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Llamatism is the website of Richmond, Va-based artist and musician, Gary Llama. Be sure to checkout the essays, howtos, and his Reviews. Enjoy!

Hampton Creek Just Ranch

Make / Model: Hampton Creek Just Ranch
Year: ?

Packaging Quality

Ok

Consistency

Ok

Vegan-ness

Vegan

Impressions

This ranch tastes like ranch should taste, is vegan, and yeah, is basically amazing for that.

Both my daughter and spouse can eat actual ranch, yet they eat this. Because it’s that good.

Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Bar

Make / Model: Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Bar
Year: ?

Packaging Quality

Usually OK, some open easier than others

Consistency

Very consistent

Vegan-ness

Very Vegan

Impressions

This is a ‘dark’ chocolate bar, but it tastes amazing. It tastes the way I remember the best tasting chocolate I have ever tasted, tastes. It’s creamy, it’s rich, it’s not too bitter, not too sweet, but also not bland. A bite requires a little bit of effort, but won’t break a tooth.

For my money, it’s the best chocolate available, regardless of Vegan-ness or allergen-ness. It just happens to be perfect on those fronts as well.

Straye Ventura

Make / Model: Straye Ventura
Year: 2017-

Build Quality

Kind of cheap

Functionality

Ok

Durability

Around 5-6 months daily wear

Ethical-ness

Probably sweatshop made

Vegan-ness

Some models canvas

Impressions

The Ventura is a slip-on by Straye. It is available in canvas. It is essentially a knock-off of the Vans slip on. It’s a little lighter. It runs a little smaller/skinnier, so going up a size is an ok idea. And it has a flip up heel ‘counter’ that usually has a message, ranging from graphics of middle fingers, to statements relating to drug use, etc, etc.

These are decent shoes. They sell these cheap. My guess, they are definetely made in sweatshops due to pricing, but compared to a Vans, the quality is only a little bit lower.

Their insole, similar to Vans Ultracush, is called the Acid Drop and comes in the shoes at the same low price point. So for $30, they are way more comfortable than vans. HOWEVER, these insoles tend to crush out around 5 months later. And from my experience, a 6-month old pair of these is the equivalant of a two-year old pair of vans.

Vans Chukka Low

Make / Model: Vans Chukka Low
Year: Varies

Build Quality

Decent

Functionality

Decent

Durability

Around 1.5 to 2 years daily wear

Ethical-ness

Probably sweatshop made

Vegan-ness

Some models canvas

Impressions

Vans goes through spirts on these, making a bunch of offerings of them in varieties of colors, then offering almost none. And it sucks, because this is one of their best shoes, and one of the few for wide feet (the others being slip-ons)…

The chukka has lately been receiving the Ultracush HD insole, and it’s pretty comfy. The chukka is not a heavy shoe in canvas configurations, and is usually stiff enough that once tied, they can be slipped on and off.

It’s a bigger shoe than the classic vans, by profile, offering a lot of padding. It’s kind of like a 2000s vans, except not as bubbly.

Sizing wise, they seem true to fit, and don’t seem to suffer the sizing variability between colorways that the Slip on has.

Overall a very decent shoe when you can find a color you like.

Vans Slip On Pro

Make / Model: Vans Slip On Pro
Year: Varies

Build Quality

Very durable

Functionality

Decent, if a bit heavy

Durability

Around 1.5-2 years daily wear

Ethical-ness

Probably sweatshop made

Vegan-ness

Some models canvas

Impressions

The Slip On Pro is a heavier, tougher version of the slip on with a better insole, designed for skateboarding.

The exterior uses a Duracap (some vans material) wrapping embeded around the front of the foxing to add to trick durability. The Insole is the Ultracush insole, which adds a bit of cushioning that is pretty comfortable, as well as arch support. The only downside, is the shoe isn’t really any taller than a normal slip on, so it means your foot is riding higher in the shoe, which means also, you might need to size up if you were just on the edge of a normal slip on size. For me, it’s not an issue.

The big issue, is the continued difference between sizing of black foxing and white foxing vans, and how the black foxing ones tend to be around a half-size smaller than the white foxing, so a black 12 is a white 11.5, and so on.

The problem with these has been the vegan-ness, vans wont’ specify these as vegan, as with the normal slip on. However, there does not appear to be any leather on the shoe at all, and when contacted numerous times, Vans can’t tell me why they won’t call it vegan. They have no idea. The obvious problem has been that Many of these are leather, but in the last year and a half, they have been rolling out all canvas models, which is great.

About The Site

Llamatism is a collection of things, a cabinet of curiosities, and reports from explorations on things, by Gary Llama.

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