New Balance Niobium Concept 2: More freedom for the free hiker

If you drool over lightweight hiking shoes and put spunky sandals high on your “outdoorsy must-haves” list, then the Niobium Concept 2 must be right up your alley. It is not quite a hybrid (almost a shandal?), but its strong focus on versatility is quite reeling.

There are at least two elements that make the Niobium Concept 2 the versatile hiker that it is: its detachable back strap and flared heel zone. The former transforms the featured sandal into a mule or slip-on, while the latter makes heel strikes easier and transitions feel more natural.

And this is without mention of its J-pop design yet. So if you like lounging around somewhere in the city before hitting your favorite trail sometime after, welcome the Niobium Concept 2 with open arms!

Is the Niobium Concept 2 for you?

This hiking sandal is for you if:

  • Town-to-trail escapades are what you get entangled with often.
  • You only have time for short-but-speedy hikes.
  • Extra cushioning around the heel is a must.

But perhaps not if:

  • You are not a fan of bulky strap buckles.
  • You need something more water-ready.
  • The trails you tackle involve slippery descents.


The current trend of New Balance Niobium Concept 2.
Compare to another shoe:
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.