Trainers are a staple item in most Londoners’ wardrobes, and quite right too. This carefully curated list of the best trainer shops in London should make your sneaker buying that little bit easier, sifting the brand new from the beaters, the restocks from the resells and the limited editions from the merely limited.
The best trainer shops in London
On the bit of Kingsland Road mostly reserved for Vietnamese restaurants, a great new addition to Shoreditch’s apparel offering has just cropped up in the form of Article. A range of special edition Pointer sneakers and Puma collaboration trainers keep the kids dancing through the door, and products will be constantly re-stocked and updated, with some Saucony re-issue trainers due in the next drop.
Footpatrol is not just a store but a veritable sneakerhead authority, its serious cred regularly demonstrated by design collabs with major brands. Its sleek wood-and-black-steel Soho shop – designed by architects the Wilson Brothers – stocks a meticulous edit of the coolest sneaks around, from Japanese exclusives to impossible-to-find-elsewhere deadstock. Probably the hippest shed you’ll ever hang out in.
New Era caps have been neatly stacked on tables, DC skate shoes artfully placed on glass shelves. The sleek, minimalist store, stocked with well-curated designer sportswear and graphic T-shirts, wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch’s hip Boxpark. Except this shop is different – it’s staffed by young people that would otherwise be unemployed, or whose job here is giving them their first wages.
This Swedish store opened its first London outpost this year. The vast Shoreditch High Street space is your go-to for sneakerhead cool, with endless shelves of exclusive trainer releases (including a leopard-print Adidas collection, when we popped in), limited-edition styles, and the brand’s own ‘SNS’ apparel range (that’s the ‘stuff’ bit).
Slam City Skates is a legendary name on the British skate scene, as much a part of the London skateboarding identity as doing kickflips and railstands on the walkways beneath the South Bank Centre. It’s also the best-stocked shop for decks, trucks, wheels and almost any skateboard accessory – with makers such as Death Wish, Alien Workshop and Familia well represented – as well as footwear and clothing, including the shop’s own unique T-shirt and hoodie range.
With Oxford Circus’s Nike Town catering for the masses, it seems Nike’s army of more refined sneaker freaks were feeling a little overlooked. The trainer brand’s clubhouse for their most loyal (and obsessive) fans, 1948, was hidden under the railway arches on Bateman Row, a sidestreet connecting Great Eastern Street to Curtain Road, until it closed its doors for a while – before rising spectacularly from the ashes in 2014 as NikeLab 1948.
This hot-spot for London trainer fiends is unbeatable simply for its sheer variety of sneaker brands and colour combinations, thus making the too-cool-to-smile staff a necessary evil for punters looking for something a bit different. Old-school styles abound – there’s no better place to pick up all-time classics like Puma Clydes, Adidas Gazelles and Nike Super Blazers.
It’s 10 years since the visionary Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto hooked up with global sports brand Adidas to create Y-3, a conceptual break-away label fusing Yamamoto's avant-garde aesthetic with Adidas' sporty know-how. Every pair of shoes is influenced by technical Adidas sports shoes from boxing boots to track shoes but in sleeker and more refined version. The Honja classic for example, £180, a simple, pared-down reinvention of the skate trainer, remains a best-seller.
Don’t be fooled by the medley of people using the entrance as a meeting point and handy Oxford Circus bypass, Nike Town is indeed a shop – a 70,000 sq footer at that. The complete Nike range can be found within the Town, each ‘building’ dominated by a different sport. Big on clothing rather than equipment the store is chock-full of Nike fashion goodies with a particularly excellent running department and selection of football boots.
The London outpost of New York's legendary skate shop brings together the cult brand's skatewear including apparel, accessories and decks. Ongoing collaborations with musicians, artists and designers ensures Supreme maintains the edgy style it originally made its name with back in 1994.
Find more great shops in London
When it comes to shopping, London is truly the capital of the world. Some cities can boast designer boutiques and glossy malls, while others feature traditional suppliers – but the big smoke is king when it comes to choice. Whether you like a handsome department store that caters for your every retail whim, or a fusty vintage store with a line in forgotten fashions, London has a shop to suit – you can find the 100 best right here.