Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Brandblack Sansin Basic Black Hybrid Hike Review: Stealth Mode Sharp. Super Light, Trails Worthy. Concrete Standing & Cruising Tested!

Article by Sam Winebaum

Brandblack Sansin Basic Black ($288)

The Sansin is a mid-height “hybrid” hiking boot from Los Angeles brand Brandblack.  Brandblack is a fascinating brand with its founders having deep experience in performance running, soccer, basketball and most visibly recently the Los Angeles sneaker culture.  We previously reviewed the Tarantula (RTR Review) a door to trail running shoe with a supercritical foam CO2 processed midsole. 

The guys at Brandblack were on the original Skechers Performance team which delivered the now iconic Skechers Razor with its Hyperburst supercritical foam midsole. In parallel we tested their Kaiju, a very light max cushion trainer racer with a unique Kevlar propulsion plate.(RTR Review)

But here we are with Sansin. Stealth to the max in my black this light mid height hiker features a dual material ripstop upper, forgiving midsole and a wrap up Vibram LiteBase outsole. 

I tested them for 3 days of non stop 10 hours plus a day on trade show floor concrete and walking around Austin at the Running Event. With some many brands there I decided to go stealth all black and got many questions and compliments. 

For sure they are a class act but how did they perform? 

While never bothered on the run I almost always get very sore heels at trade shows and their hours and hours on concrete and have learned firmer lower shoes and boots with supportive uppers are far preferable to soft and cush. 

Yet here I had more than enough cush and support from the Vibram Wrap Tech outsole with rubber side walls. 

Guess what! It may be the first hiking boot with supercritical foam as its midsole as it has the same fantastic Jetlon foam as in the Brandblack Kaiju max cushion, super light road trainer racer!  And it is super light as well as a result at 11.3 oz / 320g in US8.5 so less than more than a few trail running shoes and far lower in weight than many mid height hikers.

Of course I think the look is spectacular with a classy shiny black toe and blackout: upper, padding, toe box, matching hardware, and Vibram wrap up outsole. It’s subtle, noticed and intriguing but doesn’t shout out its presence. 

A more “fun” color is also available but I am staying Basic Black!

The upper is a non-stretch construction with a twist. Pull them on with some difficulty with the rear pull and then.. once on the lowish heel counter and foam padding deliver a very comfortable quite “open” rear hold that is totally secure and stable but doesn’t over squeeze the rear. A really neat fit and feel.

The midfoot with its beautifully crafted pulls is for sure boot worthy. 

Towards the front, the mesh gets more closed and appears coated or super dense for some moisture protection with the toe toe area having a cool, shined boot look. The rear mesh is less dense in look but still very rugged ripstop nylon.

The toe box is adequately wide and quite low. My first day at the trade show I wore a medium weight sock in my true to size 8.5 pair and had some light pressure over my dodgy big toes.  The 2nd and 3d day, during the actual trade show, I wore thin knee high compression socks and had the room I needed no question about it.

The Falke Energizing Knee High compression sock I paired with Sansinwas superb. Soft and non constrictive yet mildly compressive they were the perfect compliment to the Sansin.

The midsole is surprisingly friendly while stable, and with for sure a touch more bounce than the usual hiker midsole  Why? It has the same supercritical CO2 infused EVA foam as Brandblack's road trainer/racer Kaiju has, a foam of the same type of super light weight and high energy "return" as road super racing shoes. Brandblack also uses this midsole, really an insert, with the Vibram WrapTech outsole providing outer structure in its Rare Metal basketball shoe. 

Given the construction Sansin also has great stability from the low stack and the wrap up the sides Vibram outsole. I haven’t tried to run them much but I think they will be nicely runnable especially on trails if need be but that is not their focus.

The outsole is Vibram’s LiteBase Megagrip with about 3 mm lugs. There is no finer rubber out there for trail running and hiking urban streets and trails. The pattern is street concrete light trails and snow on sidewalks worthy. 

No big hiker lug feeling here with the rubber moderately soft and well matched to the midsole and with the WrapTech sides of the outsole providing stability and structure to the inner Jetlon supercritical foam core.

A masterpiece light hike, urban explorer and even a more formal work and night on the town shoe, I expect the upper, midsole, and outsole to be very durable. I will not hesitate a second to take them hiking in our super technical rocky White Mountains or for multi-day moderate terrain trekking and travel in Europe as I expect their outsole, forgiving yet stable midsole, relative agility and rugged upper to totally be up to the task. 

And the 3 day trade show concrete floors test? First time ever I left the show with no sore feet and with fresh legs every day and after.

For sure it is not a running shoe . It is a super versatile hiker and all around shoe making its bespoke pricing more palatable. With a very comfortable and secure upper, a unique as far as I know in a boot (so far) supercritical foam midsole "wrapped" by its WrapTech Vibram outsole- it has proven as capable as it is stylish.

I accept the fact that for a small company such as Brandblack, with limited production orders and with no compromise superb quality and design they will be priced differently than a mass market product. 

Limited editions sneaker culture stuff is not my usual focus.  But..yes there is for sure some “cachet” for me in owning a Brandblack for their reputation as a very influential brand always in tune with trends and even sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. 

At the opening of a men’s clothing styling studio one of the consultants (used to be my painter) immediately knew what they were and was clearly a bit jealous. I find its clean serious and visually subtle and deep design stunning. 

Sansin will in no way be a wear for a year, wear out in one year, go out of fashion, move on boot or one limited in utility or versatility. I know I will continue to wear them year round in all seasons for multiple uses and they will never go out of “fashion” in my Basic Black.

The Sansin all of Brandblack cool shoes are available at Brandblack

Check out all our 2023 Run Previews 


15 Brands, Dozens of New Models

RoadTrailRun may receive a commission on purchases at the stores linked in this article. 
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Thanks!

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: