When you travel 7000 miles for a football boot


Written by Jonathan Baez

Imagine traveling 11.265 km just to buy a pair of football boots. Add to that, that you wouldn’t even be guaranteed to get a pair. That was exactly what the boothead Gavin Bristol did a couple of weeks ago. Read his story here.

Gavin Bristol lives in London, where he works for a moving company. In his home he has a couple of his boots exhibited on a shelf, but besides that, there are no big indications that this guy is a very serious boot collector. His entire collection is hidden and locked up in a storeroom, where you have to give 2 days’ notice if you want access to the room. Nope, Gavin doesn’t gamble in any way with his collection.

The moment Gavin picks up the first pair of boots from his boxes, you instantly realise the love Gavin has for his boots. The way he gently holds them, like they were small newborn babies, almost brings a tear to the eye.

He takes the newly acquired PureAgility 10/10 Kryptonite and looks at them with pride, while he says: “These are very special to me. I went on a big adventure to get them and it’s something I will never forget!”

And you can understand that. Even though Gavin’s collection goes all the way back to the Mercurial Vapor II Silver/Blue, very few boots (if any) can match a 7000 mile travel all the way to New York, where adidas in all secrecy had planned to put the Messi 10/10 for sale in an unannounced pop-up store. Gavin bought his tickets on the 8th of October, just two days before the boot would go on sale.

He packed just a small bag with the most necessary items and jetted off. When he arrived at Newark Airport in New York, they wouldn’t let him in. I mean seriously, why is a guy travelling all the way from England with just a small bag to New York? Fortunately, they eventually let him pass and that’s when the big treasure hunt truly started. Gavin had just one day to figure out which store adidas were going to sell the boots in and where it was located.

Walking around in the Big Apple he hooked up with another boot collector, who was on the same quest. Obviously, they had both heard some rumours about where the store could be and before long the two guys were standing in front of a store front with black curtains and adidas’ drie streifen, as well as the unmistakable Messi logo printed. A man went out to talk to them and asked them just to come back tomorrow. He assured them that they would get a pair, even though they were just releasing 100 pairs.

And that was it. The next day Gavin went to the store, bought his pair, took an image for his Instagram account. Tuesday Gavin was sitting on the plane with London as his destination. Now if that isn’t dedication – I don’t know what is.

Back in London with Gavin, he continues to bring out new pairs from his collection. You can tell that he is specifically driven by the Messi and CR7 signature boots. Besides those he also has the Mercurial Vapor SL Carbon Fiber, which is one of his personal favourites: “It’s just something really special and unique and there’s just not anything like this out there.”

Even though Gavin has collected boots for several years, he has only recently opened his Instagram account (@magnificentmercurial). As he says: “I just felt the time was right now. I haven’t had a desire to showcase my collection before, but now I feel like I want to share it.”

And how does Gavin get all his boots then? “It’s everything from eBay to, well, flights to New York. I don’t really care where I get them from. They obviously just need to be untouched and new. From there, it’s really just about searching and looking for them both online and offline.”

But what is the next step for Gavin then? Surely the Kryptonite experience, will be very difficult to top? Well, Gavin still feels like there is something to chase:

“I’m missing my masterpiece. The one pair that I can look at and say ‘This is the boot I would die for’. I have a lot of boots that I’m extremely proud of, and the Kryptonite is definitely on top of my list right now. But I still feel like I’m missing that really special piece.”

Gavin will undoubtedly continue to chase his dreams and look for special boots for his collection. As we help him putting the boots back in the boxes you once again sense the almost fatherly love Gavin has for his boots. It’s admirable that you can put so much passion and dedication in something like football boots. Gavin is, and has never been in this for the money. It is unequivocally a pure love for football boots that drives him. And in the end isn't that what life is all about?