THE EDIT LDN INTERVIEWS (FRANKLIN BOATENG AKA THE KING OF TRAINERS)
Known for being the King of Trainers, Franklin is one of the most acclaimed sneaker collectors in London. With a collection of 1000s of pairs of some of the rarest shoes ever made he is well deserving of his title.
Here he speaks to The Edit LDN.
Can you tell us where did it all start and how did you end up with the name King of Trainers?
Where do I start? Okay so my nickname King Of Trainers I have had since the age of around five-six. My mum loved tennis and when Boris Becker won the Wimbledon championship my mum would buy me the trainers tennis players would wear. Back then tennis players had the best trainers so my friends would say I was the King. I was just smart to register things very early before social media really took off. Link to video that explains the story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQmopj8arJ0
How would you describe sneaker culture today vs. when you first got into it?
In one word - different. TBH it was a completely different time back in the day we were out to wear what everyone wasn’t wearing and if someone copied your shoes it was a kinda disrespect but now it seems like a free for all. Also it was more about the shoe and the technology but not the hype - just a different time.
What are some of your most prized sneakers and why?
My most prized sneaker is my shoe collaboration with Ellesse – The Ellesse Tanker Decade because it's mine and dedicated to my mother.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Ellesse? How was it working with a brand like that and where how can our readers get their hands on the sneakers?
Yes my Ellesse collaboration The Decade Tanker is dedicated to my mum (link above). It was amazing working with them tbh it wasn’t even scheduled as a full collaboration. They got a bunch of influential people from all over the world to consult on the design counsel and we were all asked to give our take of the Tanker shoe. What happened is that I put a preview up on my IG and it went crazy, I had 600 comments and one of the other creatives, a gentleman named Khallivegas, called the boss of Ellesse and said are you seeing this. The Ellesse called a meeting and was like we have to give this guy a full collaboration. And that’s how it went down! Shoutout Khalli and the Gung Ho team.
What are some of your grails? Are there any sneakers that even the King of Trainers hasn’t been able to obtain?
Yeah there are loads tbh I recently couldn’t get my hands on the Dior's. Well technically I did but not my size. But I had so so many trainers that I regret I sold like the Nike Yeezy 1 and 2’s.
You recently overcame some legal issues with your username with JD Sports. Can you shed some light on that?
Yeah the cold war lol it's been a long time coming. TBH it was a big misunderstanding. They thought I was trying to infringe on their name but I wasn’t at all. So we have settled I am the King Of Trainers - the person and they are The Undisputed King Of Trainers - the store. It did get very rocky in the early days but it's all good now.
You have amassed a very large following on social media. Are you able to share any tips and tricks for our readers?
Consistency, content, communication - that’s it really. Don’t worry about following, just be consistent with good content and it’s a go!
How would you recommend for upcoming influencers to approach brand partnerships and influencer campaigns?
I wrote a book about this it's called How To Get Free Stuff From Brands. Here is a link to it https://anchor.fm/franklinboateng
What is your opinion on the sneaker resell market?
Resell has been around since forever but it has transformed into something else. I have no problem with reselling at all, everyone sells or have sold shoes. I think the greed has made it very hard for people to get shoes so everyone is salty. People shouldn’t try and be like all reselling is bad and then buy resell off StockX and eBay.
In light of your recent Instagram post - would you describe yourself as a sneaker collector or a sneaker “investor”?
Lol I would describe myself as a normal guy who loves trainers, that's it. Or a sneaker hoarder. But the value of my collection is investor standard though.
Would you say sneaker investing is similar to commodity trading? What approach would you recommend to someone who wanted to start investing in sneaker?
It has become this yes. Now when you buy a pair you can potently see if the value of that pair would go up or down in price. I personally wear all my pairs so I don’t worry about the price but I am very mindful I have pairs that are over 5K so just don’t batter them for the sake of it.
How would you analyse a sneaker before buying them?
From my business head like the Dior’s for instance you can’t help but know because of the collaboration and the limited amount available. You will automatically be like let me get a pair and sit on them for a rainy day but it's funny when I say that everyone calls me a reseller. It's just a good investment like a good Rolex watch.
It is not unusual to see returns of over 100% in sneakers currently. Do you think this trend will continue?
People who buy and return sneakers because they can’t sell them are bad for the game. I always say be willing to sit on shoes and if you are a seller and can’t do that you are in the wrong business because trust me all shoes eventually become sought after in some sort of way.
How do you think sneaker culture will progress over the next ten years? Do you think retros will still be relevant or innovation will pave the way forward?
10 years is a long time in the sneaker world. Trends change every year tbh but I think it's gonna be more aggressive and you just have to be in it to win it. And yes retros will always be relevant. The problem is too many retros of the same shoe over and over.
If you had no budget, which three items would you choose from theeditmanlondon.com?
That’s a great question. Air Dior 1, Off White Air Force 1 The Ten (I missed those) (*pictured below) and Air Force 1 Linen.
Finally what is next for the King of Trainers? What releases and upcoming projects are you most looking forward to?
My collaboration I am waiting for the campaign now to push the button and get things done. That’s the main thing I am looking forward to and then hopefully after Covid-19 is over I can do the drop of the year awards 5th anniversary.
Find him on Instagram @kingoftrainers