Philly has Sneaker Villa. New York has Niketown. Philly has UBiq and a handful of skate shops and shoe boutiques. New York has Soho. In the City of Brotherly Love, sneaker affection comes close, but can’t compare to New York’s kicks.
“Go to downtown Soho … [and you] can see all these kids roaming around going from each shop, getting their T-shirts and different sneakers,” said Jimmy Gorecki, manager of Afficial, a specialty shoe shop, at 608 S. 5th St., in Philadelphia.
When sneaker boutique UBiq opened in 2003 with its sleek, NYC-inspired layout, it was ahead of it time because Philly still was not really in tune with footwear frenzy. Now, the city is slowly catching on.
Empire of Exclusivity
“New York has more option in the choice … [with] the exclusivity and the availability
of sneakers,” said Anthony Gilbert, senior writer at “Sole Collector” magazine.
NYC is one of the “Great Eight,” a list of cities with a special Nike account to receive specific designs at specific stores, including Nort, at 359 Lafayette St., in Manhattan, and Stussy, at 140 Wooster St., in Soho.
New York City Gets Lined Up
“Even when you are not looking for exclusives in Philly, you can find them,” said Gilbert. But in NYC on the eve of a sneaker release, hundreds of people will wrap around a Footaction or specialty store. Some stores even distribute wristbands to monitor people’s place in line.