Franklin Boateng aka King Of Trainers regularly shares news and updates about trainers with his 130k Instagram followers. A social media consultant, Franklin has collaborated with brands including Footlocker, Stance Socks, New Balance, Puma, Nike and Adidas. He runs online jobs board Footwear Jobs and is responsible for awards show Drop of the Year where people vote on trainer releases from the past year.
How did it all start?
Every summer when I was a kid I went to the States to visit my auntie. We didn’t have the internet back then so if I bought a pair of trainers they wouldn’t be seen in the UK for another year. In the school playground everyone would wait to see what I was wearing. They said ‘You’re the king of trainers!’ and it stuck as a nickname.
I had a trainer studio with some friends in Wood Green about ten years ago, called The Future Studios, where I used to customise and sell trainers.
After that I had a little internet forum called King of Trainers where I used to talk about trainers with my friends. I later registered the name on Twitter.
Then there was an emergence of trainer resale events. I wore a crown to an event and everyone was like ‘Who does he think he is?’ The next event I wore a crown and robe. People were offended. I said, ‘I’m not trying to be the king over anyone. I’m going to be the king of trainers news.’
I joined Instagram and used it to put out as much news as possible. I was posting 10 to 20 pictures a day for three years before any brands would speak to me. Diadora was the first company to message me. A couple of weeks later they sent me 10 boxes of trainers. Now I’m being paid to post on Instagram.
Growing up, if you had a good pair of trainers it was like you were wearing a gold medal. You would want the most expensive trainers because it was a status symbol. I used to have a lot of Reebok classics. That was a clean trainer design.
How did you customise trainers?
I used to put diamanté crystals on the white ticks of Nike Air Force Ones. My friend’s wife even wore some down the aisle!
What’s your relationship to Tottenham?
Tottenham born and bred. My office is at Bernie Grant Arts Centre and I want to do more things here to benefit the area. Last year I set up an artisan market.
What’s your favourite trainer?
I grew up on Nike because they used to make the most innovative and expensive trainers. My favourite model was the Air Max 90. My favourite trainer is the Jordan 4.
What are your top tips for Instagram?
1. Make sure you have good content.
2. Don’t be worried about other people’s numbers. You’ve got to focus on your content and your goal.
3. You should be on social media to be social. Interact with other people.
Tell us about your role as ambassador for Heeling Soles.
Heeling Soles take shoes to underprivileged kids all over the world to places including Haiti and refugee camp ‘The Jungle’ in France. After the fire at Grenfell myself and Heeling Soles co-founder (@wordonthefeet), donated 100 pairs of trainers to the victims.
This article first appeared in the Fashion & Beauty issue of Discovering Tottenham which was released in September 2018.