New Balance, already enjoying a smoking hot year in sneakers, has partnered with Snow Peak for one of the most eye-catching concepts of 2020. The Japanese outdoor brand has collaborated on the all-new Niobium Concept 1, a three-in-one sneaker that transforms from waterproof boot into an indoor slipper. Acting as the middle part of the modular design is an outdoor sandal, making this a ridiculously functional trinity of footwear.
This exercise in gorp porn comes as outdoor gear is being worn in bunches well away from the outdoors. Looking like a seasoned camper or fisherman is now trendy, putting highly technical gear on city streets and countless fit pics. When the jawnz look this good and give so many opportunities to play with them, who can blame anyone for indulging in stolen valor?
The sum of its parts — When all the components are put together, the Niobium Concept 1 is a trail-equipped sneaker with the same rugged sole as the New Balance 801. Drawstring laces keep the sneaker snug, but it can be stripped down as a slip-on sandal. The key to this transformation is a pair of booties, one that extends up to the ankle while housing the laces and another with a lower-cut profile that can be worn alone as a slipper. These are attached to the external silhouette via a simple zipper system. To see it in action, peep the Instagram video below.
Releasing alongside the shoe is an equally technical apparel collection, including zip-off pants with ankle cuffs and a vest ideal for fly fishing. All combine fatigue green with khaki and black accents. There's none of that neon bullshit — just your standard earth tones fit for the great outdoors.
This Snow Peak and New Balances second collab — The two brands collaborated for this first time last year on a boot even more technical. That thing was built for ice, with a jagged outsole and magnetic buckle enclosure that was secure as hell. A breathable GORE-TEX membrane kept out the elements — and while I couldn't know less about ice climbing, the kicks certainly looked fit for the job.
Japan only? — The release is scheduled for August 29, and as of now, it appears that the gear will only hit Japanese retailers. That's a damn shame with gorp this sexy, but it's nothing a little proxy can't solve. Don't let the shackles of international borders prevent you from enjoying yet another bangin' New Balance release.