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.

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About The Author

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Laura is a fashion stylist, editor, and writer with over a decade of experience in the fashion industry. Her work can be seen across multiple mediums including editorial, digital, commercial and celebrity projects. For several years she worked at Latina magazine, starting as a fashion assistant, but rose through the ranks to become a contributing fashion editor. In 2009, she helped launch the Topshop brand as the brand’s senior style advisor. Later working in the digital space, she began consulting for luxury fashion brands such as Calvin Klein and Mikimoto, on social media, content, and digital marketing strategy. In her most recent role as fashion editor of Cosmopolitan for Latinas magazine Laura reported on seasonal fashion trends, emerging designers for her column Latino Rising Stars. Named one of the “12 Amazing People You Need to Know in New York Fashion Tech” by Alley Watch and a “Fashion Tech Mover & Shaker” by Third Wave Fashion, Laura also plays an active role in the NYC fashion tech scene.

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