The Churches of the Divine Sneaker

Dave's Quality Meat buyer Kyle Demers.Photo: Noah Sheldon

158 Rivington St., nr. Clinton St. 212-375-8128
The paterfamilias of the city’s sneaker boutiques, Alife has been the model for many of the retailers on this page since it opened in 1999. The vibe is more uptown gentlemen’s club than Lower East Side shoe shop. Styles like the Jordan retro box sets and neon irak x Adidas RMX’s arriving this month are chicly displayed in cherrywood cubbies, with an Italian crystal chandelier and ostrich-skin wallpaper to enhance the rarefied vibe.
Best For: The Snob Collector

347 Fifth Ave., nr. Fourth St., Park Slope 718-369-7477
Philosophically akin to Alife in its focus on limited editions and exclusives, but that’s where the similarities end. Instead of presenting a dandified street lifestyle, Premium Goods is minimally designed, with shoes stacked on a raised panel wall. Stylists flock here to load up on vintage pairs of Air Force 1’s, Creative Recreation, and Nike Air Huaraches.
Best For: The Low-key Yet Serious

359 Lafayette St., nr. Bond St.; 212-777-6102
What Christian Louboutin is to stiletto aficionados, Nort is to sneakerheads. The skater and hip-hop sets camp out for hours to get their hands on new releases, like a pair of suede mustard-colored Bobbito Air Force 1’s or black-and-burgundy velvet Nike Gent Packs. Raw brick, shiny aluminum racks, and leather seats make this one very sexy sneaker store.
Best For: The Sneaker Scholar

7 E. 3rd St., nr. Bowery 212-505-7551
Right now, the most innovative sneaker store in Manhattan, thanks to the exhaustive efforts of buyer Kyle Demers, who works the Las Vegas trade shows, scours the Internet for new designers, and lobbies Nike and Adidas for the most exclusive releases. This month, expect high-top eighties basketball and retro skateboard sneakers. The store is style masked as anti-style: Bags hang from meat hooks, tees marinate in a refrigerator, and kicks come home in brown paper bags that look like they’re holding a pound of brisket, not a pair of peacock-printed Nike Court Forces.
Best For: The Lover of Offbeat

3 Great Jones St., nr. Broadway 212-420-9955
This pint-size place isn’t just kicks; it’s also stuffed with old-school Cazal shades and colorfully tripped-out Evil Genius tees. If you’re deep in sneaker culture, the smallish selection might not impress. For the rest of the population, the Reeboks, Pumas by Alexander McQueen, and silver-and-python Y-3s are hip without being too much.
Best For: The Design Follower

Other Noteworthys

Flight Club.Photo: Courtesy of Flight Club

Sneaker Box
A solid selection of Nike exclusives for those who don’t mind riding the 7 deep into Queens (73-08 Woodside Ave., Woodside; 718-672-8475).

Classic Kicks
A reliable source for sturdy Air Trainers and suede Dunk Lows. The biannual sales have serious deals (298 Elizabeth St., nr. Houston St.; 212-979-9514).

Reed Space
Streetwear impresario Jeff Ng collaborates with Nike and others to create exclusives for the store (151 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-253-0588).

A Bathing Ape
New York’s outpost of the proto-cult Japanese store, and the reason patent-leather and candy-colored sneakers exist (91 Greene St., at Spring St.; 212-925-0222).

David Z.
A chain store, yes, but with a good stock of affordable and fun footwear like Converse’s multicolored, shimmery striped Chuck Taylors (six locations in the city; go to

Training Camp
A bit pretentious, but still an oasis in cool-starved midtown. Good for retro Nikes (1079 Sixth Ave., at 41st St.; 212-921-4430).

Flight Club
Gently used but impossible-to-find Nikes, Pumas, and Vans make this sneakerhead paradise (120 Nassau St., nr. Beekman St.; 212-233-7178).

Limited editions from major players like Puma, but also some rarities like D.J. Aoki’s Supra NS Velcro-strap skateboard sneakers (203 W. 125th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-666-2242).

Goliath RF
For uptown sneaker fiends, with hard-to-finds like Macaroni Air Forces (175 E. 105th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-360-7683).

Photo: Nigel Cox

1. Alexander McQueen for Puma Scarred Stripe White
$180 at Atmos (203 W.125th St., at Seventh Ave.; 212-666-2242).

2. Converse Chuck Taylor FashionAll-Star Multi-Striped Hi Textile
$92 at David Z. (384 Fifth Ave., nr. 35th St.; 917-351-1484).

3. Gola Cheetah
$82 at Bloomingdale’s (504 Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-729-5900).

4. Nike Air Huarache
$100 at Premium Goods (347 Fifth Ave., nr. 4th St., Park Slope; 718-369-7477).

5. Reebok Basquiat 25th Freestyle Anniversary
currently sold out at Alife Rivington Club (158 Rivington St., nr. Clinton St.; 212-375-8128).

6. Vans Lono
$60 at Dave’s Quality Meat.

7. Nike Force
$120 at Dave’s Quality Meat.

8. Nike Zebra Blazer
$100 at Dave’s Quality Meat (7 E. 3rd St., nr.Bowery; 212-505-7551).

9. Y-3 Bball Mid
$480 at Memes (3 Great Jones St., nr. Lafayette St.; 212-420-9955).

10. Puma RS 100 P
$75 at the Puma Store.

11. Puma Suede Infant
$35 at the Puma Store.

12. Nike Gent Pack
$120 at Nort Recon (359 Lafayette St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-777-6102).

13. Puma Basket R
$75 at the Puma Store.

14. Puma Roma Hi
$85 at the Puma Store (521 Broadway, nr. Spring St.; 212-334-7861).

15. Game Mid W
$75 at Adidas Originals (136 Wooster St., nr. Prince St.; 212-673-0398).

16. Kid Robot Revan 2
$175 at Barneys New York.

17. Canvas sneakers
$20.95 at Muji Soho (455 Broadway, nr. Grand St.; 212-334-2002).

18. Vans Neighborhood x Supreme
$88 at Supreme (274 Lafayette St., nr.Prince St.; 212-966-7799).

19. Puma Lab II Kids
$45 at the Puma Store.

20. Kid Robot Revan 3
$175 at Barneys New York.

21. Adidas Gazelle
$90 at Dave’s Quality Meat.

22. Asics Onitsuka Tiger Fencing LA
$70 at New York Running Company (Shopsat Columbus Circle, 2nd fl.; 212-823-9626).

23. Nike Air Trainer
$100 at Classic Kicks (298 Elizabeth St., nr. Houston St.; 212-979-9514).

24. Reebok Pro Legacy
currently sold out at Alife Rivington Club (158 Rivington St., nr. Clinton St.; 212-375-8128).

25. Tretorn Nylite Canvas Infant
$40 at Clearly First (980 Madison Ave.,nr. 76th St.; 212-988-8242).

26. Pierre Hardy 101
$410 at Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave., nr. 60th St.; 212-826-8900).

27. The Roadsta
$190 at A Bathing Ape (91 Greene St., at Spring St.; 212-925-0222).

The Churches of the Divine Sneaker