Werner Olckers is the man behind the brand that is Cop Capital. He is a purveyor of fine footwear and brings some sought after gems from all corners on the world to his home base, Pretoria.
We caught up with Werner to find out a little more about him, his store and what it is to be a sneakerhead.
Firstly, who is Werner Olckers?
I am a small business owner, proud Pretorian, musician and all round smart-ass.
Cop Capital is more than just a sneaker store. What was the idea behind it?
When we first started approaching the brands we stock about opening a street level sneaker door; it became pretty evident that there wasn’t just a gap in the market, but also a much-needed space for starting a conversation about influencing youth culture in Pretoria.
Growing a small business has its own set of challenges, but being able to bring brands from Cape Town, Joburg and Pretoria to a space where streetwear and independent brands haven’t had a platform before is still one of our core directives.
What kind of sneaker do you look for to place on your shelves?
We primarily focus on trying to have a healthy balance between collab level product to the top fashion items that are in line with international releases. The main idea is that people can come into the store and have a conversation about the product. Every sneaker has a story or form of heritage and every member of our staff is passionate about those stories.
On some of your Facebook posts you mentioned lay-by and student discounts. These things are seldom heard of these days. You must really want people to get hold of the kicks they’re after…
We’re very aware of the current economic climate of South Africa. Not everyone is in the position to buy the sneaker they really want without a little help or some sort of payment plan. For Cop Capital, as a business, it’s all about getting everyone to join the urban wear and sneaker conversation.
Do you think sneakers should be worn or are they like action figures to be kept in mint condition in their boxes?
Nah! I fully believe that you should wear your kicks. I have some that I’ll only pull out on a special occasion like bar mitzvahs or when the WWE comes to town, but eventually they all get worn and a chance to shine.
Can you tell us a little about your personal collection?
My collection is a bit of a mutt-like treasure trove. I don’t have any brand loyalty or preference. I wear what I like. I think the bulk of my collection is stuff that I always wanted as a kid and just never could get my hands on. There’s one or two items that would be considered hype pieces, but mostly it’s just stuff you could picture any of the kids from the Mighty Ducks films wearing in the 90s.
This year I mainly went after things like Bo Jackson’s Nike Air Trainer SC and the Pippen PE More Uptempos. My challenge isn’t so much finding sneakers I like, it’s finding them in my size, as I wear a US 14.
What are the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to taking care of your kicks?
Sneakers are made to be worn. So wear them. If you’re a one pair of kicks every 6 months kinda person, get the most of them. But if you want some form of longevity out of your sneakers for a collection purpose, the key is rotation. Don’t wear your sneakers to death. You don’t have to have 50 pairs. A healthy collection of 5-7 different sneakers will keep your sneakers looking fresh for much longer.
Is there a certain pair you’re looking to shelf that you just can’t get your hands on?
Yup. I took a massive L on the Nike x Atmos Air Max “Elephant” just purely on how rare it is in my size. But I’m working on it. No sneaker is unobtainable, it just takes some patience and knowledge.
What is the ultimate sneaker every collector should have?
In terms of heritage a Jordan 1 High. They are the reason I love sneakers. But if you want something a little more developed and stacked with technology, the Adidas UltraBoost is a must.
Will we be seeing Cop Capital further across South Africa in the future?
No. We’re focused on being a space where everyone in Pretoria can feel comfortable coming in and learning about sneakers, SA streetwear and even some of the great local artists’ music we play in store. We never want to lose the feel and heart of what we’re working towards. Expanding would just be counterproductive. There are loads of sneaker stores in every mall in South Africa, we want to be more than just a store. We want to be a movement for PTA from PTA.
If you’re in or around Pretoria make a stop by Cop Capital and have a chat with the team. Who knows, you might just find that pair you’ve been looking for…