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Community January 24, 2014

Straat Your Stuff: Interview with Con Aranzamendez

Con Aranzamendez who hails from the Land of the Morning, Philippines, has trimmed his collection down from too many to 30. Quality over quantity is his credo and this month, he shows us his lean, mean sneaker collection. 

By Kim Hana
Photos by Haq Anuar

How many pairs of shoes do you own? 
I used to have more than 50 pairs of shoes in my collection. Like any other sneaker enthusiast who was new to the hobby, I was impulsive and insatiable. Eventually I learned two things: Indeed, money doesn’t grow on trees and that shoes have lifespans. My taste for sneakers was also constantly evolving, so I decided to focus on quality and durability and trimmed my collection down to 30 pairs. 30 good pairs that will last a longer time and would appreciate in value as time goes by.

How long have you been collecting sneakers?
I started collecting back in late 2008. Niketalk.com was my source of information back then. I’ve not forgotten my roots and still visit NT when I have the chance. I learned so much from that website and I have to do my part to share that knowledge.

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It was the Nike Air Yeezy “Tan” that Con won in a raffle in 2009 that got him hooked on sneakers

When did you begin to feel more than what might be called an “average affection” for sneakers?
It started when I won in the first ever sneaker raffle that I joined in June of 2009. It was held at Nike Singapore’s flagship store in Wisma Atria. There were more than a hundred people lined up but only around 40 pairs were released. I wasn’t expecting to win in that raffle. In fact, the reason I joined the raffle was to hook my friend up. But the moment I laid my hands on the buttery leather of the Nike Air Yeezy “Tan” colorway, I knew I had to wear them. Winning that raffle ignited my passion for sneakers and brought back memories of getting my first Nike when I was a kid.

Ah, the beautiful Yeezy “Tan”, those bring a tear to our eyes… Speaking of good memories, what was the very first pair of sneakers you bought?
The first pair of sneakers that I bought with my own money was the Nike Air Movin Uptempo (Black/White colorway). That was back in grade school. I grew up in a family with an average income so having a pair of Nikes was a luxury back then. I wore them all the time and everywhere I went till the soles came off. Hope Nike retros that pair someday; brings back a lot of memories!

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Weird Wins indeed: The Nike Air Foamposite One “Paranorman” is the most valuable pair of sneakers in Con’s collection

Which is the most expensive pair in your collection?
It would be the Nike Foamposite One “Paranorman”. Its estimated current market value on eBay ranges between S$4,000 and S$6,000. Honestly, I would never spend that much on a pair of sneakers. That’s just insane! I got mine for waaaay cheaper than its market value now.

What’s different about Singapore’s sneaker scene compared to that of the Philippines?
Filipinos are crazy about basketball, and that’s one of the differences between Singapore and Philippines. Filipinos would camp out for days, even weeks, for Jordans, Kobes and Lebrons. Whereas in Singapore, lifestyle and running shoes are more popular. Though, in the past few years, Singapore consumers have started to take an interest in basketball shoes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see greater diversity in the collections of Singaporeans in the coming years. Sneakerheads learning to appreciate sneakers and crossing over to try other brands, technologies and silhouettes – that’s a sign of progress in the sneaker scene.

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For his thrice weekly basketball games, Con’s go-to beaters are the Nike Zoom Kobe Gametime

Which pairs are your beaters?
For balling, it would be the Nike Zoom Kobe Gametime and Nike Zoom Kobe VI “Ace”. The Nike Zoom Kobe Gametime is perfect for outdoor basketball due to the XDR (Extra Durable Rubber) outsoles and the cushioning and low ankle collar is just perfect for guards/small forwards like me. I also have a pair of Nike Zoom Kobe VI as an alternate balling shoe. I mostly use low cut Nike Zoom Kobe shoes for playing basketball. They’re remarkably light and exceptionally comfy. For running, I wear my Nike Free 5.0. And for other activities, my go-to shoes is the Nike SB Dunk Low Newcastle. I just love Nike SB’s snug fit and comfort.

Where do you usually go to purchase your sneakers?
I get my sneakers from local stores such as Hoops Factory, Limited Edt, Leftfoot. Hoops Factory has the best customer service among all stores though. I value good customer service more than anything. Our friendly resellers, eBay and online sneaker stores are also one of my sources. Sometimes I ask to connect with sellers or contacts from other parts of the world when I am in search for a particular pair. There are no limits to where one can get their sneakers if they really want something. And that’s the exciting part about collecting: the hunt for that coveted pair.

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It’s not just beaters and basketball shoes, Con also owns a pair of Balenciaga “Arena sneakers, which he purchased on a trip to Hong Kong

How do you care for and store your collection?
After each wear, I use a shoe deodorant to freshen it up (Kiwi Shoe Deodorant). I leave it out for a few hours. Then, I clean the outsoles with water, brush and soap (laundry or dishwashing soap will do). I do some spot clean on the uppers if necessary – Kiwi Shoe Cleaner, an old toothbrush and a dry towel does the job. I don’t spend too much money on cleaning solutions because you achieve the same outcome with cheaper brands such as Kiwi. Afterwards, I let the shoes dry out overnight. I keep my shoes in zip lock bags and put three small packs or one large pack of silica gel inside the box (not in the bag), and only one or two small packs inside the zip lock bag. Putting too many silica packs inside the zip lock bag tends to totally dry out the shoes, which is not good. My shoes are kept inside my bedroom. So they are pretty much in an air conditioned room most of the time. Proper storage is very important because I don’t get to wear my shoes all the time and Singapore is very humid. I used to do some Seaglow sessions on my translucent outsole shoes to remove the oxidation but found it too time consuming. It’s also difficult to find Seaglow in Singapore.

What are some happy memories you have from collecting?
Believe it or not, most sneaker enthusiasts will tell you that some of the happy memories are during camp outs for shoes. Same goes for me. This is where we make new connections and friends and rub shoulders with people of different cultures from different countries. What brings us together is our common interest. I believe that at the end of the day, what’s more important is the number of good friends that you have gained and not the pairs that you have. Connections are important. You’ll never know when you’ll need someone’s help. Do more for others, contribute to the community, and you’ll reap what you sow.

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The devil is in the details: The Nike SB Dunk low “Freddie Krueger” is Con’s most beloved pair of sneakers

That’s fine advice! What shoes are you currently on the hunt for?
One of the two shoes I’m currently on the hunt for is a pair of 1985 Black/Red and Black/Royal Blue Air Jordan 1 in good wearable condition and in my size. I’d like to complete my 1985 set. Lately, these two colorways are hard to come by in good condition and at a reasonable price.

You’ve had to downsize once before. What if, one unfortunate day, you had to sell everything and could only keep one pair? Which pair would that be?
It would be my Nike SB Dunk low “Freddie Krueger”. What caught my attention are the details of the shoes. The red and green stripes which denotes Freddie Krueger’s signature shirt, the chrome swoosh just like Freddie’s claws, blood splatters, and the insoles which represents Freddie Krueger’s burnt skin. It was perfectly executed in my opinion. I was lucky to get a dead stock pair last year with the help of my friend who used to live in KL. Props to you, man! You know who you are!

Con Recommends: Good Sneaker Pick Up Points in Philippines
Where: Titan (“Plenty branches around Metro Manila”)
Why: “They’re the first basketball specialty store in the Philippines. The basketball ambience of their stores is quite remarkable too.”
Find out more: www.titan22.com

Where: Sole Academy
Why: “Caters to the lifestyle sneaker seeking crowd and runners. They carry Asics, Onitsuka Tiger, Adidas, and Nike Sportswear, to name a few.”
Find out more: www.soleacademy.net

Where: We Legendary and Center of Gravity
Why: “These are shops to look for if you’re in search of Nike SB and skateboarding stuff.”
Find out more: www.welegendary.com, www.facebook.com/CoGphils.Page

You can find Con on Facebook and Instagram.