The third collaboration between Snow Peak and New Balance’s TOKYO DESIGN STUDIO brings back the tech-loaded R_C4 model from their first partnership but in a blackout colorway. Both Snow Peak and TOKYO DESIGN STUDIO have a holistic and rare perspective towards what they make. They both see their products as material ways to improve the lives of the people who wear them. So, it is unsurprising that their R_C4 is full of robust features and the latest technology but in a clean, classically designed silhouette.
Yukio Yamai founded Snow Peak in 1958 in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture. Mountains in the region rise thousands of feet into the sky. Snow Peak’s origin story is similar to that of many outdoors companies. Yamai was an accomplished mountaineer who wanted better equipment than existed at the time. So, he designed his own and worked with local artisans to make his designs real. But when Yukio Yamai’s son Tohru took over in 1980, Snow Peak started on a different path. Tohru Yamai wanted Snow Peak to be a medium through which people could find harmony with nature. It was his vision not to define the brand by its products but rather by the experiences people have outdoors. While they continue to make superior gear, their mission statement includes, “we work to achieve global leadership, elevating the essential life values inspired by being with nature.”
New Balance’s TOKYO DESIGN STUDIO (TDS) is among the many Japanese fashion companies that take inspiration from heritage American sportswear, but TDS is one of the few to do so “in-house.” New Balance has over a century under its belt, and TDS draws from that history but in vibrant ways geared towards a contemporary lifestyle with a high-minded approach to design. TDS is founded on four pillars: precision, nature tech, sports craft, and protection.
Working together, they have built a shoe brimming with technical sophistication to enable life in outdoor spaces. Each pair comes with two sets of rope laces, one black and the other with reflective detailing. For additional security, they are outfitted with magnetic FIDLOCK buckles. The upper is not any mere synthetic but a rip-stop fabric woven by the leading name in rugged and mil-spec materials: CORDURA. Puddle and downpour are no match for the waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX membrane ensuring a dry, comfortable experience in any weather. Taking from New Balance’s proprietary cushioning, the ENCAP REVEAL midsole features ABZORB foam for additional comfort. The Vibram outsole with deeply stepped lugs is built for any terrain. A neoprene tongue and collar offer plushness around the ankle and additional waterproofing. The New Balance logo is integrated into the lacing system and made from webbing. Inside, the insert features the Snow Peak x New Balance TOKYO DESIGN STUDIO co-branded logo.
While the R_C4 might sound like a concoction of some of the biggest names in performance technology, its utility and wearability are indisputable. Its New Balance heritage is self-evident in its simple lines, its exaggerated heel counter. But the R_C4 is built for the long haul with incredible thoughtfulness to withstand whatever nature might have in store, whether summiting or grocery shopping.