A couple that wears sneakers together, stays together. This month, we talk to Hidayat and Siti Maryam whose courtship days were about court shoes of the basketball kind, and married life has been more of the same – with the addition of a baby girl, Aleyna!
By Kim Hana
Photos by Haq Anuar
How many pairs of shoes do you own in total?
Yat: Siti and I have about 40 pairs each, and our 9-month-old daughter, Aleyna, has 14 pairs of tiny kicks so far.
When did you begin to feel more than what might be called an “average affection” for sneakers?
Y: After I got my second pair of sneakers (black XVIII lows) as a ‘rebound’ because I couldn’t get hold of a pair of XVIIs, I found myself searching online tirelessly for it and stumbling upon the Frontallabs community. That was where I learnt more about sneakers, and became strongly passionate about sneakers and their history.
S: When I first wore my sister’s Superstars as school shoes, some friends made fun of it and said they looked like weightlifter shoes but to me they were perfect. The experience made me realize I had soft spot for sneakers, particularly those with flat soles. From there, I started reading up on sneakers and found myself looking out for them, but still not to the point of collecting, until Yat came along. My family and friends know I’m not one to wear heels, I don’t like walking in them and I hate that they always gave me blisters. But not sneakers…not even if they were one size smaller!
OK, let’s talk about how you both first met. Did it have anything to do with sneakers at all?
Y: Sort of. Back when Friendster was the in thing I casually searched for ‘sneakers’ under the interest section, for fun. Siti’s profile was the first to show up. She had written ‘sneakers’ in her profile and she had a deviantART account which I also visited and thought was really cool. So I PMed her to say her art works were dope and then asked if she was into sneakers too. Tried my luck and told her to add me on MSN. And surprisingly she did!
S: I have no idea what made me reply to Yat and start chatting with him. I wasn’t active on sneaker forums so it was refreshing to have someone pop up asking me about sneakers, an interest we both shared, not necessarily as a pickup line. For two weeks we talked about sneakers and other things, then I did an artwork of a pair of Concords – Yat’s grails – as a surprise to him. After that we decided to meet and eventually hooked up in ‘05.
So the first time you met, what sneakers were you both wearing?
Y: Jedi SBs.
When the time came, you both also got married in kicks. Which ones did you wear on your wedding day and what did people have to say about that?
Y: It was unexpected and a great coincidence that the Concords were retroed close to our wedding day. Very thankful to receive my grails as a wedding present and to UNDS them on my wedding day itself, all with the same person whom I talked to about it most often. Friends had already expected that we would get married in sneakers.
S: Yat gave me the Cement IVs as a wedding gift, it was also coincidentally re-released close to our wedding date. Truly the perfect gift because it was the first pair of Jordans that caught my attention that I never expected to own, because a DS pair of 99 retros would be too costly. I wore them on our wedding day. Despite their initial disapproval, our families gave in eventually.
And now you have a kid and she wears sneakers too. Any regrets for nurturing the habit if she were to drop lots of cash on sneakers when she grows up?
Y: We’re just buying sneakers which we feel are nice and comfortable footwear for her, not really trying to instill or enforce the sneaker-wearing habit. Ultimately it’s her choice as she grows older.
S: As long as it’s all in moderation and she’s thankful for being able to buy sneakers at all. At least $300 kicks are friendlier to the feet than thousand-dollar blistery, achy heels!
Tell us about your honeymoon to Europe. Did it segue-way into a big sneaker buying trip?
Y: We didn’t plan for a big sneaker buying trip but we made a point to check out as many sneaker outlets possible, especially Nike, Footlocker and House of Hoops during our European honeymoon and ‘babymoon’. The environment at European sneaker shops is so vibrant. The passion, level of service and knowledge of retail assistants there is a real eye opener. I was spoilt for choice and so undeceive that I ended up coming home with one pair per trip.
S: I loved the sneaker shops that we went to during our trips. Everyone who worked there was so friendly and genuinely happy to exchange knowledge on shoes, beyond the ones we were buying. Plus we got tax rebates! But we ended up buying more stuff for Aleyna than for ourselves. Their selection for women and kids is wide and varied, and they carry stuff that we don’t get here.
Couples disagree, that’s a given. What can’t you see eye to eye with where it comes to sneakers?
Y: Most of the time we disagree on colorways. Unlike me, she would never buy sneakers that are single colored or those that have too much of the same color palette with no accents, no matter how sought after the shoes are or even if they were her favorite model of sneakers. I also can’t stand that she refuses to try super comfortable shoes that are slightly more expensive. I believe it’s worth paying for the technology behind the comfort and quality.
S: We seldom agree on models and materials. He prefers slim fitting and lightweight kicks – though he buys Lebrons. Now that he’s “slowing down a little”, he doesn’t buy anything suede but would spend on costly shoes made of materials that will get completely soaked in the rain. At least my suedes have survived the storm!
But at the end of the day you love each other and have bought several shoes for each other. What would be the best sneaker gift you’ve received from your other half?
Y: So hard to choose between my Concords, ’01 B/Red 1s and my Kobe 8 IDs.
S: A tie between AJ XI pink lows and a pair of Blazers which he bought and customized for me. Wore them till they were unwearable.
Where do you usually go to purchase your sneakers?
Y: ISS forums (or Sole Collector), eBay, Limited Edt….
S: Female Sneaker Fiend was the best place for me, especially back when it was a challenge to get good stuff locally or at retail.
Wedding and engagement photos courtesy of Hidayat and Siti Maryam