A Peek at Singapore’s Growing Sneaker Culture

shoes on the rack

Singapore’s sneaker culture may have been late to start — but it is now one of the strongest. Every Singapore home will have modest shoe racks (one for every member of the family) — and shoe purchases have been booming.

From One to Many

Singapore’s love for shoes started in the early 2000s — and people in the know attribute it to Mandeep Chopra, the founder of Limited Etd. From one boutique specializing in signature footwear and limited collections — there are now 15 sneaker boutiques each one catering to different niches. From Nike’s and Jordans, now every popular brand of sportswear and shoes (Adidas, Under Armour, Skechers, New Balance, Asics, etc.) can be found in the small country. Even upscale designer labels like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga have started making sneakers — and with great success at that. What started with men and ballers soon encompassed most of the population. Women have started to warm up to their own collections — and manufacturers have started making collectible shoes specifically for them.

Immediate Acceptance

Singaporeans embraced sneaker culture on the onset — prompted by the popularity of Michael Jordan (then suiting up for the Washington Wizards), Tracy McGrady, and Jason Kidd. Signature shoes that were once low-key status symbols — recognized by only a few — became popular splurge items for everyone, regardless of economic status. The rise of the digital age, social media, and online shopping — also heightened awareness of sneaker culture and made all types of shoes easier to find and purchase. Skechers Singapore recently launched Sailor Moon-themed shoes and this June, Singapore will host the Sneaker Con — the world’s premier sneaker show. The sneaker convention is a place to buy, sell, and even trade sneakers. This year’s show will feature a skate park and a hoops court so expect a lot of excitement and perhaps a few athletes and celebrities. The 2019 Culture Cartel Convention also proved to be a successful — with sneaker culture blending with street culture in a festive celebration. 2020’s convention will probably be held later in the year — but expect a massive celebration with music, celebrities, and a lot of shoes.

scattered shoes on the floor

A Temporary Lull

Like in several parts of the world, the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is changing people’s spending habits. As the fear of the airborne virus rises to peak levels, people are opting to stay home and avoid crowded places. Sneaker sales have fallen as people hold on to their money — instead, opting to spend their money on necessary supplies just in case of emergencies. Stores across the country have run out of hand sanitizers, thermometers, and vitamin C supplements. Surprisingly, online sales of sneakers have gone up — as collectors opt to do their shopping online instead of risking infection. With no end in sight (for the time being), COVID-19 might have a severe impact on the economy similar to SARS. However, once the crisis is over, expect sneaker sales to shoot up as collectors and enthusiasts once again start splurging.

Singapore’s sneaker culture is alive and kicking — and no mere virus can keep it down. With multiple events and festivals throughout the year — expect enthusiasm and excitement to overpower fears of the simple flu.

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