BWBootsUK are an independent classic and rare football boot shop, established in 2014 Ben runs BW from their London HQ. In 2019 they created their world's first Classic Football Boots shop, with a pop-up store in Shoreditch.
Listen to Our Interview with Ben
The Football Boots Show takes a look inside the football boot industry, talking to specialists from collectors, to designers, brands, sellers and discussing all the latest releases with you. In this episode we talk to Ben from BWBootsUK about how he became the prominent supplier of classic and rare football boots to pros and the public. Read the full transcript of the show below.
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The BWBootsUK pop up store; Shoreditch, London in 2019
Football boots were always Ben's passion growing up, so whilst still at school at the age of 16 he began buying and selling them on eBay. In 2013 he set up a ‘Classic Football Boot Appreciation’ instagram page to showcase some of his collection. After gaining followers rapidly and lots of “are these for sale/can you get more of these” he searched round Instagram & online finding nothing of the sort, so right there was the gap in the market - a Classic Football Boot service. The following year @bwbootsuk began.
Starting BW at his parents house for the first years, to then running it out of his own place, with boot boxes being the first things he’d see waking up, piled up in his bedroom. Blood, sweat and some genuine tears later he's buzzing to now have a proper home for @bwbootsuk
His motto from the beginning was always “Bringing Old School Back to the Pitch” and its simple. They are everywhere now. Six years on and now classic boots are one of the most talked about topics in the game..
Full Transcript Football Boots x BWBootsUK Interview
Hi guys Ian from the Football Boots team and today I'm joined by Ben from BWBootsUK.
He has been in the football boots game for a long time, and if you're looking for a pair of classic or old boots, then he's definitely the man to go to.
Ben tell us a little bit about what you do, please.
Yes, I specialise in classic and rare, the boots you can't get in the shops or get in most places anymore these days. So most classic boots especially sort of tend to be around, at the minute, averaging around 2008 to 2010. So averaging 10, 12 year old boots. Been going in, been going for six years now.
Launched a new website on Wednesday, just moved in to here, the new BW HQ last, last month and specializing in the most classic boots.
So we've been dealing with everyone all around the world to Sunday morning football to...we have boots in the World Cup, Champions League. So, yeah, lots of boots. Lots of classic boots. Very cool.
So what do you think it is about the old boots that got players wanting to wear them still now, even though, as you say, they're like 10, 12 years old?
I think it's mostly down to nostalgia reasons. I mean, we've got lots of players coming in so far and as soon as they see the boot wall they're picking out either boots they started off in the academy with their certain teams and boots they're using when they made their first pro debut. Yes, just all down to nostalgia I think, the main reason why they so want them back in their lives. And this sort of uniqueness. Uniqueness is that right? Uniqueness about them. Just, yeah, I think those are the two main reasons.
And also thought down to their heroes. I mean, Chicharito's the main one. He's probably one of first pros we've properly dealt with. And his hero's Ronaldo, Brazilian Ronaldo. So he's bought a lot of boots that Ronaldo used to playing. Not himself, but just boots that Ronaldo used to playing. So for R9s...Yeah... We bought a pair-the brand new '98 R9s which I managed to sold to him. Spent quite a bit money on those.And yeah, just, he's a big fan of Ronaldo. So what he always...so trying to get all his boots he used to playing throughout his career. It's amazing.
It's interesting to hear like kind of big name footballers who are really into their boots and want to get boots of their kinda idols, you know.
Their heroes, yeah, it's cool, really cool. Awesome.
So do you play football yourself or do you have time for that or not?
Yeah, I do. Not so much in the last two, three years now. I've got tendonitis in both my knees, unfortunately. But yeah, played centre forward. Used to be so maybe out at wide of three. But now with the dodgy knees and the lack of fitness is, just pop myself down the middle and trying to do as less running as possible.
Very good. What about a favourite player? You've got a favourite player?
Yeah, my hero and I'm a Newcastle fan and I've been so since the age of four, unfortunately, and that's Alan Shearer. Being that in London is quite a weird one. But, yeah, Alan Shearer made me, yeah, pretty much made me a Newcastle fan at four years old. I mean, he's just, the man is this proper centre forward which you don't really see and tend to...don't see too much anymore these days unfortunately. But yeah, Alan Shearer is the man and he's probably got me into football when I was that young.
That's so interesting because I'll be showing my age by telling you that Alan Shearer used to be my hero as well as a Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder at one point. Oh really back then... Yeah.
Yeah. So I remember he & Sutton scoring the goals and then being very upset after Euro 96 when he decided he wanted to go back.
Glory days of Blackburn.
Yes. So what about the best player you've seen live? Obviously Shearer's a good player. Is there any other players you see?
I've never saw him live, never saw him live unfortunately. I actually saw Newcastle vs Man U back in 2008, and I'm pretty sure it was his first hat trick, Cristiano Ronaldo. I think they'd beaten us five or six nil. Ronaldo just...I think we are on a bit of a bad run at the time, and he just sort of cemented...cemented it. But yeah, he got a hat trick that day. It's just, it was unbelievable. Completely takes us apart, embarrassed us. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's his first hat trick for Man U actually.
It might have been one of the seasons where everybody was just wanting him to be captain of their fantasy football teams because he was just scoring goals like constantly...
Killing off, yeah, every weekend, every weekend smashed them.
Yeah. So what about a favorite boot? Obviously, with all these boots around you, you've got your own personal kind of favorite football boot?
I mean, yeah, I got a couple here. The main one is a personal favorite of mine. It's just like the ultimate classic-Predator Mania. Luckily, I manage to get these in their just perfect condition. You can get a lot now where the stripes can sort of get a bit yellowed at around here, but these are perfectly conditioned. But I've never really been a fan of, top not, to playing tons, you know. Yeah. Amazing boots to lookat them, Predators. But I've never worn Predators.
For me to playing it's the CTR1. I played in these when I was about age 17, 18. And just, I think we had a Cup Final and we lost and I booted the door. I was walking back, heading back through the tunnel. And I got, that's a blue door, a massive, massive blue stain that down the front and can never get it out. But I literally tried everything possible. I couldn't get them out.
Yeah, CTR1, but then the main boot which sort of got me into loving boots-the T90 2002 from the World Cup. I've got a couple of colors in these. But this is the first boot that probably got me sort of buzzing and marked. Probably it's my football boots. Yeah, all the top pros back then were wearing them. And then...
Is that the one that they then did the recent remake with the future DNAs?
Yeah, the white and blacks.
Yeah, that's the one that many people may recognize from the kind of recent boots that came out.
And they they did that. I mean, in all the limited edition drops I've so got involved with and tried to sell, that's the one which just went mad. I think it's back in March on just as Corona's saw a hit. And I think I sold short of 70 pairs. But then we went into lockdown. So, no, there wasn't too many players that managed to wear them. I think when they started back training, Jack Grealish was in his. Andreas Pereira Man U wore his a few times. But they just, yeah, unfortunately dropped at the wrong time to sort of have players wearing them. But hopefully when the new season starts, in moulded 'cause they only come out in FG moulds, so hopefully when the sort of, the season back starting we see a few players wearing them.
Yeah, that is kind of really interesting the timing with that right there. The Vapors that came out and that was so nice as well. And people just didn't get the chance to wear them.
It's the same as the Japan Blue maze as well. I think they came out, maybe that's the start of March as well and yeah, no one got to wear those yet. But hopefully we'll see them again soon.
So what about, we're talking about kind of modern boots now, but what about like any other modern boot that really you like?
Literally, these new Nike Vapors which came out last month.
They just, they're so much nicer on the hand, the design, and then material and the Swoosh, like a sort of Charcoal Swoosh there, yeah, just really...and later come on SG-PRO as well.So I have a lot of players buying this.
Nike SG-Pro vs Anti Clog
An interesting thing because they were doing the Anti Clog for so long. It was hard for players to get hold of the SG-PRO ones. They seem to have gone back to that now.
Well, it's just just for this model, really. No players like, that's what players come to me. So I get messages every day saying, can you get this model in SG PRO and this model in SG PRO? And they just get sent to the contracted players. Yeah.
I've never understood why they took them off the market. And I've asked around and no one can understand. I think it could be down to cost, but that's just a guess. But no one likes, no one get some advanced look.
Their pitches are too good for it, you know. But they know...Yeah, exactly
Even so, like need two pairs, need one pair. They come to me saying they're just too clumpy. They don't get on with them. So, yeah, it's something I'll never understand why Nike took SG PRO off the market. Doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
So you're just relaunching your new website, can you tell me a bit more about that?
Yes so, lockdown's been crazy. I mean, starting with the HQ. I'd been looking for a place sort of last year, 18 months, looking last summer, looking around London. It just got so caught on the backburner, just being so busy. So lockdown happened, and I said, I'll sit down and probably find a place now. So I managed to managed to find this place. And as soon as I moved in here I just felt right. Let's just get a new website up and running, buy everything, and stock up properly.
And we're supposed to launch the new website at start of the original pre-season before lockdown happened. So I think we're trying to go for the launch in, so end of June. But then corona lockdown happened and it just got kept pushed back, back, back, back, back. So I was waiting to find out when the Premier League fixtures came out and just, the plan was to launch before then. So it was supposed to launch today and moved to next Tuesday which isn't too bad. So that's three hundred plus to go on. I mean, I'm sitting on sort of five hundred to six hundred pairs here and in a couple other places. But gonna start with three hundred then just add it over the weeks. Just keep freshing up the stock. First, properly proper classics. It's been a crazy couple of months, but yeah, hopefully Tuesday it'll be still work the website again and get sales through. And people on there, they are looking forward to it.
Great. So you showed me a few of your favorite boots that you got. Is there any other kind of like iconic boots that you have there, the kind of ones maybe from wfinals or iconic kind of...?
The first ever Hypervenom, I think a few people come down and said it's the boot of the decade. The original colourways, the other launch colorway, which is pretty hard to get hold of, now I've got sort of four pairs of these in different sizes again on the website. What else we got? Ronaldinhos. Again, four pairs of these go on the webite.
Oh, yeah. Tiempo Legend 2s
And again really popular colorway, the 11 Pro, the one in the blue. Yes, I've got five of these. Three or four different colorways of the adiZeros.
Oh, interesting. I mean, it's interesting this have, the showing a lot of the classic boots that you have there, really ones that the brands have come around and they've done a lot of remakes, you know, like remakes of the Lasers or there's even talk about maybe some kind of adiZero-styled X Ghosted maybe coming out soon. So brands are definitely...
I mean, it's amazing that since I think the last, the first proper remake was maybe, they are R9 Vapor 2014 I think it was. As literally when I first started....when I first started the Instagram, is the first limited edition I think, is one thousand nine hundred ninety eight pairs of the R9 Vapor.
So when I first started in 2014, that's the first limited edition boot. So that's the first boot which players sought came to me. I've sold loads and loads, and Chicharito been the biggest one. Actually I got signed shirt from here. So this is the first memorabilia from a customer, Chicharito back then was at Man U.
So he took a pair of the R9s as I've said before and Ronaldo being his hero. He did a shout back then. It just gone mad for two or three days. My phone just wouldn't stop going off.
So back to the remakes, it's perfect. In the last five years adidas had done loads. Just the old style but also old shelf if you like but on the new new designs, new materials, new models. Perfect. And again, a lot of players come and they want that boot just nostalgia reasons. Put into a new form for them to wear. A lot nicer, a lot lighter and a lot of pretty comfy compared to the old ones. Yes, perfect. What not you never asked them doing. I mean, the Predators. I think there's a couple more predators coming out soon. Be interesting to see what models and what colorways there are, but hopefully get a few more good ones.
Yeah, it seems like especially with the Predator kind of remakes and stuff, they seem to have got better as they've gone along. It's been a bit of an evolution in the quality of them. So it's good that they're kind of improving, you know?
Yeah, I think the first pack they did was 2014, the Revenge Pack I think it was. Just so like quite plasticky and not too nice. But I mean, the last ones are pretty much identical to the originals. Proper leathered but still stupidly light and obviously a different sort of soleplates. Yeah, they're amazing over the last few Predators.
Yeah. It seems like an ideal combination really that kind of the nice leather upper and then that lighter weight soleplates go with it so. So the next question I've got is, what's the most expensive boot you've ever bought or sold? I suppose just kind of a two and one.
Most Expensive Boots
I think it probably would be, I bought a pair of the original '98 R9s, the silver and blue Mercurials. I bought them for Chicharito so I can't remember what I paid. But I know now they can sell for so minimum fifteen hundred pounds. And the most expensive pair I'd sold actually was fifteen hundred pounds. It was a pair of Nike Vapor. It was celebrating Cristiano Ronaldo's Balon d'Or win and they released a hundred pairs. And I think it was the Vapor...
Is that the white one?
Yeah, white but the proper Chrome Gold bottom.
Did it have any numbers on them?
Yes, the number on the back, yeah, yeah, on the heel. Yeah.
I think they came out, the morning after the Balon d'Or win, a hundred pairs, and I managed to get two pairs of them.
I sold the first pair straight away to a guy in Asia, collector in Asia. Yeah, fifteen hundred pounds. And the second pair I thought I'm gonna hold on to these because the value's gonna go up and up and up. Just as it started a few years after, I was traveling, actually, I was traveling with one of my mates up in Norway actually, and ran out of money. So unfortunately, I had to sell the second pair, sold a bit early than I planned to fund the rest of my trip. And I think I sold them by, I say I missed a good amount, but I think it's on the 800 pound. So I had to tell them how much to ask them to post them off to fund the rest of my traveling trips. So yeah, those two boots pretty much expensive I'd sold.
Nice. Nice. So you've talked about Chicharito, are there some other pro players that are featured on your instagram, players that come and get boots from you?
Dealing With Pro Footballers
Yeah, loads. I mean, I got a few more shirts here just to show...Look at these two, I have them batched. This is Tony Rudiger, Chelsea. Actually quite cool. That's last season's kit. And Reece-James, the right back for Chelsea. Again quite a cool one. I went to meet Nigel De Jong in must have been two years ago now to drop three pairs to him. Managed to get this cool, one of his shirts from the Euro 2012. Got a cool shirt at that.
Wilf Zaha. He's one of the first guys I've dealt with when I first started and we're still luckily dealing with him now. And he's been wearing the Nike GS Remakes according to the last two seasons now, on and off. But there's tons in the Premier League-Jack Grealish at Villa, Tyrone Mings. I think I mentioned Andres Pereira, Jonjo Shelvey Newcastle, and lots of Sheffield United players. Sold to Billy Sharp, Oli McBurnie, John Fleck, and...Liverpool's Gini Wijnaldum I've sold quite a few to. And Harvey Elliott as well. Chelsea; Rudiger, Reece-James, Kovacic. So most teams in the Premier League are where customers are. Yeah, which is cool. Declan Rice as well, I bought, I mean, I drop a load down to him in lockdown. I think he's bought maybe, sent another pairs for him on Friday for England, and he bought maybe 15, 16 pairs now.
You've got some players who are really kind of really into their boots.
Yeah, I mean, the player that has probably bought the most is James McClean who is at Stoke now. I mean, he must have brought, again one of first early guys I've dealt with, he must have bought 40, 50, 60 pairs now. He loves his boots.
And he gets...Massive collector...like customs and stuffs as well. Does any anyone have seen him, kind of custom...
Not quite the...Yeah, he loves the boots. So he pretty, what, 50, 60 pairs over the years, James Mclean.
Last year you had a pop-up football store?
What was it all about? What is the inspiration behind that?
I can't remember how it came about actually. I think some somebody contacted me about renting a space and I thought, yeah, let's do it. So I book the space and there's only sort of five to six weeks, I think, that before booking the space and actually having the shop. So there wasn't too much time to properly promo it. Yeah, it went much better than expected. Obviously never done anything like it in my life. Like running a shop effectively.
So we rented a van, left my place, load up the van sort of five a.m. in the morning, drove down to Shoreditch East London, started setting up a shop an hour before supply store opened. And then like ten minutes forward, we weren't even setup, and there's like queues outside the door. Ended up being me and sort of like seven, eight of my friends. Yeah, it's crazy. To be fair to the lads, they did a job for me. They probably like sort of got into sales mode and they don't know much about boots, but they ended up sold. Wangling it someway, it's amazing two days. Just really good for the brand. Sales went well as well. Just really cool to meet so many followers and so many fans from the last few years.
Yeah, it went miles better than expected. A lot more sort of people coming in, traveling from sort of around the country, coming down, coming up to it. We'll be planning one for this year, see what's going on. So I think we gonna have to, think about doing maybe a winter one, but you just not really sure if it's going to, the virus or how it's going to be in the next few months. Let's just leave this year out, unfortunately, and go again next year.
Hopefully back to normal. So you got quite a few followers on Instagram you talked about. Are there any other platforms that people can find you on or is that your kind of main place where you post most of your business?
Yes, the main place I mean, we got Twitter and Facebook as well. We got about eleven thousand followers on Twitter. They just tend to use Instagram. It's the place to be at the minute as has been the last few years. We did post in Facebook and Twitter, but now Instagram being the main platform, just for information, for announcements, and content, so Instagram's the main ones.