All posts tagged: Shopping

Instagram adds shopping tags directly into Stories

Instagram’s shoppable tags are about to pop up in Stories. The company started testing the feature back in 2016 with a limited set of 20 partners. Since then it’s been a hit, expanding broadly to regular brand posts in the feed. Starting today, hitting a little shopping bag sticker in a Story will lead you to more details on the cute and/or dope thing that caught your eye and how to score it.

It’s a simple addition, but given the success of Stories it’s a potent one for brands that drive sales on the platform.

“With 300M using Instagram Stories everyday, people are increasingly finding new products from brands they love,” Instagram said in a press release.

“In a recent survey, Instagrammers said they often watch stories to stay in the-know with brands they’re interested in, get an insider view of products they like, and find out about new products that are relevant to them.”

As a longtime daily Instagram user, I used to be skeptical that people really engaged with brands like this and not just their friends or dogs they know. Now, after seeing my fiancée’s considerable #engagement around makeup brands running wildly popular accounts, Stories and all, I get it. Well, I don’t get it, but I get that some people get it and that the often vast and expertly crafted brand Stories are a logical evolution for a platform trying to get more users buying more stuff in the product categories that call to them.

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Review: Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimrun

Finding the perfect summer travel shoe can be an overwhelming task. No one wants to tote around a suitcase full of sneakers and sandals, but it's hard to have fun on vacation with blisters or a limp. Can you hike all day and walk into a nice restaurant for lunch? What if your travel plans include a morning run? Will French people stare at me if I'm wearing these?

Is there a shoe out there that is at once durable, sporty, good for water, and good-looking? Or should I just give up and put my Chacos back on?

With one minor caveat, I can announce that my search is over. For the past few weeks, I’ve been running, hiking, wading through rivers, and meeting friends for lunch in Vivobarefoot’s Primus Trail Swimruns.

The Swimruns were originally designed for a Swedish race series called the Ötillö Swimrun, which can be described as an off-road triathlon sans the pesky biking portion. These versatile kicks are light, athletic sneakers that are designed to fit like a sock, with a breathable and draining mesh upper for when you go into the water and a durable, sticky, bright orange sole.

You don’t need to be a dedicated barefooter to enjoy these shoes, but if you plan on running in them, you probably should be. I’ve been running for ten years in successive pairs of Merrell Trail Gloves, and even I needed a little time to adjust to the Swimruns. But once you have, you probably won’t want to take them off.

Fun Run

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t exactly recommend barefoot running as a method of injury prevention. But anecdotally speaking, I took up barefoot running ten years ago as a way to strengthen my legs and feet while recovering from an ACL repair. I’m a lot slower now, and I don’t think I’d wear barefoot shoes if I still wanted to race. But I haven’t hurt myself since.

I’m not the only one at WIRED who loves barefoot running, and Vivobarefoot. Galahad Clark, the seventh generation of shoemakers from comfy shoe manufacturer Clarks Shoes, founded the company in 2004 as Terra Plana. They became Vivobarefoot in 2012, and they use innovative designs and materials to activate all the bitty nerve endings in your feet by letting them feel the ground. This can help you fire up ancillary leg and ankle muscles that may be dormant in a more supportive shoe.

The Swimruns slip on like a pair of wetsuit booties, or a pair of socks. I normally wear a size 8 in running shoes, but I had to size down to my casual shoe size in a 7.5. I have an extremely low-volume foot, but it was easy to cinch down the quick laces to accommodate them. The shoes also come with a removable thermal insert for extra padding and warmth if you need it.

I’ve been wearing them without socks for a few weeks, while running and hiking in and out of water. So far they haven’t started to smell, but I do take them off and dry them in the sun every afternoon.

If you've never done any barefoot running, it feels less like running and more like padding around a forest like a kitten. it will take you awhile for your feet to acclimate. Even if you're familiar with it, I suggest taking it easy at first. The Trail Gloves are one of the most stripped-down running shoes around, but even they offer a little more support. It took a week or two of extremely short, slow runs on asphalt, gravel, groomed trails, and un-groomed singletrack for the tendons in my heels to acclimate to the Swimruns.

I didn’t wear the shoes while swimming, but I do take my dogs out on and around the rivers of Portland, Oregon, a couple times a week. Sports sandals, like Chacos, are the water shoe of choice around these parts, but I have mixed feelings about them. Dirt and pebbles can wiggle their way under the soles of my feet, and I have to shake them out. Not to mention my tendency to walk into sharp sticks, or stub my unprotected toes on rocks.

The Swimruns, however, were a great alternative. On one outing, my toddler daughter and I walked out on a narrow wooden barricade that jutted into the Willamette River, only realizing, too late, that we had to negotiate several thickets of overgrown thorns. Rather than sign up for another prickle-and-scratch session, I opted to hop off the barricade and directly into murky, knee-deep water.

The Swimruns have protective, puncture-resistant rubber zones, so I didn't worry about bumping into, or stepping onto, anything sharp or splintery while wading back to shore with a squirmy three-year-old under my arm. The rubber is dotted with draining mesh holes, so when I got back on the beach, a few steps pumped all the water out of my shoes. Within a minute or two, my feet were dry.

Over the past few weeks, I've taken them through water, sand, dirt trails, and deep mud. After rinsing them off, they still look as good as new.

Wee Heavy

Though I loved these shoes, I have one minor gripe: they're not quite as light as the Merrell Trail Gloves. At 500 grams, or slightly over a pound for both shoes, they are just a few ounces heavier. If you're sensitive to that sort of thing, it's worth noting.

At least the extra weight doesn't keep them from compressing easily. For example, they fit in the top compartment of my small Matador daypack.

My family is planning a few trips this summer, in deserts and on beaches, traveling by car and by air, and I’m already planning on taking the Swimruns with me. The quick laces mean that you can easily slide them on and off. You can wear them with or without socks, for sprinting through airports or going on hikes. You can use them as water shoes to protect your feet while swimming or paddling.

And unlike some of Vivobarefoot's more wacky designs, these look like street shoes. I like the sporty black mesh and bright orange soles (the women’s version also comes in a more toned-down blue). At $135, they’re a little pricey but certainly not out of reach for many people, especially if you’re only planning on wearing one pair of shoes.

If you’re looking for a sporty travel sneaker that can double as a casual shoe, congratulations! The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimruns tick all the boxes. Plus, the locals won't judge you for your choice of footwear, so you can use all that empty backpack space to tote more snacks, instead.

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Review: Salewa Ultra Train 2

When hiking, there are a few items that are non-negotiable: A backpack and a windbreaker; water, beef jerky and sunblock. Shoes, however, can be a surprising point of contention.

It makes sense to wear hiking boots when you go, er, hiking. But, when taking into consideration your individual preferences, the terrain you’re covering, and the season, it’s not always a given. I own several nice pairs of hiking boots, but in the summer, they go back in the closet. I don’t suggest backpacking in flip-flops, but unless you’re hauling your own body weight up a 40-degree incline, trail running shoes might work just as well.

If you want the light weight, breathability, and maneuverability of a running shoe without sacrificing traction and protection, speed hikers like the Salewa Ultra Train 2 are a good compromise. Developed for extreme athletes who want to cover a lot of ground in rough terrain fast, the Ultra Train 2 are what you’d get if you crossed a pair of running shoes with a pair of approach shoes, which are the shoes that rock climbers wear when they’re approaching a climb through rocky ground.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been wearing the Ultra Train 2 for trail running, hiking, and tooling about town. If you’re looking to upgrade your hiking game from a pair of waterproof Converse, these might be your next pair of kicks.

In The Middle

Headquartered in the Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy, Salewa has been churning out premium alpine gear since the 1930s. The Ultra Train 2 is the spring version of the Ultra Train Gore-Tex. It has a breathable mesh upper instead of a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, although a rubber rim that extends all the way around the base of the shoe does offer some puddle protection.

The Ultra Train 2 look like a pair of trail running shoes. They fit true to your running shoe size—in casual shoes, I’m a 7.5, and in running shoes, an 8. Salewa sent me the tester model in a size 8 and they fit perfectly. I have a very low-volume foot, but the shoe fit snugly around my heel and midsole, with plenty of room to wiggle my piggies in the roomy toe box.

The Ultra Train 2 borrow many features from approach and climbing shoes. The first thing you’ll notice is the speed lacing system. It’s easy to use: just tug the pull on the lace end. Then, slide down the toggle to lock the laces in place and tuck the slack into the loop on the shoe's tongue. They allow you to tension the laces evenly for greater comfort, and take your shoes on and off quickly to switch between climbing shoes and hiking ones. I liked the speed laces because most of my summer hikes involve water, so, I'll be able to get the Ultra Train 2s off before taking a dip.

The second feature that is borrowed from climbing shoes are the stiff rubber rands, which is what you call the layer of rubber that runs around the outer rim of the shoe’s sole. Rands help you climb. You can use stiff rands and stiff shoe soles to propel you up sheer rock races, or protect your feet when you wedge them into gaps where, frankly, feet are not supposed to go.

I think rands are swell. The terrain that climbers have to cover isn't all that different from the terrain that all hikers have to cover, and the rands offered great protection from stubbing my toes on tree roots or accidentally swinging my heels into rocks or logs. The stiff anti-rock heel cup also protected my feet from more mundane hazards, like my daughter running her wagon into me.

The lugs are enormous and aggressive, made out of Michelin Outdoor Compound X (OCX), which is a material that the tire company uses to make mountain biking tires. They provided grip and traction on the slipperiest of surfaces, even if they were also the exact right width and depth to trap small pieces of gravel and sticks in the treads.

Despite the Ortholite insole, I found the shoe’s sole to be very stiff and hard. This can be partly explained by a protective rock plate in the front part of the sole, which prevents sharp bumpy things from stabbing themselves in the soft underside of your foot.

The fact that it was still easy for me to run over uneven ground with such a stiff sole can probably be attributed to Salewa’s trademarked 3F system. The 3Fs stand for three features: Fit, function, and performance. When you tighten the laces, you also secure a static system of webbing that runs from the insole, to the heel collar, and up to the top of the laces. As someone who has very thin heels and ankles, the 3F system helped secure a vulnerable part of my foot. My foot didn't roll in the shoe, even when running on trails that slanted sideways across steep slopes. As a bonus, I didn't have to pick any pebbles out of the top part of my shoe!

Despite these heavy rubber features, the shoes are still pretty light. Together, the shoes weigh a little over a pound. Even if they don’t have a Gore-Tex lining, they dry pretty quickly. When I soaked them in the sink around 11 a.m., they were dry enough to wear by 1 p.m. They have a neutral platform and a slight 8-mm heel drop. It’s not quite a barefoot running shoe, but it’s not far off from one, either.

To The Limit

The Ultra Train 2s aren't quite perfect. While I didn't notice the speed laces loosening while I was testing this shoe, it seems worth noting that I've had experiences with the toggle getting loose in the past. Within a limited timeframe, it's impossible to test the durability of the webbing that the laces run through, but sometimes this particular type of webbing frays as the thin laces scrape back and forth. Also, and this is a personal preference thing, but as I mentioned, they are really stiff. They work well on rocky terrain, but if you're cruising mainly on dirt and asphalt, you might want shoes with a bit more give.

But in pretty much every other way that counts, the Ultra Train 2s are bomber. On top of that, they're good-looking—you wouldn't feel out of place wearing these if you stop by a bar on your way home. If you're worried about getting gravel between your toes this summer, pick up a pair. They’re easy to slip on and off, suitable for both walking the dogs, and protective enough for two- or three-day weekend backpacking trips. At the very least, they’re definitely better than a pair of flip-flops.

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28 Delicious Dishes Around the World for $5 or Less

Despite the zigzagging American stock market, the developed world is in the midst of a return to luxury. Restaurants in the U.S. are going formal again, posh conglomerates such as Kering SA are roaring back, and air travel has gotten fancier than ever. Those enjoying fat bonuses from 2017 can do some serious shopping.

Yet there are still terrific values when it comes to food. We’ve tapped local experts to reveal more than two dozen places from 18 global cities that serve destination dishes for less than $5, 1  without a Happy Meal in sight.



Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

You can pay for a meal in the Iskelé Turkish restaurant, or you can just go to the stall in Whitecross Street Market, which dates back to the 17th century. These days it’s a lunchtime food destination, and there is no better value than the , a spicy flatbread hot from the grill and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, for a little over 3 pounds ($4). 

Beigel With Smoked Salmon

Beigel Bake is so good, it would be popular in any city. But in London, where bagels are not celebrated, this bakery is both a destination and a sensation. There’s always a line, day and night, at this 24-hour bakery on a rundown street best known for curry houses. The smoked salmon offering comes with a good amount of fish and a swath of cream cheese for 2 pounds. An oft-told tale has Mariah Carey turning up in a limousine with her entourage and being ordered to the back of the line.



The quintessential Dutch are a deal. 
Photographer: Wout Vergauwen

Bitterballen (Fried Meatballs)

The quintessential Dutch deep-fried treat makes an appearance at chef Peter Gast’s Michelin-starred ’t Schulten Hues restaurant. A budget edition of Gast’s ragout-filled balls can be found at Ballenbar in Foodhallen, a Borough Market-inspired indoor food market in a renovated tram depot. The most traditional options are the beef balls: crunchy on the outside, gooey and flavorful on the inside, served with a dollop of grainy Dutch mustard for 3 euros (less than $4).



Allesso di Scottona Sandwich

Retired butcher Sergio Esposito makes sandwiches using family recipes. The sandwich is comprised of simmered beef brisket sliced up and served with dandelion greens on a ciabatta from Panificio Passi, aka the best bakery in Rome. The bread gets a dip in the brisket cooking juices before it’s filled. “This sandwich is ridiculous,” pronounces Rome’s expert tour guide and cookbook author, Katie Parla. It costs 4 euros. 




In Tel Aviv’s busiest marketplace, a lesser known specialty among the fruit stands and displays of baklava is the A thin sheet of dough fried with an egg in it (think North African spring roll) gets stuffed inside a pita with spicy harrisa and (a pumpkin and lemon condiment). Cost: 15 shekels, a little more than $4.






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Clam and Garlic Pizza

A giant neon sign points the way to Golden Boy, which has been providing North Beach with generous squares (and giant sheets) of Sicilian-style pizza since 1978. The greasy, crisp-bottomed pizza has a variety of toppings including sausage ($3.25), but the more interesting options are the vegetarian pesto or the signature clam pizza topped with a notable amount of garlic.

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Chicken Korean Taco

On Thursdays and Saturdays, the team at the modern Korean minded Namu offers a street food menu at the Ferry Building farmer’s market. Think stonepot market vegetables and kimchee fried rice with artisan hot dogs. For $3.50 you can get a Korean taco made from seasoned rice, kimchee salsa, and kimchee remoulade and filled with caramelized chicken. 



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Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger

This no-frills mini chain got recognition when Andrew Zimmern of fame shouted out their original stall in the basement of a Queens mall. Xi’an specializes in hand-pulled noodles but one of their best deals is the lamb burger, featuring fall-apart-tender chunks of spicy stewed lamb, heavy on the cumin, wrapped in a doughy flatbread for $4. 

Mole Poblano With Chicken Tamale

This tiny new storefront on the Lower East Side specializes in one thing:  tamales. Owner Fernando Lopez makes the masa, then steams them with fillings like a deeply flavored chile mole with shredded chicken, for $4. For the same price you can also get a bacon and mozzarella cheese tamale, or a breakfast egg sandwich on a brioche bun with his chipotle-spiked special sauce. 

Peking Duck Sandwich

The biggest bargain on the menu are the juicy pork and chive fried dumplings ($1.50 for four). But the greatness of Vanessa’s, which has outposts in the East Village and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is their sesame pancake-styled sandwiches, filled with ingredients like kimchee, ham and egg, and roasted pork. The peking duck sandwich moistened with hoisin is superb. (At the Brooklyn outpost, the sandwich is $4.25; it’s $3.50 in Chinatown.) 



Chicken Chivichanga

Named for the North Mexican desert region, this stellar little shop in downtown LA has $2 tacos and carne asada cooked over mesquite wood. The Chivichanga boasts two handmade flour tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, blistered tomatoes and chile.



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Kalua Pork Tacos

There are multiple locations of  the Hawaiian-styled Marination. The newest is near the Amazon campus; the best is in West Seattle with killer views of the city. Among the $3 tacos are tofu, kalbi beef, and sweet kalua pulled pork, served on two corn tortillas, topped with housemade pickled jalapeños and their signature sauce.



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Mini Big Mac

A globetrotting menu of tapas is the name of the game at this casual restaurant, with dishes that range from Scotch eggs to falafel to pakora (all less than $5). On Sundays, the special is mini-mac sliders: A mini Big Mac with a beef patty, American cheese, mustard, dill pickle, on a seeded bun, that’s a stellar version of its namesake.



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Milanese Cemita (Pueblan-style sandwich)

The crunchiness of the bun and generous stuffing of avocados, chipotle, and a Mexican herb called make these sandwich staples from Puebla a new category in contrast to Mexico City’s ubiquitous tortas. Choose among options ranging from the basic (shredded cheese) to a Biscayan style cod panini. The real star is the cemita de Milanesa, stuffed with a breaded, pounded thin veal cutlet for 75 pesos ($3.99).



Argentine White Pizza

Influenced by generations of Italian immigrants, thick-crusted Argentine pizza is now a Buenos Aires staple. The best in the city is El Cuartito. Since 1934, it’s been serving up slices of (white pizza with plenty of gooey cheese and onions), juicy Napolitana, and sausage-based Calabresa in an unassuming venue surrounded with signed posters of boxers, soccer stars, and folklore singers. For a real throwback, order soda in a siphon. Slices start at $1.75.

Sandwich Completo

Nestled in the middle of Buenos Aires’ bustling Microcentro, El Buen Libro fools you with its inconspicuous, convenience store vibe—unless you walk by at lunchtime, when a line goes out the street for its build-your-own sandwichs. In addition to the classic veal Milanesa, a local favorite is the homemade sandwich, the Argentine take on cold steak roulade. Top it off with vegetables and condiments and come hungry: portions are large. The Milanesa grande will set you back about $3. 



Menu of the Day

The specialty at this hole in the wall is Peruvian-style vegetarian cooking. Potatoes feature in most plates (after all, 4,000 varieties grow in the Andean highlands). The menu of the day, including a starter, main course, dessert, and drink, is an astonishing value at $4, and might include vegetable soup with corn and manioc, Andean lasagna, and freshly made vanilla pudding. 





Barbecue Pork Roll

You can normally spot this place because of the lunchtime line of city workers. The classic Banh Mi pork roll comes complete with fresh coriander, chili and homemade butter with the option of barbecued or crispy fried pork, or pork loaf, salad and a choice of roll baked on premises (wholemeal, multigrain, sourdough). A basic sandwich is A$5 ($3) and costs a bit more with all the trimmings.

Cheese & Spinach Borek

A tour of Melbourne’s 140-year-old market is worth the trip just for the superb, Victorian-era Deli Hall. It’s even better if you pick up a Turkish borek for just A$3.50. The ladies can barely keep up, so be prepared to jostle for your fresh, crisp pastry filled with feta and spinach. There’s also a tasty spicy lamb for meat lovers or a potato and vegetable option. If you happen to be late and lucky, you might find a ‘two for A$5’ discount.



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Chicken Rice

Nearly everyone in Singapore has an opinion on where to find the best Hainanese chicken rice. This eatery nestled between public housing blocks in the city-state’s central district has an especially loyal following. Chef-owner Ronnie Chew gets all the elements of this ubiquitous Singaporean dish working in harmony: the stock-infused rice is fluffy and the chicken moist, with plates from S$3 ($2.30). Pro tip: Balance out the garlicky and savory chili dip with some aromatic minced ginger.

Braised Noodles

Be prepared to wait for a bowl of hearty braised noodles from this stall in Singapore’s Old Airport Road food market. Thick yellow noodles, pork belly slices, chunks of fried fish, and a well-seasoned hard-boiled egg are doused in rich, flavorful gravy and finished with a garnish of cilantro and sliced red chiles. Bowls start at S$3.



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Katsudon (Pork Cutlet)

A freshly fried pork cutlet is simmered with an egg and sweet soy sauce just long enough before it’s heaped atop a bowl of rice—the perfect meal, for just 500 yen ($4.64) 2 at any of Katsuya’s 345 restaurants around Japan. Normally a higher-priced item that you have to wait for, your katsudon is ready in minutes at this fast-food style franchise. Options abound, including fried shrimp, and an array of condiments.

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Nori Toast
Coffee Shop Ace, 3-10-6 Uchikanda, Chiyoda-ku
Japanese coffee shops usually have “one-coin morning sets,” breakfast sets with coffee, toast, and sometimes a side of boiled egg and salad, all for a single 500 yen coin. Coffee Shop Ace in Kanda, an area best known for its bars and izakayas, has been around for four decades and is famous for its “nori toast” morning set: buttered, dried seaweed toast plus coffee. It may sound like a strange combination, but the butter and nori gives the toast a nice umami kick. 

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Napolitan Japanese Spaghetti

Tucked away in an underground shopping alley in the heart Tokyo’s financial district, Little Koiwai offers what many locals grew up eating: Japanese-style pasta. Soft-boiled spaghetti fried with bits of onion and green pepper, plus sweet tomato sauce is known as “Napolitan” priced at 540 yen. Other favorites include the soy sauced-flavored “Japone” and cod roe-mixed “tarako.” You’ll see a long line of Japanese salarymen standing in front of the shop if you go at lunch.



Tteokbokki (Stir-Fried Rice Cakes)
Jaws Tteokbokki
, multiple locations
This restaurant chain, with outposts that resemble cozy hot-dog stands, serves jaw-dropping, spicy Korean rice cakes soaked in gochujang, the traditional hot pepper paste. A bowl full of the chewy cakes, usually more than a dozen pieces, accompanied by a bowl of oden soup (in a dashi, soy sauce broth) that costs about 3,000 won ($2.80). More adventurous dinners can partake of blood sausage, called soondae, for just a little more.



Black Pepper Pork Buns

This Shanghai-style noodle joint has a small, no frills dining room. But Hing offers sensational little dumplings, or buns. Two pan-fried black pepper pork buns are HK$24 ($3). Don’t be fooled by their modest appearance: The buns are hot, pan-fried to order and extra juicy with a good hit of spice. For about the same price, you can get the non-spicy pan-fried BBQ pork buns for HK$22.

Wonton Noodles

This cozy, brightly lit noodle place has been around for 60 years. The enduring specialty is the signature wonton noodles: Crinkled, tender dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork, with eggy ribbon-shaped noodles in a fish-infused broth. A bowl costs about HK$34. Enhance it with a side order of greens.



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