If human nature has taught us anything, it’s that people really love to rep their city. Whether it’s going crazy in The Garden (you choose which one) or wearing that lame t-shirt on vacation so everyone knows why you’re an asshole stopping to take photos every five feet, people take pride in their upbringing. Bragging rights don’t just stop with your favorite sports teams, pizza parlors, or the girls – which places have the strongest sneaker game is an inevitable conversation at every sneaker conference or when out-of-towners come to visit a shop. To help squash (maybe start, we are instigators) we decided to rank The 15 Most Stylish Sneaker Cities.
15. Las Vegas, Nevada
WHY: Play hard and stunt even harder – being laced proper from head-to-toe in the city of sin is a must. Home of the famous Shoezeum and soon to be home to Nas’ first jump into sneaker boutique ownership. Las Vegas is on the rise, again.
14. Miami, Florida
WHY: Things ain’t been the same since ‘Bron came through and cruised the beach into one of the hottest sneaker spots in the world. Winning a ring, gold medal, and a few personal accolades do kind of have a way of influencing others. It’s not just about King James, Ronnie Fieg’s Miami Beach product proved that it’s more than the obvious Nikes and Jordans – MIA is on the map.
13. Washington, D.C.
WHY: If it wasn’t for the homies in Maryland the Foams and real Nike boots probably wouldn’t see any retro love. Shit, not to mention that the home of the Hoyas houses one of the games biggest sneakerheads of all time. How has someone not shamed Obama into wearing XIs with his suit just once?
12. Houston, Texas
WHY: Ask our big homie Bun B about H-Town – the south has been matching the sneakers, fitteds, and jerseys for decades and they always know how to bring out the baddest Air Force 1s on the scene. We have to dap Austin, in this one too. We see you.
11. Montreal, Canada
WHY: Drizzy might have gave Toronto a few good looks but Montreal is poppin’ right now on the sneaker tip. With some of the best sneaker boutiques and a city that has a passion for flashin’ you might catch the goons in Montreal in some classic Jordans or even some trill boots that we might not have around the way. Don’t sleep, Canada knows what’s up.
10. Atlanta, Georgia
WHY: ATLiens have been slaying the sneaker tip for a while, part of that celebrities like Greg Street, T.I., and Big Boi – and honestly part is it’s just a fly ass city full of dudes trappin’ so they can stunt in the latest and greatest. Keep goin’.
9. Paris, France
WHY: Is this really a surprise? Paris is well known as one of the greatest cultural cities and it’s more than just runways – hit the streets of Paree and you’re bound to see classics with some upscale flavor. Not to mention they don’t fuck with all the foolishness that Americans tend to over-hype regularly. Respect the French connect.
8. London, England
WHY: Every culture has its own thing and in London the real G’s move in silence, also in classic old school runners. So next time you are jocking everyone else dropping $400 on some reseller’s Jordans, change the style up and grab some AM1’s for a quarter of the price and tell them the old country taught you.
7. Boston, Massachusetts
WHY: If you been locked to sneaker blogs over the past few years than you know Bean Town has been killing it thanks to one of the best collaborators and a few spots that are always keeping the people fresh. Not to mention it’s the home of your favorite casual sneaker, New Balance, and the people pushing classics at Reebok. When it comes to keeping it fresh and comfortable, few do it better.
6. San Francisco, California
WHY: The Bay Area’s mild weather gives sneakerheads the opportunity to rock heat all year long. On top of that, the number of people into sneakers seems to be endless with San Francisco’s surrounding cities. As the most iconic skateboarding city in the world, it’s no surprise, Nike SB and Vans are a staple here. On top of that, the number of Air Max collectors, New Balance fiends and Jordan ‘heads in The City, keeps SF looking fresher than most of the world. There’s also a few crazy famous dudes that might just roll up in Air Mags like it ain’t no thing.
5. Chicago, Illinois
WHY: Air Jordan. One player changed the course of the NBA and sneakers forever and naturally donning a jersey in his city wasn’t enough, you had to rock MJ’s kicks too. Chicagoans showed their pride in the latest Air Jordans throughout his whole career and it hasn’t slowed down. Naturally it spawned off into other brands and styles and Chicago quickly became a city recognized for having one of the hottest sneakers in the world, like Mike.
4. Portland, Oregon
WHY: Three words – Blue Ribbon Sports, or maybe you know it better as Nike. Since The Swoosh opened up shop in The Greater Portland area employees and street connected people have been flaunting their samples and exclusives before social media even existed. Portland might not be known as a trendy spot across The States but get anywhere near Nike’s Campus and prepare to get your feelings hurt.
3. Los Angeles, California
WHY: Between the celebrities and kids on Fairfax there is no shortage of heat in L.A. Although the style tends to be more classic with love for Vans, Chucks, and Clydes (word to UNDFTD), the hype around Jordans and Jeremy Scotts is real too. Another reason why the West Coast is the best coast.
2. Tokyo, Japan
WHY: How many times have we been caught chasing exclusives from the far East Coast? Bape might be one of the most synonymous styles in Tokyo thanks to Nigo’s army of endless classics, but hit up Harajuku and you’re bound to see some of the illest kicks and fashion in the world. You don’t have to take our word for it, get that passport on pimpin’.
1. New York City, New York
WHY: There is really no debate here, like Diddy said “you can spot us out of town by the way that we walk” and it’s usually in something fresh. The Concrete Jungle is the birthing ground of hip-hop and its fashion-forward styles, including Uptowns and just about any other relevant sneaker that has been around for decades. You already know when you see the NYC co-sign on Instagram, the sneaker is gone in seconds.
* via Complex Sneakers