Waffles For Keeps

So what does a software engineer, landscape designer, and a student have in common?

If you guessed waffles the divine breakfast dish, you are half right.

Founders of the Waffle Sole SG group, a local-based community for all things Vans, the love for the iconic skate shoe brand had brought the trio together.

Meet the squad.

Billie Santiago, software engineer. He got into the brand recently just a few months ago in March when he bought a customized Vans slip-on through their website. Its style, convenience, comfort and practicality got him hooked.

Nikko Paulo Balaquiao, landscape designer. A Vans loyalist since his college days, he wears them on almost every occasion as they never go out of style. In his words, “Even an old pair of beaten up Vans, it still looks cool. You can’t go wrong with Vans.”

Kendrick Maynard Castillo Ramos, student at Temasek Polytechnic. He started off as a Jordan’s collector 3 years way back in his early high school days. His interest shifted to Vans a year ago when it became more sought after by many, especially after the release of FOG x Vans.

Owning a pair of Vans, well actually sneakers in general, was always more than having the most hyped or most expensive kicks.

When asked about their most memorable pairs, each of them had a meaningful story behind them that made these kicks so special in their hearts.

For Billie, it would be his first personalized pair, a Gucci x Offwhite inspired slip-on that represents the important things in his life, and which he proudly calls “BeeXOffWhite”.

Diving deeper into the design, the diagonal black and white stripes were inspired from one of his favourite brands – Off-White, while the “Gucci-inspired-Bee” on the upper was influenced from the terms of endearment between him and his wife. Lastly, the “X-X-X” in the heel, roman numerical for 10-10-10, represents their anniversary date. Sweet.

As for Nikko, his favourite would be a pair of Vans Era, because of a very special person who gave it to him.

“It was given by my ex-girlfriend (now my wife). You know what? I still have them!”

For Kendrick, it would be the Authentic black and white vans. Similarly, it was not because of the the hype or its value, but because of the story of how and whom it was given by, and also just how versatile it is.

Despite having a common interest in shoes, their fashion styles are obviously quite different.

For Billie, he is currently into retro streetwear, that is slightly loose minimalist tops and ripped jeans.

Whereas for Nikko, it is more a case of style matches personality, and his casual outfit of T-shirt, jeans and sneakers reflects his “chill” nature.

As for Kendrick, he is more freestyle, and what he wears really depends on the vibes he’s feelin’. To jazz things up, he tries to be spontaneous and versatile, by experimenting on different styles and incorporating bits and pieces of styles through people watching and trending celebrity fashion.

However on off days, his go to getup is usually a hoodie, ripped jeans and either a pair of Vans, Yeezys or Jordans.

And as with all Vans enthusiasts, the spirit of self-expression never dies. So begs the question, what’s most off the wall about them?

Well for Billie, he prefers his wife to do the talking.

“Honestly, I don’t know, ask my wife.”

For Nikko, he values life more than things. And to him, Vans IS life. A hardcore Vans fanatic indeed.

As for Kendrick, the grind never stops, be it in school, work or even getting those grails.

And that ends this feature on an inspiring note.

Sneakerheads, always remember to hold your heads up, and keep hustling.


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