Every sneakerhead’s dream growing up is to have their own collaboration or their own signature shoe. It’s something that they can truly call their own; a personal imprint that they can leave on the industry they have adored for so long.
Unfortunately, for most of us, that dream never becomes a reality. But for the current WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, that is all changing. As part of the WWE and Converse’s upcoming collection for SummerSlam, Kingston will be getting his own version of the Converse Chuck Taylor along with Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Hall of Famers Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Shawn Michaels. The collection released exclusively at Foot Locker in Toronto today and Kingston’s pair was limited to 100 pairs.
“It's a bucket list thing for sure,” Kingston says of getting his own sneaker. “It's definitely a sneaker that is significant. Any sneakerhead out there knows how cool it would be to have your own signature sneaker, and I'm really fortunate to be one of those people.”
Beyond bearing his likeness, Kingston’s Chucks come dressed in the colors of his home country, Ghana. There’s a silhouette of him on the side of the shoes proudly hoisting the WWE Championship over his head after winning it for the first time at Wrestlemania 35.
Kingston’s relationship with sneakers goes far beyond his upcoming duo of Converse colorways, as he’s almost always lacing something noteworthy up when he steps into the squared circle.
“I wear sneakers to entertain myself,” Kingston says. “Luckily all the other sneakerheads out there like it because they get to see like a crossing of two worlds. Crossing the street, if you will, in a positive way, where I could wear sneakers out there and wrestle and have cool moments wearing sneakers.”
Most recently, Kingston has been wrestling in the “Orange Pulse” color scheme of Jerry Lorenzo’s Nike Air Fear of God 1 with colorful ring gear to boot. Matching his shoes to his gear is always a top priority for the WWE veteran, and he even gets his New Day brothers, Big E and Xavier Woods, in on it. Before Kingston first wore the FOG 1s, he sent the “Orange Pulse” and “Frosted Spruce” versions to Woods and E to decide which one they wanted to wear.
Wearing “hype” shoes in the ring has certainly sent a lot of attention the champ’s way, but he is arguably even more well known for his custom sneakers designed by industry veteran Dan Gamache of Mache Customs. At Wrestlemania 35, Kingston got his first ever one-on-one WWE title shot after over a decade of grinding and performing at the highest level. He wasn’t going to come into the match without a special pair of sneakers. He sent Mache a pair of Nike Adapt BBs, which the custom sneaker guru transformed into a Basquiat-themed design that, of course, matched his ring gear to a T.
“At the time, I think there was only one or two other people that had done a custom on the Adapt BB,” Mache says. “So it was cool to be one of the first people to do them. Then obviously Kofi winning the first championship of his career, it was cool to be a part of that moment.”
With SummerSlam—the WWE’s second biggest pay per view of the year—just two days away, Kingston and Mache teamed up once again to create another one-of-one custom. While the details surrounding the shoe are under lock and key, Mache did say that they are Toronto-inspired, but would not give any more information before the pay per view.
“I got something in the works, but of course I can't let you in on it,” Kingston says. “I'm always trying to make things look good.” He went on to say that his plans go even further than Toronto. “But I'll tell you what, the next two sneakers that I have, to go with the next two sets of gear are going to be fire, so I can't wait.”
From numerous LeBrons, to a myriad of Jeremy Scott x Adidas collaborations and the aforementioned Adapt BBs, Kingston says he just wears “whatever looks cool to him.” He even doubles up on certain favorites from time to time for both the streets and the ring like the Nike PG 2 “Playstation.”
Throughout Kofi Kingston’s 13-year career, he has had many moments that he can now tie to sneakers he wore during them. With another career-defining match on the horizon against 13-time Champion Randy Orton this Sunday, Kingston is going to make another footwear-centric memory to last a lifetime. Between his upcoming Converse collaboration, his deep-rooted relationship with Mache, and his willingness to wear any and all shoes in the ring, the current Champ makes a strong case for being the WWE’s biggest sneakerhead.
“The thing that is cool about Kofi, is that he is a sneakerhead because he loves sneakers,” Mache says. “A lot of people hop on the sneaker bandwagon because they’re cool, but he has a deep appreciation for these sneakers.”
Kingston will be one of the headliners for this Sunday’s SummerSlam pay-per-view at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena when he squares off against Orton in a match nearly a decade in the making.
“It's a match I've been wanting to have for a long time,” Kingston says. “So I think that a lot of people are going to get to see a match for the ages between the intensity between the both of us.”