Well, I received a lot of positive comments about my previous article about collecting boots etc and it was nice for some people to send positive comments as well as a few more questions. So I keeping in line with this I thought I'd write a follow on article about the whole world of collecting.
Firstly, it's worth pointing out that since social media has taken the world by storm that the collecting world has gotten both smaller and bigger at the same time. Smaller in that everyone now knows everyone it seems but bigger as it's been great to be introduced to so many other people who collect football memorabilia.
The most frequently asked question I get from people is, where do I get all my boots from? This is a huge question as their are so so many answers to it all.
Firstly for new releases there are many website to look at. My two favourite web sites to order from are 2 of the biggest. Unisport and Pro Direct Soccer offer a great service for all new releases. I probably use Unisport more only because they ship the boots to me in Qatar double boxed which on limited editions is very important to me. Both these companies also tend to offer great value on slightly older boots so it's always worth looking in the sales sections too if you have a particular boot in mind. After these there are many other websites, obviously the main brands own websites as well as Lovellsoccer, Greaves Sports, soccer.com and worldsoccershop. There are many many more but from my own experience these are the ones I have never had any issues with at all. Nike have now introduced the Nike Football App which has some great information on it but can be a little frustrating for new releases but then again I think new releases are a problem for all companies particularly when it's a very limited piece. I can't even begin to think about how long I spend refreshing pages waiting on boots dropping......
If it's a slightly older boot your looking for then the best place is eBay. On here you can select to look at items for sale through many different categories and it's worth noting that whatever the seller puts in the description can mean that searching for obscure headings can actually work sometimes. Everything from spelling mistakes (addidas was very common for a while) to the whole description on the box could make the world of difference on items. Searching for football boots, adidas predator and Nike Mercurial tend to give you everything that's on eBay but again search others to see what comes up. Also, on eBay there are a few sellers who often get a lot of great older boots. Rushsbootbag, mimi13 and studsup are all great sellers to look for older boots from for sure and I have bought off all of these in the past with no problems at all.
On the topic of eBay, search different countries sites too. I regularly look on eBay.co.uk as well as eBay.com, eBay.de, eBay.es, eBay.it and eBay.fr. All of these sites have very similar items however, every so often a gem will turn up that's only available on these sites if the seller only wants to sell within that country so it's worth looking. Often sellers only want to deal with people in their country but once you get chatting to them they often agree to ship international. I am very lucky using a courier company to get items to me here in Qatar so I actually have shipping addresses in a few different countries.
Also, for older boots it's worth looking at www.bwbootsuk.co.uk as they seem to have a constant supply of older boots and are again very easy to deal with.
After eBay, it's worth joining a few different groups on Facebook. I don't tend to be too active in the groups in terms of selling but you can pick up some great items particularly from the USA where prices tend to be a lot lower than in Europe. Through joining these groups and chatting to various people I have made a couple of good friends who help me out a lot and get boots from the USA to me very quickly. The other thing about many of these groups is their ability to get some boots early. Often selling again at reasonable prices if you want the latest boots that is.
After Facebook comes other types of social media. My favourite is Instagram as its a very simple to use and also shows collections and collectors off in a very fast and efficient way. This is an excellent place to find boots that collectors have and if you see something you like then all it takes is a comment to see if the boot is available to buy. Most collectors on Instagram are happy to chat about their collections and even if a boot isn't for sale that your after its always worth remembering to ask again in the future. I get a lot of messages asking about boots and each time it's great getting to chat with new people who are either interested in collecting or looking for boots to play in.
The last place to find boots is from other collectors directly and without a doubt this tends to be the most expensive way. Why? Because they know exactly what they have in their possession. Dealing with collectors is great as they tend to know a lot about the item you want to buy and they can give you the history of where they got it from and so on. The downside is that you won't get a bargain from them.......
Collecting never ceases to amaze me though. Every so often you will find an absolute gem of an item on eBay at a ridiculously low price, it's happened to me twice with very rare boots and I couldn't believe me luck. There are times when I kick myself for not looking on eBay more as one particular weekend when I was having a break from the computer, I missed out on 2 pairs of Nike mercurial SL, an FG and SG pair which sold for about 400GBP where as one pair normally goes for more than that.
Just recently many pairs of a professional footballer who played for a huge club in England were put on eBay after the cleaner of the house sold all the pairs that were lying around the house. Crazy and the price they were all purchased for again was amazing.
Now this brings in a whole new area of boot which is gradually becoming more popular for collectors which is the match worn department. Typing in match worn boots into eBay you will see many boots worn by top players but always remember that it's very easy to fake these boots. You have to know this market extremely well to feel confident in what your buying, I will write another article on this topic later in the year as it definitely needs a whole write up.
Unfortunately their is a bad side to this hobby. Fake boots and also scammers are out there and people are happy to take your money and then simply not speak to you ever again. Make sure that when buying anything you have done your home work. A few years ago I was looking for a pair of boots to wear rather than for the collection and found pair of Predator LZ SL for a reasonable price and I thought great. However, when the boots turned up at my mother in laws house in Guernsey it was so easy to see that they were 'replica' boots. Now please note here that 'replica' is the new posh way to say FAKE. I hate the term, they are fake, it's as simple as that. Don't gloss it up with a new word they are fake boots with none of the technology that the companies have put into them. Now don't get me wrong if you choose to by these fake boots and wear them that's up to you and I really don't have an issue there as that's your choice and your allowed to make that but for me don't try and pass off fakes as being real boots. Fortunately in this case the boots went back as I was protected through eBays policies on products like this. Always be wary of sellers who only want to deal through using family and friends through PayPal or do bank transfers etc... It gives you no protection at all should something go wrong. Make sure you trust the seller or have done business with them many times if you are going to pass on all the safety options.
So.... I hope this has been informative in some ways to people who are looking for boots etc...