If you’re passionate about sneakers, there really is no other purchase more rewarding. From timeless classics to exclusive limited edition designs, there’s no end to what’s on offer. Here, we round up the best stores in London, from hidden East London boutiques to Oxford Street’s globally recognised brands to help you on your quest for the perfect pair.
Originating as a skateboard brand and now attracting attention outside of the enthusiasts, Palace is one of the most authentic streetwear labels in London today. Its flagship store on Brewer Street is decked out with Italian marble floor tiles and is inset with oversized ‘P’ lettering that lends the sleek aesthetic an urban edge. The store is minimalist in terms of display with only a handful clothing and footwear styles on show. Look out for the Palace X Adidas collaboration, which is a series of limited edition, premium tumbled leather sneakers that fuse skater style with a luxurious aesthetic and a globally recognised logo.
Established in 1986 and now boasting stores in West, East and North London, Slam City is arguably one of the city’s most widely-known skatewear brands. Its sneaker offering, whilst not the sole focus (pun intended), specialises in the sport and the aesthetic that goes with it. From household names such as Vans and New Balance, to more specialist labels including Lakai and Huf, there’s something to suit both function and style.
Much like the other departments in Selfridges, footwear spans all manner of designs, from sneakers to something a little more elevated, high street labels to the most premium of price points. There’s an entire ‘hall’ dedicated to shoes, and this is where you’ll find the most sought-after of sneaker labels. If it’s something more luxurious that you’re looking for, head to the specific brand’s space. The likes of Valentino and Gucci are displayed separately to the more affordable alternatives on the main shop floor.
Decked out from floor to ceiling in recycled scaffold boarding and featuring minimal other design details, Footpatrol on Berwick Street is a carefully considered concept store with an impressive sneaker collection. If you’re looking for the season’s most coveted limited edition design or you want to get your hands on the latest Japanese exclusive, this is the store to head for. Most recently, Footpatrol have teamed with Converse to produce a collaborative series that’s inspired by the streets of Soho. In among the one-offs however, you’ll also find more classic options, so don’t dismiss this one-of-a-kind destination if you’re in the market for a new pair of Air Max.
Everyone who knows their skatewear knows that Supreme is a New York-based brand, but its first European store sits surprisingly well in Soho. Working with its recognisable aesthetic and bringing a touch of the US to London, the store stocks both original and current designs and celebrates ongoing collaborations, most recently with Louis Vuitton. The store interiors also pay homage to these creative collaborations and include a photo collage by Ari Marcopoulos as well as a sculptural installation by skateboarder and artist Mark Gonzales.
With roots firmly planted in Manchester and a store window that simply says; ‘we sell good clothes’, Oi Polloi is unlike most menswear boutiques in London. Founders Steve Sanderson and Nigel Lawson describe the Carnaby Street store as an edited version of the Oi Polloi experience. It does, however, still stock some of the most desirable brands in their list. From Nudie jeans to Superga sneakers, A.P.C shirts to Barbour jackets, it’s the best place to go to for wardrobe essentials done well.
Anyone in possession of a significant sneaker collection is likely to own a pair of Vans. Launched in 1966 and maintaining its skater-inspired aesthetic to this day, it’s arguably one of the most wearable – if not mainstream – streetwear labels in London. What sets it aside from the crowd, however, is the reputable events hosted in its Carnaby Street flagship store. Over the past couple of years, the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Millencolin have played gigs in the space to name but a few.
London is Offspring’s home town, with the original store opening in 1996 on Neal Street in Covent Garden. Now boasting multiple stores across the UK as well as celebrating its 20th anniversary with a fixed appearance in Selfridges, it has well and truly established itself as a credible sneaker boutique. Exclusive styles from the likes of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Vans also marked the occasion. Make Offspring your destination for a more personal shopping experience than some of the city’s larger stores.
The Other Side Of The Pillow
There really is no other footwear store in London quite like The Other Side Of The Pillow. Based in London Fields – one of the city’s more alternative areas – and stocking vintage styles sourced by Vans enthusiast and shoe collector, Henry Davies, it’s a truly unique destination. Prices range from £25 – £150 depending on how rare the style in question is.
Opened on Upper Street in Islington in 1999 with a considered curation of clothing and footwear by the likes of Acne Studios and Commes Des Garcons, Sefton has definitely made its mark on the North London fashion landscape. The brand’s own-label designs offer a complementary final touch, with minimalistic accessories that will stand the test of time. The store interiors are as clean-cut as the pieces that they house, with white walls and spacious shelving setting the tone for a pleasurable shopping experience.
Sneakersnstuff originated in Stockholm after its founders Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson decided it was time to offer a shopping experience other than that found in large department stores. Carrying a precise edit of limited edition sneakers as well as what some may consider as more retro, classic styles (think Converse Chuck Taylors, Puma Suedes and Air Force 1s) it’s clear that they are passionate about what they do. The store in Shoreditch is well worth a visit. Be sure to ask about their archive of collaborations as the duo have designed styles for the likes of Basics, Adidas and New Balance in recent years.