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Samuel Tay - Singaporean Sneakerhead Interview


Hapsari Listya
June 5, 2023

Samuel @sneakerskollecion got his first pair of sneakers in 1989 and he has been interested in sneaker culture because the people's reaction to seeing his sneakers is priceless. He considers himself a 'Jordanhead' as most of his sneakers collection consists of Jordan 1s, and the remastered (retro) versions of the Jordan models.

What was the moment you first got drawn to sneakers, and which pair of sneakers triggered your passion?

​In 1989, I put on the Jordan 4 White Cement for the first time. I got the option of selecting which sneakers I wanted as a gift. As a fan of Michael Jordan and, by additionally, the Chicago Bulls, I knew I needed a pair of Jordans.

The 4s were the most recent release. Furthermore, Nike was seen as a luxury item at the time, and Jordans were the crème de la crème of sneakers. So owning a pair of Nike Air Jordans meant something.

The ordinary person's reaction sparked my interest even more. They noticed and complimented the design! Certainly not because it was a Nike or an Air Jordan. This sparked my interest and made me want to learn more.

This inspired me to research more about sneaker design, including influences and inspirations, which brought me to Tinker Hatfield. And then there was the Air Max, which sent me farther down the rabbit hole of sneakers after sneakers.

All images via @sneakerskollecion

What’s one moment or trend in the history of sneaker culture that resonates with you?

I wouldn't say there is a specific time, but I am struck by the killings and fighting over sneakers in the United States. The Concord 11s, Jordan 6s, Pigeon Dunks, and so on.

On the day the Pigeon Dunks were released, police arrested people who were armed with machetes and ready to rob. That is completely ridiculous! They're just shoes!

All of these contributed to a perceived value of sneakers that is above the price tag.

What are some of the current pairs of sneakers in your rotation?

Honestly I never considered myself as a sneakerhead, I'm more of a 'Jordanhead'.

I mostly collect Jordans, with a large part of my collection consisting of Jordan 1s, and the remastered (retro) versions of the Jordan models launched in their respective years spark my interest much more.

The Chicago 1, Royal 1, Shadow 1, Black Toe 1, Storm Blue 1, UNC 1, Metallic Red 1, Neutral/Natural Grey 1, AJKOs are among them.

There are also sneaker collaborations, like as the Union 1s in Storm Blue and Black Toe, the Union 2 and 4, the OG Travis Mocha 1, and the Off Whites Chicago and UNC 1.

Other favorites include the A Ma Maniere 3, White Cement 3 and 4, Fire Red 3 and 4, and Chicago, Black and Red, and He Got Game 13s.

Some of my non-Jordan sneakers include What the P and FTC Dunks.

Please describe how it feels when you get and wear a new pair of kicks?

It makes me feel 'like Mike'. Kidding!

There is always the first euphoria that gives way to feelings of self-confidence. I feel ready to face the day, whatever it brings.

What is one sneaker collaboration that doesn’t exist, but you wish/think should exist?

Wearing Nike sneakers with Adidas socks is always frowned upon, and vice versa. A Nike and Adidas collaboration would certainly shock the culture.

I recall a pre-pandemic NYC shirt featuring some kind of design idea that combined the Nike and Adidas logos. That was wonderful because I think it blurred the lines between die-hard Nike and Adidas followers.

But there was a problem. I believe I heard about the possibilities of this collaboration recently, but I can't recall where.

What are some of your favorite creators/designers or brands and why?

I enjoy designs that are timeless.

Undefeated and Stussy tees with basic graphics and a vintage vibe that will always be in style/trend.

Yohji Yamamoto for his use of black and white - being able to create diverse textures and tones of 'blackness' and 'whiteness' combined with his wild designs that appear a lot better on a human body than on its own. Again, designs that transcend generations and remain fashionable.

For sneakers, I am drawn to designs that retain the model's recognizable form while using fresh colors, materials, and patterns. Off-white's Virgil, Union's Chris Gibbs, and Concepts' Deon Point come to mind.

What is your ultimate holy grail sneaker that you have not acquired so far?

I'd want to have the original 1985 Chicago 1.

Other than kicks, what are some of your daily essentials or treasured items?

My Apple Watch Ultra. I use it for almost everything!

Purchases, transportation, working out and training sessions, responding to messages and answering phone calls while my phone is out of reach.

Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @sneakerskollecion

An ailurophile who loves bake cookies and listen to indie music!