Nike may not have the underground street cred of skateboarding sneakers like DC or Etnies. But that doesn’t matter to Al Baik, Vinny Ponte, and Jon Roy, the three owners of new skate shop Rival (225 Hudson Street; 212-929-7222 or 225hudson.com), which carries Nike’s styles in super-cool color combinations.
The trio make a point of stocking only product lines they actually use and wear 365 days a year. Apparently their wardrobes are minimal, because there’s not a lot of stuff in this very well-edited store. But what there is, is pretty damn hot: Clarke wallabies, Burton snowboards, Canada Goose down jackets, Arcteryx outerwear, Oliver Spencer casual clothing, plus skateboards from local East Coast companies like Vehicle, Zoo York, and 5 Boro (prices range from $25 for a baseball hat to $650 for a Burton snowboard).
Unlike at other skate stores, where over-thirties have to beg for attention, Rival’s customer service is, well, unrivaled. There’s no attitude, no blaring thrash metal, and no pressure—just three guys who really like the stuff they sell. “It doesn’t make sense to sell Adidas if you’re wearing Nikes,” explains Roy.