Fancy wearing teh tarik on your feet? No, not literally of course, but as a sneaker, with a design inspired by teh tarik.
That's what a locally inspired sneaker collaboration between SneakerLAH, Asics Malaysia, and Malaysian streetwear store Hundred%, has come up with.
Called the The Gel-Lyte III 'The Tarik' sneaker, this is the third such sneaker collaboration that SneakerLAH, Malaysia's biggest sneaker event, has done with Asics. The first one was released in 2019, – the nasi lemak inspired Gel-Kayano 5 OG 'Nasi Lemak', followed by another in 2020 inspired by the Petronas Twin Towers – the Gel-Lyte III 'Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers.'
At first glance, the sneaker really is the colour of teh tarik, with a bold caramel suede that resembles the various shades of the 'pulled' milk tea. It even has interchangeable stripes that mimic the splashes made by the process of the pulled tea.
On the insole, speckles and imprints represent the stain left behind by a glass of teh tarik, while the white translucent sole mirrors the gleaming surface of the steel tables usually found in the mamaks or kopitiams.
Bryan Chin, co-founder and CEO of SneakerLAH, said that this particular shoe was two years in the making, as the discussion around it began during the MCO period. One of the challenges they had to tackle was, well, how do you make a shoe look like teh tarik?
"Teh tarik has many different shades of brown, so we really explored a lot of the different shades of brown available to us," Chin said. "The Asics product team went through the process with us, showing us all the different colours and materials."
"We really wanted to highlight the many aspects of teh tarik, not just the one you have at the mamak stall," he said, adding that the idea behind the collaboration is to highlight Malaysian culture.
"Every other week there is a sneaker collaboration coming out. But we thought, how do we highlight our culture (in a sneaker?)? What is very close to our heart?" he said.
"This is what went through my mind when thinking about this – it's not just about the product or whether it looks cool – but whether there is a story to tell here as well. Our Malaysian food is very colorful, and it's beautiful when you apply it to a shoe. So this time around, I think we are all very, very happy with it."