Blackspot Unswoosher Review

I walked through my custom Chucks a couple weeks ago, so I picked up a pair of black, grey, and white plaid/checkered Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star Hi-Tops (what a name for a shoe!) to hold me over until I could order new shoes. Those shoes have become my gym shoes. I ordered a pair of AdbustersBlackspot Unswooshers. They arrived in the mail just yesterday and I was excited to unpack them.

From the Adbusters site:

The Unswoosher features everything that made the Blackspot Sneaker great – it’s made in a safe, comfortable union factory with environmentally sound, all-vegetarian materials, including 100% organic hemp uppers. But for the boot we’ve been able to take things even farther with soles made from reclaimed used tires. They look pretty wicked, and it’s a great way to take a bite out of an over-abundant waste material. Order online, or stop by a local Blackspot retailer to try them on in person.

Blackspot Unswoosher Box Label
The side sticker that you find on most shoe boxes.

Blackspot Unswoosher Box
The box that they came in with an obvious black spot on it.

Blackspot Unswoosher Side Big
The outside of the Unswoosher…on top of my mouse pad.

Blackspot Unswoosher Side Spot
Another photograph of the Unswoosher with its anti-logo on the side.

Blackspot Unswoosher Blank Side
The blank side of the Unswoosher.

Blackspot Unswoosher Red Spot Front
The toe of the right shoe has a “hand-drawn sweet spot (for kicking corporate ass).”

Blackspot Unswoosher Back
The heel of the shoe, which is made from the same “vegetarian leather” as the toe cap.

Blackspot Unswoosher Bottom Recycled Rubber Tire
The sole of the Unswoosher is made from recycled tires, which means that it’s strong and leaves a bad ass-footprint. The downside is that it can leave marks on uncarpeted floors.

Blackspot Unswoosher Inside Top
The top seam on the shoe is sewn on the outside, which may look a little weird, but it’s comfortable on the inside…and it has a soft fuzz :]

Blackspot Unswoosher Inside Live Without Dead Time
The inside of the shoe has a tag that says “Live Without Dead Time” – Vivez sans temps mort, a slogan of May 1968.

Wearing Blackspot Unswoosher Top
Me, TinMan, wearing my new Blackspot Unswooshers.

Wearing Blackspot Unswoosher Side
You can tell from the area of the sole that’s two layers thick that they’re designed to be boot-like.

Blackspot Unswoosher Tag
This tag was tied through a lace hole on the shoes.

Blackspot Sneaker Shareholder Certificate
My Blackspot Sneaker Shareholder Certificate that came with the shoes. I think it’s a pretty cool idea.

In summary I’ll say that the shoes are costly, but it’s a good feeling to know that your shoes weren’t made in a sweatshop, they are well made, environmentally friendly, and don’t sport the logo of any corporation. It took a couple flights of stairs to break them in so I could walk comfortably in them, but I expected that with the thick hemp canvas and the tire soles. They’re way better than Chucks for the winter, they’ve kept my feet warm and dry so far.

You can find more information on the shoes on their Adbusters page.

October Update

Here are my Blackspot Unswooshers ten months later:

Worn Blackspot Unswoosher Side

Worn Blackspot Unswoosher Top

LED Belt Clip

January 4th there was a Chicago Hacker meeting (Chicago 2600/DefCon 312) and an attendee handed out 1¢ BestBuy gift cards, fifteen gift cards that he put one cent on, totaling 15¢. He had the receipt to show for it too. I think it’s weird that they let him do that, the value of the special holiday gift cards had to be more than one cent, they have a watch battery in them that has to have a greater value than that.

I didn’t take pictures of the scrolling LED gift card before I transformed it into a belt clip, but here’s a set of pictures I found on Flickr of it new and then being taken apart. I thought it would make a great belt buckle so I opened it up to see what I could do with it. You may want to pop out the plastic piece that pressed the buttons so they don’t get accidentally bumped, I did this so you would have to be trying to press the buttons to actually press them. It fits the plastic shell nicely so I put it back together and just covered the front with black electrical tape. Then I set it upside-down on a cardboard box and cut off the excess electrical tape along the edges with an x-acto knife. I used a piece of cloth strap material from a small bag and folded it into a loop that would fit snugly around my belt, then I stapled it like that and melted the cut edges of the plastic-like-fabric with a lighter so it wouldn’t unravel where it was cut. I didn’t have any way to attach the belt loop to the gift card other than by taping it with thick electrical tape, so I did that. You could wrap it through the inside and screw the plastic shell shut so it would pinch the strap in place, but then the strap would be in the way of the buttons on the back of the gift card.

I like it with just “TINMAN” as the message, but I got at least three comments on it in an hour while shopping in Chicago with it displaying “Stop staring at my crotch” :]

Click below for a YouTube video of it in action:

YouTube - TinMan's LED Belt Clip