They may be called sneakers in some parts of the English speaking world, but London is still something of a mecca for devotees of sporty soled shoes. There are places to pick up limited editions for the enthusiasts and others for tose looking at something more fashiony. Here are five of the best places to pick up some top trainers.
Yes, it’s a trip out of East London, but it’s just a short bop on the central line to Oxford Circus and a worthy pitstop for any trainer aficionado. It’s a good reason to go into Soho with plenty of great shops, cafes, restaurants and bars lurking around the narrow streets. Foot Patrol is proper trainer geek territory inside, with a lot of coo-ing over the rare imports and limited editions. There’s a superb selection to scour through here.
London’s community of trainer freaks were abuzz when talk spread that the high priest of trainers, Sneakersnstuff, was opening a London shop earlier this year – the only store outside of their native Sweden. Messageboards always light up and queues line streets when word gets out that Sneakersnstuff has released an especially sought-after set of limited edition lines.
All sorts of rare American and Japanese imports are now available in London, such as Ewings, Jordans and Converse.
Not really one for pounding the pavements or for the skate kids, Start London is more the place to find the kind of designer trainers that are increasingly forming a strong part of fashion label collections. There are four Start stores for men and women in Shoreditch that stock trainers such as Maison Margiela, Isabel Marant hightops and Comme des Garcon Converse.
Start is something of an icon in Shoreditch, having opened the store in 2002, and done more than most in establishing Shoreditch as a worthy fashion destination in London.
A small shrine to the skater brand Vans exists in this wonderful East London neighbourhood street. It doesn’t just sell Vans, or even trainers, but it’s the variety of the skate shoes that stand out. There is, of course, an official Vans store over on Carnaby Street in the West End, but TOSOTP (that’s what we’re calling it), is more like a tribute shop created by a fan of the brand. And all the better it is for it too. There’s a much smaller range as you’d expect compared to the official one, but it’s a lot more fun here.
61 Wilton Way, E8 1BG More info.
Nike actually has a presence in three parts of East London. Westfield Stratford holds a big Nike store, there’s the container shop in Boxpark in Shoreditch and then there’s NikeLab. Tucked on a side street, under the arches off Shoreditch High Street is NikeLab, resembling an art pavilion rather than just a shop. Some of Nike’s best stuff is here in this hidden location, but it’s also a space for special Nike events, launches and it often showcases other creative work Nike does with its partners.