Jeremy Koh’s customized New Balance sneakers are the talk of the town on the NikeTalk forum. We checked out his full collection.
By Daniel Loy
Photos by Andreas Krisanto
When did you start collecting sneakers?
I started in late 2013 with the Team Red Roshe Run. I then joined the NikeTalk forum and it was all downhill from there.
Tell us more about your obsession with New Balance sneakers.
Their “Made in USA” pairs have a consistent high standard of quality and construction, and their designs are a little more understated and mature. The occasional collab with bolder and brighter colors also helps to keep things fresh.
We saw some customized New Balance sneakers in your stash.
I started out by getting inspiration from other collabs, followed by spending hours over many days on New Balance’s NB1 customization platform, trying out different designs until something spoke to me. I find that tonal designs with minimal colorblocking appeal to me most.
Were there any challenges in creating your own customized sneaker?
The only challenge is that I don’t have enough money to make all the pairs I want. There are endless possibilities with NB1.
With all the hype surrounding Ultra Boosts and Yeezys, why have you decided to forgo collecting those models?
I am getting old, in age and in style, and chasing hype has become a younger person’s pastime in recent times. So the lack of hype surrounding New Balance makes copping so much less stressful. Their general releases are amazing as well, and typically go for a significantly discounted price if you’re patient enough. The value you get with the amount you pay and the product you receive is unrivaled. That said, I can’t deny the comfort and clean lines of the Ultra Boost, I have the OG and the Wool Greys and they are pretty much all I need.
On average, how many pairs of kicks do you purchase in a month?
Two pairs. At least that’s what I’ve convinced myself to believe.
Which is the most valuable pair in your collection?
That has to be my Made in Japan ASICS Tiger GEL-LYTE III. It cost me US$600.
Which collaboration ranks among the best in your opinion?
Best is a subjective term, but I can say that my absolute favorite pair is the “Saturday Special” Diadora N9000 from Hanon. Great theme, fantastic materials, brilliant execution.
New Balance has recently produced sneakers with puffy toe box shapes. What are your thoughts on this?
In recent times the toe box has started looking more and more like the bulbous snub-nose toe of the Air Max 1, especially on their 998 and 1500 models. The most impressive thing that happened recently was that the Flimby factory in the UK actually listened to the feedback from a growing number of customers who were complaining about the change in toe shape of the 1500, and they reworked their processes to get the toe back to its original pointy dart-like shape. The recent reissues of some 1500 classics (1500WR, 1500NO, 1500BY and 1500CK) all have the improved shape, and the 1500 model looks absolutely amazing now. Some 998s also get a little puffy and wrinkly around the toe, so here’s hoping the Skowhegan factory listens to its customers as well.
What’s your pet peeve when it comes to the sneaker game?
Too many collabs. I find the significance and uniqueness of a collab has been diluted over recent years. New Balance has achieved a nice, for lack of a better word, “balance”, between its GRs and collabs. I love how it focuses on releasing their GRs in small thematic drops, with the occasional collab every month or so.
Which sneakers are you currently on the hunt for?
I have always been on the hunt for older New Balance pairs, namely the Concepts x New Balance 998 “Tannery” and older 998 GRs. Unfortunately, with my unicorn size of US 7.5, shoes I really want are hard to come by. I’m also looking forward to the “Mossad” and “Salmon Toe 2.0” from Ronnie Fieg, but they would definitely be very sought after and I am not optimistic about my chances of success. Realistically, I have New Balance firmly in my sights, with the 990DVN2, 998DPHO and 1500BY next on my must-have list once they go on sale.
Keep up with Jeremy Koh’s sneaker stash by following him on Instagram. This interview has been edited and condensed.
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