While at first look Boston’s sneaker scene may seem laid back, don’t be fooled. The city’s fervour for footwear rivals the megalopolises of the scene (check 'em out in our Sneaker Store Guide), with its many boutiques, consignment stores and outlets serving all tastes and budgets.
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It’s safe to say that Beantown punches well above its weight when it comes to creps – so much so that heavy hitters like New Balance and Reebok have chosen it as their US home base. Don’t miss the must-see spots! Here’s our guide to Boston’s unmissable sneaker stores.
An all-time favourite in Boston’s streetwear scene is Bodega. True to their slogan of being ‘hidden in plain sight’, Bodega’s facade is that of an average corner store, so finding it takes a bit of work. But it’s always worth it. In terms of clothing, Bodega is stocked with the creme de la creme, but their sneaker offering is where it’s at. Given the drool-worthy selection, you’d be hard-pressed to walk out without dropping some serious cash. More than just a sneaker store, Bodega is an experience. Sure you’ll look awkward trying to find the entrance on your first visit, but that’s half the fun.
Concepts’ name gives a hint as to what the store provides: highly curated, always-rotating selections of sneakers and streetwear framed by the store’s minimalist infrastructure. Since opening their Boston location in 1996, Concepts have expanded to New York and Dubai, and are currently running two locations in their hometown: an adidas x Concepts collaborative retail space and a temporary Boylston Street site. A stalwart of the global scene, and the name behind countless Grail-worthy colabs, Concepts is an unmissable stop along your Boston sneaker journey.
Laced Quality Garment Co.
Another acronymous name, 'LACED’ actually stands for ‘Living and Creating Experiences Daily’. Hailed as ‘Boston’s first high-end sneaker boutique’, Laced provides all the goodies you’d expect at a consignment shop (complete with steep price tags, of course!). As a family-run boutique, Laced is focused not only on flipping sneakers, but also on fostering a community around the store and its lifestyle. The Laced community loves sneakers, art, skateboarding, music, and all things streetwear – it makes sense that this is one of Boston’s premiere sneaker boutiques!
When most people hear ‘AWOL’, they tend to think of its traditional meaning: ‘absent without leave’. But Bostonians hear something different. In Boston, AWOL Boutique means ‘Addictive Way of Life’. Though it is a smaller boutique, AWOL’s rows and rows of sneakers are sure to provide something to scratch your sneaker itch. To bolster the rest of your wardrobe, there’s even an in-house screenprinting service. All the variety in one store really does make for an Addictive Way of Life!
New Balance Global Flagship and Factory Outlet
A sneaker shopping trip to Boston would not be complete without stopping at New Balance. Boston gets blessed by New Balance with a Global Flagship store as well as a Factory Outlet nearby, meaning that you can find the latest New Balance releases as well as some super-discounted steals all in one go. In Boston, you’ll find a seemingly-endless supply of New Balance sneakers to fit all your needs.
If skate shoes are more your vibe, Boston’s Orchard Skateshop is a good fit. All your favourite sneaker brands make an appearance, while the clothing selection features familiar brands like Dime and Orchard’s own label. For the serious skaters, they’ve got everything you need to kit out your ride. The cherry on top of the abundance of inventory is definitely Orchard’s very own skate ramp located inside the store! Located in the back of the shop, the skate bowl is outfitted with leaves and branches to add to the store’s Orchard theme. Whether you’re popping in to shop or to test out the ramp, Orchard has something for everyone.
In addition to having great sales (think Alpha bombers for $60!), Sneaker Junkies always have a diverse selection of clothing and sneakers, which ranges from more expensive pieces by Cav Empt and Raf Simons to basic adidas Superstars. They also have one of the best sections of women’s and kids clothing you can find. The store’s interior looks like a palace, and is decorated with plush red thrones with gold carvings on the side. The staff is also very friendly, willing to go beyond just finding sizes and actually chat with customers. Sneaker Junkies is a great stop to pick something up, or just to hang out.
If you’re sneaker shopping in Boston, the Vans store is another one that shouldn’t be missed. While a lot of stores in Boston are authorised Vans dealers, the official Vans store on Newbury Street is your best bet for all your Vans needs. With floor-to-ceiling shelves of shoes, the store has a wide variety of sizes and colours. Additionally, the inventory is always rotating, so don’t be surprised if you spot the latest patterns or prints, or even limited edition sneakers and collaborations. The Boston Vans store really is off the wall!
House of Hoops by Foot Locker
As the name suggests, Boston’s House of Hoops by Foot Locker is a retail environment and experience tailored towards those looking for the best of the best basketball sneakers. A joint retail venture between Nike and Foot Locker, House of Hoops is the best place to find Nikes, Jordans and Dunks galore. House of Hoops is a celebration of basketball sneakers and culture, and a staple of the Boston sneaker scene.
Is your wanderlust kicking in yet? Be sure to check out our sneaker itineraries for Tokyo, London, Melbourne, New York, and Berlin. In the meantime, be sure to check out our comprehensive Sneaker Store Guide to plot your next kickspedition.
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Founded back in 2002, Sneaker Freaker is the first and only international footwear magazine. From its roots as a DIY-style fanzine to today’s global coverage, its pages have documented every colab, custom, limited edition, retro reissue, Quickstrike, Hyperstrike and Tier Zero sneaker released over the last decade and a half.