When In Manila, chances are you’re living a fast-paced lifestyle–why else would a planner become the must-have fashion accessory? On weekdays, you’re probably dashing from appointment to appointment, and on weekends from errand to errand or (lucky you!) gimmick to gimmick…usually on foot. This means that by the end of the day, while our feet may look good, they don’t necessarily feel good.
The pains of finding stylish shoes are usually understandable–after all, sky-high stilettos and fancy footwear aren’t exactly built for comfort. But with this busy lifestyle, even sneakers don’t always cut it–they may be comfortable for walking, but break into a run and after a while your feet will start screaming regardless of the “sportier” style.
Of course, there are sneakers…there is Shulong, the Primer Group’s recent import. Available in Res Toe Run branches nationwide, Shulong is a European sneaker brand with a decidedly Oriental twist. Based on the construction of wushu shoes (for those not in the know, wushu is the sport form of traditional Chinese martial arts), Shulong “shus” feature an extra inner sole for added support when pounding the pavement. These sneakers are made with comfort in mind. After all: if you can do a spinning forty-five kick in them, then running around should be no problem.
So we have comfort down…but what about style? Shulong’s got that covered too. Their latest line, YourShu, gives shoe addicts a blank canvas to express their creativity. Their plain black and white hi-top or low-cut sneaks are packaged with iron-on stickers, four sets of different-colored shoelaces, and an acrylic paint pen: all the ingredients you need to create a “shu” that’s uniquely you. And, if that’s not enough, the canvas material means that all you need is some acrylic (or textile) paint and a little lacquer varnish (available in spray cans at your local hardware store) to take your DIY efforts to the next level. Shulong YourShu is not just about looking stylish; it’s also about injecting personality into your daily wear, without sacrificing your feet to the pressure of the street.
All in all, it’s an ideal shoe for the street junkie, looking to mix comfort with style and self-expression, while living life on the go: a.k.a. the student (and/or fresh grad) crowd. Which is why, to celebrate Shulong’s first year of being in the Philippines, Primer Group’s bright young minds, led by Brand Associate Maui Rabuco and PR Head Ian Sanchez, put together the Design YourShu celebration, held in Trinoma last November 25. The event featured exhibits of custom Shulong sneaks by top fashion and art bloggers, an shoe design booth where an in-house artist could design a shoe for you, and a contest where students went head to head to create a pair of shoes that expressed their school pride.
PR Head Ian Sanchez and Brand Associate Maui Rabuco
Though Shulong’s bold red logo featured my school’s mascot, UA&P wasn’t among the six universities represented in Design YourShu. Instead, teams from University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, DLSU-College of Saint Benilde, Adamson University, San Beda, and University of The Philippines battled it out for the juicy first prize of 10,000 pesos worth of Shulong products. I got to chat up a few of the delegates, as they scoped out the competition.
Gerald Daval-Santos and Yasmin Sehob from University of the Philippines
San Beda‘s Ram Dela Cruz and Philine Dayot
Patricia Mae Hernandez and Chari Jessica Macalino from De La Salle University
Adamson University‘s Jayson Tubiera and Angelica Castillo
Larissa Casingal and Jenny Puray from DLSU-College of Saint Benilde
Soon enough, the design wars were in full swing. As the teams worked furiously on their sneakers, I took the time to meet the judges: fashion bloggers Ana Gonzales, Sarah Tirona, Aisa Ipac, and Seph Cham, and painter Katrina Tan. As inspiration, each of them had created a pair of custom Shulongs that expressed a bit of their personalities. The shoes were so gorgeous, I wanted to take a few of them home!
Blogger Aisa Ipac of Drowning Equilibriums collaborated with friend Mitch Crisologo on her travel-inspired sneaks, an homage to the places she’s been and the places she wants to be.
Painter Katrina Tan specializes in the tromp l’oeil (French for “fool the eye”) style. Her shoes, called “Our Creations Create Us,” are a manifestation of what she believes, featuring the lines of a Paul McCartney song, Fine Line.
Sarah Tirona of Fashion Eggplant takes inspiration from the rich patterns of Morocco for her black-and-gold, “party” sneakers. “Sneakers are more versatile than you think,” she says, explaining her concept as having a more formal feel.
One-half of the blogging duo behind Lovechic, Seph Cham explains his design as a celebration of the differences and similarities between him and girlfriend Shai Lagarde–a unique, “couples’ shoe,” without the “cheesy” his-and-hers feel.
Jewelry designer Ana Gonzales of The Fashionista Commuter did painstaking gold scrollwork on her shoes, bent entirely in metal. “They’re still wearable!” she told me with a grin.
After seeing the bloggers’ work, I was excited to see some art in progress, so I went over to watch an artist at work. Peter James Villarta usually does surf-and-skate, graffiti-esque artwork, but this versatile artist creates jaw-droppingly gorgeous shoe designs as well! His favorite medium is Shulong’s leather sneaks, but even on canvas his work is intense!
Peter James Villarta, a.k.a. Pedro Santi, with two of his custom designs for Shulong.
The artist works on a pair of tribal-print leather shoes for a blogger.
The students had two hours to complete their “school pride”-inspired designs, so while they labored, I snuck at peek at some of their work!
Adamson University unleashes a variety of mediums on their shoes–including wiggly eyes!
University of the Philippines works on their challenging black canvas Shulong sneaks.
After two grueling hours, the masterpieces were complete…
DLSU-College of Saint Benilde
University of Santo Tomas
University of the Philippines
De La Salle University
…and a winner emerged. With their galaxy print-inspired design, University of the Philippines were the stars of the night, and took home the 10,000 pesos worth of Shulong merchandise! Placing second was DLSU with its bold, black, Animo design, and in a close third was San Beda with its faculty/student dichotomy shoes, featuring hilarious messages on the “student” shoe.
Gerald Daval-Santos and Yasmin Sehob from University of the Philippines are the ultimate sneaker design champions in Shulong‘s Design YourShu competition!
After all that amazing artwork, I was ready to purchase a pair of Shulong YourShu sneakers myself, but the awesome people of Primer Group were way ahead of me. Apparently they were not content with having me just look at the shoes: they wanted me to experience a pair myself! Check out these custom sneakers with art by Peter James Villarta!
A musicals freak to the very end, my custom Shulong YourShu sneaks, by Pedro Santi, feature the first few notes of a very famous showtune. (Hint: most anticipated movie of the Holiday season.)
Instagram roadtest! Me rocking my custom Shulong YourShu sneakers at school the next day.
So When In Manila, and looking for a shoe that marries comfort with style and a sense of cool, why not enter the dragon with Shulong, sneakers with true kick-butt style!
Shulong sneakers are available at all Res Toe Run branches, nationwide. They are priced between 2,590 to 2,890. Check them out on Facebook!
Comfort meets Custom Kick-butt Style with Shulong’s YourShu Sneakers