Hi there! My name is Valerio, on Instagram @sftmval. What a strange name you think? Well, basically even I don’t know the meaning anymore. I got the name as my gamertag on the PlayStation Network back in 2010. And as you can see I still stick with the same name – I guess nostalgia. I’m based in Zurich, Switzerland. I live in the city and enjoy the life in the probably most famous place in my country.
I joined the “real” sneaker community in the early 2015. What real means will be explained later. Before collecting sneakers, I was a professional swimmer and represented my country in international competitions. That meant for me: Definitely no money for sneakers. Nevertheless I was interested in sneakers before. In the past years my favorite brand was Nike. I only managed to buy a new pair of Air Max 90 or 1’s every now and then because I just haven't had the money for it.
That changed when I retired from swimming. Finally I had the time and what’s more important, the money to get new sneakers. In the beginning I kept Nike as my go to brand. But then a good friend of mine introduced me in mid 2015 to Asics. And that moment was a game changer for me. I googled everything about the brand and from that moment on everything in terms of sneakers was about Asics. I found a crazy Gel Lyte III, a red and yellow one, which blew my mind. Today I know it was the Wildcats. The hunt for them started from that day on. For the first time I was involved in the real sneaker community.
The first thing I wanted was to complete the 25th anniversary set. In comparison to other things, this was a rather easy task. After that, I wanted to know more about the older releases and how to get them. Salmon Toe, Sold Out, Leatherback, Zillion – when I saw these models Asics produced years ago, I was really impressed. Most of them were not easily available. But they still popped up sometimes and I pulled the trigger if the offer was affordable for me. Now I can tell I own most of these precious and sought after silhouettes.
After some time I started discovering different brands. Diadora for example does a really good job at the moment. But if I had to pick a second best brand, it would be Hikmet’s Sonra. The quality of the Proto is more than on point. Most of them are made in a buttery suede or high quality plain leather. Trust me, if you haven’t had them in hand before, you don’t know what quality is. I don’t know where the brand Sonra will evolve, but I do hope these will be available for a reasonable price in the future.
As earlier mentioned, my Holy Grail is the Wildcats. I was really excited when I finally picked them up. I can give you a top five list of what I own right now. But in the end, I do love all my pairs and care about them equally.