Teva illum flip-flops: Innovative or gimmicky?
VAIL, Colorado – If you want to get a good, well-rounded opinion about something, parade it through the Vail Daily office and you’ll get more feedback than you could hope for. That’s what I did this week with the Teva illum flip flops, which the kind folks at Teva sent me to review for our new Gear, Gadgets & Gizmos feature we’re running a few times a month. As the name implies, these sandals glow, thanks to a small, waterproof, detachable LED “Pedlamp.” The shoes come with a small keychain you can attach the lights to and use like a flashlight. On the flip-flops the light is angled to point where you’re walking, illuminating your path. I tested this feature last week when I took my trash out to the dumpster around 10 p.m. The light on the building hasn’t been working lately so it’s a short but dark trek. And you can pretty much count on my flashlight always needing new batteries. From afar, these flip-flops look like pretty normal black sandals. But push a small button, and you’ll see they “glow from below,” as their marketing catchphrase touts. As the marketing material reads, “Illum was born from all the stubbed toes, rolled ankles and black toenails suffered by the Teva Team over the years. Whether they came during dawn patrol hikes to the surf or late night groover trips around the riverbanks, they hurt – a lot. But all of that becomes a distant memory with illum’s ‘glow from below.'”I’m still undecided on this gear. My first instinct, when I opened a promotional e-mail about them was “cool, they’ll be perfect for camping.” When they actually arrived at my desk, a little voice in the back of my head said “yes, cool, but slightly gimmicky.” Thus my trip around the office.My officemates were generally positive, saying things like:”Very innovative.””Those would be great for biking home from the bars.””And perfect for peeing in the woods.”One of our more trendy employees said: “I think they’re a little more function over fashion, but they’re cool.”I agreed with pretty much everyone. I was curious about what kind of feedback local retailers have gotten about the shoes since they were released in May so I called Mike Sayers, the store manager over at Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards where the shoes are currently on sale for $35, down from $50. “We have a few displays out and people kind of laugh. We haven’t sold a ton of them,” Sayers said. “I think it might have been better if they’d done a kids’ shoe with it.”So people aren’t psyched about their camping potential? I asked.”Well sure, I guess if you don’t have a headlamp,” he said. “The lights do come off and you can use it as a flashlight so it’s not completely gimmicky.”So maybe it’s an innovative gimmick.High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.