Get your kicks at these sneaker stores—NYC can be a miserable place to walk in anything but flat shoes, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style. There are shoe stores all over NYC that are home to a range of footwear styles, from old-school pairs to Kanye-approved concept shoes to budget-friendly options. (Yes, you can even find great shoes at consignment shops.) There’s also the ideal gear for sweating it out at your favorite fitness classes without killing your feet. Feeling overwhelmed? We also picked out our favorite pair at each shop, so you know exactly what to look for.
RECOMMENDED: Best places for shopping in NYC
Best sneaker stores in NYC
Providing an assist to ballers, this glass-and-steel joint is the first in the nation dedicated to just Nike, Converse and Jordan kicks and clothing. Modernist glass displays of court-friendly sneakers surround photos of stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, and if you feel like stepping into their shoes, you can pick up the NBA players’ personalized models. Splashy T-shirts, hoodies and warm-up jackets will keep you looking like a pro even if you’re a mere benchwarmer; and superfans can snag limited-edition shoes.
Standout sneaks: Nike Hyperdunk ‘08
The shoe was originally released in 2008, but now it’s making a comeback. Taking an on-the-court look and adapting it to the streets, it may look chunky, but it has a comfortable fit and is super lightweight.
This store pretty much has every single one of the sneaker giant’s sub-lines. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of running shoes or you want a really cool new pair of kicks, this store has it all. It also includes a supply of super casual yet trendy Adidas by Stella McCartney, perfect for wearing to both a workout and on the weekend.
Standout sneaks: Pure Boost X Shoes
The women’s Pure Boost X sneaks are the ones to snag. They come in multiple colors and patterns, are lightweight and are made for long-distance running.
Since 1908, Converse has shelled out its iconic sneakers to the masses in more than 160 countries. Hit up this giant Soho emporium to ogle the vast variety of limited-edition kicks, the brand’s latest collections of women’s and men’s apparel and accessories and a full customization center. But if nothing strikes your fancy, you can create your own pair of shoes, tops or totes in the colors and graphics of your choice with the help of a Converse customization specialist.
Standout sneaks: Converse Auckland Modern Unisex Shoe
Converse has been around a long time, but this unisex shoe looks a little different than your classic Chucks. This shoe is breathable and flexible while looking sleek and modern.
The revamped space at this sneaker and streetwear emporium feels like a brand-new store. It now has an additional 3,000 square feet and includes glassed-in mannequins and a long entranceway boasting white plaster sneakers hanging from the ceiling. As for the merch, look for new lines like the Kith Academy Collection, but if you’re just in the market for footwear, we recommend Puma X Stampd Trinomic sock-off-white sneaks ($135) or a pair of timeless Nike Air Force 1s ($100).
Standout sneaks: Adidas Originals Stan Smith
Stan Smiths are super-popular already, and now this updated version adds a leather lining—perfect for wearing on a casual day.
Set all East versus West Coast rivalries aside for the Vans DQM General, a shop that blends DQM’s NYC street cred with Vans’ California surfer roots. While DQM has long been a staple for skate gear and cool kicks, this is Vans’ debut retail space in Manhattan. Located in a 140-year-old building, the boutique looks raw with brick walls and concrete floors. Vintage tables display buys, such as Vans leather Old Skool Zips ($75).
Standout sneaks: 101’s DQM For Van’s – Sk8-Hi Reissue LX
These shoes feel like they're out of the ‘80s or ‘90s with their vintage feel. Available in three colors, they feature a leather side stripe and heel along with a nylon tongue.
There are also stores in Japan and London, and this NYC-based one is home to seven floors of fashion goodness. There is a NikeLab on the second floor and a dedicated sneakers space on the sixth floor, and there are also sneaks not featured in many other stores (for when you don’t want to look like every other runner in Central Park).
Standout sneaks: Play Converse Pro Leather Low (Black / Red)
May we suggest the Play Converse? These cute shoes have hearts on the outside and are made of cotton—and they’re one of the store’s rare pairs.
After spending 30 years as a retail buyer in New York (culminating in a stint as head buyer at Michael K.), Susan Boyle decided to branch out on her own, opening Rime in 2007. On the racks, you’ll find gear by labels like Obey, 10 Deep, Stüssy, Penfield, Huf and Undefeated, but Rime’s real draw is its extensive collection of footwear gems. The stock is primarily geared toward men, but there are a few solid items for the ladies, like Jack Purcell slip-ons and lightweight slim-fit graphic tees from Obey.
Standout sneaks: Vans SK8-HI Slim (Floral)
The design of these shoes will lure you in quickly. They are more fun than getting a boring old solid color, and your feet will be cushioned with comfort.
Sneakerheads of all ages flock to this brick-walled space for brightly colored and limited-edition kicks from Nike, Adidas and Saucony. The well-organized selection also includes sturdy work boots from Red Wing, Doc Martens and Rockport and funky foot-shaped Vibram FiveFingers slip-ons, designed to protect soles during outdoor sports. The graffiti-inspired sneaker art adorning the walls is worth the trip alone.
Standout sneaks: Asics GSM White/Navy
They have a tennis-shoe vibe to them, but they’re wearable enough for every day with a conventional silhouette. And with its suede and leather material, this timeless shoe is classic.
Sneaker fiends flock to this footwear utopia to buy and sell every type of kicks imaginable, all on consignment (with 80 percent of the profit going to the seller and 20 percent to the store). Around 10,000 pairs of never-worn, plastic-wrapped shoes are stacked in 15 rows that run the entire length of the mammoth store. Though the inventory changes daily, it is so abundant that even vintage styles usually come in multiple sizes (including some for women, though it’s very hit or miss). All of the typical brands are represented: converse, Vans, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, Reebok and, of course, Nike, which dominates about two thirds of the wall.
Standout sneaks: Air More Uptempo ‘Olympic 2016 Release’
Air Jordans are the top sellers at this store—that’s why the word “air” is written right there on the side of the shoe. Just in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, you can be patriotic and cheer for the U.S. in these hot sneakers.
Don’t judge this ollie-centric chainlet by its Fall Out Boy–heavy soundtrack and teen-favorite skater brands: For everyone in need of goggles or a mountain-ready parka, Blades dishes up sporty, dependable lines such as Vans and Salomon for all your alternative needs. The shop is bursting with cool kicks like Nike SB Sefan Janoski Max Leather styles ($110) and Lakai MJ shoes ($65).
Standout sneaks: NIKE SB Koston Hypervulc Black/White-Dark Grey
Hyperfeel technology provides an incredible amount of comfort and flexibility. It’s a superior skate shoe that is lightweight while still allowing you to feel the board under your feet (or make you look like you know how to skateboard even if you don’t).