The boom of hype-worthy hiking sneakers shows no signs of slowing down. It might even be speeding up. Just look at this triple collaboration between New Balance, Snow Peak, and Tokyo Design Studio. It sounds like an unlikely team on the surface—a sneaker label, an outdoor equipment company, and a small design shop?—but the three brands have produced a knockout pair of kicks that is sure to woo sneakerheads and outdoors folks in equal measure.
This particular style is an entirely new concept. It features the sole from one of New Balance’s most popular trail-running shoes (the MT801), but that’s where the normal stuff stops. With a little tweaking, the shoe can be transformed into three different footwear options. Think of it as the Optimus Prime of high-performance sneakers. First, a lightweight mule bootie is made for indoor use, with a cozy and flexible upper with a pull tab, so it slides right on your foot.
Then, to evolve into something you can walk outside in, insert that bootie into a slip-on ripstop nylon clog that is outfitted with a zip-up front and ultra-cushioned midsole. And now comes the final frontier. You can swap out the smaller mule for a taller (and completely waterproof) bootie that locks into the rubber-soled clog with a weatherproof zipper. Now you’re ready for practically anything.
These hard-wearing and adaptable sneakers are part of a small Tokyo Design Studio x Snow Peak collection inspired by fly fishing. Even the shoe’s colors are meant to mimic the moss and rocks found along the clear creeks of a famous Japanese mountain. There’s also a pair of $1,000 waders and a $700 fishing vest. But don’t get it confused. Sure, these shoes may have been designed for fishing in a mountain stream, but at a time when the wild world of menswear can make a cool trend out of fishing, this sneaker was always destined to be a crossover hit.