With today’s wide selection of sneakers on the market and ever-changing trends determining what is coolest or the best quality, it’s no surprise that there are many different stores across the country specializing in selling you your new kicks. Depending on what you are looking for in a new shoe, there are several examples of leaders in the industry where you can find the best in footwear.
The First Franchise
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was the site of the first athletic footwear store to be turned into a major franchise. The Athlete’s Foot (theathletesfoot.com) was opened in 1971 by David and Robert Lando. It was the first specialty store focused on the sale of athletic sneakers in the United States. The following year a second store, the first sneaker franchise, was opened in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. By 1978 the Athlete’s Foot expanded to an international market with a store in Australia and is now a global brand with stores in more than 40 countries. Since 2006, The Athlete’s Foot has been a property of NexCen Brands, Inc. Franchise owners have the unique ability to customize their line to fit with local customer demand. Common brands found at The Athlete’s Foot include Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Fila, Saucony and many more.
Athletic Shoe Leader
With nearly 2,000 stores in 21 countries, including 1,171 stores in the United States, Foot Locker is among the leaders in athletic shoe sales. Foot Locker’s referee stripe décor make it obvious what this outlet specializes in -- sneakers for athletic activities. Foot Locker, a store usually found in suburban shopping malls and strip malls, has many popular brands of shoes designed for basketball, running, cross training and other athletic endeavors. There is a wide selection available at Foot Locker thanks to the large amount of floor space. The stores are typically quite big for a specialty shop, averaging around 2,400 square feet per domestic location. The franchise is also connected with other specialty stores such as Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Foot Action, Champs, Eastbay and CCS.
Some people are looking for a very specific sneaker. Perhaps it is a style that is no longer available in stores. Consumers searching for these sneakers, such as an original Air Jordan, can come to one of the trendiest shoe stores in America to find exactly what they are looking for. Flight Club (flightclubny.com) is a small three-store chain of consignment sneaker stores located in New York and Los Angeles, California. All sneakers sold at Flight Club are the property of a third party. The experts at the stores are trained to inspect all shoes for authenticity and good condition. Once on the shelf, buyers can purchase these shoes with an 80 percent cut of the sale price going back to the shoe owners and 20 percent to the store. For many vintage sneakers, this can be one of the few places to purchase them.
Rockers, skaters and other individuals who want their clothing and footwear to be something other than the standard fashions available at athletic sneaker stores or department stores often look to Journeys (journeys.com) for the answer. This 850-store nationwide chain specializes in “cool” shoes and clothing targeted for teen shoppers. Among the brands available at Journeys are Diesel, Vans, DC, Dr. Marten and Converse.