(GUCCI)

Who can say they’ve had a reign that lasted over seventy years? The late Queen Elizabeth II comes to mind, and then there’s the King of Rock and Roll, who has not only influenced the pop culture landscape for decades but also the accent of a So-Cal actor to a surprisingly lasting extent.

But within fashion, the Gucci Horsebit loafer has managed to maintain the same level of influence since it was introduced in 1953. With a design so recognisably "Gucci", the appeal stretches far and wide, from A-listers to your most fashionable friends. Seventy years on, that equestrian tool on the tongue will still place you in the upper echelons of style royalty.

The story as to why a snaffle became a signifier for the luxury fashion house starts with its founder. Guccio Gucci worked as a luggage porter at The Savoy, London, when his fascination with the equestrian world started, seeing it as the sport of the rich and famous people who took up residence at the hotel.

But it didn’t come into form as a loafer until his son Aldo Gucci took over the business (along with his brothers Rodolfo and Vasco). So it goes, Aldo designed a pair of dressy loafers as a response to the moccasins that Bass Weejuns were producing, having noticed that the sleek designs were popular with American prepsters. Gucci stamped it with the horsebit detail in honour of his father, and in doing so created a staple shoe that is both discreet and distinguishable.

(GUCCI)

The shoe quickly became a hit on home soil, but it didn’t take long for its influence to reach Stateside and beyond. Despite its dressier history—with thanks to Cary Grant—Gucci loafers, in particular, became a popular casual shoe among the younger generation. By the Seventies, plenty of women had a pair—perhaps most famously Jodie Foster, who was pictured aged 15 sporting the style while skateboarding—as well as dapper male stars like Kirk Douglas, Francis Ford Coppola and Roger Moore.

The style is just as popular on screen as it is on the streets, too. In 1979, Dustin Hoffman wore a pair in Kramer vs. Kramer, then there was Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy ten years later. Matt Damon wore them in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), a film that’s repeatedly called upon for its perennial influence on men’s summer wardrobes in Europe and beyond.

Paul Mescal in Gucci Horsebit Loafers.
(MANUELE MANGIAROTTI / IPA-AGENCY.NET)

Different creative directors of the luxury fashion house have all had their own take on the design. Tom Ford famously revitalised Gucci in 1994, and did so with classic signifiers of the brand like the horsebit. Alessandro Michele continued to use the motif throughout his tenure, incorporating his maximalist and print-heavy aesthetic, while Gucci’s latest recruit, Sabato De Sarno, has (literally) elevated it even more with a platform sole.

In today’s age, you can see the likes of Paul Mescal, Mark Ronson and Kingsley Ben-Adir (who also stars in the new campaign for the shoe) all donning a pair while on and off the red carpet, further cementing their smart-casual appeal. Rest assured, their reign is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Originally published on Esquire UK

Like New Year's Eve for the doomsayers or Christmas for the consumerists; Air Max Day has arrived for the sneakerheads. Nike's annual celebration of the Air Max model that came out on 26 March, 1987, will be greeted with special drops. The brand has re-issued grails like the Air Max 90 Bacon but this year's we're looking at a brand new look: the Air Max Dn.

This model was borne out of the R&D look into a new Nike Air unit called "Dynamic Air". This unit is a dual-pressure tubes that give a reactive sensation with every step. Not only is the Air Max Dn imbued with new tech, it's also made out of, at least, 20% recycled content (from post-consumer and/or post-manufactured waste) by weight. The Air Max Dn will boast six colourways.

NIKE

There are other models specially released for Air Max Day. Models like the Air Max 1 '86, this time the red accents give way to the royal blue ones.

As we look forward to more Air Max Days, let us take a walk down memory lane with a few classic favourites from our local sneakerheads.

Jonathan Fong (One-Half of local sneaker con, Sole Superior)

Air Max 95 OG “Neon”

"I was 16 when it dropped, and this was a unicorn. I was just gawping at it in Japanese magazines like BOON and Non-no. It was such a fresh, dope, futuristic-looking sneaker. Pity, I never had a chance to cop. If someone were to rock a pair at Far East Plaza on the weekend, it would probably break necks. At that time, I guess they would have gotten a pair from Hong Kong. Finally, I'd gotten my own retro pair in the late 2000s... but it crumbled way too fast. RIP."

Dexter Tan (The Other-Half of local sneaker con, Sole Superior)

Air Max 1 Atmos Animal Pack 2006

"Not only were these a Japan exclusive; they were an eye-catching combination of faux fur that definitely [grab attention] if you wore them out."

Josiah Chua

Air Max 97

"Inspired by the style lines of a water ripple effect and the hues of mountain bikes (which is usually in silver chrome), this iconic pair is extremely versatile to pair with. Whether it’s completing athleisure sporty looks or street style ensembles, the Air Max 97 is just the hyped-up finishing touch you need."

Sam Lo

Air Max Susan

(Editor's note: Animation studio, Laika, is owned by Nike founder Phil Knight and his son, Travis, is Laika’s President and CEO. Limited-edition shoes based on Laika's first four films were made, many were given to friends and family. When Missing Link (Laika's fifth film) was released, the Susan was given a wider release, although, they were quickly sold out. A Friends and Family version was also created, this was even rarer.)

"I love the attention to detail and it was a beautiful way to see the animation translated onto the shoe. It definitely opened my eyes."

tobyato

Air Max Sean Wotherspoon 1/97

"I've followed Sean Wotherspoon on his Round Two journey on YouTube. From how his curation and passion led him to a successful street culture vintage store to working with Nike to getting a shoe to involving the community. And they created a shoe that made so much buzz around the entire world. It made me feel that if [Wotherspoon's] passion, curation and hard work can get him to where he is today, maybe I can as well."

Nike Air Max 90 Bacon

"[This is just] a little reminder that some concepts can just be playful and fun for the sake of it."

Air Max 95 "Stash"

"Stash pioneered the artist brand collaboration space. And, in some way, paved the way to allow someone like me to do what I can do today."

Materiality is something that Zegna is exceptionally familiar with, having established itself as a fabric producer long before dressing discerning men around the world. It has been well over 110 years since the very foundations of Zegna were laid and the brand continues to innovate—both in its use of materials crafted with luxurious handfeel as well as its level of craftsmanship.

The Zegna Triple Stitch is the marriage of those two facets of innovations. This is a shoe that's relatively minimal in its aesthetic. Especially when compared to the other footwear designs out there in the luxury fashion space. An existing style reworked by artistic director Alessandro Sartori in 2019, the shoes remained a staple of Zegna's wardrobe since. Sartori's directional idea of menswear, specifically tailoring, as existing in the realm of both casual and formal is extended to the Triple Stitch. It's not exactly a sneaker nor is it a formal shoe—it's neither and somewhat both at the same time. 

Like every stellar silhouette, the Triple Stitch has gone through a number of variations and technical improvements since its introduction. Its signature trio of elastic crosses right at the shoe's tongue, however, have stayed unchanged albeit rendered in different colours.

SECONDSKIN

The Triple Stitch SECONDSKIN is the latest and perhaps the most technical interpretation by Zegna. As its name suggests, this update feels incredibly soft and supple—like second skin. And it's not as though the Triple Stitch wasn't already a comfortable pair of shoes to begin with. For the SECONDSKIN variation, it takes it up a few notches. This time by heightening the luxurious feel of the shoe.

The inspiration for the Triple Stitch SECONDSKIN came from tapping on the durability and exceptional lightness of leather typically reserved for gloves. But to fully incorporate the best characteristics of glove leather, the Triple Stitch had to first be deconstructed. The airy, lightweight appeal of the glove leather has been put into focus with a newly designed toe counter as well as a Strobel construction. The latter is typically seen in athletic sneakers and is further improved in the Triple Stitch SECONDSKIN with fine lining.

The result is undoubtedly, the softest and lightest Triple Stitch yet. The glove leather-tanning technique imbues the shoe with a texture that offers a form-retaining feel. At the same time, it enhances the natural strength and durability of the leather. They’re attributes that one would normally associate with technical footwear. But here, just like Sartori’s menswear, they craft a new creation that looks and feel like it’s of two worlds.

BBC Studios

On BBC's Doctor Who, there is a long, long (I'm talking, like, since the 1960s kind of long) tradition of each new generation of the Doctor having his or her own distinctive look. For David Tennant's Doctor, it was a slim-fitting pinstripe suit, a tie, and Converse high-tops. For Matt Smith's Doctor, it was a funky red bow tie, suspenders, and, often, a tweed blazer. And for the newest Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), it boils down to something simultaneously fresh and vintage: Grenson's Sneaker 51.

BBC Studios

Gatwa debuted as the Fifteenth Doctor in last year's Christmas special. As is par for the course for Doctor Who, he kicked some alien ass, saved a few lives with his new companion, and introduced the world to his iteration of the iconic character. And he did all of it in a British heritage brand that combines history with modernity. At the end of the day, isn't that the heart and soul of Doctor Who?

Really, there couldn't be a more fitting shoe of choice for the Doctor than Sneaker 51. Grenson, as a footwear company, can trace its English roots all the way back to 1866. The brand made a name for itself by crafting high-quality, traditional footwear for over 150 years. Just the blink of an eye, if you're the Doctor. He's evolving with the times to produce modernised footwear and accessories. Now, the brand has a factory in Rushden, Northamptonshire. It's not quite Gallifrey. But it's clearly a place where the Doctor can source some "G"-logo kicks that are good enough for escaping a goblin spaceship.

BBC Studios

The Sneaker 51 (which the Doctor pairs with a very retro outfit) takes its inspiration from sneakers of the '70s. It has calf leather and suede panels that imbue the style with a fresh feel. The shoes, like Doctor Who, are British heritage pieces brought back to life for the 21st century, paying homage to their roots. Gatwa's new season of Doctor Who doesn't air until later, but if the showrunners are already building Fifteen's identity down to the very detail of his shoes, this is going to be another era of the show that's absolutely unmissable.

Originally published on Esquire US

A significant milestone in Dexter Tan's life involved sneaker collecting.

Tan was in the line to purchase some limited-edition kicks at Leftfoot. It was early morning and not one of the 20 people in the queue was in any mood for conviviality, save for Jon Fong, who complimented Tan on his New Balance shoes. They started talking, a friendship blossomed, and later the duo created Sole Superior, Singapore's first sneaker convention.

Sole Superior is a grassroots, community-based effort. The lads wanted a convention that was for the fans by the fans. It’s to be a day out with the family—an inclusive event, where you aren’t judged by who you are or what you wear.

It is the sort of openness that led to Tan amassing close to 400 pairs of shoes. When he started, he collected like a fiend and wasn't deliberate with his purchases. "I'd look for deals. I'd go to outlet shops and buy, and buy." He spent up to SGD1,000 per month on sneakers.

But that was then. Tan has since slowed down. Space constraints, he tells me. When he eventually moves into his new flat, Tan is considering rotating his kicks out—which ones he'll display and which he'll wear.

A formidable threat to Tan’s collection is entropy. All things eventually fall apart over time, but sneaker soles are particularly prone because they are usually made of polyurethane (PU). As a sports shoe material, PU is ideal because it is hard wearing and absorbs shock well. It is, however, susceptible to hydrolysis. Over time, PU polymers break down from exposure to water or even just water vapour. It is the latter that poses a great threat for sneaker collectors because their prized shoes are not safe from hydrolysis even when they go into storage in mint condition—especially in a warm and humid place like Singapore.

NIKE TERMINATOR ZOOM LOW SYRACUSE
“I was 17 when I wanted a pair of Air Force 1s. So I saved up and went with my parents to 77th Street to make the purchase. When they saw the colourway, they felt it didn't suit me. My mom made an offer: if I chose something else, she'd pay half of it. So we went to Leftfoot—which was two stores down—and saw Nike's "Be True To Your School" collection. They were in colourways of popular US colleges and I chose Syracuse because their house colours [of orange and navy] were similar to my JC (junior college). They evoke so much nostalgia that I bought five more pairs. I'm now down to my last pair, which I wear sparingly.

NIKE PLAYSTATION AIR FORCE 1 LOW
“These promo samples were only issued to Sony execs and family members. I think there are about only 100-ish pairs worldwide. I first saw them in a Japanese magazine and someone in an Air Force 1 collectors group on Facebook was selling them. They didn't come with the box and he sold them to me for a little over SGD1,000, including shipping. Now, an unworn pair could go for SGD10,000, which is too bad as I wear mine all the time. They are still in okay condition though.”

Tan is taking the hydrolysis in stride. Might as well, he reasons as he slowly runs out of space for his shoes. "Now, I'd go for specific shoes that catch my eye,” Tan says. “Those that have nostalgic value, that has a story to them. Right now, I'm in a phase of hunting down the pairs that I couldn't afford in my youth. Instead of buying three pairs a month, I'll save up that money and splurge it on that rare and expensive pair."

When it comes to fakes, Tan fully believes that no one can ascertain the authenticity of shoes with 100 per cent accuracy. He once sent a pair of New Balance to a resale platform and they were declared replicas. "Which was weird because I bought them from a New Balance store."

But he isn't susceptible to being a victim of knock-offs. "I bought a pair of Travis Scott Jordan 1 that I thought were real. But when I wore them during a sneakers meet-up, another guy said that the colour was off. And sure enough, when we compared my shoes with the ones that he got from Nike, the colour wasn't right. Further scrutiny uncovered something was also wrong with the sole patterns."

NIKE SB KOBE X ERIC KOSTON WITH HUMIDOR BOX
“These were the biggest steal for me. Only 24 pairs of these exist in the world, with two in Singapore. They aren’t even in my size. A local collector wanted to liquidate his collection and handed me a list of shoes for sale. I was interested in a couple of them but they had already been sold. Out of desperation, I picked two random pairs that were still available. I didn't know that one of them were Kobe shoes. I only found out about their rarity afterwards, which adds flavour to the purchase. Those are the shoes that many collectors would offer to buy from me, but I’ll never sell them because there will never be another pair by Kobe again.”

NIKE JORDANS 1 OG CHICAGO (1985)
“The Holy Grail for collectors. By luck, I bought them before the boom, at a good price. Right now, unworn pairs can fetch USD20K. I saw a Japanese site selling a pair for USD500 on IG. It was in poor condition but I so badly wanted to own one that I didn’t care. I got in touch with the sellers and was crestfallen when they said they didn't do overseas shipping. Undaunted, I looked for a Japanese resident through a forum to help me purchase and ship it to me. It was a leap of faith because I basically remitted money to a stranger I'd met online, but I got the shoes in the end. It's one of the few pairs that fulfilled a childhood dream for me.” 

Tan doesn't think it's right to shun someone who wears knock-offs. "I don't know if they know they are wearing fakes," Tan says, "but the fact of the matter is who am I to judge if that person feels happy in them? I’m fine as long as they don't try to sell them off as the real thing. Morally, there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes the sneaker fanbase can be toxic, in that sense. We gatekeep so much. From an average Joe's point of view: why should I pay SGD1,000 for a pair of shoes when I can get a replica for SGD500 on Carousell? It still looks the same, and honestly, sometimes the fake ones look just as good as the real thing and nobody will ever know."

That sort of openness is what makes Sole Superior so special. Despite the rise in rental fees, Tan is nonplussed. Sole Superior has always been a side project for Fong and him. They don't run Sole Superior like a business. Every time they want to set it up, they consider whether it's logistically and financially sound for them to do so. "Sole Superior is a passion project of sorts. So, even if we don't put out an event this year, we'll be perfectly fine. There's always the next year."

NIKE AIR FORCE 1 LOW LUX (ANACONDA)
“This is the last pair that Nike produced using real reptile skin because PETA protested against it. In addition to the material, the shoes had embellishments like the lace lock, the keychain and the hangtag that were gold-plated. It retailed for USD2,000. At the time, it was an insane price for a pair of Air Force 1. I forgot how I came about it but I saw them going for SGD900. I was thinking who would sell them at such a loss? We hypothesised that they could have been gifted to someone and they just wanted to sell them off. This was something that I have wanted to own because I used to work for a consignment shop and I kept seeing this pair in the storage room. I still wear them but the soles are busted. If there are any pairs that I’d want to resole, it'd be this, and the PlayStation pair.” 

SNEAKERLAH X HUNDRED% X ASICS GEL-LYTE III (TEH-TARIK) / TOBYATO X ASICS NOVABLAST
“These are shoes that my friends have done and I won't ever sell them. This above is by SneakerLAH (a KL sneaker con) with ASICS. Bryan Chin (SneakerLAH founder) came to one of our events and was so inspired by what we did that he went back and did his own sneaker con. After that, they would work with ASICS for collaboration kicks. I was so happy for them that I would buy their shoes.

“The pair below was by the artist Toby Tan (aka tobyato), again with ASICS. It’s not my style but I still rock them when I go hiking. This collab was a huge moment for Toby’s career. During the initial stages of the collab, he’d ask for our [Fong and my] feedback. We gave him some tips but ultimately, the design was all him. Because we were privy to the whole process, it made this pair very special to me. I can still remember how excited Toby was when he gave us these shoes.”

Fortunately, Sole Superior will happen this year. HomeTeamNS approached them to hold it at its venue and while it seems odd to hold a sneaker con in an area synonymous with the army/police/civil defence forces, Tan and Fong saw the humour in it. "We are next to Yishun and we are doing it at HomeTeamNS. There's nowhere safer," jokes Tan. 

Photography: Jaya Khidir
Art Direction: Joan Tai
Photography Assistant: Chuen Kah Jun

Paul Mescal proving that the Gucci Horsebit loafers are still as stylish as there were 70 years ago.

When the Horsebit loafer was first conceived by Gucci—specifically by Aldo Gucci, the eldest son of founder Guccio Gucci—it was said to be a response to loafers popularised by preppy Americans. Gucci was to open its first New York City boutique in 1953. The Horsebit loafer was the perfect design to kickstart an American expansion. It was a familiar silhouette with the addition of an Italian flair—very Gucci.

The use of the snaffle bit within Gucci predates the Horsebit loafer. The House had already incorporated it since the 1950s when it began drawing inspiration from the equestrian world. The metallic double ring connected by a bar was taken from the bit on a horse’s bridle, and was used across different facets of the Gucci universe both as a decorative motif as well as a functional element.

A catalogue of Gucci Horsebit loafers from 1972.
Gucci Horsebit loafers circa 1990.
A thoroughly timeless design
The shoes are still made in-house.
The craft behind the Gucci Horsebit loafers remained unchanged.

One could even say that the creation of the Horsebit loafer was destined to happen. But its arrival at a time when dress codes were changing in favour of more liberal sensibilities, helped propel its popularity. Not only was the Horsebit loafer instantly recognisable, its make and comfort was a mark of Italian craftsmanship. The leather used is supple, and coupled with a construction that lacks an insole, makes the Horsebit loafer lightweight and flexible. One could easily run around in a pair and get it beaten down. Or like Tyler Durden in Fight Club, fight in one.

Gucci has seen numerous creative directors over the decades since, but the Horsebit loafers have been a mainstay. Various interpretations have been brought to the fore recently and will most likely continue to do so under the creative directorship of Sabato De Sarno. Yet, 70 years hasn’t changed the way the Horsebit loafers are crafted. To this day, they’re still produced in Italy, in house, by skilled cobblers. The soles of the Horsebit loafers are also still attached to the uppers with Blake stitching that affords the shoes’ their renowned lightweight and flexible attributes.

The GG monogram and green-red-green webbing may be synonymous with Gucci. But when it comes to a singular design, the Horsebit loafer is one that doesn’t need to be loud to be noticed.

Many things happen in a decade. Alex Ferguson retired from Man U; China ended their One Child Policy; the Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire; uh, remember Covid anyone? A lot can happen in 10 years but we're glad to see Jon Fong and Dexter Tan still organising their sneaker cons.

Called Sole Superior, this was the original sneaker con that met the needs of local sneakerheads. The passion project between Fong and Tan started appropriately enough when they were in the queue for a sneaker release and, this year, for its 10th anniversary, the duo celebrates their milestone with a sneaker con worthy of the occasion.

For one, Sole Superior breaks tradition by holding its con in Singapore's lore-ridden neighbourhood, Yishun. Specifically at the grounds of HomeTeamNS Khatib. The clubhouse's Grand Ballroom is a sprawling 1,014 square metre space that will house a menagerie of vendors and exclusives that fans can look forward to.

What to Expect

One of. the many merry merch.

Celebrating one's 10th year isn't just a recognition of survival; it's an event. One that is supported by a thriving community of streetwear enthusiasts. Step once more into the breach. Return to a world where style, culture and community collide in the most superior fashion imaginable.

Sole Superior will be held this Saturday, 25 November at HomeTeamNS Khatib (2 Yishun Walk, Singapore 767944). The event will run from noon to 8pm. Tickets are now available.

Some guys can rattle off every relevant stat about their favourite team or player. Other guys, like Chad Kramer, who recently took the reins as CEO of Del Toro, the footwear brand known for Italian-made velvet slippers and suede and leather loafers? Well, not exactly.

“I’ve always been a huge menswear and fashion nerd. Like, obsessed with this industry,” he tells me over Zoom. He’s in Chicago, I’m in Brooklyn, and we’re chatting about his affinity for menswear’s digital heavy hitters. “They’re like athletes to me,” he continues. “Even my friends back in Chicago are like, ‘You know more about menswear designers or influencers than you do about the current Chicago Bulls team.’ That’s how big of a dork I am.”

Kramer joined Del Toro in November of 2022, but his move into the fashion industry has been a long time coming. He started out working in finance at J.P. Morgan, first in Chicago and then in New York. “I loved it for the first few years,” he says, “but then I realised that I still do have this fashion itch.” To scratch it, He enrolled in Parsons School of Design's one-year fashion entrepreneurship program to relieve that itch.

“I lied to my coworkers and told them that I was going to business school at night,” he laughs. “I’d wait for them to leave, go into the bathroom and put on what I thought was cool, lower-Manhattan gear, then look out of the bathroom like, ‘All right, is the coast clear?’ and run out of 270 Park Avenue, get on the subway, and go down to Parsons.”

Just after he finished up the program, life brought him back to Chicago, and eventually out of the finance and into tech. He took a job at Meta, working mostly with McDonald’s, but kept the fashion flame burning by connecting with some of his menswear “athletes” and helping them out with stuff like Instagram verification. Then, everything came together because of a jumper and a fateful dinner party—not to mention the increasingly permeable wall between the worlds of fashion and technology.

“I went to dinner with a bunch of other parents of young kids wearing an Aimé Leon Dore crocheted vest,” Kramer says. “It was pretty bold, but I was like, ‘I can pull this off in the suburbs of Chicago!’ One of the guys there, a friend of mine, said, ‘I don’t what the hell you’re wearing, but a buddy of mine just bought this shoe company called Del Toro. Have you heard of them?’”

Kramer was incredulous. Del Toro was founded in 2005 by Matthew Chevallard and built up something of a cult following during the #menswear era, when items like the brand’s signature velvet loafers were littering Tumblr feeds alongside super-slim Italian tailoring and extremely high-and-tight haircuts. That era passed, and Del Toro was sold in 2018 to a group of investors (Carmelo Anthony among them). Those investors’ plans fizzled and it was sold again in 2020. By the spring of 2022, Kramer was convinced the company was kaput.

After being disabused of that notion, he asked if he could meet the new owner, just to hear his story. “Forty-eight hours later, my buddy sends me a text that says, ‘Don’t kill me, but they need a new CEO, and I sold them on your background,’” Kramer explains. “I was like, ‘What?!’”

Cue the whirlwind of interviews and presentations. Then the hire. Kramer started as CEO in the midst of the holiday season—“the most fun and chaotic thing I’ve ever done”—and after weathering the storm, started the project of “bringing people back to Del Toro” in earnest.

That necessitates a three-pronged strategy for Kramer. On the one hand, there are those velvet slippers, which continue to be a brand favourite. “There’s no denying it: the black velvet slipper is our hero item,” Kramer says. “When I’m in Chicago or visiting friends in New York or in the suburbs up here, there are people coming up to me saying, ‘I wore Del Toro tuxedo slippers to my wedding.’ That’s so cool.”

“Nobody owns the men’s wedding shoe space,” he continues. “No one really says, ‘Those are the go-to wedding shoes.’ That’s who we want to become.”

Del Toro is also targeting the sports industry when it comes to occasion-specific attire. or at least the world of "country-club sports. “What is the shoe that you wear to the golf course, and the shoe that you slip on as soon as you get off the course?” Kramer asks. He’s hoping it’ll be something like the Centesimo, made of unlined goat suede, or the flagship Milano loafer in calf leather.

Making things official, Del Toro is the footwear supplier for the U.S. Team at this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome. “That is us breaking through to golf,” Kramer says. “We are putting our foot forward and waving our hands and saying, ‘We are here. Hey, golf guys, pay attention.’”

The last piece of the jigsaw is persuading males who prefer Vans Slip-Ons and Birkenstock Bostons that there is another way to go about things. Loafers are "knockaround shoes," according to Kramer, so men shouldn't worry too much about them. Just shuffle them on with whatever and walk out the door.

“That’s how people are getting dressed today,” he says. “They’re staying comfortable, but they’re also leaving the house again, so they want to get dressed. And it’s such a layup to put on a pair of loafers. We’re not just a shoe to wear with your business casual when you go to the office. We’re also a shoe to wear hungover when you go to the bodega on a Saturday morning.”

“We could really encompass every aspect of daily life,” Kramers says. “It’s a huge challenge, but it’s one that gets me really excited.”

Originally published on Esquire US

How long does it take for a collaboration to manifest? Six months? A year? If you're like Sole Superior and Saint Barkley, the road to the end product can take up to four years. But it's worth the wait as the union borne out of mutual admiration for each other yields these limited-edition kicks.

Limited to 500 pairs, this collaboration caused quite a kerfuffle back in 2022. A sample pair was first introduced at Sole Superior last November and then at the Jakarta Sneaker Day in February 2023. It was during the latter when the samples were absconded from its display case.

But when life gives you lemons, you turn it into a marketing opportunity—Saint Barkley and Sole Superior offered a reward to anyone who turn in the stolen samples. In an IG post, Saint Barkley and Sole Superior extoll the sneaker thief for their "terrific taste" and chided their "terrible ethics". The samples were never recovered.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

But what is it about the Sole Superior x Saint Barkley sneakers that made it so seductive that theft was its only recourse?

Well, taking inspiration from the 'Scratch N Sniff' stickers of the 1980s, the shoes sport bubblegum-scented tongues. These releases that contraband scent when your foot comes in contact with it. The upper is a peach /suede with light-reflective stitching. Adorned with Saint Barkley's signature volt green sole, the white vulcanised rubber midsole looks striking from the contrast. ensuring your sneakers and surroundings smell as fresh as they look. To top it all off, the sneakers come in a special clear window shoebox. Each purchase of the shoes will also get you three exclusive Saint Barkley x Sole Superior air fresheners.

Not only do you have a sneaker release, there's also the limited apparel capsule collection. A t-shirt, cap, and coach jacket—these items complement your new kicks. These are available in limited quantities as well.

Two teenagers wear the Saint Barkley x Sole Superior t-shirts. They look cool.

Saint Barkley x Sole Superior limited kicks retails for SGD66. The collection drops today at Saint Barkley's physical store in Indonesia or if you're not based over there, you can purchase them online.

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