K-SWISS Ariake II Mesh Lite Review by APK Member Hao Shen

This article originally appeared in Hao Shen's blog on APK Sunday, 01 February 2009

Near the end of last year, I ended up needed new shoes for parkour, since my old ones wore out.  After a long search, I set my eyes on the K-Swiss Ariake Lite Mesh:

So, now, after nearly four months of use and abuse, my impressions of it are still pretty good.  I'm thinking about buying a new pair when the time comes.

COSMETICS: 9/10

Honestly, I really liked the look of this shoe.  It's a good combination of black, light grey, dark grey, and just a tinge of red.  The bottom of the shoe consists mainly of rubber, which gives you really good traction, espectially during wall runs.  But the best thing about this shoe is that it is light weight.  If you pick up a standard running shoe in one hand, and an Ariake Lite Mesh in the other, the difference in weight is noticeable.  The only small gripe I have about the look is that there are five K-Swiss symbols on the shoe that are within an inch of each other.  One of the trademarks is located on the bottom of the shoe.  Was that really necessary?  Five K-Swiss symbols?  I'd say the one on the front and the one on the back of the shoe are sufficient.

USAGE: 7/10

For the most part, this shoe is like a standard running shoe.  I usually wear them to work out at the gym, while running, and of course, parkour.  Personally, I didn't have much trouble with the cushioning in the shoe.  It's sufficient for me.  Some people have complained that it's not as cushioned as a standard running shoe.  That's just a matter of preference.  If you don't like it, add some gel inserts and you should be fine.  What you do need to be concerned about is the light mesh on top of the shoe.  It WILL NOT protect you from the rain.  If you get caught in the rain, you WILL go home with wet socks and wet feet.  If you jog through a puddle, you will have wet feet.  This shoe does not do well against the water.   Be prepared.

GRIP: 8/10

Like I mentioned before, the grip is pretty good and does fairly well on most surfaces, except metal and marble.  The rubber also doesn't do well on wet surfaces.  So you can forget about doing parkour in the rain.  In terms of cat balancing on metal rails, the shoe does fairly well.  The only trouble you may experience with metals is trying to wall run a metal surface.

OVERALL: 8/10

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Written by Mark Toorock   
Sunday, 01 February 2009 00:00