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

18 thoughts on “Blackspot Unswoosher Review”

  1. Do you think a girl would look good in them, or are they too cluncky. I really like the boots, but i’m afraid they would to big on me.

  2. They’re designed to be for men & women, as they come in sizes for both. To me they still look like shoes and appear to be shoes, so I’d say that they don’t look too clunky for a girl to wear. The first couple days of wearing them they’ll be stiff and they feel like boots though, meaning that you’ll be making clunking noises until the soles aren’t stiff anymore. I’ve had them for a week now and I can walk in them comfortably without making them clunk on the floor like boots do, I can also switch into a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors to run in Physical Education class and not feel weird going from one set of shoes to the other.

    As far as sizes go, I went to a shoe store at the mall and sized up my feet with their metal feet measuring things before ordering them, I got the same size that I measured at the mall and they fit fine.

  3. I’m interested in possibly getting a pair, my main question is are they highly durable? Like on a 1-10 scale, 1 being penny loafers 10 being combat boots.

    Recommendations?

  4. I have been wearing them daily for the past ten months and I would consider them to be in excellent shape. They start out stiff, but once they’re broken in they just feel like the thick hemp canvas that they are. Where there is a mend in the fabric, in the top middle of the shoe, sometimes strings will stretch out and I have trimmed them off, but they haven’t started to fall apart from that, though eventually I could see that as being where their weak spot will be. The bottoms of them show almost no wear. If I had been wearing Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars I would have undoubtedly started to walk a hole through them within these ten months.

    I updated the original post with two new photographs of the shoes to show how they currently look.

    To answer your question, I would say an 8 out of 10. The bottoms and inner sole are very strong, but heavy leather combat boots would definitely outlast the hemp canvas.

    Recommendations: Water has never soaked through them from just rain, but walking through puddles, soaked grass, and slush will surely get them wet like most other canvas shoes. They are better than Chuck Taylors when it comes to keeping dry, but they wouldn’t beat galoshes. If you are going to be walking though a lot of water then you should put plastic bags over your socks in them, it worked fine for me. They fit warm pairs of socks fine. There is no arch on the inside of the shoe, so if you require an arch then they wouldn’t be for you unless you have insoles to put in them.

    Many people have approached me to ask me what brand they are, what they are made of, if the bottoms are real tires, and what the red dot on the right toe is for.

  5. I think that the tab at the back may make them look a little uncool with shorts, but I wore them with shorts on a trip to Dallas, Texas and didn’t feel like I looked dorky.

  6. I’m looking for a pair of vegan motorcycle boots. Now I’m making do with leather hiking boots because they have to be passable with the dress clothes I wear at work, but would love to make the switch to these. If you don’t ride, what I’m looking for is decent support in the ankle (think hiking boots), a good toe (doesn’t need to be steel) that won’t collapse when I shift gears, and a sole that doesn’t get slippery in the rain or oil spills.

  7. @Dootie Bubble: I dirt bike so I can kind of give you a response. The ankle’s only support is the vegan leather patch on the back of the boot, for me this is noticeable support since I’m used to wearing canvas Chuck Taylors, but compared to a thick leather boot or riding boots the support is very flimsy. The toe has never bothered me while shifting. The sole can be compared to a bald tire tread, for slowing on asphalt it works fine while dry, I have never tried while wet. On tile floors and garage cement floors when there is water/oil they are dangerously slippery though.

    My personal advice would be to consider a freegan-ish solution if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Consider buying a pair of used black leather boots that you could ride with and keep clean enough to wear in a work environment. Red Wing and a couple other companies have made black work boots that are similar to dress shoes in design, just a lot tougher.

  8. Wore mine almost daily for a year and a half–the seams eventually wore down, and the whole shoe started falling apart.

  9. Hey i’m on my second pair of Unswooshers in a half a year, i’m a bit dissappointed. Both pairs after less than 50 kilometers have started coming apart at the seam on top of the foot. I’m not sure if its poor workmanship in my size (i have a size 12 or 13, they seem to run a bit small for me) or because they make them less well in 2009.
    Just a heads up for any possible future buyers.

    don’t get me wrong, i love the gimmmic; vegan, reused tires, hemp, fluevog. but they have to last to get my vote.

    petter
    xxoo

  10. I’ve got some beef with these clunky, over-priced, trend-dependent footwear. I cannot justify a $99 price tag for boots that cost more energy to ship than they save by reusing rubber.. these boots are just bragging rights sold in a box to the easily swayed, fashion driven, emotionally isolated, hipster generations.

  11. Johnny, you have a point, but then if you look into the company that produces them you’ll see that their efforts aren’t so much at being eco-friendly as they are opposed to the mainstream fashion that you are describing. Shoes are going to be shipped one way or another, the shoes being made made by unionized workers from recycled and natural materials is just a little plus, but hardly a selling point unless you live a vegan lifestyle in which you are very limited to what you can wear as you’re limited with everything else.
    I currently have a pair of Macbeths that are made without any animal products and they’re holding up a lot better and much better looking. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a pair of vegan shoes or just an alternative to the current sweatshop made Chuck Taylors.

  12. i’ve had a pair of these hoes for about 4-5 years now. i still wear them occasionally but they aren’t the most comfortable boot. not much cushion in the soles. i tolerated them for a year but took them backpacking one year, big mistake. i now have two in soles in the bottom that help some. also on my right boot the seam has busted about 2 inches long. luckily they have a liner on the inside so my foots not exposed. still love these boots but i thinks its time for them to come out with a new version.

  13. Hi, I like the look of the unswooshers but I hate to wear heavy boots. How heavy are they for walking in? Compared to, say, converse boots or something similar.
    Thanks.

  14. Adbusters is saying that they now have an improved version of the boots. Anyone out there who has a pair of the new ones, I would love to get your review.

  15. I have the new version, I think, as I just bought them recently… Not a ton of reviews. Breaking in period was comparable to what has been discussed here, they’re likely similar. No seam issues in the few months of moderate wear, but I am getting wear in the bend of my toes, like I’d expect from Chuck Taylors, so that has been slightly unsettling so quickly…

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