design decision that adds to the stylish but messy design across the upper. But there’s a functional aspect to them as well since they help secure your feet within the shoe.

The toebox area is overlaid with two suede panels so you don’t have to worry about your toenails ripping through the upper.

That being said, I really would not recommend wearing these sneakers without socks because the shoe is mostly see-through with all the mesh panels on the upper. Unless you really want to show off your feet.

The cool thing here though is that you can change up the look of the entire shoe with a pair of colored socks — so that’s fun.

Speaking of which, the inner sockliner is made of a really interesting fabric material that’s quite comfortable.

The ankle area of the Concept_Type1 weirdly has no foam or cushioning around the edges which is a little uncomfortable. It’s suede, so it doesn’t irritate your skin in case you’re wearing this with no-show socks, but it definitely is a weird new sensation.

I was irritated by the lack of padding in the ankle area since I wear no-show socks, but if you wear regular socks this probably won’t be an issue.

I should mention though, as you go lower, there is a little cushioning on the upper towards the lower, ankle joint area, but that’s about it.

Apart from that, you have the Reebok logo on the lateral side of the shoe — in this almost blue-ish color. You’ll also see it on the tongue as well.

All in all, the design of these sneakers is definitely unique. It looks great and will definitely stand out. Reebok did a great job choosing Paley as their partner because they’ve created gorgeous sneakers.

All that suede though will be hard to keep clean so keep that in mind if you’re going to be using these as actual training sneakers.

Alright, let’s move on to comfort.

Performance sneakers all the way

According to Reebok, these are sneakers designed for fitness classes, 5K runs and even casual wear.

I’m not entirely sure you can pull them off as casual wear though. You might look a bit off wearing these in the office, or on a night out. But hey, if you can pull it off, way to go.

My opinion of the Concept_type1 is that they are performance sneakers all the way, and you definitely feel that the second you slip them on.

They’re not exactly super comfortable because of the thin upper, so it literally feels like you’re wearing mesh.

The mesh parts weren’t done solely for aesthetics. They’re supposed to help with performance too to allow for airflow. It definitely does a great job at ventilation making this sneaker perfect for a summer run.

But all in all, there just doesn’t seem to be much padding, which means that this just isn’t as comfortable a sneaker as other options in the same price range. It’s not too bad, but it does leave you wanting a little bit more.

Take the tongue for example. It’s a slim paper thin fabric that’s its barely there. Reebok has other sneakers with a similar design, like the Sole Fury, which still managed a more comfortable neoprene tongue. It hugged your midfoot with a good amount of elasticity, so this is a weird oversight for them.

Coming to the insole, the Floatride Fuel cushioning isn’t exactly the most lush in terms of comfort. These are performance training sneakers after all. The cushioning, along with the outsole and overall design is really meant to propel you forward instead towards workouts instead.

Just like the Adidas Ultraboost 20, the outsole is U-shaped, so the sneaker positions you to lean forwards.

But like I mentioned with cushioning earlier, the Zig Energy Shell (or the zig-zag portion of the outsole), together with the Floatride Fuel cushioning inside, is a lot sturdier than the Boost outsole on the Ultraboost, so it’s not as comfy.

The Floatride Fuel is soft though. You can actually feel it through the liner groove on the sole. Reebok is also using a special kind of sole here called the Zig Energy Band which is supposed to expand and contract like an elastic band to help with a springback response while you’re running.

The heel sits a couple of millimeters lower than the insole, which ends up supporting the medial arch of your feet, and adds to the comfort while you’re running.

At the back of the heel area, you’ll see that the outsole does ramp up and has “ZIG” written on it.

The insole also curves around your foot, instead of underneath or being flat, which adds to the comfort factor.

If you were lucky enough to try the ZigTech sneakers back in the day, you’ll appreciate the familiarity of the outsole.

However, all that being said about the great support, there’s still that issue of the cushioning around the ankle area. Rather, the lack of it.

It’s weird because the upper wraps around your entire foot so well, but because of the minimal padding around the ankle area, these sneakers just aren’t as comfortable as they could have been.

Fits true to size

In terms of fit, the Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1 fits pretty true to size but then again I have pretty wide feet. There’s also the advantage that the mid-foot fit is adjustable thanks to the midfoot strap.

With its lacing and that strap, the upper literally hugs each part of your foot.

If you manage to get the perfect sizing, you can actually remove the strap  which gives you a sneaker that has a much cleaner design in my opinion.

The strap is pretty easy to remove, and I know this is subjective and all but I actually really do prefer the look without it.

Is this your Sneaker Match?

Reebok says the design of the Zig Kinetica is inspired by Kinetic Energy — hence the name — which kind of sounds like your usual marketing fluff.  Kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object during motion. In this case, it’s you in those sneakers.

So is the Reebok Zig Kinetica Concept_Type1 the best performance sneakers out there?

Well here’s the thing.

These are most definitely one of the best looking training sneakers out there. They are definitely very unique. And the overall sneaker itself is quite nice and supportive as a performance sneaker.

However, at the same price you have the new Ultraboost 20 which is a lot lighter, more comfortable, and more reassuring to wear. If you’re looking for sneakers that can take a beating, there’s the Ultraboost.

Don’t get me wrong, these sneakers are pretty comfortable but they’re a little high maintenance and not as durable and comfortable as the Ultraboost 20.

But if you’re looking for a really unique looking pair of stylish, fashionable training sneakers, this is the way to go.

With these sneakers, you’ll definitely stand out versus everyone else, and they’re still pretty comfortable — just remember to wear full length socks with them.

News

Jordan Brand launches first store in Manila

#JordanManila

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Hoop-heads now have a new store they can frequent — with proper social distancing protocols, of course — as  Jordan Brand announces the launch of its first store in the Manila, Philippines.

The store is located in Bonifacio Global City and will open its doors starting December 3, 2020. The Manila Jordan Brand Store introduces a new retail design concept inspired by Michael Jordan’s legacy authentically grounded in basketball culture.

The design aesthetic across the store’s 4,500 square feet is rooted in the game and community of basketball. It leads with a design palette that is authentically connected to the heart and soul of the brand. The new store will be home to the best from Jordan Brand in terms of products, premium product services and experiences.

To help highlight the vibrant Filipino culture and flavor throughout the store, art from some of Manila’s most exciting artists will be showcased throughout the space. Veejay Villafranca, Jaime Pacena, Raxenne Maniquiz, AJ Dimarucot bring together the local voice and basketball street elements from the nation’s true obsession  through their art.

The store also boasts the largest assortment for Jordan apparel across men’s, women’s and kids in South East Asia. Consumers can access exclusive features like one-on-one styling services or  ‘Custom 23’ to customize Jordan products to help curate their on and off-court looks.

At launch, designs from eight globally acclaimed artists will be used to customize laces, dubraes, aglets and tees.

A special rooftop court

The rooftop of the store features a basketball court with a stunning mural designed by renowned NYC artist Kimou Meyer (@groteskito). Through the design, Kimou captures the energy and ethos of the Jordan Brand by showcasing two figures intertwined in a 1:1 game. The space will be used for community games, events, activations, clinics, and special guest appearances.

Exclusively for the launch of the first Jordan store, 150 pairs of the limited Air Jordan 4 Retro ‘Manila’ edition will drop starting December 3.

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Health

From zero to export, here’s how India ramped up PPE making

US and China are its biggest trade partners

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With a 1.3 billion population, India is a highly dense country. The imposition of a sudden lockdown meant critical equipment like PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), masks, and other medical equipment were in low supply. Due to the global outbreak, imports were also difficult to find since the demand was too high.

The initial cases of Coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in November 2019. While the outbreak was limited initially, it gradually spread across China, followed by other countries, and reached a critical stage in March.

Many countries implemented a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. While these curfews helped reduce the spread of the virus, it also handicapped industries because the normal flow of goods and production was adversely affected. Adding to this, developing countries were worse hit because their healthcare system is weak and under-equipped.

India rising to the occasion

However, India was able to find a home-grown solution. The country went on to start exporting Coronavirus goods within a few months. California-based financing company Drip Capital released a detailed report that gives us an insight into India’s production response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The report considered 14 categories of medical-related products that were shipped between January and July of 2020. The data is directly compiled from India’s Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). These categories include textiles, disinfectants, test kits, soap, rubber, gloves, footwear, and other medical equipment.

In a nutshell, the industry clocked a growth of US$ 150 million when compared to the same period last year. The country was in a lockdown state for almost two months. PPE demand among medical workers, contact tracers, and other essential workers was extremely high. The textile category alone contributed to the growth of US$ 40 million, followed by test kits at US$ 26 million, disinfectants at US$ 28 million, and soap at US$ 12 million.

PPE production in full swing

What’s even more interesting is, India had zero domestic manufacturing capacity for PPEs in January. A few restrictions were placed on exports in January due to a shortage of inventory, and a complete ban was placed in March. The government released massive tenders to encourage domestic production, and the country was making 700,000 to 800,000 PPE kits a day by June.

Once domestic demand was fulfilled, the government opened up exports, and a milestone was reached in October when India delivered 1.8 million N95 masks to the US. The effect is quite easily visible as the country exported goods worth US$ 539 million in the first seven months of 2020.

In comparison, India exported goods worth US$ 532 million in the whole of 2019. Hence it’s safe to assume this year’s exports shall be almost twice that of last year.

70 percent of all exported goods originated from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. On the other hand, India’s top trade partners were spread across the globe. The US single-handedly imported goods worth US$ 98 million, followed by China at US$ 37 million, Germany at US$ 30 million, and the Netherlands at US$ 22 million.

Indian goods were in high demand in smaller countries like the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. A natural edge that Indian goods have is their pricing. Being a developing economy with a substantial population engaged in agriculture and textile, PPE was a perfect commodity that helped grow small scale industries.

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Entertainment

Spotify is testing its own Stories feature

Currently in testing

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Every social media platform today is obsessed with the disappearing short-form video. Stemming from TikTok’s success worldwide, everyone is developing or launching a rivaling TikTok feature — or, more subtly, a Stories feature. Even Snapchat, the platform most similar to TikTok already, has recently launched its own format. Now, joining the cast of unlikely TikTok adopters, Spotify is testing its own Stories feature.

Tagging along with its holiday lineup, Spotify has unveiled Instagram-like Stories currently exclusive to its artists. Right now, users can view videos created by artists like Jennifer Lopez and Pentatonix.

At the moment, the feature is only a test. The platform has not confirmed if Spotify Stories (or whatever the final name is) will eventually open up to ordinary users.

For every other user, Spotify can link up with other social media platforms for their Stories features. With its own Stories feature on the horizon, Spotify can cut out the middleman. However, no one knows if users will warm up to Spotify Stories in lieu of their social media platforms.

Besides a Stories feature, Spotify has also developed numerous functionalities throughout the year. Among others, the music streaming platform has introduced couple plans, searching by lyrics, and listening together.

Amid the pandemic, Spotify has risen up as a true performer this year, despite the strangeness of a Stories feature.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is adding a search-by-lyrics function

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