When you’re looking for supreme design and fit in footwear, the leaders tend to stand out without you having to think super-hard. We all know them and what they do and what they offer to the consumer, sometimes we overlook or simply don’t know who else brings that top kind of quality. There are others, that’s for sure, and with the holiday season coming in full force, it might be wise to check one brand that is a bit under the radar in commercial footwear, but is making quite a name for itself for its unusual, avant-garde pavement pounders.
Volcom — if you know the brand, it’s probably because you’ve somehow become connected to or aware of the brand’s popular Snow, Skate, or Surf categories. Long a leader in the aforementioned categories, where sport lifestyle has long lived and thrived, Volcom has debuted two excellent men’s footwear models for the casual lifestyle wear in the Buzzard and the Sub.
The Volcom Buzzard — viewable in full glory here — is a sneaker that looks and feels familiar for its classic design cues, but distinguishes itself with its not-so-subtle accents that make it an original altogether. Looking something like a Chuck Taylor basketball shoe with its vulcanized sole, hi-top cut, and bare-bones silhouette, the Buzzard builds on that blueprint with a bit of flair. The upper is genuine leather – not any of the synthetic stuff – the real tumbled variety, which is even paneled to the heel of the shoe (contrasting with the two-tone sole for some yin/yang color play).
Speaking of the sole, Volcom makes it very clear that they are in charge of the Buzzard using their diamond logo as a traction pattern, jumbled in various sizes across the entire surface of the sole. Even with all said, the most abstract aspect of the Buzzard is the construction of the upper. Layered with circular cutouts in the same premium leather, the ankle and quarter section of the shoe is built with a synthetic ballistic mesh that syncs right to your foot when laced. The beauty of the ballistic mesh is that it doesn’t degrade or stretch, so the voided leather layer atop it is likely to not be misshapen, either. It’s a great shoe for dress casual affairs, where you can straddle the fence a bit.
Complementary to that is the Volcom Sub, a suede and denim-dominant street boot. Paneled throughout the shoe from the toe to the ankle, the Sub — also viewable in great detail here — is desert boot-meets-hiker boot, but one thing for sure is that it is a definitive comfort product. Everything involved with the Sub whispers ‘high quality’. The opaque light gum rubber sole is grooved with slightly diagonal lines, improving flexion and providing adequate traction. The soft, light nap suede is buttery, and the ankle and quarter panels synch up with plush, foam-backed denim (even the laces are denim-covered). Riding high on the ankle and lower leg, because the Sub employs soft denim instead of more traditional materials that might cut into the skin, the boot itself is more liberating and feels closer to a heavily-socked sneaker than anything else.
At the end of it all, both the Buzzard and the Sub offer different things to wearers because of their builds — the Buzzard gives a sneaker feel, and the Sub gives a stronger, more durable feel for colder climate — but these are strong models and ultimately having you looking and feeling like the materials they employ — premium.
For more info on Volcom Footwear, go to www.volcom.com.