Vans Vault x The Darkside Initiative – Sk8-Hi Zip LX “Armored Pack” (UTP Review!)

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written a review for a sneaker, and I have no excuse except that I’ve been lazy!  My attention has been elsewhere, but I’ve finally made an effort to sit down and put some thought and effort into a blog post.  With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Today we will be reviewing the Vans Vault x The Darkside Initiative “Armored Pack” Sk8-Hi Zip LX.  A Vans shoe, featuring more tech than you’ve ever seen on any pair, and an aesthetic that you probably haven’t seen since the Vans Syndicate 003 “Ballistic” Sk8-Hi.  When news first dropped of this pack, everyone was “hella” excited for this NorCal collaboration.  Then the photos came out, and even more people became excited.  Then the MSRP was announced, and that’s where a lot of people started to change their sentiment for the shoes.  I get it.  It’s totally understandable when very few Vans shoes have peaked above the $200 mark, mostly those that had Taka Hayashi’s name behind them, or the infamous “handmade in Italy” Vault x Diemme’s.  Partnering with world-renowned companies to give some authenticity to the shoes, like Vibram or Horween, is just one example of making an already awesome product, better.  Darkside did exactly this, by sourcing SuperFabric® material, which has quite a few benefits to it, which you can read about HERE.  They didn’t stop there.  They also added Outlast® material for the inside lining of the shoe, originally developed by Nasa, which utilizes phase change materials (PCM) that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort.  Read more about it on the same link I just mentioned.

All of this tech doesn’t come cheap, and I truly believe you are getting your money’s worth with these.  Tech can cost just as much as Luxury in almost any industry, and sometimes we have to be reminded of that.  The Darkside Initiative has a pretty specific clientele, and the brands they curate, are a direct reflection of that.  Brands like WTAPS, Neighborhood, and Acronym, fill their store, and when your customers are dropping $100+ on a t-shirt, then what’s $180-$225 on a pair of shoes?  These shoes reflect their style, their taste, their budget, and their sentiment.  It’s a point of view that you either get, or you don’t, and Darkside is okay with that.

The shoes are limited to 100 pairs of each style, so that should also help add some value to them.  Whether you’re a sneaker collector, a shop supporter, or a fan of tech gear, these may be just for you.  Pairs can still be found on The Darkside Initiative webstore.  Buy yourself something nice for Christmas!

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tons more pics after the jump