Shoe-stopper. Amit Khatri with his collection of shoes Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: For Dubai-based friends Amit Khatri and Shefan Lantra running shoes are more than mere footwear.

Over the past decade the duo have amassed 1,000 pairs between them. The self-confessed sneaker heads will be among the star attractions at SoleDXB, the region’s premier lifestyle premier footwear, fashion and lifestyle fair which returns for its seventh edition at Dubai Design District today.

Interestingly it was at SoleDXB where Khatri, 37, and Lantra, 32, met a couple of years ago.

“SoleDXB is where the region’s sneaker connoisseurs, grail seekers and sneakerheads interact share ideas, or even swap their shoes. I met Khatri at one of these events and we struck instant rapport,” said Lantra, who is a professional DJ and will be performing at SoleDXB from December 7-9.

Khatri said he is looking forward to the event so he can shop for latest shoes and also display his prized Louis Vuitton Jaspers.

Love at first sight

“I was probably 13 or 14 when I fell in love with a pair of Nike AF and Adidas Superstar and forced my parents to buy them for me,” recalled Khatri who owns a trading company in Dubai. “Who would have thought I would be so obsessed by sneakers that I would end up buying hundreds of them,” he added.

Khatri said he is so fascinated by sneakers that he once flew to Greece with his wife so he could get his hands on the first Adidas Pharrell William NMD pair. “I would go to any length to pick the latest sports style footwear,” he said.

Talking about his passion, Lantra said he once waited outside a shoe store for three hours to buy a newly-launched pair of trainers.” The sneakerhead subculture which originated in America during the late 1980s and went global by the end of the 1990s can be attributed to two major sources: basketball, specifically the emergence of Michael Jordan and his eponymous Air Jordan line of shoes released in 1985, and the growth of hip hop music.

SoleDXB will take place at Dubai Design District from December 7-9. For more information, visit http://www.soledxb.com/