It has been so busy here in Examiner-land that it feels like it has been way more than a month since two parcels arrived from DC Shoes. As mentioned in the introductory article, I was a bit surprised when I opened the packages and found one pair of what are considered “lifestyle” shoes and one pair of “trainers.” The sense of surprise soon became pleasant as my feet and the shoes got acquainted. Read on to find out why.
The OTH (Off the Hook) Pool is the “lifestyle” shoe of the two. It has the classic good looks of a 1970s skateboard shoe, but it’s lack of beefy reinforcements, dual lacing patterns, and tons of padding found in many modern skate shoes these days, relegates it to the comparatively light duty of fashionable footwear instead of urban assault vehicles for the feet. That said, these shoes have spent some time atop a skateboard at the local park and they performed beautifully, but I wouldn’t recommend them for daily skateboard duty. The rubber outsole is grippy and resilient, and the high-tech Unilite midsole provides amazing cushioning, is freakishly light, and its flex and ground-feel provides a near telepathic connection to whatever surface they happen to be in contact with.
The perforated suede upper of the OTH Pool, is as light as one would expect, and it ensures maximum ventilation for when things start heating up poolside. Despite the initial impression that this suede might be a bit too light for shoe duty, the upper shows almost no signs of wear. All in all, this shoe performs better than one would expect and it does so while looking sharp and being super comfortable.
The Unilite Trainer is the sportier of the two shoes in this review, and they have become my go-to shoe for long walks and day-long duty of stomping around San Francisco. The revolutionary no-sew technology of the synthetic mesh upper has proven itself as a worthy adversary of whatever the world throws at it, and the overall lack of seams means that the shoe is comfortable right out of the box. This purpose-built, particularly futuristic-looking shoe provides maximum cushioning and a very grippy sole, and it’s as at home in the gym as it is in the urban jungle. Pretty fantastic stuff for a company that, at one time, pretty much only made skateboard shoes.
The OTH Pool and Unilite Trainer show that DC is willing to experiment and branch out in order to stay relevant and viable, and they are doing a bang-up job of it. The retro styling of the OTH Pool is directly connected to origins of skateboarding, while the Unilite Trainer feels like something from the future. If you want more information, or if you feel like treating your feet to either of these fine shoes, you can do so by visiting the DC Shoes site. Otherwise, visiting one of the following San Francisco retailers would also do the trick.
2627 Mission St.
1630 Haight Street
1600 Jackson St.
***Full disclosure: These shoes were provided at no cost for the purpose of testing/reviewing, to think otherwise would be semi-delusional.