When you’re ideal summer activity is hitting the trails and taking a dip in remote spots away from the crowd, then read on. No matter how difficult it is to travel right now due to the pandemic, the spirit of adventure lives on. New Balance wants to equip you for the journey with its Niobium Concept 2.

With the controversy surrounding wearing sandals with socks, we’re not planning on angering the fashion critics around us. New Balance probably knows it too and thus creates a hybrid footwear that straddles the fine line between shoe, sandal, and something else.

The Niobium Concept 2 may look like your average trail-ready sneaker, but it’s apparently not. New Balance even refers to it as a sandal in the product description. We’re not going to debate with the manufacturer because these sandals can transform into mules in a jiffy.

Moreover, you can quickly detach the heel strap via the Velcro closures on each side. Still, we recommend you keep these on when trekking over rough terrain. The breathable mesh and suede leather upper keep the Niobium Concept 2 snug yet comfortable.

For the best fit, just adjust the buckle fasteners. It’s outdoor-ready thanks to the Fresh Foam Hierro midsole with Vibram outsole. New Balance likewise adds reflective accents on the heels and toes to aid in low-light visibility.

New Balance really did a great job with the design here. There are two colorways available for the Niobium Concept 2. We prefer the darker tones on the Pigment with natural indigo variant, but the Incense with chocolate brown is just as stylish. As of this writing, the Snow Peak version is no longer in stock.

Buy – $199.99

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Images courtesy of New Balance