I was recently introduced to Brandblack, a collection of shoes I’ve never heard of. They aren’t primarily a running shoe company (they mostly fill the fashion lane), but they do have a few pairs of shoes that fill the in their arsenal. We briefly reviewed their first take – the Tarantula – back in 2022 and they were quickly realized that while the function was not bad, they were NOT going to be able to hold up to running much at all.
2022 saw a new shoe – the Kaiju – hit the market and we recently tried them out. “Kaiju” is Japanese for “Monster” – and we feel this shoe is a scary good change from their first try.
It is clear that these are some of the most unique pairs of shoes out there. Even with a black and gray color scheme, the “striped animal print-ish” vibe really makes them stand out. I would venture to say that some people may love this look (myself included), while others may take a hard pass. Either way, this is a pair that is bound to have people ask you “what shoe is that?!”
Add in a cute little monster on the tongue and do you have one for the ages. (Note – we think the white heavy colorway of the Kaiju is one of the coolest shoes we have seen)
We have seen a variety of “luxury“ shoes (i.e. brands that aren’t 100% focused on running footwear” on the market, and many seem to skew more towards visuals and flashiness, as opposed to a functional option. We had stunted hopes of the Kaiju as a result (and also because of the Tarantula), but this pair ended up being a surprisingly solid pair to hit the pavement with.
First of all, they are lightweight – just over 7 ounces in a mens 9 – some thing “luxury” shoes often don’t spend their time worrying about. They just fit and feel like a running shoe first and foremost, which is a good thing. The tongue isn’t gussetted, but the upper provides a nice foot hold and even some expected slide from the tongue to the side didn’t provide us with any issues. real The upper proved breathable and held the foot nicely for me.
I could have used a little more cushion, but overall it’s a nice mid cushioned option that provides some responsiveness as well. What is super unique about the Kaiju is the addition of a Kevlar metal plate. It does provide a pretty solid ride though, and though its not something I know enough about to provide benefits on – it definitely does not detract from a run. Maybe if you happen to get shot through the outsole when running, your foot should be safe and protected from impact (note: this is not a scientifically tested hypothesis – ha).
The outsole hasn’t provided any grip issues, though, we’ve also been running in dry summer months. There are a few raised grips at the heel and forefoot that look a little thin. We will see how that handles wear over time, but overall it has held up to expectations through the beginning tests. I don’t think this is gonna hold up to hundreds of miles however.
We actually quite liked the Kaiju, though it isn’t necessarily our go-to trainer during every day long runs. It has a little less cushion than we prefer, but still gets the job done quite nicely. It’s a very solid option to hit the pavement and I have found it in my weekly rotation more often than not lately. I also use it in my casual wear settings as well.
The main kicker here is the price tag. At $265, the price point is in line with “super shoes” on the market and we don’t feel it quite takes the place of a Nike Alphafly or adidas ADIZERO. However, these are definitely a statement piece, and are priced as such. You be the judge on where that fits in your budget and pull the trigger accordingly.
Products & Price:
- Kaiju | $265
- Weight: 7.4oz ( mens 9 )
- Stack: 30mm x 34mm
Thank you to Brandblack for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.