The Best Sneaker Boutiques in America

The Best Sneaker Boutiques in America
The Best Sneaker Boutiques in America

There are plenty of places to buy sneakers. Some people still rely on the Foot Lockers and Finish Lines of the world in their local mall. Others don’t even bother leaving their couch anymore, and get pairs delivered to their doorstep with a few clicks. Brick-and-mortar retail has been considered a dying art by a certain crowd because of the latter, but if you are looking in the right place then that is far from the truth.

Boutiques across the country are still worthy destinations to do some sneaker shopping if you are looking for exclusive collaborations, that colorway nobody else will have in your area, or just would rather get your goods the same day you pay for them. They also provide a sense of community—something that has dwindled in the sneaker space as the hobby continues to expand from a niche subculture to a global phenomenon.

Sneakers are more mainstream than ever now, which means there is more locations popping up than ever before. It might be hard to figure out which ones you want to check out first, but we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our picks for the best sneaker boutiques in America right now. —Mike DeStefano



Stepping into Notre for the first time might be a bit confusing. That’s because you aren’t immediately greeted by walls of shoes and racks of clothes. In its place is a large wooden pillar and uneven brick stairs that you have to navigate before you get to the goods. The minimalist approach alone makes the Chicago outpost, which opened its doors in 2014, one of the more unique layouts on this list. But it would mean nothing without good product selection, and Notre delivers on that front, too. Brands like Visvim, Needles, and Sacai occupy the left side of the space. A room in the center of the space rotates between various installations. For instance, it housed Jordan Brand’s 8×8 collection during NBA All-Star Weekend this past February. The right side is the sneaker space, where you will find an assortment that ranges from Nike Air Force 1s and Adidas Stan Smiths to of-the-moment runners from brands like Hoka One One and Salomon. They also get all the limited goodies like Yeezys and Off-White x Nike collabs too if you’re into that sort of thing. Just be prepared to enter a raffle to acquire them. –Mike DeStefano



Since opening in 2002 in Philadelphia’s now-defunct Gallery Mall on Market Street, Ubiq has moved its permanent location a few blocks away to Walnut Street, but it has remained the city’s go-to sneaker boutique. While Philly has seen spots come and go over the years, Ubiq has been one of the survivors through it all—and for good reason. Immediately upon entering the shop, you are greeted by an entire room of sneakers that ranges from the latest Air Jordan retros and Nike SB Dunks to more niche collaborations from brands like Asics and Saucony. Ubiq has also been responsible for its own fair share of collaborations over the years that have stayed true to the city’s roots, like a Diadora N9000 inspired by cheesesteaks or a patriotic New Balance 1600 nodding to Benjamin Franklin, to name a few. Its impact was so great in Philly that it even opened a second location in Georgetown in 2016. Ubiq is doing things right, and that’s why it’s has been able to survive for two decades. Make it a destination next time you’re in the city before you decide to scarf down that Ishkabibble’s cheesesteak. –Mike DeStefano


Social Status

Social Status may not be James Whitner’s highest tier boutique, with A Ma Maniere claiming that title, but it’s surely his most wide-reaching with eight locations. The shop is anchored out of Pittsburgh, where Whitner is originally from, but also has stores in North Carolina, Atlanta, Houston, and Tampa Bay. Whitner’s philosophy in terms of sneaker retail is to put shops in communities that are underserved on the cool-guy goods. In the process, Social Status has become one of the most recognizable names in footwear retail. 2019 saw the shop collaborate with Jordan Brand on an Air Jordan VI during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte that brought Michael Jordan himself to the store. There’s also been projects with Adidas on an Ultra Boost, Diadora on sneakers for the Rio Olympics, and multiple projects with Reebok. The best thing about Social Status, though, is that the stores are out there. They’re accessible to the people, not just shiny destinations you may only visit once. They’re in the neighborhood. –Matt Welty



What makes Boston’s Bodega special isn’t the gimmick the store’s based around—a neighborhood corner store with a Narnia of sneakers and streetwear behind its Snapple machine. But it’s the selection of brands and clothes that the shop has offered since 2006. Boston has always been a hub for the footwear industry—Reebok, New Balance, Saucony, and Converse all call it home—but it’s also become a bastion for street culture, and Bodega plays a big part of the scene. The shop’s proximity to manufacturers has allowed it to have one of the most prolific collaboration outputs out of any retailer and many of the shoes have been memorable. But we’re not just talking about one-off cool shoes; a good sneaker store is about what’s on the shelves. Bodega is a tier zero shop, meaning it carries the most limited products from all the brands, but it’s also a stockist for labels such as Stone Island, Acronym, Comme des Garçons and the list goes on. The sales are also legendary, such as the one where you could take everything you could stuff in a bag for $100. Can’t beat that. —Matt Welty



Concepts is one of the pioneers of the sneaker boutique. Started in 1996, it used to be a small shop in the back of The Tannery in Cambridge, Massachusetts that sold lifestyle product and ended up opening up next door more than a decade later. What makes Concepts good isn’t just its top-tier collaborations, but rather its spread of product. In a day and age where a lot of retailers are OK with buying into whatever sells, Concepts has taken risks. The shop sold Gucci sneakers a decade ago before the brand had a moment. Visvim. You could find stuff that you wanted or what would put you ahead of the pack. I don’t want to make this about collaborations. Often they mislead on how good or bad a retail business is. Concepts is one of the few that’s able to uphold its reputation even with its special projects. Lobster Dunks? All of the New Balance? Versace and Chanel Instapumps? It’s all good. —Matt Welty



What began as founder Ronnie Fieg selling Asics Gel-Lyte IIIs in every color imaginable out of New York shoe store David Z has blossomed into a streetwear empire with locations across the world, a seemingly endless collaborative archive, and even annual runway presentations at New York Fashion Week. More simply put, Kith is huge. The Big Apple alone houses multiple Kith stores—one in Brooklyn and a three-story location situated on a Lafayette Street corner in Soho that opened its doors in 2017. The move was to more easily accommodate the brand’s growing clientele that was packing its original spot in the back corner of the clothing store, Atrium. The boatload of big name footwear and apparel collabs with brands ranging from Nike and Asics to Coca-Cola and Versace have become Kith’s calling card. Fieg essentially was the reason people thought Asics was cool in the early 2010s. But there’s much more to take in if you actually visit the store in person. The dedicated sneaker space on the second floor of the Soho location is especially impressive—not only is it home to a solid selection from all of the best brands and situated right next to the Kith Treats ice cream and cereal bar, but it also displays pillars covered in plaster sculptures of iconic sneakers like the Air Jordan I created by Daniel Arsham. A designated space also rotates between limited time installations to coincide with the brand’s latest project. That’s just one store though. With a Paris flagship location also on the horizon, it’s not too hard to figure out how it made the cut. —Mike DeStefano


A Ma Maniére

What separates A Ma Maniére from the rest of the shops on this list is that it doesn’t begin and end with sneakers. Helmed by industry vet James Whitner, the two-location (one in Atlanta, another in DC) store is among the most ambitious of its kind. Not only does it stock high-end product including limited-edition Nikes and Adidas collabs along with apparel from the likes of Alyx, Fear of God, and Off-White, but the retailer has also introduced a lifestyle hotel and has plans for restaurants in the future. If you need a place to shop—and sleep—A Ma Maniére has you covered. After filling out a brief questionnaire, the hotel experience greets visitors with a curated closet of the store’s items they can then try on and shop at their own discretion. For a deeper dive, see our review here. —Riley Jones



Few sneaker boutiques have been around since 2002, and even fewer have reached the level of success as Undefeated. The shop was founded in Los Angeles and has now spread around the West Coast and across the Pacific to Japan. The brand’s name (and more importantly its logo) have become cultural signifiers. Its collaborations have been great, and include the first ever Air Jordan collaboration, which happened on the Air Jordan IV and has gone on to become one of the most coveted sneakers of all time. There’s also been Air Force 1s, New Balances, Kobes, Superstars, Converse, and the list goes on and on. Undefeated has become a full-blown clothing brand, ranging from items that can be found in Urban Outfitters to StockX. The name itself holds weight and even though the shop has gone mainstream, it still retains value and serves as a beacon in the sneaker and streetwear microcosm. —Matt Welty



Nowhere in the South has a more rich and influential sneaker history than Atlanta, and Wish is keeping that tradition strong. A step inside the brick-fronted shop—located in the city’s Little Five Points district—reveals an expansive room filled with an array of contemporary streetwear, accessories, and a handful of sneakers. It’s the basement though that lands Wish on this list. Below the main floor is a faux-library filled with rich fixtures and dramatic lighting that houses a deep roster of brands including Nike, Jordan, Adidas Consortium, Y-3, and Vans Vault. Wish also curates a nearby creative space known as The Gallery that provides both local and international artists a platform to exhibit their work. —Zac Dubasik


Extra Butter

Extra Butter has changed quite a bit in recent times, but it still remains one of New York City’s best sneaker shops. Gone are the days of quirky, movie-inspired shoes, but the shop’s location in the Lower East Side has proved a fertile ground to host a retailer that’s betting on making an authentic connection with its consumer. Extra Butter has its own way of doing things, whether it’s hosting informative panels, having blowout warehouse sales, or finding new ways to release product. What’s great about Extra Butter is that it has personality. Even if the sneaker collaborations are gone, the retail space features movie seats as benches and movie curtain. They’ve also upgraded some of the brands they carry, with Stone Island and its Shadow Project label now being carried at the shop. Its North Face jackets caused serious hype, and we hear there may be some cool things on the way with other companies. —Matt Welty



The East and West Coasts might be home the biggest and most well-known names when it comes to sneaker boutiques, but Xhibition, located just off the shores of Lake Erie, boasts a selection of sneakers and brands that holds its own against the elites. Established in 2014, Xhibition opened its doors around the concept of amplifying its sneaker experience with a focus on art, design, and fashion. It’s achieved that by mixing Nike Tier 0 and Adidas Consortium releases with hard-to-find brands like Visvim, Human Made, and Undercover, and is a spot where you can cop Off-White runway pieces right alongside the Nike collabs. It’s also helped break brands like John Elliott—Xhibition was one of the first accounts to stock the designer, who’s since gone on to sneaker prominence. It’s further established it’s foothold on the region by opening a second door in 2019, and has more of its own collaborations planned for later in the year. —Zac Dubasik


Packer Shoes

Packer Shoes, as a concept, has existed for 100 years. Starting back in Yonkers, the shop functioned as a traditional footwear retailer at the turn of the 20th century. A lot has changed with the shoe industry since then, but so has Packer. The shop now sells sneakers, is located in New Jersey, and has existed in its current form since 2003. One thing about Packer, though, is that it’s never forgotten its history and sneaker history in general. Many of the shop’s collaborations reference the golden era of footwear from the ‘80s and ‘90s and translate it in a way that makes sense today. Its Teaneck, New Jersey location has made the retailer a bit of destination for those from the Five Boros, and has remained a hub for those with a keen interest in limited-edition footwear in the Garden State. —Matt Welty



One of the West Coast’s most accomplished retailers, Bait has been thriving for nearly a decade. Where some stores might shy away from their pop culture fandom, Bait dives in head first—an attitude which has resulted in countless officially licensed projects with brands like the NBA, Minions, and Street Fighter, just to name a few. Founded by Eric Peng Cheng (who cut his teeth in the sneaker retailer world with the website and is now a part owner of Undefeated), Bait has grown rapidly since first opening its doors in 2011. The company now boasts nine locations spanning from Honolulu to Denver, with intentions to open even more stores in the Midwest. Despite its expansions, each Bait store maintains the same level of quality, offering customers a wide mix of sneaker brands including staples like Adidas, New Balance, and Nike, as well as smaller labels like Diadora and Karhu. The store also places a strong emphasis on collectible figures and accessories, if that’s your thing. —Riley Jones


Dover Street Market

First opening its doors in London in 2004, Dover Street Market was created by Comme des Garçons-founder Rei Kawakubo and husband Adrian Joffe. Although it primarily serves as a store to house Comme des Garçons’ collections, it’s also welcomed a carefully chosen selection of designers to the fold. In terms of sneakers, this includes some of Nike and Adidas’ rarest offerings such as Off-White collabs and Yeezys, respectively, along with more under-the-radar pairs from brands like Salomon and Kiko Kostadinov’s Asics designs. As for the store itself, each location is built out with the attention to detail and elegance one would expect from Kawakubo’s work. To paint a picture of just how desirable DSM’s floor space is, consider the fact it’s currently the only store in the world outside of Supreme itself that stocks the skate brand’s goods at retail. —Riley Jones


Sneaker Politics

Derek Curry started Sneaker Politics in 2006 with no intentions of becoming one of the best-known sneaker boutiques in America. His Lafayette, Louisiana, location had to petition to get its Nike account, which he often shares on social media that it was denied at first. Things have changed for the retailer, though, and has now expanded to seven locations in two states. Part of what makes Politics great is that it gives people the chance to buy limited-edition sneakers who previously had little access to them given their geography (at least without the internet and resale prices). People often think it’s only New York or Los Angeles that do big things in the sneaker world, but Politics is quietly disproving that notion. The store also helped to host an emergency All-Star Weekend in 2017 when the NBA switched venues from Charlotte to New Orleans, hosting events with Shaquille O’Neal and Juvenile. Not too bad, not too bad. —Matt Welty



Sneakersnstuff isn’t known for its New York City location in specific, that’s because the retailer, which started in 1999 in Stockholm, is around the globe—Sweden, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles. What you get with SNS is consistency and a wide variety of international and domestic products. Why you ask? Well, the retailer’s international setup allows it to shift product between markets and have a broader spread than you’ll find elsewhere. There’s also a ton of SNS exclusives from various brands that pop up from time to time. Oh and there’s a full on bar behind the shop that holds some of the best parties in New York City, even though it’s only been open a few months. Ghosface Killa, Raekown, and RZA performed the other night. Sounds like a good enough reason to check out the store. —Matt Welty


Lapstone & Hammer

Philadelphia’s Lapstone & Hammer has not been around for long, but it has quickly become a premier destination for sneakers and streetwear in the City of Brotherly Love. Since opening its doors in 2015, the boutique tucked away off Chestnut Street in the heart of Center City has been providing locals with all of the best limited releases and collabs like Off-White x Nikes, Adidas Yeezys, Travis Scott x Air Jordans, and more. The hyped-up drops might sell out quickly, but the store remains stocked with a solid array of products from these brands and others like Reebok, Vans, Puma, and Converse no matter when you decide to stop in. Looking for something a little more high-end? The front end of the store has a dedicated selection of styles from Common Projects, Visvim, and Red Wing too. One of its biggest steps forward was in 2017 when the shop fully renovated a section in the back of the store to highlight brands of the moment like Rhude, Alyx, and John Elliott. It’s one of the few destinations in the city offering these labels. Perhaps the thing that Lapstone is most nationally known for are its limited runs of vibrant tie-dye hoodies, hats, and sweatpants that have even been spotted on LeBron James in the past. If you find yourself in Philly any time soon, a stop through the store is a must. —Mike DeStefano