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The Pred Collective

Chris Kemp is an ordinary guy with an ordinary 9 to 5 job and an ordinary pair of size 9.5 feet but he also has an extraordinary hobby. His closest pals know him only as a senior electrical engineer and handy Saturday League footballer but to his 53-000 strong Instagram following he's known as the 'The Pred Collective'.

In a storage unit not far from his Nottingham home lies his haul of Adidas Predator boots, a collection totalling more than 200 pairs. His obsession began nearly 20 years ago. "The first Preds I owned were the 1998 version," he tells FourFourTwo. "David Beckham was my hero and he wore them, so I had to have them. They just looked incredible, the design was unique for that time."

Kemp would go on to emulate his boyhood idol by kicking off each campaign sporting off the latest Predator model, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that he started using every spare hour to hunt down prototypes and retro versions. "I've found quite a few bargains on German and Spanish eBay," he reveals. "My mum also bought a few pairs from charity shops - Instagram is a great place to find them as well."

One of his favourites in his collection is an elusive hybrid - the envy of other boot aficionados. "Adidas used to camouflage their current boot with new technology from their upcoming boot," says Kemp. "I've got a pair which have Accelerator stripes and a Precision soleplate. I found them through this guy on Instagram. He'd got them through the Leeds United kitman. They'd actually been Harry Kewell's and he tested them out in training."

However, tracking down rare Predator treasure comes at a price. "The most I've ever spent on one pair is £2000," he says. "I refuse to add up how much I've spent over the years - it must be a small fortune. He's had countless offers for some of his rarest models, but has never been tempted to sell. "I was offered £10,000 for one pair but turned it down. I'm not ready to part with them yet. The missus doesn't know about them - she'd want a new kitchen!"

Instead he prefers to tease his Instagram followers with pictures of his collection, which brought him to the attention of Adidas and spawned a dream opportunity. "They got in touch with me through Instagram a while ago," he says. "Since then I've been to interview Frank Lampard and Mesut Ozil on behalf of Adidas, which is pretty cool for a bloke with a nerdy hobby. They gave me a pair of Steven Gerrard's boots from his last game at Anfield as a present which was incredible. 

Kemp also likes to promote his collection at footwear fairs, where sneaker addicts and boot fanatics gather to indulge in their unusual hobby. "The boot-buying business is fairly new but it's becoming a huge movement," he says. "There are more Predator collectors out there and then guys who just buy Adidas, Nike, Puma and other models. It'll get even bigger because of social media.  

The growing competition means he has to dig deeper to locate bargains. "I used to be able to get a pair for £80-100 on German eBay but now everyone is trying to make a quick buck so they cost a lot more and they're harder to find. 

However, some. of Kemp's competitors have become close friends. "I flew to Barcelona recently with a guy called Derek Lyon, who has got an amazing collection. Adidas released a Lionel Messi-themed boot which you could only buy from their club shop on the launch day, so we had to go out there and buy them."

Outside of his closest friends he keeps his passion for boots quiet. "It's just a bit geeky isn't it?" says Kemp. "But that doesn't stop him from wearing his favourites on a Saturday. "I normally have three pairs in my bag," he adds. "At the moment I'm wearing my 1998 Accelerators, providing the weather is good, because I don't want to ruin them. My team-mates love it, they'll say "Where did you get those from?" The best boots create nostalgia and bring back memories."

This advertorial originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of FourFourTwo magazine.