We are happy to share an interview we conducted with Wai Tsui from HIKING PATROL.

A: Hi! Who are you?

W: Hi, my name is Wai Tsui, I live in Oslo, Norway. I am the curator and founder of Hiking Patrol.

A: What is Hiking Patrol?

W: Founded in 2019, Hiking Patrol is a curated digital platform that revolves around the perfect balance of lifestyle and outdoor exploration.

As a brand and multi-disciplinary creative agency, we work with other brands to develop products while focusing on creating socially appealing brand content and experiences.

A: How did you get into the shoe and fashion industry?

W: I used to work for a retail company called Sole Service.

During my time there, I was responsible for selling clothing and shoes. I then switched to the role of brand manager in the lifestyle segment and supervised brands such as Carhartt-WIP, New Balance and PUMA Sportstyle. I later ventured into the fashion industry.

A: They just released KEEN x Hiking Patrol Jaspers are inspired by two types of frogs, the Cuban tree frog and the phantasmal poison frog... this is a good source of inspiration, frogs never slip, they have a good grip and can jump... how did you come up with that?

W: I believe that the harmony between the concept of working with nature has always been part of Hiking Patrol.

Our focus has always been on elements that are intertwined with nature. When I was talking to KEEN about this, I discovered their initiative called “KEEN Effect” where they donate a portion of the revenue to various causes.

Since all projects I am involved in involve elements of nature, we decided to address the topic of nature. That's why we decided to help protect the rainforest with KEEN Effect, and the colors of the designs were inspired by the Cuban tree frog and the phantasmal poison frog.

A: Jasper was introduced in 2008. When did you first encounter this model?

W: My first experience with KEEN was during my time in Japan between 2010 and 2011, during which time I got to know KEEN UNEEK. I got to know the Jasper model through magazines such as GoOut and Popeye, where I often saw pictures of the model.

A: How did Hiking Patrol go from an IG channel to a brand?

W: Turning my Instagram account into a brand required a lot of patience and the ability to connect with the right people and brands to initiate meaningful conversations.

KEEN is a prime example of a brand that believes in the value of Hiking Patrol. I'm incredibly grateful for their support since the start of our journey.

The relationship we've cultivated is truly exceptional. I want to motivate other influencers to follow a similar path. Even if they do not pursue a brand aspect, collaborations such as this underline the increasing recognition of our community and their importance within the outdoor and lifestyle industry.

A: When do you think Gorpcore or “Function in Fashion” trends were born?

W: I believe that the concept of Gorpcore existed before it was accepted by the mainstream. In Japan, for example, there has always been a form of Gorpcore, even though it may not have been specifically referred to as such.

A remarkable aspect of the outdoor trend there is its consistency and enduring strength. This is due to the fact that it is considered not just a fleeting fashion trend.

Personally, I've never been a supporter of the term itself. I've always perceived it as a passing fad. This sentiment is reflected in our Instagram curation approach, where we try to avoid excessive emphasis on content associated with Gorpcore.

I believe that the term itself is gradually losing relevance. What we're seeing instead is a robust and consistent outdoor lifestyle trend that's showing no signs of abating. In fact, I expect its growth and influence to continue to grow in the future.

A: Do you remember your first sneaker and which shoe are you wearing right now?

W: Adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Adicolor And these days I'm wearing my collaborations, including the KEEN x Hiking Patrol Jasper.

A: Which shoe did you buy privately last?

W: I don't buy shoes anymore, but the last time I bought a pair was recently the all-white KEEN UNEEK in Japan, of which I always have two, one to wear and one in stock.

A: Which brand do you think is unfairly under the radar?

W: My own brand, it will be launched in autumn/winter 2024. More information will follow later.

A: Is there a trend in the sneaker or fashion scene that you miss or that you're happy that disappeared?

W: Buffalo shoes. Not a fan of it.

A: Do you have a ritual for unpacking a new shoe?

W: Not really, I'm even throwing away the box because I don't have any more space, hehe.

A: Which release are you looking forward to?

W: My own... the KEEN x Hiking Patrol.

A: Thank you so much for the interview!

W: You're welcome!

Photos via KEEN/Hiking Patrol