Sneaker collector, Warren Papier, on his love for kicks


Words: Refiloe Legoale | Images: Supplied

The sneaker world is a vibrant and busy one. Manufacturers and designers never stop processing and creating new ideas to revolutionise the streetwear and footwear industry.

Beyond that, the world of sneakers has a complicated and fascinating history. But once you’re in the know, there’s no going back. It all starts with your first pair or two of classics - from Nike Airforce 1s, Reebok Classics, or throwback Nike Air Jordans - and the next thing you know, you’ve built your sneaker arsenal.

Cape Town sneakerhead, Warren Papier, can relate.

We chat to @warrenpapier about his journey with sneakers; from how he started his collection, to what he’s adding to his cart next, and more.

When did you start collecting sneakers?

I started collecting sneakers about nine years ago. My first pair of sneakers was the Nike Airmax 90 that I bought from Shelflife at the OG spot in Loop Street, Cape Town. At the time, I just started immersing myself in the culture through documenting street culture, and for the first time, I could actually buy my own sneakers. This was before Miley Cyrus came through with the song ‘23’ and changed the complexion of the sneaker culture.


What is your all-time favourite sneaker?

I would say the PUMA RS-0 OG colourway, if i’m going for a sporty look or the PUMA Alteration, for a more stylish look. However, I also can't overlook the PUMA Thunder Spectra or the McQueen colourway. A pair that I own and hardly wear is the PUMA x Central Saint Martin's Future Rider. Its origins are tied to Cape Town, so I guess you could say that it’s my favourite.

If your sneakers could speak, what would they say about you?

They'd probably say I'm always on the move; neither standing still nor boxing myself in. I'm never afraid to express myself through what I wear and I believe one needs a good pair of sneakers to achieve this.


Which brand do you think has stepped up their sneaker game recently?

This is a no-brainer for me. It has to be PUMA. If I look back at the significance and relevance of PUMA in our local context in the early 2000s compared to now, it’s chalk and cheese. There's a noticeable presence on the streets now, and that's where you’d wanna see it. They’ve had a huge impact on popular culture. The Select product is always something exciting - a different offering to what is fed to us by hype. 


Which 3 pairs of sneakers are on your wishlist?

  1. PUMA Rs-0 x Les Benjamins. I’m still crying I never got these.
  2. Nike x Travis Scott SB Dunk low-top. It’s on another level.
  3. PUMA Oslo Re:Gen. This is an innovative sneaker and it aims to extend the lifespan of materials in the fashion industry while reducing waste.
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