Ariake III Mid Term Review

K-SWISS Ariake III Parkour and Freerunnign Shoes

We've had the Ariake III's for about two months now, and the most common question I get is "Are they worth $150" - read more to find out ...maybe



What do you get when you take everything good about the Ariake Mesh Lites, take away everything bad about the Ariake's and make them lighter and stronger? The Ariake III's. These shoes are pretty amazing, I think the best thing I can say about them is "I don't think about them" - personally I spend a lot of time barefoot, I run a mile in DC barefoot at least once a month, and often trail run about 2-3 miles barefoot. I spend some time in the gym barefoot, but when training in the city, I prefer shoes. I'm not trying to argue the point, just giving you a background so you know where I'm coming from. Now back to the Ariake III's.





When I first got them, my foot felt "high" in the shoe, as if it wasn't fully wrapped and "sunk in". After moving the top lacing back one setting (to the middle of three possible settings) that feeling is completely gone. I now feel like the shoe is an extension, solid, comfortable, and grippy as anything! The Ariake's have long been known for their superior grip - throw a pair on anyone and their wallrun increases a bit - we've done this hundreds of times at jams and people are always amazed, even staunch defenders of "shoes don't matter" throw them on and do a wallrun and go "wow!". The grip is still there, the traction amazing, they are actually lighter than the previous mesh, and so far absolutely no signs of damage or wear on any part except wear on the sole. You can see by the soles that I have worn these a decent amount in the weeks I've had them, compared to the sharp lines of the new ones, you can see the "tread depth" has been worn quite a bit in the ball of foot / striking area. I have not done a lot of catleap training lately, if I had I suspect they would be worn a bit more. The good news is that you can wear the raised tread right off these and still have incredible grip on any dry surface.


Which reminds me - these are still Ariake's and so I do think about them on grass, wet surfaces, and trails, where the grip is definitely a concern and I'd feel more secure in a trail runner. Fortunately the Ariake III has a close cousin that is a trail runner the Blade Max III- which I'm trying to get a hold of to test ;). So far, based on feel, grip, durability, wear and comfort, these are my favorite shoes I've ever owned. K-SWISS has continually listened to our input when making next generation parkour and freerunning shoes and it shows! Now on to the big question - are they worth $150? My answer, for now, is "probably". I have to say, if these shoes last another 2 months in the shape they're in, then I am willing to stick my neck out and tell people to spend $150. Yes, I know that KOs are "meant to be destroyed" which is a great way to market something that lasts 4 weeks, and Feiyue's are $22 (and great shoes for a lot of reasons) however, the Ariake III's have durability and features that neither of those can touch, so for anyone with the money, it's an amazing shoe that won't disappoint. Keep it tuned here for a "final review" in another two months or so. If you want to check them out, use the coupon code APK for 10% off on these or any K-SWISS shoes. The photos on our Facebook are all high res if you want a better look. - M2

Ariake III Toebox

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Written by Mark Toorock   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 08:12
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 08:51