Chances are you bought your last pair of sneakers online, sight unseen, rather than the old-fashioned way. But to shop exclusively online in the golden age of kicks is to do yourself an unforgivable disservice, especially in L.A.
And yet, shopping brick-and-mortar presents its own paradox of choice: With so many stores at our disposal, where should an upstart sneakerhead even begin?
To solve it, we asked the man who’s seen them all.
Below, Jason Mark Angsuvarn, founder of Jason Markk premium shoe care, gives us his top five destinations for your next sneaker pilgrimage. And don’t worry if you scuff your sneaks along the way — he can take care of that for you, too.
Silver Lake, opened 2002
When it comes to leading the way in the sneaker community, Undefeated has another W to put on the board: “This is my go-to spot. It is within walking distance from my pad, the staff is mad cool and they always have something I want. I don’t go to either searching for a particular brand, make or model. I just go and see if there’s anything I like.” Spoiler alert: there always is. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest Undefeated x Adidas Ultra Boost collaboration, destined to hit stores later this year.
Downtown, opened 2006
Contrary to popular belief, there is a whole world outside of America’s borders. If you’re looking for some international flavor — especially footwear found in the Far East — owners Tak Kato and Mike Toe’s shop have you covered: “This store is run by my good friends [Kato and Toe]. They have great taste, so naturally the selection is always nice.” Right now, customers can check out Comme de Garcons spring/summer collection, or slip into Adidas latest offering — the Super Court Premiere.
Little Tokyo, opened 2006
You might think GOAT and StockX will always have what you’re looking for, but you’d be surprised. In this, the sneaker era of exclusivity, rare finds are more valuable — literally — than ever. Enter RIF: “When I’m looking for something that’s a bit harder to find, the guys at RIF are the best. Not to mention, the shop is located across the street from my shop.” RIF’s online selection rivals any app, with daily updates of limited sneakers that you can get your hands on. Just be sure to pick them up in person.
Long Beach, opened 2003
Just as America doesn’t hold the monopoly on fresh feet, Los Angeles isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to Southland sneakers. If you haven’t already, take the drive down to the LBC and embrace your inner Cali-skateboarder: “When I used to live in the South Bay, I’d frequent this spot a lot. Especially when I’m on the hunt for a fresh pair of Vans, this is the place to go.” Located in the heart of downtown Long Beach, use it as a excuse to check out a haunt that isn’t part of your routine.
Downtown, opened 2018
No sneaker list could be complete without paying homage to His Airness. And there’s no better time either — the Jordan 33s have given Jordan Brand their best release since the days when MJ laced them up himself: “I’ve been in a lot of Jumpman stores and this by far is the sickest one! I’m being bit biased since it is in LA and only a few blocks down from my office, but trust me, the experience is unbelievable. Make sure to peep the b-ball court on the rooftop.”