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Oakley Steps Into Paintball
by Bill Mills
Oakley is a name well known in skating and other extreme sport circles, especially for their sunglasses, and now they are expanding their scope to include paintball. Among the products they are now marketing to paintball players are the Teeth shoes and MTB Factory Pilot gloves.
The distinctive tread pattern of the teeth shoe is designed all terrain use, and is a natural fit for paintball – in fact you’ll see them on the feet of top ranked pro team Ground Zero this season. A row of offset color teeth rings the outside of the vulcanized rubber sole, providing grip on the edges, and following through to the center. The body of the shoe comes in a variety of materials, all of which are well ventilated so that they don’t trap sweat (or footstink) inside. They are also luxuriously padded which allows them to be laced up tight, offering maximum support without feeling too restrictive on the feet. Overall the shoe is surprisingly light for its size and has a contoured insole with arch support that we found to be quite comfortable.
The shoe-shape is a mid-top that cradles around the ankle providing a substantial amount of support and protection against sprained ankles. The teeth shoe comes in three styles, Big Teeth, Teeth, and Teeth Low, with men’s and women’s styles of each. While some of the differences are cosmetic, there are also different shapes to the collar of the shoe affecting the fit between the collar and the ankle. This is an area where test-fitting at the store can find the best match between shoe and foot. WARPIG.com tried out the Teeth Low and Big Teeth versions.
Testing the shoe for review meant trying
it out in a number of environments and activities, seeing how it handled
What really sets them apart is the carbon fiber knuckle protector. It is serious protection for the knuckles. While this may appeal to the casual paintballer who is looking for the maximum protection from injury or welts, it’s a definite downside for the tournament player as it provides a hard surface for paint to break, as opposed to the soft armor used on most paintball gloves that will promote bounces, keeping the player in the game. For fit, the gloves performed well, gripping paintguns, and motorcycle grips – and the carbon fiber armor proved excellent for trail riding through brush and brambles [editor’s note – we skipped the theme park for the gloves as they would look kind of goofy there.]
Paintball is a huge sport, and as it
is rapidly gaining attention in the extreme sports world, these offerings
from Oakley are likely to be the first of many crossovers giving paintball
players more choices in their gear.
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