“I don’t see why such iconic and well thought out colourways should be limited to just one shoe. It’s a waste of well-refined and perfect colour combinations”

We’ve hit April and it’s time for the fourth installment of the Sneakerhead Talks series. So far it has been awesome taking photos of Melbourne’s classic, heat and high-end fashion trainers. I wanted to give the DopeKoto viewers something a little special this time, and so I went to the one guy I know who loves being a ‘one of one’ collector, Christopher Allan.

A Little About Chris

“My name is Chris. Aged 24, born and raised in Melbourne. I like sports, cheap eats, and sneakers. I currently work full time as a stock manager for a sneaker store, and I have aspirations to one day open up my own shop/studio in the near future.

Sneaker Game Beginnings

“Sneakers have always been a big interest [of mine] ever since I was a little kid. I grew up playing basketball and always wanted to wear whatever my favourite players had on their feet. Thanks to my parents, I was pretty lucky to have all the pairs I did.

The first pair of sneakers which I had a very strong memory of, are the Jordan 17s in the white/varsity red. I was so excited to bring them home in that shiny metal suitcase; I watched the video that came with [the shoes] and ended up sleeping in them for the whole week. Towards the end of high school, I used to rock skate shoes as well. I was one of those kids who refused to wear regular black leather school shoes and would rather face detention or be sent home! Chet IV Globes were my go-to back then. They were such a dope pair of shoes.”


Favourite Sneaker Brands

“I have shifted the focus of my collection around brands and silhouettes I find most comfortable wearing, as well as ones that are executed in best way as far as quality goes. 70% of what I own is New Balance and ASICS; that’s mainly due to the colour blocking, packaging and quality. Ever since I bought my first pair of ‘Made in USA’ New Balances, I realised [there is] no other brand could come close to the construction and detail that goes into them. I am definitely more into wearing my sneakers than I am collecting them, so for me that’s important.

My go-to kicks are the ASICS Gel-Lyte III, and New Balance models 998, 997 and 577. I would say my favourite pair in my collection is the New Balance ‘577LEV’. I am lucky enough to have the numbered release pair, which comes with the blue suede box. I busted them out for the first time for this feature! The ‘Solebox 1500’ pack is another favourite [of mines], and continues to elude me, along with the ‘Provider’ and the ‘Blackbeard’.”


Sneaker Picasso

“The first pair of customs I did happened just over a year ago now. I was sitting around looking at photos of the Ronnie Fieg ASICS Gel-Lyte 3 ‘Salmon Toe’, and thinking about how I really enjoy the balance between the contrast of navy suede and salmon pink. I could not understand how much people were asking for them, so I thought “F*ck it, I’ll just try and make my own”. That’s when I did the ‘Salmon Toe’ 997s and from then on I knew I had discovered a hidden passion. I have continued the theme of taking well-known colour ways and putting them onto different silhouettes. I don’t see why such iconic and well thought out colourways should be limited to just one shoe. It’s such a waste of well-refined and perfect colour combination.

The thing I enjoy most about customising a shoe is that I can take something beat, broken or boring, and give it a new life. I really enjoy being able to produce one-off pieces, something that no one else has. I also enjoy working with clients to take an idea they might have and produce something they came up with themselves where they can wear with pride.”

Advice for the Custom Sneaker Newcomers

“An important trait to possess if you want to begin customising shoes is patience. Secondly, you need to be willing to work through trial and error. Find what works best for you. I can’t stress how vital that is. I spend more time preparing a shoe than I do executing the design and painting.”


Thoughts On Today’s Sneaker Game

“If you pull back the curtain, that is this celebrity hype and reselling, and have a proper look, there are some great things happening in today’s sneaker game. New Balance continue to pump out high quality and fantastic colourways on their ‘Made in UK’ and ‘Made in USA’ ranges. ASICS general releases are becoming more and more in line with their collaborated pieces. Nike is working on some really dope retro colourways, as is Jordan. Brands like Diadora, Saucony, Karhu, and Reebok are getting more popular. We really are spoilt for choice.”

Advice For New Sneakerheads

“For people who have only just began their fascination with sneakers, it’s a passion shared amongst millions of people, so look out for each other. Buy, wear and talk about whatever you like and you feel comfortable in. And just remember, in the end it’s just a bunch of leather and rubber!”

This series has allowed me to meet some really awesome dudes and see sneakers through their perspectives. Melbourne is an awesome spot for this but being my hometown, it’s a bit limiting. I think I’m due for a little interstate trip for the next one…

Photography by Thom Bonilla