Industry Weekly


DJ Franzen’s shoe collection packs sentimental (and real) value

DJ Franzen with a tiny fraction of his shoe collection.
Photo: Nick Coletsos

Today he owns hundreds if not thousands of pairs of shoes all over his Las Vegas home, but for Drai's resident DJ Franzen, it all started with black cement Air Jordan 3s.

“My first pair of Jordans, I didn’t get until the year after they came out. They were on sale, two for $45 at Copeland’s,” he says. “But the Jordan 3s, my dad couldn’t buy them for me. I never got them back then. But when I knew what I wanted to do and got my internship at a radio station in the Bay Area, I knew that first check was going to buy shoes. Some kids [dream] about a fast car or a big mansion, but for me it was shoes.”

Considering the constant collisions between sneaker culture and the hip-hop world, it’s no surprise shoes are a big deal for Franzen. But his collection—heavy on Jordans but also including everything from Yeezys to Vans to Chucks—is functional. He wears most of them and gives plenty of pairs away. “If I’m not going to wear them anymore, why hoard them?” he says. “[But] if they mean something to me, I’m not getting rid of them. I’ve been fortunate to have relationships in the industry, so they sometimes send me promo pairs, which is on another level of value. People would pay more for those.”

But the man behind the infamous hip-hop party SunDrai's doesn’t get caught up in the lucrative hype of the sneaker game. He’s still in it for the love. He made up for missing out on those Jordan 3s—now he has 10 pairs. “I think 2011 was the last time they came out, and I made sure to call everybody and say hold my size.”

He’s got four brand-new pairs of those black cements, but there are other rare classics in his collection like the Roc-A-Fella Air Force Ones he got direct from Nike. “I was wearing those the day I got them, and Biggs [Kareem Burke] saw me rocking them and didn’t know who I was, so he was asking Jay-Z, ‘How’d he get those? I don’t even have those!’ The owner of the label didn’t have a pair.”

His most recent addition: the DJ Khaled Air Jordan 3 Grateful shoes, a gift from Khaled. “Those are on [sneaker marketplace] Flight Club right now for $25,000,” Franzen says. “Those were family and friends only, 100 pairs made, a lot of hype on them. I haven’t worn them yet.”

Photo of Brock Radke

Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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