Clara Hong is a girl who’s all about the chase – of sneakers, that is. The content creator shows us her collection.
She talks us through her most precious pairs and explains the practical challenges that women face when trying to buy sneakers.
Tell us how you first got into sneakers?
It was when I was 19, I started getting internships and finally had money. That same year I also met Tim (her boyfriend whom we previously profiled here), who helped expose me to sneaker culture.
How many sneakers do you own in total?
I haven’t counted! Probably these 27 pairs and a few more. They’re mostly GR sneakers, like regular Vans and such that I can beat up.
Which sneaker in your collection is the most valuable?
I really don’t keep track unless I intend to sell. My assumption would be the Viotech, but it could be me being biased – I just love the sneaker. It’s more likely the Off-White x Nike Blazer, though I really don’t get the hype.
Which sneaker or silhouette do you love the most?
The Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 990. The color and the materials stand out to me. The suede and the shade of blue is so unique. You don’t see that around and the minimal branding on the back, just the “ALD” text. And the cream laces really top it off. Everything on this one hits the sweet spot.
Any sneakers you were looking to buy recently, but were not able to get?
The StrangeLove Skateboards x Nike SB Dunk, I wanted those so bad. I participated in many raffles but wasn’t successful. We tried asking a few skate shops, but they said that they didn’t have the shoes in women’s sizes. It sucks being a girl where it comes to buying sneakers, either they don’t come in your size or stores don’t stock them in women’s sizes.
Your partner, Tim, is known to have a sizable Nike SB Dunk collection. Do you like the sneaker as well?
I’ve always liked the silhouette and the oversized tongue, but once again, as a girl, SBs are tough to find in your size. If a pair comes in your size, just buy it. At least with Jordans I can get them in GS, that’s why you always see girls in Jordans – they’re very accessible. Even if brands made women’s sneakers, it’s always pink and girly – which is not my thing.
Since the Air Jordan 1 UNC to Chicago dropped in women’s sizes, did you cop those?
No, because nowadays people are wearing Jordans a lot, so I tend to stay away from them. Over time, I’ve learnt that Jordans don’t suit my style. I still wear them occasionally, though. I would still wear the Aleali May Air Jordan 1 because they’re a rare Jordan that I really do love.
Which sneaker did you have to cop at resale price? How much did you drop for it?
The Air Jordan 1 “Bred”, but this was years back. I probably spent around S$300. It wasn’t that pricey – I bought them at a good time. It was before the hype kicked in, so I was lucky. I would splurge on sneakers, but only if I really loved the sneaker and if I see it being a timeless classic. I don’t buy into hype; I have a price limit.
Which are your beaters?
The Asics and Nike Skylon 2 are my beaters. The A Cold Wall x Nike Air Force 1 is another one, because it’s a full black sneaker.
If you had to pick three grails?
The first would be the Nike Contrail 95, which is older than me. There’s this Instagram account called @melnniki and it’s run by a vintage sneaker seller from the US. He happened to sell these in girl’s sizes and good colors, so I had to get them. They cost about S$300 to S$400 a pair. I can never let them go.
The next would be the Air Jordan 1 “Breds”. I always travel with these and they carry so many memories. I’ve had these for three to four years; they’re so comfortable, and age really well.
Finally, The Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 990! These I bought from the ALD website and I had so many issues getting them. When it dropped, I had to refresh the page so many times, then my credit card couldn’t go through. Whenever I pick these up, I relive those moments – it’s all about the chase!
Has Tim played a part in influencing your love for sneakers?
Yeah, definitely. Not in terms of what to buy or wear, but rather how I wear them. It’s more about how we pair our sneakers. Lately, we’ve been into Japanese styling – loose and flowy fits. We influence each other’s styles without telling each other what to buy.
If you had to sell everything and keep one sneaker, what would it be?
I would keep my custom New Balance 990. It’s so comfy and unique. I would have to add these to my grails and make it four, actually! These designs were inspired by Sacai’s, which at the time experimented a lot with plaid stuff and they did a lot of weird add-ons and double elements.
Follow Clara Hong on Instagram to stay up to date on her pick-ups and outfits.
This interview has been edited and condensed.