U.S Army Veteran Who Bought Trump Sneakers for $9000 Shreds Corporate Media’s ‘Russian Oligarch’ Narrative

When President Donald Trump launched a line of limited-edition gold sneakers over the weekend, shoe collectors and MAGA supporters alike were scrambling to try and bag a pair.

The limited run of “Never Surrender High Top Sneaker” sold out all 1000 pairs almost immediately.

Trump launched the shoes at Philadelphia’s Sneaker Con – an event for sports shoe collectors and enthusiasts, or “sneakerheads,” to buy, sell, and trade sneakers.

The 45th made an appearance at the show, debuting a line of golden shoes featuring a “T” embossed on the tongue and an American flag on the ankle.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” Trump told the boisterous crowd.

“I have some incredible people that work with me on things, and they came up with this … and I think it’s gonna be a big success.”

During the event on Saturday, well-known luxury watch dealer Roman Sharf shelled out $9,000 Saturday for a pair of “Never Surrender” high-top sneakers signed by Trump at Philadelphia’s Sneaker Con.

Trump signed ten of the high-tops, giving collectors an opportunity to get their hands on a pair Saturday.

After winning a bidding frenzy to secure the pair of limited-edition shoes at auction, Sharf, a popular figure in the luxury watch world, became the target of corporate media attacks and false smears.

Despite migrating to the United States from Ukraine as a teen and reportedly serving in the U.S. military, the American entrepreneur was cast by various publications and online personalities as a “Russian CEO.”

The Daily Mail went even further, characterizing Sharf as a Trump-supporting “Russian oligarch.”

Some reports even tried to suggest that Sharf only bought the shoes so that Russia could “support Trump.”

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Sharf punched back in a Monday video in which he corrected his origin story, defended his purchase, and underscored his patriotism.

A self-described “sneakerhead,” Sharf is the CEO of the successful pre-owned luxury watch dealer Luxury Bazaar — founded in 2001 in Southampton, Pennsylvania.

Sharf paid $9,000 at auction so that he could add the high-tops to his collection.

According to the website that sold out of all 1,000 of the $399 limited-run shoes, “Trump Sneakers are not designed, manufactured, distributed or sold by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their respective affiliates or principals.”

The Associated Press claimed that the shoe website was run by Trump’s CIC Ventures LLC.

However, the shoe company clearly states in its FAQ that CIC Ventures simply holds the trademarks for Trump’s name and likeness and neither manages nor controls the company:

“45Footwear uses Donald J. Trump’s name, likeness, and image under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC.”

Extra to the “Never Surrender High Top Sneaker,” the company advertised a pair of red laceless athletic shoes and a pair of white laceless shoes, reported NBC News.

Sharf was delighted that he managed to buy a pair, revealing that he intends to hand the highly sought-after collectors’ items down to his children in the future.

In a post to X, Sharf wrote, “Passing these down to my kids, but for now will display in the office.”

Various publications and critics online leaned on the narrative that Sharf was a Russian businessman with an unhealthy affinity for Trump.

The Daily Mail ran an article entitled, “MAGA mania! Russian oligarch buys pair of autographed Trump sneakers for $9k at auction while others list limited edition kicks for $45,000 on eBay.”

The New York Post recirculated an article by the Australian publication News.com.au, emphasizing in the body and title that Sharf was a “Russian CEO.”

Various social media users with significant followings insinuated that the sneaker game presented an opportunity for Trump and Moscow to collude.

Olga Lautman, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and co-host of the KremlinFile podcast, wrote, “How shocking[.]

“A shady Russian watch dealer paid $9.000 fo [sic] Trump’s gaudy sneakers.

“I can’t figure if this is going to be a new way to move money or just plain stupidity.”

Amazingly, critics shared the Daily Mail article, which said in the title that people were selling the shoes for four times what Sharf had paid for them, while still questioning the professional collector’s motives.

Sharf set the record straight Monday with a pithy video.

“So, bought a pair of sneakers … and apparently, they made me a Russian oligarch overnight,” says Sharf.

“Guys, I’m a sneakerhead. I’m also a U.S. Army veteran.

“And yes, I am a Republican.”

Referencing the Daily Mail headline, Sharf noted, “I actually came from Ukraine.”

“At the time it was part of the Soviet Union.

“I came here at the age of 13 as a refugee,” continued the watch dealer.

“My dad had four dollars in his pocket.

“I busted my ass working every dirty job under the sun to get where I am today in order to be able to afford to buy this $9,000 pair of collectible sneakers.”

He also singled out Lautman’s remarks, claiming not only that is he from Ukraine but that his organization has allegedly helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the beleaguered nation since its invasion by Russia.

Sharf acknowledged his apparent Ukrainian origin and immigrant story “would not get as many clicks as ‘Russian oligarch.'”

After shaking off threats of a boycott on account of his purchase, Sharf stressed:

“There’s not a mean tweet in the world, there’s not an IG post, there’s not a news article that’s gonna stop me from being who I am and that is a patriot of this country.”

“You wanna hate me for wanting this country to be great again, go ahead and judge the sneakerhead.

“But no matter what, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands,” added Sharf.

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” he declared.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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