Jon Timbre: Shoe Love from Lion City
Monday, 7, March 2016

There are the hoarders. Those who cop shoes at a drop of a hat, buying everything and just loving the feeling of purchasing something. All for show with less attention on prioritizing their purchases. BUT then, there are those who's got a far more refined taste in footwear. He knows what he wants, how to get them and most importantly, WHY he gets them. From runners to Yeezys, even customizing his own kicks, this man knows why he's deep in the game. It's all for the love. 

It's all for the love. Based in Singapore where he represents Pinoy Shoephoric pride to the fullest, Jon Timbre's diverse collection is one that covers a lot of shoe fancies.

Meet our Featured Shoephoric!

Who or what influenced you in the sneaker game? Can you share how you got into the whole thing?

It’s a bit of a long story. When I was in college, I have a basketball teammate who was into basketball sneakers. He would always get a pair of the latest VC Shox, Hyperposite, Garnett, and whatever is new at that time. My only authentic pair of basketball sneakers that time came from the And1 outlet sale. The first pair of basketball sneakers that I bought with my own money was when I had my first job.

My friend whom I was referring to earlier was the one who introduced me to the Kobe line. It was a Friday night and he texted me that he’ll be getting a pair from Nike Park on Saturday noon and that I should go with him and check it out. So I went with him and saw the Kobe IV ASG pair and I immediately knew I’m going to buy a pair for myself. Fortunately, there was no hype yet with sneakers so my size was still available. Another good thing is that during that time there weren’t any release dates available for the public yet so you’d just have to go visit the stores often and ask when/what the next releases will be.

Then I got into the NikeTalk forum where I met the Team LMS members. This was the place where we share info about upcoming sneakers. I was mainly a lurker, usually just waiting for posts like “Kobe V Bruce Lee already available in Nike Park Glorietta.” This was a very big help for me because I was working in Eastwood that time so I’d just go to NP Eastwood branch, buy my pair and go back to work. Back then I always play ball in my Jordan’s, Kobe’s, and LeBron’s so whenever I get a new pair they go straight to my feet on the court.

A few months later, I was fortunate to have been sent to the US by my employer. This was when I got into eBay and other online transactions to hunt down a few pairs of Air Jordan sneakers like the ’01 Jordan XI “Bred” Retro. That’s how I started collecting. I would lay low for a while, but when I see something that I really like, I’d be back at it again.

How is the sneaker scene in Singapore? Care to share how’s it going there?

It’s actually just like in the Philippines but the community is smaller, although “sneakerheads” here are not only locals, but a lot of different nationalities as well. I also think there’s more diversity to the brands they use here and runners are more common, too. Asics and New Balance get more love compared to Manila.

When I came here in 2013, Air Jordans were still very popular. In my opinion, the hype then switched to Ronnie Fieg Asics pairs, and now to the adidas Ultra Boost / NMD / Yeezy pairs. Many collectors here are fellow Filipinos as well, you can see them actively participating in raffles and sneaker events.

They have the Sole Superior event here too, where the sneaker brands and shops also display their stuff on their own booths. 

Who would you say gives the biggest impact in streetwear and sneakergame in Singapore? Any celebrities or artists that people look up to over there?

For the celebrities and artists I actually have no idea as I don’t really watch TV here but I know a person who has contributed a lot to Singapore’s sneaker game – Mark Ong or more popularly known as SBTG. He started with custom sneakers more than 10 years ago and look at what he has accomplished now, having collaborations with a lot of sneaker shops/brands and travelling the world. Hopefully, I would be blessed get to that level someday.

A lot of people are into Yeezys now so I guess you could say that a good number of people are looking up to Kanye West as well, though it is sad that some are just into the sneakers for resell purposes. 

If you had a shoe made or customized, how would it look like? Colors, materials, what model and brand would you prefer?

That would be a tough choice between two models – New Balance 998 and Asics Gel Lyte III. I have already made several custom pairs for myself using the two silhouettes but if ever given a chance to design something from scratch, I would have to make it something that would be able to represent us Filipinos. Something that will give you the impression “Oh this is Pinoy right here” at first glance. Main color would be white, with some red and blue (perhaps a dark shade) panels.

I haven’t really thought about the materials yet but since this would be on a runner, I would prefer the material to be suede or nubuck and maybe use some native wood for the heel counter and the lace holes. There aren’t many gum-bottomed pairs right now so I think it could work. And that’s about it. There would be more details I can put into this but for now it should already be enough to give you a good idea on how it would look like. 

Share with us your top 5 shoes. Why them?


Air Jordan I Chicago – 1985 OG

Since I started collecting basketball sneakers, I figured this would be the model that tops it all.

Nike Air Max 1 Atmos Elephant

I just recently got this pair after searching for a very long time. Sure there are plenty of pairs floating around but the prices are crazy. Had the chance to get it for a reasonable price though it needs restoration – which isn’t a problem for me. I made a personal custom pair of Asics Gel Lyte III that was inspired by this pair because at that time I didn’t think I’d be able to get this for myself.

Asics Gel Lyte V “Salmon Toe” Custom

“Love your own work.” Since I couldn’t get myself a pair of Ronnie Fieg’s salmon toe, why not make one for myself? I wanted to make my own version of it but on the Gel Lyte V model and I wanted the base pair to have the materials as close as possible to the original one so I didn’t want to use leather paint for the colors. The process of making it was tedious and I wasted a lot of suede dyes before I got the mixture that produced the color I wanted. It took me about 2 months of trial and error just to get the salmon dye right but in the end I was very happy with the results. The feedback that I got for this pair was crazy, the feeling that you get when people appreciate your work is priceless.

Asics Gel Lyte III x Afew “Koi”

It’s just one of my favorite pairs, I love the color blocking and the clear bottom sole at the heels. I’m just happy that Afew and Asics decided to release it to the public.

Nike Air Yeezy 2 NRG

Got this pair as a present to myself before moving to Singapore for work. Sometimes we need to pamper ourselves after working our asses off. 

Right now, any Yeezy/Kanye West-designed shoe is hot in the sneaker scene and we’ve noticed you got quite a collection of them. How far will you go in acquiring them?

Having a plug for the Yeezy releases would be very nice but since I have none, I’m usually just joining different raffles like everyone, paying retail is always nice. It is also always nice to show support to our local shops during their events so sometimes I try to be home in Manila during these releases.

If I don’t get lucky and didn’t win – and if the colorway is something that I really like, I’d just wait until someone sells for less than the current market value. Otherwise, I’ll just pass and wait for the next colorways/models to drop.

You have a strong variety of runners, in terms of performance and style which brand reigns supreme?

I would have to say Asics. The GL3 looks better and has more good looking colorways but the GLV is just very comfy. Since I do a lot of walking every day, comfort is something that is important.

However, even though I have a good amount of Asics pairs, the boost material of adidas is by far the comfiest I’ve tried and since they’ll be releasing a lot of NMD colorways. I think 2016 will be their year again. The only problem is the yellowing, so I’m waiting for the all-black NMD to be released – no more yellowing problems!

What would be your most Shoephoric experience? Any unforgettable shoe story you'd love to share?

My story isn’t too fancy, but I guess my camping experiences for sneakers are one of the most memorable as I was able to meet a lot of very nice people, and now most of them are my good friends. Imagine going to the store after work on a Friday night and lining up for the Saturday morning release, that’s a lot of time for us to share stories and to get to know about each other.

Today, as the hype for sneakers have increased a lot, camping out is no longer an option. I remember when the Air Jordan XI “Cool Grey” was last released I just walked up to the store during opening hours, went to the counter, asked for my size and another one for my friend, paid for the pairs and went home. No camping out, no lines, no fighting for your size. I guess that would be the last time I’ll experience getting something so hyped so easily.

If you were to pick one shoe that fits who Jon Timbre is what particular shoe will it be and why?

Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III “Salmon Toe” – I’m just a big fan of the colorway. I have a lot of custom pairs inspired by it and I would say it has played a big impact in my career as a sneaker customizer. 

Shout outs please!

I would like to give a shoutout to the most important people in my life, Joie, Marielle, Kris, my mom and dad, my friends, Team LMS, FLOTG, Titan and Sole Academy, and Sole Movement peeps. Collecting/customizing sneakers is not really a cheap hobby but they are always there to support my passion and have never doubted my skills.

To everybody that has been following me on Instagram/Flickr/Tumblr, thank you very much!  I would like to say that I am not into custom sneakers just for the money, it just makes me happy to be able to represent the Filipinos in the international sneaker custom scene. There are also a lot of Filipinos doing great custom work out there (James in SG) but I’m going to remain focused on what I think I do best - customizing runners.

Thank you to the entire Shoephoric team as well! There are a lot of Facebook sneaker groups around but I can say that your group is one of the few I’m active in. This article wouldn’t be possible without you folks, I am honored to be your Featured Shoephoric of the month!