New Balance Japan’s imaginative Tokyo Design Studio sublabel is responsible for some of the brand’s most adventurous footwear to date, a track record only set to be expanded in the coming days as it prepares another mind-bending set of sneakers. The speedy FuelCell Speedrift is at the core of this effort, here remixed into a tabi style, riffing on the traditional Japanese footwear style.
Japanese creatives hold a surprising affinity for the FuelCell Speedrift, as evidenced by AURALEE’s recent collaboration, but TDS’ newest creation is unlike any before. The running sneaker has been elevated into a set of monochrome tabi-style silhouettes that draw from today’s Jikatabi occasionally worn by construction workers and farmers.
Laces have been removed in favor of a flexible hook system that opens at the rear, obscuring a removable inner bootie that angles up from the ankle opening to better hold the foot in place. Breathable holes appear across the upper near the grippy FuelCell sole unit, which remains relatively unchanged. In fact, the split-toe tabi detailing at the front is fairly slight, only cutting into a raised portion of the outsole instead of the toebox.
New Balance Japan’s web store for ¥27,500 JPY (approximately $265 USD)
Tokyo Design Studio’s T-HOUSE outpost recently showcased a series of shoeboxes crafted from upcycled waste textiles as part of its ongoing series of exhibitions.