It’s comforting, in an odd way, to know that no matter where on Earth you happen to find yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to cop some sneakers nearby.
Whether it’s a hankering for some Air Jordans after a visit to the Eiffel Tower, or maybe an ill-timed work trip to Moscow that threatens your chances of catching the latest Yeezy drop, know where to look and you’ll find a solution in even the most far-flung parts of the world.
To prove that sneaker culture truly knows no borders, we’ve pulled together a list of the coolest sneaker shops around the planet, along with the reasons why they’re worth racking up the air miles for.
London is without a doubt the UK’s sneaker-culture capital, and at the beating heart of it is Soho institution Footpatrol.
Residing on Berwick Street in the city’s Soho, this small store has been responsible for arming the city’s footwear fiends with rare finds and limited releases since 2010. It’s also no stranger to big-name collaborations, having joined forces for special edition shoes with everyone from Reebok to Givenchy.
80 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8TU
Sneakersnstuff may have started life in Sweden, but it’s the London branch that has cemented its reputation as a vital part of the sneaker scene.
It’s a name that every enthusiast worth their salt will recognise as one of the oldest and most respected in the game. Plus, even if you can’t get down to the hipster man bun Mecca of Shoreditch to check it out in the flesh, you can just order online from the SNS website.
107-108 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JN
When imagining the location of an international hub for sneaker culture, a small city on the northeastern coast of Scotland perhaps isn’t the first place that springs to mind. Nevertheless, that’s where you’ll find Hanon.
The business began life as a makeshift shop run by brothers Brian and Edward Toft out of their parents’ living room in the late ‘80s. In 1993, they made the move to Aberdeen and quickly established Hanon as the go-to spot for hard-to-find trainers and streetwear in Bonny Scotland.
49-51 The Green, Aberdeen AB11 6NY
Liverpool is often cited as the spiritual home of terrace fashion, and as such, is a place with a very distinct sense of style. This is a city with a thriving and historic culture around sports footwear, but unlike most places, it’s more about having the rarest Adidas kicks than the latest Supreme x Jordan drop.
The UK’s leading name for deadstock trainers, Transalpino sources ultra-rare Three Stripes footwear from the USA, Europe, South America and beyond, bringing them back into the waiting arms of the UK’s casuals crowd.
80 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4HR
The phrase ‘hidden gem’ is bandied around a lot, but it’s literally true of Boston’s very own undercover sneaker boutique.
The average pedestrian strolling by could easily mistake Bodega for a simple convenience shop, but step inside, open the drinks fridge, and you’re transported into one of the coolest menswear stores of the face of the earth, stocking new releases and limited runs from the likes of New Balance, Nike, Reebok and beyond.
6 Clearway St, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Flight Club, Los Angeles
Any hardcore sneakerhead could be forgiven for thinking they’d died and gone to their own personal heaven on entering iconic LA store Flight Club.
The walls of the narrow interior are lined with hundreds of the rarest and most sought-after trainer styles ever to have been released, so it’s no wonder its grail-hungry clientele list reads like a who’s who of well-dressed rappers, movie stars and sports stars.
535 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
Stadium Goods, New York
Proving in no uncertain terms that sneaker reselling is big business, New York’s Stadium Goods opened its doors in 2015, only to be snapped up by British fashion-retail giant Farfetch in a multi-million-pound deal just three years later.
The SoHo store prides itself on stocking only the rarest and most hyped sneakers, with a focus on basketball shoes and limited-run collabs. A pair here can set you back well into the thousands here, but if you know your stuff, that shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.
47 Howard St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Kith, New York
The brainchild of New York footwear don Ronnie Fieg, Kith is much more than just your run-of-the-mill shoe store. Not only is it a shop, stocking some of the most coveted items in the sneaker world, but it’s also a standalone label, specialising in logo-laden urban gear and limited-run collaborations, often with pretty surprising brands.
There are several branches around the US, but the SoHo outpost is the flagship, boasting several floors of the most hyped sneakers and biggest streetwear brands to be found.
337 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA
J2 is a store that has been at the centre of Vancouver’s streetwear universe for some time now. It’s packed to the rafters with sought after labels spanning from Raf Simons to Stüssy, so much so, in fact, that it’s had to set up a separate arm to accommodate all of its sneakers.
Sneakerbox is the place to go for rare models and limited releases, alongside retro trainers from the likes of Air Jordan and Adidas. To cope with demand, there are now two locations in the city, and it’s not uncommon to see queues outside both on a drop day.
217-4800, Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4J2, Canada
Foot District, Barcelona
Founded in Madrid, Foot District’s Barcelona outpost may not be the first, but it’s certainly the most visually striking.
Situated on the ground floor of a century-old Spanish building, this is a sneaker store with character. The latest footwear collaborations and a tightly curated selection of clothing sit against a backdrop of exposed brickwork, timber beams and marble floors. If you were looking for an excuse to book a flight to Barca, this is about as good as it gets.
Carrer de la Lleona, 4, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
With its graffiti art pressed up against cool design hotels, we can probably all agree that the German capital is one of the coolest cities on the planet, so it stands to reason that it’d boast one of the slickest sneaker stores the world has to offer, too.
Overkill can be found in the ultra-hip Kreuzberg neighbourhood and is home to an ever-changing selection of over 500 pairs of the spiciest sneakers money can buy. Oh, and if you happen to be in town with a female friend, make sure to direct her towards the women’s branch next door.
Köpenicker St 195A, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Moscow’s premier fashion hub KM20 is much more than a mere sneaker shop. This is a concept store in the truest sense of the term, boasting a restaurant, a gallery and a curated selection of high-end clothing and shoes from the world’s leading designers.
Along with coveted kicks from both independent and big name brands, you’ll also find a range of clothing and accessories from local designers, making this a great place to discover some new favourites. Forget any sightseeing, though, with three floors to cover the hours can easily disappear.
Pereulok Stoleshnikov, Lane 2, Moscow, 125009
It may sound a bit Japanese, but Shinzo is actually located in the heart of the French capital. The city’s go-to spot for rare sneaks, if you can’t find the kicks you’re after anywhere else, chances are you’ll be able to pick them up here.
You don’t have to be a die-hard hypebeast to enjoy this place either. Architects and interiors nerds will be in their element as well, looking at the stunning layout and decor. Possibly one of Paris’ coolest shops. And that’s saying something.
39 Rue Étienne Marcel, 75001 Paris, France
Hoops Factory, Singapore
Basketball is the sport at the very heart of sneaker culture. Many of the most iconic shoes ever created were made for shooting hoops and have since leapt off the court and into the history books.
Fans of the sport who happen to find themselves wandering the spick-and-span streets of central Singapore should make a beeline for Hoops Factory. This local institution has several shop fronts across the city, each of which serves as a shrine to basketball shoes, offering collectors a chance to pick up their next grail item. Head to the Bugis Junction branch for the best selection.
1 Queensway, Singapore 149053
Search, Hong Kong
It could be argued that Hong Kong is the sneaker capital of the world. It’s even home to an entire street dedicated to kicks. However, even among such stiff competition, Search shines through as one of the best.
The seventh-floor shop has been loading up the city’s sneaker enthusiasts with rare, elusive and limited-release sneakers since 2003, and in that time has become something of a local institution. It’s quite literally wall-to-wall must-cops, lined up neatly in glass display cabinets, to be poured over by visiting sneakerheads.
19 Nelson St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Architecture + Sneakers, Tokyo
It’s difficult to pick just one sneaker shop from the sprawling and stylish metropolis of Tokyo, but A+S (which stands for Architecture + Sneakers) stands out thanks to its slick interior and carefully edited selection of footwear and clothing.
The Harajuku store is the work of Japanese brand SOPH. and is located above the label’s flagship. Inside, you could be mistaken for thinking you’d walked into the living room of an upscale city penthouse, the main difference being that the walls are decorated with a carefully chosen selection of sneakers and a smattering of tees, sweatshirts and baseball caps.
2F 3-34-10 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, 150-0001, Japan
No, this isn’t a new, mostly useless superhero who produces Converse high-tops from under his cape. It’s Australia’s premier sneaker outlet, and it’s well worth a visit for any footwear nerds who find themselves down under.
But this isn’t your average shoe shop. Sneakerboy was built for the digital age and offers a futuristic retail experience unlike anywhere else. The store is essentially a showroom where customers can try on their sneakers before making a purchase online. There’s even an in-store market place where old shoes can be bought and sold.
265 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
Loaded is New Zealand’s very own sneaker and streetwear concept store, stocking a mix of the finest local and international brands.
Sneakers sit against a backdrop of sleek furnishings, interspersed with Maori art, and you can even grab a coffee from the bar while you take it all in. Of course, what good is a fresh pair of kicks if your hair is out of shape? Make sure to nip upstairs to the in-house barbers for a trim that’s as sharp as your new shoes.
57 High St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Shelflife, Cape Town
Not only is Cape Town’s Shelflife the largest sneaker store in the South African capital, but it was also one of the first dedicated ‘streetwear’ shops anywhere on the continent.
The store itself is a shrine to street culture, complete with graffiti paraphernalia, a vast selection of baseball caps and, of course, more sneakers than DJ Khaled’s walk-in wardrobe. A must-visit spot for any South African sneakerhead, but expect a long wait to get in if you happen to show up on a drop day.
167 Longmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Major, Mexico City
You know a sneaker store means business when it’s shaped like a giant Air Jordan box. Such is the setup at Mexico City’s first and foremost sneaker and streetwear emporium, Major, the go-to spot for exclusive footwear in the capital.
Exterior considered, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the walls inside Major are lined with rare basketball shoes, deadstock classics and the absolute hottest of new releases each and every week.
Héroes 192, 06300, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México, México