Anyone involved in triathlon has no doubt noticed the money that K Swiss is pouring into marketing their partnership with Ironman. The Lieto brothers, Chris & Matt, are two of their most prominent athletes, but you see Terrenzo Bozone and others wearing their brand as well. K Swiss is all over the magazines. They have even branched out to the hardcore runner set with their recent announcement of a multi-year partnership as a presenting sponsor of the LA Marathon. All of this hype, along with their recent product announcements led me to the new K Swiss store located at 2427 Main St. Santa Monica. And it is quite a place.
Look, if you are shopping at the K Swiss store, you are buying K Swiss. But K Swiss ain't your father's K Swiss store anymore. Gone are the stiff leather tenns shoes or all the white sneakers. In their place is a wall of multi-colored trainers and racers, resplendent in country flags, flamboyant colors and lightweight, breathable performance materials. Key word: performance. With innovations like shoes convertible from trainers to racers and the "Flow Cool" system that filters moisture out of the shoe and on the ground, keeping your feet dry after the aid station dousing and reducing the chance of nasty blisters.
Major plus - these shoes look and feel incredible. There is even a treadmill for you to run on, so you can literally walk (or run) a mile in their shoes. Next plus: the price. I went with the K-Ona as my marathon racing flat and was shocked when they told me they are offering a 2 for 1 on select K-Onas, so I walked out with 2 pairs of performance flats for under $100. That just doesn't happen.
The negative - you are only getting K Swiss and I don't know if the research is in yet. A relatively new player to the performance shoe market, I am trusting that all of their money hasn't been put in the marketing budget, but in R & D as well.
But for under $100, I am willing to give it a shot.
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