Atsushi Gomyo was born and raised in Nagano and has been snowboarding since he was 10. In his 20s, he rode for Taro Tamai’s Hokkaido-based snowboard company Gentemstick until he and his friends branched out to create Prana Punks, which makes a line of handmade wooden yuki-ita (bindingless snowboards) designed with snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing in mind.
“I started making yuki-ita because it’s an environmentally friendly option. We use local wood and natural products as much as possible—things that aren’t harmful to the environment or our body,” says Gomyo. “Even if it breaks or gets lost in the mountains, it’ll just naturally decay and leave a minimal carbon footprint.”
Gomyo collaborated with footwear company KEEN this season to produce the Glieser Tall WP, a versatile winter boot that allows you to go from city to the snowy mountains. Most importantly, this boot was custom designed for yuki-ita.
“For many years now I’ve been talking with KEEN about wanting to design winter boots for yuki-ita riding, and now my wish has come true,” beams Gomyo. “This boot is about four or five years in the making.”
The Glieser Tall WP is a lightweight boot that has ample amount of mobility, yet plenty of ankle support when needed. The rubber sole provides grip but is also thin and flexible. Riding without bindings may be freeing, but it’s also tricky as every minute movement or weight shift affects your ride. With this boot, you can directly “feel” the snow and board through your feet when riding.
“When you’re on a snowboard, you rely on your bindings and boots to turn and stabilize yourself. With the yuki–ita, you have only your balance to rely on. It really builds up your perception of balance and helps you be a better snowboarder,” says Gomyo.
The boot uses shoelaces that can be tied all the way up for security while riding, or halfway for a more relaxed and flexible style (or an urban look). It also utilizes KonnectFit, a heel-capture system for a locked-in feel. The upper of the boot is made of certified suede leather tanned with minimal environmental impact. Naturally, this winter boot is water repellent and withstands temps down to -20°C.
Gomyo is an ambassador for KEEN, and regularly holds yuki-ita shaping workshops at resorts around Japan where locals can test ride their new boards while trying out KEEN’s winter boots. Riders can meet him this season at On Snow Jam, a promotional event for people to try out yuki-ita and the Glieser Tall WP boots as well as KEEN’s other new footwear. The event will be held on Feb. 26-27 at Nozawa Onsen ski resort and feature two days of music in the evenings at the Winterland Lodge and Taproom.
Gomyo is also an advocate of forest conservation and a Protect Our Winters Japan athlete. For more information about Gomyo’s boards or projects, visit his website here.
The Glieser Tall WP is available for purchase online or at KEEN stores for ¥17,600. It is available in three earthy colors: Dark Olive / Forest Night, Shiitake / Dark Earth, and Triple Black / Black. Sizes range from 25-30 cms. and are currently only available in men’s sizes. For more information, visit KEEN’s website.