Can the little red dot stand shoulder to shoulder with the little black dress? A native islander and friends look at fashion (and such) in Singapore, and, occasionally, among her neighbours, and a little further afield
Foam slides will remain insanely popular. This Nike version makes wearing them less a trip to the wet market
By Shu Xie
When I caught sight of this Nike Jordan Hex slides, I was reminded of a receptacle that sushi was served in. This was in one of those conveyor belt sushi bars, except that the sampans of sushi came floating down river. Sure, the food reference is not exactly appropriate for something that’s destined to meet feet, but that was truly what came to my mind. Anyway, the slide did attract my attention and I did, subsequently, try them on, and they are the most comfortable pair of slides I have ever slipped my feet into. I appreciate the surprisingly deep heel cup, which does help keep the rear of my feet better supported. No, Nike did not pay me to say this. These are truly like stepping on firm sponge.
The Jordan Hex, just by the look and feel of it, are clearly made of moulded foam, the material that every brand is using, including for sneakers. But unlike the many ‘organic’ shapes out there, not to mention some that are clearly alien in form, the Jordan Hex is more angular and simple, almost blockish, bracketed by the squared-off toe and heel. The shape is, to me, the main draw. As Nike says, not “your grandma’s slide”. With just one broad strap across, my feet did not feel constrained, which mean this is the ideal footwear for the punishing weather we have been experiencing. Yes, even better than clogs. While I usually restrict the wearing of slides to the neighbourhood mall, I am considering this—yes, definitely in that pale mint—for my next trip to some place fancier. Why not?
Nike Jordan Hex slides for women, SGD85, are available in Nike stores and online. Photo: Zhao Xiangji
New Balance hits another winning stride with its collaboration with Junya Watanabe
Adidas might be on a collab rush, now that they have axed their partnership with the beleaguered Yeezy (however, the Three Stripes is still laden with stocks), but it is New Balance that is, judiciously, teaming up with some of the most noteworthy/established/discreet names. Their latest is with Junya Watanabe, featuring NB’s not-bombastic URC30, also dubbed as the ‘Trackster’. Nothing dramatic or shape-shifting is done to the shoe, but Mr Watanabe did put together some striking colour combos, and still letting the the retro posturing shine through. The shoes were shown last June’s in the collab-centric spring/summer 2023 collection, which saw licensed images/graphics from artists fashion brands love to turn to, such as Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein.
Mr Watanabe is a fairly regular NB collaborator. His choice of the URC30 this season is a silhouette that’s a tad fancier than the 574 of the previous season although the vibrancy is still there. The URC 30 shoe is inspired by football kicks as seen in the quilted upper (leather, suede and overlays of synthetic material) and the jagged rubber outsole. The mid-sole—twin laters of white and blue—sits atop the outsole in the back half of the shoe and juts out in the rear, as many so-called cool kicks still do, but ever so slightly, which is a boon to those who wear their shoes in sizes larger than 10 and fear the heel steppers among MRT commuters in a crowded train are ever present. The URC 30 is, in fact, not bulky on the feet—a sleekness that’s always appreciated.
Junya Watanabe X New Balance URC 30, SGD440, is available at DSMS. Photo: New Balance
Sneaker Con SEA debuted on our island this past weekend. Exciting, experiential shopping was not the lure
By Shu Xie
They’re here. Finally, we get to see what many consider the OG sneaker fair is about. Sneaker Con is, as one attendee, who was there on both days, told me, “a sneakerhead’s wet dream”. And, as I learned, a messy one. It also drew those not necessarily that rabid about over-priced and over-hyped kicks, but willing to own a pair that would be the envy of the company they keep. This iteration of the acclaimed born-in-the-US event was marketed here as Sneaker Con SEA (SCSEA), and its access to the region was through its debut here on our island. This was a belated affair. It was announced back in 2020 that Sneaker Con was to launch their inaugural show here in June that year, but, due to you-know-what, had to be brought forward to last weekend. When I asked a very young chap wearing a grey Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 if it was worth the wait, he said with smug satisfaction, “better late than never.”
SCSEA was held at Singapore Expo. I did not attend the preview event, nor did I show up on the opening day, or bought VIP tickets (that meant a dedicated “VIP Event Access Lane”). But, I was told later by more than one early visitor that the response was “very good”. I made my appearance rather late—on Sunday afternoon. The attendance was, by then, not as manic as I thought it would be. It was not cheap to visit SCSEA. I paid an incomprehensible S$42 for single-day entry (excluding chargeable fees that I now can’t remember added how much more to the total). If you had wanted to attend both days of the event (why that was necessary, I do not know), the entry price was $75. Tickets were not sold at the venue (that was a bummer). Attendees had to purchase theirs online. A standee with a massive QR code greeted visitors at the entrance should they need quick digital access to a ticket. Despite a steep asking price for the entry ticket, SCSEA did not welcome me like a premium event might have. To me, it was the venue. Singapore Expo is not exactly a posh pit of exhibition space. This had the same atmospheric charm as the once-popular Metro Sale, once also situated in this very hall, if I am not mistaken. And this is surprising when back in 2020, The Business Times reported that Sean Wotherspoon, celebrated as “one of the most famous sneakerheads on the planet”, was to design SCSEA.
A bored boy taking a rest while his companions shopped
The utterly popular Trading Pit area of Sneaker Con
It is large enough a space, for sure, but this exhibition hall (and the others in this massive complex) is just a cavernous, pillar-less selling spot, in which SCSEA had basically plonked itself there. Except for some branding boards, it was essentially an open space for whatever needed to happen, to just happen. This was executed on the cheap. Some participants such as our nation’s pride SBTG had their own reasonably handsome set-up, but for most, it was just lelong wherever you were assigned a zone. Mind you, many of the kicks were not exactly bargains. I reminded myself that they were sneakers on sale, not bespoke leather shoes with lasting stacked heels. Yet, as widely reported, some kicks cost a scary five-figure sum. I couldn’t tell where those were, but I did see a few pairs totally encased and presumed that they were the prohibitively-priced ones. Those that I was willing to pay for (nothing that rare about them) were frustratingly not available in my size. Was I eyeing sneakers that were too common? The situation was more daunting when around me kids—many were really young, including some sellers at the Trading Pit—were shod in expensive collabs that were hard to score, even there at the event. What I was told not to miss was the customised Air Jordan 1 by Jeff Staple (he was there) and Mark Ong (aka Mr Sabotage, who was present too), but I have never loved them Air Jordans.
SCSEA was touted as “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth”. I didn’t get the feeling that it was that great. The immensity could be because it looked like the pinnacle of sneaker consumption, rather than mere retail. Sneaker Con, wherever they might be, is essentially a gathering of third-party retailers, indie-vendors, and serious collectors-turn-sellers, all within a setting that is not necessarily experiential retailing. The SEA imprint is similar, but with more of a pasar malam (night market) energy and optics to it. According to their publicity material, SCSEA brought together “150 traders and sneaker collectors from the world over” to this corner of our island. While there were single-brand stands, such as Puma and Crocs (yes, EVA foam footwear, and a non-athletic brand with their boutique-like space for their collab with the American label Salehe Bembury), or indie stockists such as Limited EDT and “Japan’s No. 1 marketplace for limited edition sneakers” SNKR DUNK (they also provided on-site authentication service near the Trading Pit), rather many of the vendors appeared to hawk sneakers part-time. I was drawn to two walls, one featuring Anrealage and the other Facetasm, both from Tokyo. As they flanked the SNKR DUNK booth, I suspected that the latter had brought them in, but with regrettably just T-shirts in limited styles, the offerings were not especially enticing.
One of the most in-demand offerings, the YZY Slide, restocked at Sneaker Con SEA
And, curiously, many non-sneaker brands were conspicuously situated. There was Carlsberg in a massive, eye-catching set-up and just as noticeable, the whiskey brand Monkey Shoulder, even when many attendees appeared to be below 18 years old. Perhaps that was why oat milk brand Oatbedient was there, and Fiji Water too, in case thirsty were those unable to guzzle a lager or a Scotch without staying out of the reach of the law. Early publicity for the event painted the event to be drenched with fun. Ticket seller Sistic described SCSEA as brimming with “hype activities”. I did not spend enough time there to be caught up with what action there was, hyped or not. Frankly, I did not want to stay. Nothing was a pull for me. And the market atmosphere and what seemed like repetitive merchandise, after a while, exhausted the initial interest I had in the event. I had expected more, but, perhaps I had been swayed by the local ‘cons’ here, mainly Street Superior and Culture Cartel—the latter’s last, a well-thought-out event at Scape last December was both a journey of discovery and an enjoyable acquaintance with the burgeoning streetwear community here.
Sneaker Con began life in 2009 in New York City under the stewardship of three sneakerheads Alan and Barris Vinogradov (they’re brothers), and Wu Yu Ming. It is still considered “the largest sneaker event in North America”. And often described as “a gathering of so-called ‘sneakerheads’ hoping to browse, buy and sell pairs of collector shoes”, as Newsweek put it. Alan Vinogradov told The Business Times in 2020 that “the sneaker craze is only just beginning.” Perhaps, for those below 15. I have been wearing sneakers for a good part of my adult life. While I have many—too many—pairs, I do not consider myself a sneakerhead, least of all one who collects or who only goes for the “grails”. As I looked around me in Hall 5 of the Singapore Expo, I noticed that most feet were shod in new shoes, expensive-looking ones, and many that were also sold on the pile-high tables of the Market Place, one of the several zones of Sneaker Con SEA. Nikes dominated, which had a homogenising effect on the event that, by the organiser’s own telling, had “more than 200 international and local renowned brands”. I did notice that Adidas Yeezys, now no longer produced but massively stocked in Adidas warehouses, were not much worn. One stall did have stocks of Yeezys. I asked a chap contemplating a pair if they were still popular. He said, “of course, because now even harder to find.” When I left, I spotted a trio with stacks of boxes of Yeezy Slides. Stupidly, I asked: “Are these legit?” One of them, with a look of disbelief, replied, “For sure. These were bought before the partnership ended.” When I walked away, a kid shyly asked me if they were selling those slides. I told him they were, and his eyes lit. “How much, ah?”
was ready to go to the Loewe store with a small watering can. Luckily, I did not. How foolish would that be? When I passed Casa Loewe yesterday and caught sight of the Grass Sneaker, I had to look at them. Could the rumput be kept alive? The shoes are made in Italy—they came from a distance. At close range, it was immediately clear that it was not a result of horticulture and there was no irrigation involved. It was all fake raffia—the grassy parts. I could not resist touching them. The lawn-like surface was rather rough, even with fibre that is polyester, rather than from the raffia palm. But it did look rather real, at least from outside the store. As no soil is involved in its composition, the shoe is rather light. The description on the website later told me that the upper is “hand embroidered”, which thus renders “a grass effect”. Some how that brings to mind “orange juice drink”.
I wanted to be sure this was not a dummy (while the real deal is stored somewhere in a green house, waiting to be collected and cared for); I asked a staffer if the pair was the shoes for sale. She was delighted to confirmed that what I saw was it—the “commercial release”, without genuine grass. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. Actual sheathing blades of leaves would be cool, not just nice. A living upper! I had even hoped that the shoe comes with a special bottle of fertiliser—just a spritz to keep the grass growing. I imagined how happy the shoes would be if they could enjoy a bit of rain. Alas, that was not to be.
If the grass is not real, then Loewe isn’t the first to create turfy footwear. Back in 2019, before we heard of lockdowns, there was the Air Max 1 G NRG, which now seems like the OG grass sneaker. Nike took things a tad too literally when they released the golf shoe for the links. The matted green did not look quite like the stuff on which you might tee off, but it did appear unusual (even the Swoosh was partly obscured) and might have served as a neat camouflage on a physical golfing green. Loewe’s Grass Sneaker, I think, has less a chance to blend in when most of our grasslands are manicured. Still, the shoe that seems to be built on Loewe’s Flow Runner, will still stand out (and that’s the purpose), especially on five-foot-way concrete.
Loewe Grass Sneaker in Canvas and Raffia, SGD2,650, is available at Loewe stores and online. Photo: Zhao Xiangji
Shoes can’t stay hideous forever. So, they are, for now, happilysilly
Clockwise (from top left): Loewe, MSCHF, JW Anderson X Wellipets, Balenciaga, Product photos: respective brands. Illustration: Just So
It is a matter of time. Ugly will morph to silly, not back to pretty, while staying in the realm of the ludicrous, remaining decidedly not for everyone until everyone wants it. This is what’s happening to shoes: they look like a pair you’d only see on Sonic the Hedgehog and company. Still, they are not those with all-over cartoon prints, such as Balenciaga’s yellow Knife boots from 2018. For the present season, the shoes to covet seem to have leapt out of your favourite cartoon characters’ feet and landed on yours. The first to appear was at the Loewe spring/summer 2022 last October, when Jonathan Anderson showed shoes that have been liked to those Mini Mouse wears (some said Daisy Duck). And then these past weeks, during New York Fashion Week, appear did the clunky, rubbery boots by MSCHF that many thought to resemble Astro Boy’s although they could easily be those worn by Dora the Explorer’s monkey-friend, appropriately named Boots!
MSCHF’s gigantic Big Red Boots (as in Big Bad Wolf?) have been so much the rage and in the news (and desirable?) that, earlier in the week, SOTD readers sent us reports and TikTok videos about them and their wearers, wondering—possibly in dismay—why we have skipped commenting on the silly-looking footwear. There is really now not much to say about the choices people make so that, in whatever they wear, they will be a social media hit. We told ourself it’ll all pass until it has not. Those MSCHF boots just won’t go away from our news feeds, even when, prior, we did not search for them. These red, wellies-looking shoes have almost no aesthetic appeal; they could pass off as a silicone caddy for kitchen utensils. They look drawn on by a cartoonist with no interest in details, or 3D-printed. We once thought that no one would really go further than Crocs, but we were wrong. Fashion has, of course, turned consumers topsy-turvy. These days, we’re vending S&M teddy bear-bags via children and selling kiddy footwear to grown-ups. No mischief intended, apparently.
MSCHF doesn’t make shoes; it isn’t a footwear company the way Steve Madden is. Heck, it is not even a fashion company the way Supreme is. Or, Yeezy was. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the brand (they’ve been referred to as a “creative” too) creates stuff, but not necessarily for serious, world-changing consumption. These could be anything, but footwear has been what they have largely made their name on. In 2020, there was the infamous “Jesus Shoes” that was nothing like what the Jews of the Roman Empire wore. They were, in fact, Nike Air Max 97s with soles purported to contain “holy water” from the River Jordan. MSCHF sold them—online, of course—for a staggering US$1,425 (about S$1904). Mind you, this was not a collaboration with the Swoosh and you can imagine that the sneaker biggie was not amused. Nor the Vatican, for that matter. Unsurprisingly, the not-quite-pure Air Max 97 sold out, with the black market reportedly asking for US$4,000 a pair. Why anyone needed such sneakers and would pay staggering amounts for them is still not clearly known. The thought of possessing something ridiculous but with a perceived value of staggering levels was—and still is—enough for brands to want to tap it for a real business/branding strategy.
How do you describe these cartoon-shoes without using the convenient word ‘silly’? Like ugly, silly, too, is being redefined. Looking silly is not silly! It now dances within the increasingly vague parameters of beauty. It certainly was not for Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies between 1929 and 1939. Until the COVID era, no brand would have considered shoes, however simple they look, that only Olive Oyl types would think of buying and wearing (Ms Oyl might, in fact, desire the MSCHF pair in place of her beat-up brown ones if she were to consider what is presently fashionable). But now TikTokers and the like can’t wait to jump into a pair. Dainty pumps and kitty heels are too inconspicuous. Women have once again shown that they can occupy the big shoes they desire to fill. And look delightful, and adorable. With Lil Wayne and wrestling star Seth Rollins wearing the Big Red Boots, even the guys, amazingly, want to look Nitendo-cute, too.
Adidas appears to go big on foam. Their latest is quite a shoe to clomp in
It looks like a Lego shoe with the studs levelled and the sharp edges smoothed out. But Adidas’s latest is made of foam, not plastic; it’s, in fact, another adiFOM technological wonder. This time, the foam is not reimagined as the Adilette, but their all-season darling the Superstar. So the heel is encased. No clog here; a whole shoe. Nothing is hacked away. No perforation, or slots like the AdiFOM Q. This version of the Superstar mummifies the feet. The upper sits rather high up the tarsal, and the slip-on fits like a sock. On a hot day, you can imagine the heat that may be trapped in there.
Adidas clearly derives some excitement making footwear with a “one-piece body made of foam derived from sugarcane”. This material is also known by its trade name SweetFoam, which is, according to the brand, “the world’s first green EVA foam”. Foam for shoes does not easily lend itself to a slender silhouette. The AdiFOM Superstar is therefore quite the hulk it is. If you look at them from the top down, they could easily be a pair of palmate. Or, webbed feet! Even footwear is embracing inclusivity. How marvelous is that?
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Adidas AdiFOM Superstar, SGD109, is available at Leftfoot. Photo: Adidas
Add a toe box to the Adidas Adilette and voila… the AdiFOM
What more can you do to a pair of classic slides while still keeping the recognisable form, especially a pair that’s such a signature of the brand that even luxury brands want a slice of its success? Adidas has a clever idea for their widely copied Adilette slides. They add a toe box to it. As simple as that. And then you have the new AdiFOM Adilette, a pair of slip-ons that rides on the ongoing popularity of clogs, although Adidas calls them “slides”. Those unused to covered toes may find the AdiFOM strange, but these are rather sleek, in a minimalist way. Just the three stripes on the upper and no other brand symbols, externally. The AdiFOM Adilette should not be confused with the Adilette Clog, on which are the perforation a la Crocs. The latest sibling of the Adilette family, no doubt also a clog, is akin to bedroom slippers—not, we should say—in a bad way. The similar ease of use is unmistakable.
The AdiFOM Adilette slides, according to the brand, “are ready to take you into the metaverse” even if they are made for this world. Apparently, they are good for “exploring virtual reality or just kicking back poolside”. How that works, we won’t be able to explain convincingly. Adidas also adds that these “metaverse-ready” slide are “made with nature”. By that they mean the AdiFOM Adilette is constructed from sugar cane foam, also known by its trade name SweetFoam, touted as “the world’s first green EVA foam”. This is carbon negative bio-based EVA—made from sugarcane, a renewable crop, rather than the traditional petroleum-based material. Adidas states that the slides have a “minimum of 50% natural and renewable materials”. One small step to gain the confidence of environmental activists or those who are keenly aware.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Adidas AdiFOM Adilette, SGD79, is available at some Adidas stores and at Leftfoot, Mandarin Gallery. Product photo: Adidas. Illustration: Just So
The TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist X Asics Chelsea boots are on the good side of cool
Sometimes you don’t have to do very much to a classic silhouette, such as the Chelsea boot. Japanese label TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist has collaborated with fellow nihon no burano Asics for a pair of footwear that dates back to the Victorian era. This is all recognisably close-fitting and ankle-high, with the distinctive elastic side gusset. But the sole is very different. Rather that a union with the traditional low-stacked heel and hard-bottomed sole, this pair’s leather upper is cemented to the full-length GEL sole of the Asics GEL-Quantum 360 running shoes. The GEL sole is a technology that, according to Asics, “create better shock absorption underfoot”. Why a Chelsea boot that is now mostly worn to work needs such specialised cushioning for the feet is not explained, but the graphically jagged surface of the blacked-out sole does lend the otherwise sombre boot a slight subversive edge.
The Chelsea boot, interestingly, was thought to be first conceived for women. It is attributed to the work of Queen Victoria’s shoemaker, Joseph Sparks-Hall, who claimed that the monarch had worn the boots he designed daily, and was, hence, proof that the design held a special place in her heart (and shoe cabinet, probably). His boot came with practical elastic inserts to make the pulling on and off easier for the Queen. After Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanised rubber (treating the rubber to render it stronger and more flexible and springy) in the 1830s that led to the advent of elastics, the Chelsea boots (in equestrian sports, they’re known as paddock boot) now come with more elastic gusset that we’re familiar with to make slipping into a pair a lot easier, more than before. They became very much associated with the ’60s and, indeed, The Beatles, and the Chelsea boot is still not divorced from its mod past. Just the shoe for the holiday party season, especially this very cool pair.
TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist X Asics Chelsea boots, SGD399, is available at Asics, Plaza Singapura. Photo: Asics
This Margiela and Salomon collaboration is one strange and enticing hybrid
Sneakers, we know, are still conceived to elicit the reaction: “it’s ugly”. But ugly, as we have repeatedly noted, is being redefined, even now, as we write this. Ugly is no longer the ugly of your parents’ fashion-consuming years. Ugly can be a compliment, even admiration Apart from ugliness, sneakers are made bulky too, and often to let the feet look bagged. The MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low is one such sack of a shoe. Sure, there have been others, such as the Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard Overshoe, but it is this Margiela X Salomon collaboration, in this colour combo that makes us think of a hybrid of gorpcore and dust bag (or laundry-bag). Shoes can, more and more, be pouches with soles.
Salomon has got themselves involved in rather fascinating fashion-forward collabs. Essentially an outdoor equipment maker, the born-in-Annecy, France label has been in partnership with one of the most cutting-edge brands, Comme des Garçons, with which they created a truly fetching pair of unisex Mary-Janes (unsurprisingly, these quickly sold out when launched last year), with trail-ready soles. Its partnership with the Margiela imprint MM6 is no less appetite-arousing. Although ostensibly a trail shoe, the Cross Low looks more like a high cut, with the added aesthetical heft of Margiela’s subversion bent. With the draw cords, you may gather the rip-stop upper-half into a small sack not unlike a gym bag, rendering it ready for inclement weather.
Underscoring the polyester bag-upper is a solid shoe with rubber soles, conceived for a rugged terrain. But in all likelihood, this Cross Low would be used on far much flatter, urban ground such as the city pavement. According to an MM6 statement, their “motivation was to create a shoe that could easily transition between cityscapes and the great outdoors — a single product that both maintained Salomon’s high-performance specifications and also resonated with MM6 Maison Margiela’s contemporary aesthetic”. As with the main line Maison Margiela’s pairing with Reebok—the Project 0 CL nylon tabi sneakers!—few will wear the Cross Low for sporting pursuits. There is too much fashion in it.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low, SGD590, is available at Club 21. Photo Salomon
They could pass off as something made of bread dough. That’s what came to mind when we saw the Givenchy TK-360+ sneakers up close. A leavened lump. An irregular loaf. A curvilinear paste. With scored pattern on top, no less. They look comfortable, but we are not sure we’re comfortable with how they look. Ugly footwear is, for sure, still a thing. With new footwear technology and design approaches, ugliness can be enhanced, rather than diminished. Sure, luxury brands are re-defining sleek, but they are also (still) augmenting unseemliness, especially in the form of the clunky. And, far-out. Yet, these shoes do not necessarily invite replusion. Unlike It bags, It shoes have to be somewhat odious, at least at the first encounter. But warming up to them does not take time. Aesthetically, they need to be, for the present, staggeringly anti-trim. Sneakers unlike clothes, cannot be worn oversized, so designers exaggerate the form and disfigure the already clumpy soles to allow the kicks to appear to house distended feet. The TK-360+ is keeping with this new tradition.
Givenchy isn’t the first to offer blobs for feet. That honour could go to the doomed Adidas Yeezy collaboration. Kanye West’s ideas for sneakers never truly made the feet look especially sleek and aerodynamic. Sure, Yeezy 350, which were almost synonymous with the Yeezy footwear line, was not quite clunky, but the Yeezy 500 from 2018 was, so too the 570. Other new styles that came later got progressively bulkier: the 700 V1, V2, and V3, the 700 QNTM (even the “OG”), and without doubt, the post-350 of the 380, culminating in the outright alien Foam Runner. The TK-360+ in its first version (released in May, with a style number minus the +) did bring to mind Adidas Yeezy Knit Runner from September last year, way before things turned awry for the partnership. The Adidas Yeezy and the Givenchy are all-knit slip-ons, with details in the mid-sole: one with a horizontal slit, the other a vertical groove. The Knit Runner was considered Mr West’s most “avant-garde” silhouette. Givenchy’s Matthew M Williams described the TK-360+ as his “dream shoe”. But, for some of us, not quite sweet.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Givenchy TK360+ sneakers, SGD1,450, are available in stores. Photo: Jim Sim
Sneakers that come in shades of food are not unusual, but those in one of our fave beverages, the teh tarik, are rather
By Awang Sulung
Malaysia and our little island share many things in common, food wise. But I am not wadding into the nasi lemak debate. Jangan! Never! Rather, let’s dip into our shared love of milk tea, especially teh tarik (or pulled tea in Malay, even if it’s essentially a mamak brew) And, across the Causeway, they seem far more willing to pair their love of this beverage with their love of sneakers than we do, so much so that they managed to convince Asics to colour of one the Japanese brand’s most popular sneaks—the Gel-Lyte III—in the particular orange-y tint of the teh Malaysians love to drink with roti canai. I don’t think Asics has any pair that sports the green of matcha, but in Malaysia, they have theirs that could have really been dipped in milk tea.
And I must say they appear fetching, if not sedap. And, for sure, they look cukup lemak, with the suede-like upper really imparting the full-cream milkiness of the teh. There is, for contrast, even the Asics Tiger Stripes in a fuzzy fabric, which could be the characteristic foam of the beverage. The latest colour story of the Gel-Lyte III is really the quenching of the creative thirst of one of Malaysia’s leading streetwear retailers Hundred%. This is, in fact, a follow-up to 2019’s GEL-Kayano 5 OG that came in the shades of nasi lemak! A work of not just Hundred%, but also the Malaysian sneaker con and store, SneakerLAH. Frankly, that skim warna did not work for me, as I consider it a tad gawdy. But this time, the monochromatic choice of teh tarik is, I find, more appealing .
I’ve always been a fan of the Gel-Lyte III, with its distinctive forked-tongue, but not like those of reptiles. And this teh tarik version has added grassroots/kedai kopi pull for me. Unfortunately, it is only available in Kuala Lumpur, and in one physical location. If you have a friend in the capital to do you a favour, your problem could be solved, but I fear that by the time you read this post, this pair of Asics, launched tomorrow, would be sold out, which would really leave some of us quite haus.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Asics Gel-Lyte III ‘Teh Tarik’, RM699, is only available at Home Store, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Asics
That was in the NBC News headline. Kanye West made an ”uninvited” visit to the Skechers HQ and was “escorted” out of the building. Is this a sign of out-of-control or desperation?
With Adidas out of the way, is Kanye West looking to co-brand his precious Yeezy again? Friends in the US (and a Malaysian reader too!) have been enthusiastically sending us reports all morning of Kanye West’s alleged trespass into the headquarters of the Southern Californian sneaker brand Skechers. The company later released a statement to say that the disgraced rapper “arrived unannounced and without invitation at one of Skechers’ corporate offices in Los Angeles”. According to CNBC News, Mr West was with other unidentified people. They were, according to Skechers, “engaged in unauthorized filming”. What they were filming is not known. “Two Skechers executives escorted him and his party from the building after a brief conversation”. There was no report of unfriendly exchange.
Skechers was also certain to say that it “is not considering and has no intention of working with West”. This is likely in anticipation of the speculation that Mr West is looking for a sneaker brand to replace Adidas. You know by now that he was dropped by the Three Stripes, after a considerable period of “review” (which turned many customers impatient, asking for a boycott of Adidas), for comments considered “anti-Semitic and hateful”. Skechers, too, showed that they are willing to censure what he has repeatedly said. “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech.” There clearly would not be Skechers Yeezy!
Mr West has already been called out and dropped by three fashion brands. There are not many corporations he could really turn to now, if they are not the likes of Parler. While his clothing line can possibly wait, his sneakers cannot. With Adidas, they have created what is considered one of the most successful shoe partnerships in modern footwear history, making him a billionaire—he no longer is, as Forbes was quick to declare after the Adidas split with him. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the rapper would need to find another company to continue the Yeezy drops. He has previously announced: “I need a shoe company like how Jaimie Salter bought Reebok. Or I’ll take over some shoe factories.” Was what happened at the Skechers compound an incursion?
Mr West being turned away by Skechers would augment the brand’s corporate standing and show that they are willing to do what’s right, and swiftly. One PR professional told us, “It is PR value that costs Skechers nothing.” The shoe label known for their memory foam technology currently has Korean actor Pak Seo Jun as their regional ambassador (for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau). Cedrick Tan, Skechers SVP, told Marketing Interactive last year that “with the shorter and fragmented attention span of consumers today, it is important that a brand ambassador, besides having a positive, well-liked image, is a role model who is multi-dimensional, driven, and inspiring”. They would not find that person in Kanye West.