Back in May, yours truly reached the grand old age of 30. To help ease the heartache and quell the tears, the missus had booked us a surprise weekend away as a special birthday treat. I know what you’re thinking. “Special birthday treat” nudge, nudge, wink wink. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it wasn’t that kind of weekend break.
Instead, this was actually the first time that Baby L would be travelling abroad. The missus had planned and booked the holiday without my knowledge, but with a few weeks to go, she decided to cave and let me in on the surprise – although it wasn’t until my actual birthday that I found out that we were heading to Berlin. Having recently got the sprog her first baby passport, we nearly had everything we needed to make the short break a success – the only thing we had to figure out was what we’d put Baby L in to move her around.
We were definitely going to take the baby carrier, but we were a little nervous about taking our pride and joy, aka the Stokke Scoot. So instead, we decided that a stroller would be the way forward, if we could find something that met the following criteria – (1) must be lightweight, (2) must fold reasonably flat, (3) must recline, (4) must be reasonably solid and not flimsy, (5) must look decent, and (6) must cost around £100.
After doing a bit of research and struggling to find much that ticked all of our boxes, we happened upon the Sneaker from pushchair and car seat company Koochi. I’ll admit that I’d not heard of the brand before, but liked what I read. I got in touch with the company, they kindly offered to send us a Sneaker stroller to put through its paces – my review of this pushchair is below:
The product is described as:
The Sneaker is a lightweight umbrella-fold pushchair for sneaking on the fly, multi-recline option and adjustable leg rest for laidback chat, go faster stripes for a quick getaway – the Sneaker is a no-fuss push that outruns them all.
- Suitable from birth up to maximum weight of 15 kg (approx. 3 years old)
- Lightweight umbrella – fold chassis with autolock
- Front and rear suspension
- Lockable swivel front wheels
- Multi position recline & adjustable calf support
- Removable hood & raincover included
- Removable 5 point harness with chest pads & tummy pad
- Spacious shopping basket
- Comes with a free K4 guarantee – a full four years of cover
On opening the box, I was greeted with the pushchair frame with seat and back rest already attached, a separate hood, two sets of wheels and a rain cover. Assembly involved clipping on both sets of wheels, then attaching the hood once the pushchair was unfolded. To open the pushchair, you sort of lift it up via the handlebars, then with a bit of a wiggle, it unfolds to become pushchair shaped. To secure it in its open position, you push down two bars which are situated at the back of the pushchair – simple once you know how, but having never used an umbrella-fold pushchair before, it did take a few attempts to get comfortable with it!
After having a bit of a play with the pushchair and taking the obligatory first photos in the living room, we popped Baby L into the seat and took it out for a quick stroll around the block to test it out prior to Berlin. We were both pleasantly surprised – we really had no idea what to expect from a cheaper, lightweight, umbrella-fold pushchair, but this felt sturdy, was easy to push and Baby L appeared pretty happy. Although it had only been a fifteen-minute walk, we were pretty confident that it would more than do the job whilst on our hols.
Having got up at stupid o’ clock to head to the airport, my next interaction was putting the Koochi Sneaker into the boot of the car. Even with a large travel bag which we’d bought separately to protect the stroller from damage at the airport, it fitted comfortably into the boot of the car and didn’t take up too much space. As it is an umbrella-fold, it lies pretty flat, meaning that there was plenty of room to pack our rucksacks around it with no hassle whatsoever.
On arriving and parking at the airport, we needed to get a bus from the car park to the terminal. As the bus was pretty full despite it being stupid o’ clock, the missus carried Baby L whilst I took the bags and pushchair. Even with the baby carrier and a few other bits in the travel bag, the pushchair was light and easy to carry around on my shoulder. As it was an umbrella-fold, it had a bit of length to it, so just make sure you don’t turn around too quickly or you might take out a pensioner…
At the airport, we unfolded the Koochi Sneaker, popped in the sprog and pushed her around as we went through the various checkpoints, Security and into Departures. I found the stroller both easy and comfortable to push, whilst the basket area was handy for storing the pushchair travel bag and a few other small items. So far, it had exceeded our expectations.
On arriving at the gate, I folded up the pushchair in order to pop it back in the bag. Due to the crazy Ryanair queues, I had to do this with limited space and with loads of eager holidaymakers (aka pricks) trying to push in front of me. Still, I somehow managed and found the process pretty easy – to fold up the pushchair, you need to manually move up the two bars at the back, which gives you the ability to fold it like an umbrella.
On arrival in Germany and picking up the pushchair, we unfolded it once again and secured the sprog. At this point, we’d started to find that it was a little annoying to strap her into the stroller for two main reasons. Firstly, the Sneaker has three soft, protective pads which go over the various harness straps – we discovered that these tend to slip off the straps quite easily. Secondly, the shoulder straps and waist straps need to be connected together, by sliding one into the other, prior to putting them into the buckle – this was a bit of a faff.
Having put her in and out of the pushchair a few times now, e.g. at Security, we found it a bit awkward to ensure the pads weren’t falling off as we tried to hold each of the points of the five-point harness together to pop into the buckle. The last thing we wanted was to lose one of the pads and the design seemed to make it pretty easy to do so. Still, once everything was connected, it felt safe and secure and this was a minor annoyance.
Having only slept a bit on the plane, we knew Baby L needed to have a nap. This was what I was most nervous about. She sleeps well in her other pushchair, but this costs five times as much as the Sneaker – thus it is more padded, reclines further, has a bigger hood etc. On walking from the airport to the train station, Baby L fell asleep pretty easily. Not only this, she did so without even needing to recline the stroller. We just gave her a scarf to snuggle into and she was out quickly! This was a huge relief – the last thing we wanted was an overtired, screaming baby.
The lightweight, but sturdy nature of the pushchair meant it was easy to get onto the train, whilst its compact size took up very little room whilst we were heading to Berlin. On arrival, we left the subway and walked to the hotel. Baby L had woken up by this point, but seemed more than happy in the stroller. I was also still very happy with it as it coped really well with everything that city life through at it – lifts, curbs, crowds, different road surfaces, crazy drivers etc. We got to the hotel fine, went up to the room and had a much needed sit down!
Rather than bore you with details about everything we did for the remaining 36 hours of our holiday (although I’m sure you’re enthralled!), I’ll just focus on the pushchair and what we learnt. During this time, we walked a long way! At no point during our mammoth walks did the Koochi Sneaker cause us any issues in terms of pushing. If I’m being picky, the handles are made of plastic so aren’t the most comfortable to hold and they may be a bit low for anyone more vertically endowed than me (I’m 5′ 10″), but I’d not expect anything more luxurious on a £100 pushchair.
Baby L fell asleep in the pushchair on numerous occasions without much hassle. When we knew she was tired, we’d recline the pushchair and cover with our SnoozeShade. I was impressed with how much the seat did recline for an umbrella-fold pushchair – it wasn’t fully flat, but it wasn’t far off which I think really helped with ensuring the sprog kept to her routine. To recline the seat, there is a two-way cord on the back – you hold in a button and pull downwards, which loosens the back and allows it to recline. Once reclined though, you do lose a lot of the underneath basket space.
This mechanism also allows you to secure the back of the seat at any incline you choose which I was impressed with. However, I did find putting the seat back up a bit more of a hassle – with the same button and cords, you have to move each cord in turn as each one controls either side of the seat. This wasn’t a major issue, but it’s worth mentioning.
I found the break worked well and secured the stroller in place when you didn’t want the little one to wheel away. It’s a simple foot break mechanism which you either push up or push down. The stroller hood provides some cover which was good when we had light rain or a bit of sun, but it’s not the biggest thing in the world – I’d have perhaps liked to have seen it fold further over the seat. Again, this isn’t a particular issue, more a preference.
I’ve already touched on the slight annoyance surrounding the straps and buckles – this only got more annoying as the holiday went on, particularly if Baby L was moving around a lot or crying. In addition, I found the shoulder straps to be a little loose. Baby L isn’t the biggest of babies, but there was a lot of slack in the shoulder straps even when on the tightest setting. This mean that her head was a little wobbly, particularly when sleeping! Again, this is nothing major because the five-point harness means she was secured at all times.
I can imagine that the colour would be a topic of disagreement. As you can see from the photos, it is black and yellow stripes, which at times, makes you feel like you are pushing a giant wasp. However, personally I quite like the colour, particularly the bright yellow wheels. This model of the Sneaker is called Primary Yellow, however there is also another version available in blue and black, which is called Ticket.
Although I quite liked the colour, there are quite a lot of slogans, logos and branding all over the Koochi, which at times, did make me feel like I was pushing a walking billboard. I’d personally like to see quite a lot of this removed as it’s a bit in your face. The thing I did learn about the design and colouring though is that matching it up with a multi-coloured, striped coat, like the missus did, creates an interesting look!
The Sneaker costs £110 and is available directly from Koochi, or from a number of other retailers such as Amazon, Mothercare and Tesco. For me, this is well worth the money and I’d be more than happy to spend this amount on a stroller with all of the features that it has. It didn’t feel cheap, flimsy or rickety like I feared which was a massive bonus for the price.
There’s a huge range of options when it comes to umbrella-fold strollers, so it all comes down to what you want. You could be paying as little as £25, but obviously for this you’re getting something no better than a shopping trolley! For me, £110 is a good price for a lightweight stroller that does much more than basic models.
All in all, we really liked the Koochi Sneaker and it massively helped us on our short break. It met all six of the requirements I set out at the start of this post (lightweight, flat fold, recline, solid, look decent, around £100), so I have no qualms as it did exactly what we wanted it to do. I’m really pleased that we had the opportunity to try it out, I have no reservations about using it for future trips and I’d recommend it to anyone else looking for this type of pushchair.
I’ve touched on a few annoyances, with the main ones being that the removable chest and tummy pads come off very easily and the (sometimes) difficulty of connecting the straps together prior to placing in the buckle. However, I can live with the hassle of these because it excels in plenty of other more important areas such as comfort, ease and sturdiness. Yes, compared to a £500 pushchair, it is not as good, but that is totally to be expected as it is catering for a different market.
If you want a cheap, lightweight, umbrella-fold stroller for the occasional trip out or for a holiday, then I personally don’t think there’s many other pushchairs which would do a better job than the Koochi Stroller.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 out of 5 Stars
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N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The Sneaker stroller was sent to me by Koochi with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.
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