The retail business is in a challenge place, especially for Black-owned independent sneaker shops.
The global protests against racism placed a spotlight on the inequalities Black people face, including those who own small businesses. It's more important now than ever to seek out and support these sneaker stores if we want them to survive. These small stores form the soul of many sneaker communities across the map. Burn Rubber, a Michigan mainstay, built a name for itself over the years through collaborations with the likes of New Balance, Fila, Reebok, and more.
Leaders has stood as the epicenter of Chicago's streetwear, hip-hop, and creative scenes since opening its doors in 2002. A Ma Maniere offers by-appointment shopping options, the Houston shop includes a restaurant, and the D.C. door boasts a lavish hotel. Trophy Room owner Marcus Jordan is an astute student of the game who strives to ensure his store puts its best foot forward. Sole Classics owner Dionte Johnson didn't complain when protests erupted over the killing of George Floyd.
Prosper helps further. The Whitaker Grp's mission to raise awareness around issues affecting the Black community. Virgil Abloh and Don C's RSVP Gallery is equal parts luxury boutique and art gallery for a conceptualized retail space. Union Los Angeles is one of the O.G. streetwear purveyors still strive to bring new brands and variety to customers on the regular.
Clicks is a perfect place for anyone searching for the latest Three Stripes collaborations with Y-3, Oyster Holdings Co., Pharrell's Human Made, Kanye West's Yeezy line, and the like. The Amsterdam-based shop needs no introduction with its long list of collaborations with the likes of Nike, Reebok, Stussy, Converse, Asics, Levi's. Milwaukee's Sneex offers a wider range of footwear brands with loads of apparel and lifestyle items. Ypsilanti, Michigan's Puffer Reds has been an institution in the city since 1979 and is a good place to pick up a pair of Yeezys while learning a bit about the industry. Hush Lifestyle Boutique Co-Owner Ramon Blackburn owns Hush in Englewood, New Jersey.
Fresh Sneaker Boutique is nine years in the game after self-funding the store's opening with three credit cards. APB proves it's about more than shoes by doing community-based initiatives like giving away new kicks to elementary school students. Loads of brands on deck and all the major releases that make sneakerheads salivate on Saturday mornings. It is a full-service bar, non-alcoholic beverages for the kiddos, and gaming consoles. Laced is an acronym for "Los Angeles Creates Endless Dreams".
The shop boasts one of the few Nike accounts for a Black-owned biz in the South Bay area. Eugene "Pooh" Jeter III and his partner James "JB" Baker own Laced in Los Angeles. Boseman's Shoes is located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Boseman's Shoes is rooted in more than 66 years of history in Wilmington, North Carolina. Michael Langston took over ownership in 2019 and carried on the store's tradition of placing the needs of locals first.
Dayne Rutherford and Jahreem Samuels' combined entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of SneakerBuyers. In 2019, the two raised the stakes again by betting on themselves and opened a shop in South Miami. Established in 2004, PremiumGoods supplies Houstonians with selections beyond the corporate-fed choices seen on the shelves of mall-based chains. Their PremiumKids store also carries an assortment of kids' kicks so the little ones can stay freshly dressed like mom and dad. Expressions owns a sizable footprint in New England with multiple locations across Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Owner Todd Quarles doubles as the program director for Expressions Elite Basketball. Exclucity started 15 years ago in the basement of a New England tattoo parlor. Owner Trent Out Loud credits his success to knowing which waves to ride and which ones to stay away from. "The future of retail scares the shit out of me," he says.