There’s no denying sneakerheads are passionate about their footwear. They’ll go to great lengths to get their hands on the latest drop, often camping out in day-long lines for their chance at rare, limited-edition merch, or the trendy, must-have shoe of the year. Perhaps it was this very fanaticism surrounding sneaker culture that drove store owners to change their business model to speakeasy-inspired secrecy. The rising trend of “underground” sneaker shops, often reserved for those that are in-the-know, has become the new norm for scoring your sweet kicks. ‘LLERO takes a look at five shops that are changing the game.
6 Clearway St., Boston, MA 02115
Founders Oliver Mak, Jay Gordon, and Dan Natola launched Bodega in the early 2000’s. Throughout their tenure, the company has never advertised, nor was there a functioning website during their first four years of operation – they rely solely on their super targeted, die-hard customer. This must-see destination boasts a strong selection of super rare kicks (i.e., Air Jordans and Vans Vault), signature, and covetable collaborative goods.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d easily walk past their shop, disguised as a fully functional bodega. To keep up the convenience store charade, there’s even an employee working behind the counter, but don’t expect them to help you find the secret door leading to the hidden sneaker shop – access is granted only to those that know how to get in (hint: Keep your eyes peeled for Snapple). There’s a strict no filming/no photos rule, but occasionally you’ll find bold behind the scenes footage that gives you a sneak peek of the store’s sleek interior.