In a sea of new products at the 2017 edition of the OutDoor Friedrichshafen sports fair, it was the Naglev Unico shoes that somehow stuck out for me.
Category: Enclothed Life (Page 1 of 2)
Sneakerhead I am none, more of the techwear-inclined: I like clothing that performs, in looks as well as function.
Shoes for that are actually somewhat hard to find.
Icebug with their Now4 sneakers is a good find also for that, not just for running…
[Full disclosure: They were provided to me by the company, for free, no payment made, to talk about as and even if I pleased, no influence whatsoever exerted.]
Last year, making some regular money again and with a view towards a summer trip to China (to celebrate our wedding there, with the Chinese family, finally…), I decided to spring for Arc’teryx Veilance’s Voronoi pants in their light summer version.
These Voronoi pants have been changed from their earlier cotton-nylon material, which seemed the same as the material used in the cargo pants that simply disintegrated with use, to a ‘plainer’ nylon as is also used for the Blazer LT.
(Arc’teryx describes it as “Stretch woven plain weave: 94% nylon, 6% elastane”)
I’d had the earlier Cargo Pants (and Voronoi), and they put me off Veilance pants just as the Spec pants had left me interested in them.
(Whenever I travel into cities or mountains in the cold, it’s still the Spec pants with their windstopper material and on-thigh cargo pockets I happily unpack and use.)
Then I got a Blazer LT in black (and another one from an outlet in Sand color) for the summer and liked that material enough to want to see about the Voronoi in the same fabric.
Veilance Voronoi Pant
These pants, surprisingly enough considering the issues I’d had with both the material and the cut of the earlier ones, turned out just about perfect for my needs and wants.
They are very light and quick-drying, but also durable, meaning that it is no problem to wear them in the heat and humidity of Southern China’s summers, look good, and be pretty comfortable.
With their peculiar pattern and cut, they are not your ordinary pair of pants, but the peculiarity (and luxury, considering the price) of them is nicely hidden in the details; there is nothing that would scream “special” to the person who doesn’t already know what they are seeing.
Unlike other recent Veilance pants, these Voronoi are not cut so tight (“tapered”) in the lower leg that a runner like me can’t fit, let alone lift his knee, in them anymore.
The pocket configuration here is ordinary, if integrated nicely into the special cut pattern, not giving quite the technical menswear versatility I would have liked, but fitting into a normal “technical apparel” wardrobe all the better for it.
All around good, then – and you can still/again get them this spring/summer season.
Veilance Align Pant
Spring/summer 2017, Arc’teryx released a new version of thei Align pants, with a rather more special (seemingly) cargo pocket-inspired design, too.
I thought I might really like that, but there was also yet another of the cotton-nylon blends similar to the dangerous first generation Voronoi and/or Cargo Pants…
It seemed a gamble, but I thought I’d try; the return policy is good enough.
Well, as you can see and hear in my review video, here Veilance experimented far too badly again, in my opinion:
The material might be more durable this time around, or it might not be, but they definitely only work for you if you have very thin lower legs and do not mind sitting on almost anything you put into the cargo/back pockets.
Not for me.
Let’s see now.
I still have the oldest pair of Thunderbolt Sportswear’s softshell jeans in all of Europe, probably, a MarkII version of those, the Spec and Voronoi pants… and there are quite a few technical menswear specialists around, so I should either do with what I have now, or check out something from another brand.
a.k.a., A Review of the Black Yak Combat Shirt and Notes on My Fascination with this Brand
I have mentioned Black Yak some times before, but it is only now that I really want to talk about them.
About a product of theirs, the Combat Shirt, and the fascination this company provides in the world of technical / performance clothing…
In the midst of the technical performance menswear revolution, niche as it is, quality counts and is often seen as coming down to production country, but it all seems American. Canadian, at best.
With O1O6 (born as onoo), however, we find a menswear startup that is European, rooted in its Southern German-Alpine background, stylish and modern, and close to timeless in look.
Watch my review here, or read on below it to delve into the details…
For one, their standout first-collection piece, the Sendling jacket, is made from loden, a wool fabric that would fit the current interest in natural fibers with great performance very well, if only it weren’t used in traditional costumes so much.
Green or grey loden, deer antler buttons, that’s the men’s costume to accompany women wearing a dirndl. Good for the Oktoberfest, but not exactly a modern style to wear to anything but such a festival. Or maybe a hunt.
Not so with the Sendling.
It’s still grey loden, but a very comfortable one, and one treated with a teflon coating adding further to its natural ability to shed rain and snow. Inside, a layer of insulation has been added for cold temps.
The cut is thoroughly modern in all the best ways:
- form-fitting but not tight
- with cooling and stretching cutouts behind the shoulder blades for ventilation and movement
- stretch cuffs inside the asymmetric outside cuffs protecting the backs of your hands and keeping out wind
- pockets and main closure (except for three buttons there for style) all closed by waterproof zippers that are thoroughly modern a touch again, but functional as well.
Most of those – and more! – details are all made for the intended use of the jacket, as a piece that you can wear on your bike while riding into work or to the next coffee shop or traditional Kaffeehaus, then get right down to business or your individual pursuits and still look dressed like a creative professional.
In their advertising material (see their website), it’s all very much the hipster look and style, but no beard is required to rock that jacket. No fixie bike, either.
And in Substance?
The bit of insulation added to the inside keeps pretty warm while not getting stuffy as long as the temperatures are low enough (summer jacket this ain’t).
I have worn my Sendling from February to May, from Munich to Zurich to Rome, and it’s held up come rain or shine.
In Zurich, in downpours, I just added a woolen cap and was fine; only Rome got a bit warm for it.
(One downside: It should not be washed, only dry cleaned. I went ahead and hand-washed the inside at the armpits, where washing became highly advisable, with mild wool detergent, anyways, then hung it up to dry outside. Worked out very well. Otherwise, for all but if you get it too sweaty, loden just needs to be hung out in fog – or in your steamy post-shower bathroom.)
Even then, the leather strap inside, meant to keep the jacket from flapping around in the wind when you’re on your bike, comes in handy for having the jacket open, but not totally, in warm-enough temperatures that you don’t want to have it zipped and/or buttoned up.
So, in total, as you can also see in the video review, you can wear this jacket completely open, open-but-unflappable using the leather strap (which can also be removed if so desired… or maybe if you need a tool for a spanking), closing the buttons, zipping it up halfways for the suit jacket-collar look, or zipping it up all the way and putting up the collar for real cold-weather use.
I do hope O1O6 will remain and go on – who else makes performance-oriented menswear that is designed in Germany and sewn in Italy, of European materials? – and they sure sounded like they already had ideas for further improvements and maybe new things.
Their initial collection already includes a bomber jacket, the Westend, and the Lehel short coat…
Let’s see what’s next; it’s sure to be style with substance, “intelligent urban clothing” to keep and feel at home in.
At €599 for the Sendling, it’s not cheap – until you look at what a nice suit jacket from a well-known brand would cost, all without necessarily making you look as good while protecting you that well.
We are said to live in an information society and with an approaching Internet of Things, but our clothes aren’t so smart yet, and styles of dress often seem to have become less smart than they ever used to be.
And there, clothes have a major influence on how we feel, physically and psychologically, as well as on what we can do, in style and/or in comfort. The life at home in this world is also the enclothed life…
So, something I wanted to look for at this year’s ISPO – which also has its own section dedicated to “sport style”, anyways – was clothing that suited the technical / performance men’s wear category. (And the Suunto Kailash I have been wearing for reviewing ;) )
Merino has become such a trend, it seems everywhere. From dress shirts to running tops, more and more clothes are made of or incorporate merino wool. Almost all of it comes from New Zealand, almost all of it seems made in China.
Straight from a very different part of China, and recently moved to be Made in England, comes Khunu.
The company and its products are remarkable for a whole set of reasons:
Review of Thunderbolt Sportswear’s Softshell Jeans Mark 2 and Agility Hoodie, after half a year of use – and thoughts around athleisure.