Chaco PacMan Sandals

Chaco PacMan Sandals

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Chaco’s latest sandal is a big step back. About 30 years back to be specific.

Citing “a major fashion trend in the marketplace,” Chaco unveiled the limited-edition Z/2 Classic PAC-MAN sandals for men and women. The yellow wonder and all four ghosts grace the straps and webbing of the USA-assembled sandals.

The trend in question is the recent love of all things dated and formerly hip. Think PBR, pinball, and Charlie Sheen—all of which are inexplicably no longer uncool.

Born in 1989, Chaco technically has a claim to ’80s Americana. And, despite originating in Japan and not having feet, Pac-Man is about as ’80s and American as it gets.

Review by: Adam Ruggiero

Click here to read more: https://gearjunkie.com/pac-man-sandals-chacos

Best Smartwool Socks for Men

Best Smartwool Socks for Men

Merino Wool Sock Recommendations by Activity

People spend a lot of time and energy picking out shoes. They comparison shop. They ask the sales associate for advice. And they search around for the best deal. So shouldn’t that much energy go into the layer that goes between those shoes and your feet? We might be biased, but we think so.

For those people who spent all of their energy picking out their shoes and have little left for sock selection, you’re in luck: we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best men’s socks depending on their use. Find out which socks are best for hiking, cycling or running, and which are best for everyday living.

Click here to view the guide

Review: Chaco Z/Cloud 2

Review: Chaco Z/Cloud 2

The Z/Cloud 2 is a classic Chaco with somewhat of a cult following. This shoe has traveled with many an avid outdoor wanderer for years and years, and its durability was among the highest in our test. 

Chaco Z/Cloud 2

Chaco Z/Cloud 2

 

Comfort

As has almost always been the case, Chaco shoes have a reputation for having comfort that varies from user to user. While the sole is stiffer than any other model tested, most of our testers saw this is a huge pro. The tough sole protects from variable terrain underfoot and provides a shoe that is built to last. With that, more flat-footed tester felt frustrated by this model's high arch that will not break into a flatter foot. We recommend trying this model on before you purchase. Despite some debate about whether or not the Chaco Z/Cloud's sole was optimal for a broad enough swath of users, our tester unanimously declared the Chaco's strap system as one of the most comfortable in the test. 

Stability

The stiffness of the sole was advantageous when it came to the stability of the shoe. The footbed securely cups the outside of the heel and supports the arch (for better or for worse…). Users agreed that the toe loop (which is absent from some Chaco models) did provide more stability for the sandal, as it eliminated the possibility of your foot sliding forward. The heel-toe drop of the shoe was more significant than most of the other sandal models we tested. This spec was unimportant to some testers and unwelcomed by others. It gave the heel of the shoe a particularly clunky, insensitive feeling. 

READ MORE | http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/shoes-and-boots/sandals-womens/chaco-z-cloud-2

Smartwool: "One of Best Wool Brands"

Smartwool: "One of Best Wool Brands"

For those who haven’t found wool and incorporated it into their daily, year-round life, we recommend making a change. The best part is, it’s never too late to start loving wool. Dubbed as “nature’s own tech fabric,” the wool comeback dates back to the last couple decades, dissolving any preconceived notions that wearing wool is nothing more than an itch-filled experience. Frankly, it’s time to forget about those sweaters your grandmother made for you.

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Smartwool — a brand from Steamboat Springs, Colorado — has been in the wool-making business for an astounding 23 years. Easily identified by its logo of a happy person wearing socks, its designs lend themselves to a broad customer base with wearable and almost lifestyle-driven styles. However, the company does produce more technical pieces, like Conrad Anker’s Ph.D. mountaineering socks, for hard-core users. Recently, it also started using wool as insulation rather than just a baselayer.

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Smartwool Featured in Business Insider

Smartwool Featured in Business Insider

Picking out a pair of socks is one of the most menial tasks we can think of, but it matters — especially when you're going hiking. Choose the wrong ones, and your feet will be soaked in sweat and covered in blisters.

If you're looking for a new pair for your next outdoor adventure, you should pick up one made of wool. According REI, wool is the most popular natural sock material, because it's warm, cushioning, and retains warmth when wet. 

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Since its inception in 1994, Smartwool has specialized in making comfortable, versatile wool socks and accessories, and its hiking socks are some of the best ones money can buy. Each pair is made with merino wool that keeps your feet dry and regulates your body temperature, and isn't itchy. Each pair comes with a flat knit toe seam and extra support around the arches, so you'll stay comfortable as you're trekking through peaks and valleys. 

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Smartwool Using Data to Improve Women's Line

Smartwool Using Data to Improve Women's Line

“It’s interesting—not what you would expect,” murmurs Sue Jesch, Smartwool’s design director. The diagrams scattered across the table before her look like pages from Gray’s Anatomy, with front and side profiles of men and women painted with blotches of color. Some pages map out sweat zones. Others depict variations in temperature. “Women run pretty hot in their top half,” says Jesch. “Maybe that’s a childbearing thing. Nature wants to keep that womb warm.”

In 2011, VF Corporation, the parent company of Smartwool and The North Face, commissioned a 1,200-person study examining how women and men respond to exercise in hot and cold temperatures. Sensors on subjects’ skin recorded surface temperature and perspiration rates, while questionnaires determined where on their bodies subjects thought they ran hot and cold, so researchers could compare perception against reality.

Turns out women run warmer than they perceive. The study found that in winter, women’s coldest zones are the backs of our hands, our glutes, our outer arms, and, oddly enough, our kneecaps. Our upper backs, calves, collarbones, and pelvis actually emit lots of heat during stop-and-go, cold-climate activities like skiing. During hot-weather exercise, women’s legs are markedly cooler than their upper bodies, while men are more evenly balanced. And women’s feet are always colder than men’s, regardless of the outside temperature.

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Smartwool Featured in Ski Mag

Smartwool Featured in Ski Mag

Smartwool Corbet 120

An athlete favorite from Smartwool, the Corbet 120 is the perfect mix of next-to-skin Merino wool and 120g Smartloft insulation to keep the guy in your life warm all day long. This piece is great for layering or as a jacket for cold weather runs, x-country skiing and all cold weather activities.

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Powder Reviews SmartWool’s Double Corbet 120 Hoody

Powder Reviews SmartWool’s Double Corbet 120 Hoody

The weather in my Colorado hometown is unpredictable. I saw it snow on the 4th of July once. Such is life in the mountains where we always say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Because it’s guaranteed to change.

SmartWool’s Double Corbet 120 Hoody is ideal for varying conditions. On my most recent trip back home, I was up early to beat the crowds up one of my favorite trails. Temps were low despite the bright sky overhead, and this jacket’s wind protection held up extremely well. It didn’t whip in the gusts like a traditional windbreaker shell, and in typical Smartwool style, it was extremely cosy. With the hood up and toggled down, I was perfectly cocooned and protected from the blustery winds outside.

SmartWool’s warmer weight insulation, 120g of SmartLoft wool, was plenty warm while the Merino lining kept my body temperature from spiking when I started to warm up on the uphill. Merino is also great for managing moisture, which is a nice way of saying that it keeps you from stinking like cold sweat.

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Review: Smartwool  NTS Mid 250 Color Block Hoody

Review: Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Color Block Hoody

There’s good reason Smartwool is a standard bearer in the Base Layer category. Made with 100 percent merino wool, this hoody is simple and effective and kept testers dry and warm despite the gnarliest conditions. Heavy sweaters appreciated how quickly it dried after exhausting boot packs and high-energy resort laps, and anyone can appreciate wool’s natural ability to keep the stink away.

The casual fit also came in clutch at the local watering hole. While not recommended, one could pack these as a lone base layer for a multi-day hut trip and still be invited back. A simple feature, and a tester favorite, was the color block paneling that moved the seams off the shoulder. This subtle change made riding with a pack more comfortable. With a hefty quiver of base layers to choose from, testers continuously came back to this midweight hoody.

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Smartwool Launches Industry’s Retail Associate “Insider” App

Smartwool Launches Industry’s Retail Associate “Insider” App

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (July 25, 2016) — Smartwool recently debuted its new Smartwool Insider app, an innovative tool for retailer partners. The Smartwool Insider Program is designed to strengthen the brand’s personal relationships with wholesale retail associates via a mobile native app that features engaging Insider specific content and program exclusive rewards. 

“Our Insider app showcases products and culture in order to better connect with retail associates,” said Dane Howell, Smartwool vice president of US Wholesale Sales and Marketing. “We know that one associate can make a huge impact. Insiders boost brand awareness, support wholesale partners and drive demand and sell-through—they are critical to success and we knew we could connect in a better, more meaningful way with them.”

The Smartwool Insider app takes an education-through-entertainment approach. It informs gear-savvy, information-hungry sales associates with regularly refreshed videos, product insights, and news stories. It provides a rewards-based, intimate learning experience and the ability to communicate directly with Smartwool employees, participate in challenges and contests. The more an associate interacts with the app, the more exclusive Smartwool Insider gear he or she will earn.

The app is powered by hubEngageTM and access to the program is by invite only a unique code provided by Smartwool sales reps and Field Service Clinic during clinics.  Codes can also be requested via email at InsiderSupportTeam@vfc.com.   

About SmartWool

Based in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Smartwool is a 22-year-old apparel brand whose products are inspired by living and playing in the mountains. All Smartwool® products come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and are created to get the most out of the inherent benefits of Merino wool. For information on the full range of Smartwool products or to find a dealer near you, please log onto www.Smartwool.com. Smartwool, a division of VF Outdoor,LLC, is a brand of VF Corporation. For event and company updates visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/smartwool or Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Smartwool


The Smartwool Insider App is exclusively for employees of SmartWool retail partners. Users must have an access code to activate and access the app. The content within the app is an “Insiders” look into the SmartWool brand, heritage, products and culture; and is a fun and educational way to regularly interact with the company. The app features a Newsfeed with regular updates from the company, a video library, quizzes and feedback interactions, tech sheets and infographics, challenges and contests; and direct chat access to the SmartWool Field service Rep assigned to their territory.

The SmartWool story started on a rugged Colorado ski slope with the belief that toes didn’t have to be cold. One simple pair of Merino socks challenged the conventional wisdom and forever changed the way outdoor enthusiasts looked at their feet. It’s not just about the Merino, though. It’s what we do with it that makes SmartWool different. For over 20 years, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of Merino to create smarter, more capable products from head to toe.

Chaco Footwear: Wanderlust

Chaco Footwear: Wanderlust

Pack your bags and get ready to wander. For our Spring/Summer collection, Chaco ventured far and wide to capture the spirit of wanderlust. Through white sand, rainforest, and storied city streets, our new collection is built for travel and fit for adventure. See more from our new collection at chacos.com/wanderlust.