50 BEST SNEAKER STORES OF ALL TIME

50. Burn Rubber

50. Burn Rubber

Location: Detroit, MI

Years of Operation: 2004-Present

Burn Rubber

Burn Rubber has undergone many changes in the past, but of recent one thing’s remained pretty constant: they know how to move sneakers. This fact was clearly evident when the shop released their collaboration on the New Balance MT580 in 2010.

49. Highs and Lows

49. Highs and Lows

Location: Perth, Australia

Years of Operation: 2005-Present

Highs and Lows

By no other means than word of mouth, Highs and Lows has developed a name for itself amongst lovers of sneakers. And apparently they’ve been seeing more highs than lows, seeing how vastly their rep has grown by way of collaborations with New Balance and ASICS.

48. Premier

48. Premier

Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Years of Operation: 2001-Present

Premier

If you thought you had to play basketball to be a Fab Five skateshop, you’re probably wrong. Premier has been holding it down in the Midwest for some time now and will happily skate test the year’s most anticipated sneakers

47. West NYC

47. West NYC

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 1998-Present

West NYC

You don’t get voted No. 1 in anything without deserving it; being voted the No. 1 sneaker store in New York City is thus no small feat. With Central Park only blocks away, you can test out your new runners right away — if you aren’t afraid of getting them a little dirty, of course.

46. Wish

46. Wish

Location: Atlanta, GA

Years of Operation: 2006-Present

Wish

Located in the distinct Little Five Points points region of Atlanta, Wish represents that exact edgy and artistic neighborhood in which it is immersed. Ahead of the curve when it comes to street wear and hot releases, Wish stands ahead of most sneaker shops in the US.

45. Primitive

45. Primitive

Location: Encino, CA

Years of Operation: 2007-Present

Primitive

An imprint of the Nike SB sponsored professional skateboarder Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez, Primitive effortlessly blends both skate and street aesthetics. Not to mention, they’ve got some of the hottest girls modeling their sneakers and collaborations.

44. Sneaker Bistro

44. Sneaker Bistro

Location: Long Island, NY

Years of Operation: 2005-Present

Sneaker Bistro

Sneaker Bistro actually plates their sneakers and if it wasn’t for the awkward taste of leather and rubber, we’d probably think about eating most of the sneakers they sell. A very welcoming shop, it’s always a pleasure to stop in and get fresh.

43. MAJOR

43. MAJOR

Location: Washington, DC

Years of Operation: 2006-Present

MAJOR

To have the name “Major,” you’ve got to do something big, and MAJOR certainly holds down the DMV area when it comes to sneakers. In a showing of resiliency, not even a recent building collapse could slow them down — as they’ve set up shop next door to that location and look to come back stronger than ever.

42. Proper

42. Proper

Location: Long Beach, CA

Years of Operation: 2004-Present

Proper

Proper has all the best new releases and they make it look good. Shopping for sneakers should be an experience, and Proper makes sure that the “cool” you seek feels effortless.

41. Shoe Gallery

41. Shoe Gallery

Location: Miami, FL

Years of Operation: 1979-Present

Shoe Gallery

Who gets all of the hottest releases in Miami? Shoe Gallery gets all of the hottest releases in Miami. Being one of the first to cultivate a sneaker culture in Miami, Shoe Gallery also does big things in the art scene by hosting graffiti and music events.

40. Livestock

40. Livestock

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Years of Operation: 2007-Present

Livestock

Holding it down as Canada’s premier sneaker outlet, Livestock made its way to the top with nothing other than dope variety and well-directed effort. Job well done

39. Blends

Location: Costa Mesa, CA

Years of Operation: 2003-Present

Blends

With a perfect mesh of exclusive sneakers and great architectural aesthetics, Blends is a shop that certainly approached retailing correctly. With four different locations in Cali, Blends is at the forefront of the West Coast sneaker game.

38. solebox

38. solebox

Location: Berlin, Germany

Years of Operation: 2002-Present

Solebox

Solebox gets the best European and stateside kicks, at the same damn time. And you thought Germany was only good for beer and wienerschnitzel. Shame.

37. Chapter World

37. Chapter World

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Years of Operation: 2002-Present

Chapter World

Chapter World has held it down for numerous years as Japan’s hottest sneaker store with access to sneakers that you can’t find anywhere else. While it may be nearly impossible to understand anything on their website to place an order, investing in a Japanese-American translation device may be well worth it for that purpose.

36. KCDC

36. KCDC

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Years of Operation: 2001-Present

KCDC

In NYC, authenticity is everything. Before Williamsburg was hipster central, KCDC emerged to revive an older skate scene in Brooklyn. Equipped with a mini-ramp and art gallery, KCDC is easily one of the coolest spots anywhere in the world.

35. UBIQ

35. UBIQ

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Years of Operation: 2007-Present

UBIQ

If UBIQ had been around in the ’90s, the Fresh Prince may not have left for Bel-Air. Hot releases and an upscale atmosphere are sure to provide a better second home than Uncle Phil could have ever offered.

34. True

34. True

Location: San Francisco, CA

Years of Operation: 1996-Present

True

True has been open for almost 17 years now and it’s all because of how consistent they’ve been. A brand in and of itself, True may actually only be getting started

33. Leaders 1354

33. Leaders 1354

Location: Chicago, IL

Years of Operation: 2002-Present

Leaders 1354

Leaders practices what they preach. By “controlling the process” and only serving products of the “highest standards,” Leaders has charged to the top of the game and blazed their own path of success.

32. KICKS/HI

32. KICKS/HI

Location: Honolulu, HI

Years of Operation: 2001-Present

KICKS/HI

In case you needed another reason to go to Hawaii, aside from SPAM and getting lei’d, KICKS/HI is it. With great variety and chilled-out aesthetics, KICKS/HI makes getting your sneakers shipped a less attractive option.

31. Concepts

31. Concepts

Location: Cambridge, MA

Years of Operation: 1995-Present

CNCPTS

Opening its doors for the first time in 1996, CNCPTS is a foremost pioneer of sneaker/street wear culture. Retailing rare brands and hosting one of the biggest collaborations of last year — the New Balance 999 “Kennedy” — shows that CNCPTS hasn’t lost a step since its inception.

30. Sneakersnstuff

30. Sneakersnstuff

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Years of Operation: 1999-Present

Sneakersnstuff

Inspired by New York sneaker shops, Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson opened up Sneakersnstuff to offer an alternative to dominating retail chains in Stockholm. Later on, they opened up their webstore, which many have come to know, and basically began to dominate the sneaker boutique collaboration game.

29. DQM

29. DQM

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 2003-Present

DQM

Founded by professional skateboarder and New Yorker, Chris Keeffe, DQM has been an absolute staple in NYC’s downtown scene. Representative of the “culture and relationships” that came before it, DQM is still going strong to assist those in need of skate goods, sneakers and menswear. Their Vans-only shop, The General, is also a must.

28. Saint Alfred

28. Saint Alfred

Location: Chicago, IL

Years of Operation: 2005-Present

Saint Alfred

Operating on a “quality over quantity” standard, St. Alfred certainly offers its customers nothing less than the best. Creative and original, St. Alfred is deserving of all the praise it gets.

27. One at Slam City Skates

27. One at Slam City Skates

Location: London, England

Years of Operation: 2011-Present

One at Slam City Skates

Once the home to Rough Trade record store, which hosted talents such as the Beastie Boys and Kurt Cobain, One at Slam City Skates is now the subterranean London flagship home to KR3W and Supra. It’s hard to think of a better way to pay homage to a classic space.

26. Mr. R Sports

26. Mr. R Sports

Location: Miami, Fl

Years of Operation: 1973-Present

Mr. R Sports

In order to survive nearly 40 years in the sneaker business, you have to change with the times. Mr. R Sports has done just that, adapting and adopting, catering to Tier Zero campers and die-hard athletes alike. Next year’s celebration should be something else.

25. HUF

25. HUF

25. HUF

25. HUF

Location: San Francisco, CA

Years of Operation: 2002-2009

HUF

In a simplified form, HUF SF was the West Coast Supreme, only more laid back and with a wider selection. In 2009, Keith Hufnagel shut down operations to focus primarily on HUF the brand. Big loss.

24. KITH

24. KITH

Location: New York, NY; Brooklyn, NY

Years of Operation: 2011-Present

KITH

When Ronnie Fieg established KITH, he intended to create an store that promoted a familial feeling while also offering some of the highest quality merchandise around — and that’s exactly what happened. Driven by Ronnie Fieg’s highly sought-after collaborations and strong hints of things to come, KITH is a brand that you’re definitely going to want to keep your eye on.

23. Opium

23. Opium

Location: Paris, France

Years of Operation: 2000-Present

Opium

Seeing itself as not only a sneaker store, but sneaker museum, Opium has several rare and OG Air Jordans and Nikes on display for those who enter. Opium certainly sounds like it has the stuff to give each customer a unique high.

22. Patta

22. Patta

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Years of Operation: 2004-Present

Patta

Amsterdam has cannabis coffee shops and they also have Patta — that obviously makes this city a huge win-win. Known for their amazing variety, Patta arguably released one of the best collaborations (and Nike Air Max 1’s) of all time.

21. Foot Patrol

21. Foot Patrol

Location: London, England

Years of Operation: 2002-Present

Foot Patrol

Founded by Fraser Cooke, a legend who played a significant role in London’s early streetwear scene as well as helping out at Passenger (Foot Patrol’s prototype), Foot Patrol is London’s foremost purveyor of sneakers. If you’re landing at Heathrow, Foot Patrol is worth the trip.

20. David Z

20. David Z

Locations: New York, NY; Paramus, NJ; Las Vegas, NV

Years of Operation: 1983-Present

David Z

One of the ubiquitous New York sneaker shops infused with the DNA of pre-’84 spots, David Z is where Kith’s Ronnie Fieg got his start, and where his collabos shut down servers and caused lineup havoc. They’ve been doing this for a long time, and doing it well.

19. Bobbito's Footwork

19. Bobbito’s Footwork

Locations: New York, NY; Philadelphia

Years of Operation: 1996-2000

DJ, baller, sneaker connoisseur and all-around hip-hop renaissance man Bobbito Garcia ran this (literal) underground East Village shop as well as its Illadelph counterpart, converting his myriad interests into two ill retail spots. If you missed it, you missed out.

18. Bodega

18. Bodega

Location: Boston, MA

Years of Operation: 2005-Present

Bodega

From a conceptual standpoint, BDGA is about as cool and familiar as, well, your neighborhood bodega. Hidden behind a local convenience store facade, BDGA offers up some of the rarest kicks as well as some of the best collaborations with major brands.

17. Nort

17. Nort

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 2000-2009

Nort (later Recon/Nort) was a legendary downtown spot started by graf legends Stash and Futura that sold hyperstrike and quickstrike Nikes before the days of blogs and Twitter RSVPs. By the time it moved uptown to a bigger spot on Lafayette, things just weren’t the same.

16. Nice Kicks

16. Nice Kicks

Location: Austin, TX

Years of Operation: 2009-Present

Nice Kicks

Matt Halfhill changed the game with Nice Kicks; then he took it to the next level with the Nice Kicks shop in his state’s capital. Guess everything is bigger in TX, including sneaker store reputations.

15. Paragon Sporting Goods

15. Paragon Sporting Goods

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 1908-Present

Paragon Sporting Goods

What makes Paragon so great isn’t what makes most of today’s sneaker stores great. Back in the ’70s Paragon only had a small sneaker wall, but it carried one of the widest arrays of running and basketball sneakers in NYC. The fact that they’re still in existence today speaks to their authenticity and product knowledge.

14. Gerry Cosby's

14. Gerry Cosby’s

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 1937-Present

Gerry Cosby’s

Literally before there was anywhere else to get them, Gerry Cosby’s — the store that used to be in the Madison Square Garden lobby — used to trade t-shirts for the unworn sneakers of NBA players who came there to shop. Later on, Gerry Cosby’s began contacting the sneaker companies directly for the excess sneakers that were being customized for college teams, because they knew they could sell them. Yeah, that’s right, Gerry Cosby’s had the original quickstrike releases.

13. 21 Mercer

13. 21 Mercer

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 2008-Present

21 Mercer

What kind of retailer would Nike be without their own boutique-like outpost? Whether in market for an exclusive Nike drop or your own personal NSW Bespoke, 21 Mercer is your destination.

12. atmos

12. atmos

Location: Tokyo, Japan; Harlem, NY

Years of Operation: 2000-Present

Atmos

Before collaborating with boutique shops was commonplace for major sneaker brands, Atmos held it down for the stores of the future by killing it early on. Seeing as though much of streetwear emanated from Japan, Atmos’ rise to fame was not much of a surprise.

11. Sportie LA

11. Sportie LA

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Years of Operation: 1985-Present

Sportie LA

Serving up a wide variety of rare kicks, Sportie LA is somewhat of a national treasure when it comes to sneakers. From its artistic exterior to knowledgeable staff, it ain’t hard to tell how Sportie LA has stood the test of time.

10. Flight Club

10. Flight Club

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 2005-Present

Flight Club

Every sneaker lover fantasizes about making a substantial amount of money and then subsequently spending it at Flight Club. If there’s a sneaker you want, Flight Club probably has it — just make sure you have money left over for your bills! Designed after sneaker stores in Japan, Flight Club is a seriously breathtaking experience.

9. ALIFE Rivington Club

9. ALIFE Rivington Club

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 2003-Present

Alife Rivington Club

Taking inspiration from the sophisticated Harvard Club, ALIFE Rivington looks, feels and offers exclusivity — especially in the sneakers that it sells. After shopping here, buying footwear elsewhere might even make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. Back in their early days, this was where you went for co.jp Nike releases.

8. Undefeated

8. Undefeated

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Years of Operation: 2002-Present

Undefeated

How many other sneaker shops do you know of that get creative license to do a collab with a Jordan classic? We’ll wait. UNDFTD never loses and that’s no coincidence.

7. Broadway Sneakers

7. Broadway Sneakers

Location: New York, NY

Years of Operation: 1984-2010

Every business venture’s got to start out somewhere. Setting up shop as a convenience store that sold roach motels, Broadway Sneakers quickly garnered popularity by selling so many adidas Superstars that sales reps thought they were wholesaling. To distinguish themselves even further, they even bought special markers from nearby Pearl Paint to add colors to their white-on-white Superstars. Later, Broadway Sneakers expanded from their SoHo base and became Training Camp, with multiple locations across NYC

6. Packer Shoes

6. Packer Shoes

Location: Teaneck, NJ

Years of Operation: 1907-Present

Packer Shoes

Yeah, you read that right, 1907. Owner Mike Packer and his shop Packer Shoes stand for heritage and authenticity — two things that make the store one of the most respected sneaker stores ever. Whether collaborating with Biz Markie, Larry Johnson or Dominique Wilkins, you can almost guarantee a special guest appearance. It’s that real.

5. Supreme

5. Supreme

Locations: New York, NY; Tokyo, Japan; Los Angeles, CA; London, England

Years of Operation: 1994-Present

Supreme

The service may be a bit haughty, the selection a bit limited, but Supreme remains your favorite sneaker store’s favorite sneaker store. Even if it is a skate shop

4. Harput's

4. Harput’s

Location: San Francisco, CA

Years of Operation: 1979-2009

As legend goes, Turk Harput bartered his 1976 Volvo 230 in return for 1,000 sneakers. Contrary to most sneaker stores today, Harput — in true hoarder fashion — never rid his store of sneakers that didn’t sell, but rather held onto them as if his store was a warehouse for sneakers to vintage like a fine wine. The result? A shop that was basically a time machine for extremely rare and original adidas sneakers and athletic wear. A complete gem for anyone who had a chance to visit.

3. "Jew Man's"

3. “Jew Man’s”

Location: Bronx, NY

Years of Operation: 1970s-1990s

We see the Nike Air Force 1 today and look at it as one of the most easy-to-cop sneakers that has ever existed. But, in the mid to late ’80s, the AF1 was all but extinct and “Jew Man’s” in the Bronx was regarded to be the only store in NYC that carried them up until 1988. Supply and demand makes Jew Man’s hands down one of the best sneaker stores that ever existed — ask any old head from NYC.

2. Blue Ribbon Sports

2. Blue Ribbon Sports

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Years of Operation: 1967-1978

THE FIRST STORE TO EVER SELL NIKES. Though not much more can be said, Blue Ribbon Sports (later Athletics West) opened up shop by Onitsuka Tigers, and eventually sold a soccer shoe (not so ironically named the Nike) and was the launching pad for what is now the most mammoth sneaker brand in existence.

1. Nike Employee Store

1. Nike Employee Store

Location: Beaverton, OR

Years of Operation: Circa 1978-Present

Usually, discount stores are supposed to SAVE you money. But, if you are a Nike employee, or someone lucky enough to get a golden ticket — er, guest pass, then you might have a hard time not blowing your whole wad and/or going bankrupt. At the Nike Employee Store, we’re all merely “kids in a candy store.”

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