We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trolling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week.
The ‘most comfortable shoes ever,’ according to fashion designer Sandy Liang
“I could just tell they were going to work. And I was right: They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Sometimes when I’m walking around in them, I’ll look down and be tickled by how they make my feet look like small but hefty loaves of bread,” Liang wrote about these fleece-lined Merrells that she loves so much she bought two pairs — and wrote a haiku to them. “Ode to these Merrells / How you hug my feet so sweet / Safe “Wonder Bread” shoes.”
Cricket-based treats that three Strategist dogs snack on
When this bag of dog treats made from crickets arrived at Strategist HQ, writer and dog mom Liza Corsillo was dubious. “I don’t know if I would ever have bought dog treats made out of crickets,” she said, “but Uli [her toy poodle] was immediately smitten, so much so that I’ve bought three more bags in the three months since.” Corsillo shared the made-from-bugs bites — which she notes are “higher in protein and more nutrient dense than beef or chicken treats” — with two other Strategist dog moms, who reported their pooches were similarly delighted.
A lavender-scented mattress topper
An easier — often far less expensive — way to upgrade your old mattress without buying a new one is to throw a mattress topper on it (a hack even Brad Pitt swears by). When we spoke to experts about the best toppers, they recommended 17 of them, many of which are made from memory foam; one expert said this is the most popular material because “it adds comfort and relieves pressure.” Not only does this affordable memory-foam topper have “five body zones that provide extra pressure relief in certain areas to help level you out across the mattress and maximize comfort,” according to another expert, “Lucid infused this topper with lavender to … provide a fresh-smelling mattress for many months to come.”
A better-looking Brita alternative
From our list of the 37 best housewarming gifts according to homeowners and renters comes this quite sleek-looking pitcher with a built-in water filter. Kelly Zutrau, the lead singer and songwriter for the band Wet, told us she gifted it to herself after moving into a place with old pipes and mucky water. “Its two different filters make the water taste very clean,” she said. “And its sleek chamber fits perfectly on the top shelf of my fridge.” Shown here in glass, this pitcher is also available in a less expensive plastic version for $40 on Amazon.
Kelly Ripa’s favorite fragrance
The Live With Kelly and Ryan co-host described this as a “non-fragrance,” telling us that the unisex scent she can’t live without “smells like clean soap. When I put it on, people will say, ‘You smell so good, like you just got out of the shower.’” Apparently, Ripa is not the only celeb who loves it: “I think one of the Mara girls wore it on my show years ago. I think it was Rooney. It smelled so good, so I bought it.”
Something to make your next Saturday night in more entertaining (and productive)
Just when we thought we knew most everything there is to know about Roomba’s robot vacuums, this Amazon reviewer offered a totally new-to-us appeal: “You haven’t quite lived until you’re drunk enough to follow the Roomba all over your small studio apartment feeding it Cocoa Krispies and getting giddy when it finally cycles around to catch it.” The gadget took the title of best entry-level robot vacuum in our roundup of the top-rated ones on Amazon. While it’s not smart (it doesn’t connect to your phone), it also isn’t dumb, according to another user, who notes that it has a “‘Dock’ button, if you want to send it back to its charging station early.”
A suitcase for these skiwear-obsessed times
Away’s newly released alpine-inspired luggage, we wrote in last week’s “Don’t Dillydally,” is “further proof that the Street Ski trend is a thing.” The red-and-white piece reminds us of all the cool merch from the newish TWA Hotel, plus it’s a limited edition: two reasons we think savvy travelers will snap up this luggage fast.
One charger to rule them all
“It has your standard male USB plug on one end. At the other are Lightning (for anything Apple), Micro USB (for most Android phones and other accessories like tablets and point-and-shoot cameras), and USB-C (used by the latest MacBooks and quickly becoming the new standard),” according to contributor Matt Goulet, who told us this single cable has replaced the 30 or so that once occupied his junk drawer. And it’s not only handy at home: “The Ultra has accompanied me to Machu Picchu, for paddleboarding along the coast of Maine, and on multiple visits to see family in Detroit.”
And some some (on sale) New Balances to wear this spring
We genuinely came across a lot of exciting shoes this week, between Sandy Liang’s Merrells; the three (!) new shoe releases from Everlane, Tibi x Clark’s, and Vans in “Don’t Dillydally”; and these 30-percent-off New Balances we featured in a recent Micro Sale. While it may still be weeks before spring actually settles in, one thing that always helps warmer days arrive faster (or at least seem to arrive faster) is to dress for them, which is one reason these cheery men’s sneaks caught our eye. Another: They’re 30 percent off. After months of wearing utilitarian black and brown, the blue and yellow are refreshing, and if you act fast enough, you might even get these in time to wear on Leap Day.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.