We all have that one place where we feel like a kid in a candy shop. If sneaker stores are that place for you, check these spots out the next time you’re looking to get laced up.
Blacklist Boardshop prides itself on stocking superior gear to meet the demand of skaters. “We’re pretty picky, but we’re always looking for that next thing,” says owner Joe Hughes. With an inventory of influential brands like Nike SB, DC, and Vans, as well as brands hewing to the skate niche like Polar and Butter Goods, the Walnut Hills shop has shoes skaters will claim they were rocking long before they were mainstream.
Nick Carter knew a sneaker shop was in the cards for him when he immigrated to Cincinnati from Vietnam. Carter started selling kicks out of his truck, but he’s since upgraded From the Sidewalk to a brick-and-mortar shop in Over-the-Rhine that earned itself a cameo on “Sneaker Shopping with Complex,” inviting host Joe LaPuma and Cincinnati-native streamer IShowSpeed inside its doors. The shop stocks a collection of high-end sneakers like Air Jordan, Nike, and Yeezy, along with brands having their moment, like New Balance. “We’ve got more than 350 different models on our walls, so when you come in, you’ll know you’ll be walking out with something that nobody [else] got,” says Carter.
The UNheardof story starts with shuttered Western Hills skate shop Anonymous Skateboards. Joe Manley was right alongside owner Phil Lipschutz when he pitched the idea to open a lifestyle apparel store. As a strapped-for-cash neighborhood kid who frequented Anonymous for skate gear, Manley was doing odd-job chores to cover part of his purchases, which transitioned into a part-time job he rode into the advent of UNheardof downtown. Along with classic brands like Adidas, customers can shop the exclusive “Made in Cincinnati” collection. “All that stuff’s hand cut and sewn, embroidered in Cincinnati, printed in Cincinnati,” says Manley.
Sneaker Talk is the classic buy-and-sell high-end lifestyle and basketball sneaker shop. Owner Jonatan Garcia saved up for his first pair of LeBron James Nikes and never looked back. He got his taste for the buy and sell market at the grassroots level, traveling to other cities and states to pick up shoes and using social media to build his brand. “I didn’t really like meeting up with people, so I decided just to do a store because it would be easier. I was getting enough clientele for it,” says Garcia. Now you can catch Garcia at his brick-and-mortar shop in Withamsville where the walls are wreathed with Nike Dunks, Yeezys, and Jordans, along with designer streetwear like VLONE, Bape, Supreme, and in-house Sneaker Talk apparel.
Local designer Josh Salandino launched his brand in 2015, originally focusing on skate apparel and eventually expanding into sports and casual street wear. Shoppers can find J. Salandino Bengals gear—jerseys, jackets, sweatpants—to double down on the local pride. “You can rock a lot of our stuff anywhere you go, which is really what’s helped our brand evolve. You don’t really have to have a certain type of environment,” says Salandino. And it’s only right that the streetwear shop in Newport has the kicks on deck—an extensive collection of Air Jordan and Nike crowds the displays.
Good To Know UNheardof carries the legacy of Anonymous skate shop in its vibe and product stock. But take a second look at the name and you’ll notice the eponymous nod to the late skate shop.