Sneakerhead in Focus: Khairul “khai_riot” Anwar

Sneakerhead in Focus: Khairul “khai_riot” Anwar

Singapore native and sneaker enthusiast Kahirul Anwar aka @khai_riot takes us through his journey into the sneaker world and tells us what got him into sneakers, how he almost gave up on them and then came back to do it all over again. He also shares his view on the increasing prices of kicks and of course, his top 5 with us.


Hey, my name is Khairul Anwar Sayarasi but just call me ‘Khai’. I’m from this tiny, red dot on the map called Singapore. I’m turning 39 this year. I’m currently working as a Retail Sales Manager with a US company.


Tell us how was it growing up in Singapore? At what point did you begin to associate yourself with sneakers?

Growing up during the 80’s & 90’s era, it was all about music, fashion & vibrant colours. As a kid I used to flip through my aunties’ fashion magazines. I had always been fascinated with nice, shiny, colourful objects. Perhaps that’s where my taste in fashion came from. Somewhere in the late 80’s, as far back as I could remember, my love for sneakers went to a whole new level when I bought my very 1st pair of ‘Etonic’ – high cut white / blue basketball shoes & I got hooked ever since. But when I started to work in the Hotel, Food & Beverage industry, I knew that Id have to put my passion on the back burner because of the daily uniform and long hours. I had no time to wear them. Slowly, I started to see my sneakers deteriorate and I had to throw them 1 by 1. My only regret was that I never had the chance to take sneaker pictures during that era.


What made you decide to collect? What’s your craziest/memorable sneaker story that you would like to share?

Never had I thought that I would start buying sneakers again. When I switched my job to retail industry in 2015, my passion for sneakers was re-ignited. It all started when I overheard from one of my colleagues talking about his sneaker collection and telling me that what I’m wearing was boring. Once I opened up to him, telling him about my past collections and the knowledge about sneakers his perception of me changed and that’s when the crazy, passion grew back and I just knew that I could give this a second chance to relive it all.
Adidas Stan Smith
The very first thing after I clocked out of work, I went for a sneaker hunt. My favourite silhouette is the Adidas Stan Smith and I got myself the “Weave Pack” White/Tomato colourway. Love anything with total white and a hint of bright red. That did it for me as a starter followed by Asics Tiger because I don’t see that much love towards this brand in Singapore and I know this brand is all about comfort.

How is the Sneaker scene in Singapore? Which sneaker spots would you recommend to people who don’t know much about the local stores? Which is your favorite spot in Singapore when it comes to kicks?

Being in an Asian country like Singapore, everything is about being up to date with the trends. Most people nowadays are told what to buy. These are the sneaker boutiques that I personally frequent:
I don’t buy much from these store as I prefer to get them online. In fact, I can get more varieties overseas and it’s more economical. But for past collaborations that I want, of course, I need to get them from re-sellers.

What is the criteria for a shoe to make it into your collection? Are there any brands you particularly avoid?

First of all, they must be attractive. Something that people will give a second look when you walking down the street. Other than that, it’s all about comfort, details, collabs (rarity) & so on. No brand in particular but I try to limit myself to just 3 brands.
Reigning Champ x ASICS GEL-Lyte III

Which is your favorite sneaker brand and why? Which boutique according to you is doing a great job with collabs?

It’s got to be Asics Tiger. It’s a brand I can trust with comfort and they offer nice colourways. As for a good Sneaker boutique, perhaps Concepts? I’ve seen many names collab with this boutique. I have no particular preference for any boutique collabs though. For me, it’s all about how I wear them and how attractive & confident I am wearing them.

How comfortable are you with the increase in prices of sneakers? Is it a double edged sword? How satisfied are you with the quality of newer releases?

It’s a pain to see them hiking the price. But I’ll always follow my guts feeling, love at first sight sneakers. If I want them, I just need to find them with a reasonable price in the matching size followed by the click of a button. That’s it. Once I get them in hand, I can move on. Newer releases sprout faster than wild mushrooms these days. Seems like every week there will be new releases. Like I’ve said, it’s their marketing strategy to reach out to consumers’ pockets.
24 Kilates x Diadora N.9000 “Toro”

Do you think ASICS has hit a glass ceiling in terms of creativity? Are you happy with them spinning the same old flagship models?

Perhaps, but I will not stop supporting them. If you trust a brand, your love for the brand will never die out. As you can see on my Instagram, Diadora started sprouting in my collection. There’s no boutique in Singapore carrying this brand so I got them online. I used to see them during the 90’s here but then they disappeared.

What are your top 5 shoes from your collection?






Elusive Sole

Asics Gel Lyte Speed x Patta ‘Parra” 2009 release. Love those colorful sneakers. Just couldn’t find them in decent quality. Anyone out there reading this, I’m a US size 9.5/10 (Ha Ha Ha)

Final Words

Shahri (IG: @shah__ri ) forever, patiently helping me to take those awesome photos.

Elfy (IG: @elfcentric ) the guy who triggered me to buy sneakers again.

All those people on Instagram that have shown love and support since. 95% of them are not even from Singapore and there’s just too many names to mention. You know who you are.

I’m not into hype, just sneaker love. Find me @khai_riot

Khairul Anwar


Khairul’s colorful posts, captions and collection are a true reflection of the “why” behind his passion. His eye for aesthetics and taste in fashion strike a chord with the inner child in him where shiny and attractive stuff stands out. But on the flip-side, the minimalist in him that values function over form stands strong too. This blend is missing for the most part from the newer generation of sneaker enthusiasts for whom, everything that their favorite rapper wears is “lit”. It is always refreshing to hear a strong personal voice in someone’s collection that overrides hype, yet looks ten times fresh. Khai’s transition from almost not being able to wear sneakers anymore to wearing them every day and what sparked it all is what this is all about. Shoutouts to Khai whose laptop died mid-way during this feature and he completed it all on his phone. I salute your commitment as much as I salute your collection and persona. Thank you!




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