New Balance's latest 2002R sneaker is almost a hiking boot

Inspired in part by Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

New Balance 2002R hiker boot sneaker
New Balance

New Balance has chosen the 2002R sneaker as its unofficial favorite in the past year or so, giving it a string of collaborative and stand-alone upgrades. Its upcoming pair strays from the slew of subtle color variants and sneaker packs, finding its inspiration in hiking and the great outdoors.

For all you outdoorsy types — The hiking sneaker was first unveiled by New Balance’s footwear designer Yue Wu on Instagram, who revealed even more playful inspiration: the footwear on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Ditching the traditional dad-shoe structure of the sneaker, the upcoming pair takes a more technical-looking approach with a bulky construction.

New Balance
New Balance
New Balance

Chocolate brown dresses the suede and mesh upper, and hints of forest green, navy blue, and yellow serve as accent shades. Green appears on the sidewall and toe box “N” branding, navy blue touches the mesh collars, and the tongue and heel details are done in yellow. To add even more reference to hiker boots, the sneakers opt for red rope laces secured by silver grommets.

The shoe is built with an ABZORB SBS heel cushioning that pairs with the New Balance’s “N-ergy” shock absorbing element. The rubber Toe Protect feature will also help your feet in the elements — or whatever shenanigans you get into while wearing these.

A crowd favorite — New Balance has recently lent the 2002R silhouette to Joe Freshgoods and Ganni to create summer-ready versions. The company has also done some experimenting of its own, turning the shoe into a weird sneaker-mule hybrid and adding extra pockets for functionality.

Official U.S. release information for the hiking-inspired 2002R has yet to be revealed — you can find the kicks on NB Korea right now — but they should be arriving in the next few weeks. New Balance shows no signs of slowing down the avalanche of 2002R releases, but at least with the hiking sneaker you’ll be able to keep up.

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