Sneakerheads in metro Phoenix have always faced a difficult challenge. Simply put, there are too many sneakerheads and not enough sneaker stores in the Valley for everyone to get the releases they want the most. Unlike in New York, where we've seen extremely limited sneakers sit on mall shelves for weeks, the relatively small number of sneaker stores in Arizona means that many limited releases will be completely gone within hours of stores opening their doors at many of the corporate chains like Footlocker, Champs, or the Nike Store in Scottsdale.
If you're looking for sneakers in and around Phoenix, here are five locally owned businesses where you might have better luck finding your kicks.
If you're a sneakerhead in the Valley, we're willing to bet you already know your way around Scottsdale's High Point Shoes. As the top locally owned and operated spot for Jordan and Nike new releases (and much more), you'll find some of the best new sneakers at retail prices. While many chains such as Footlocker and the Nike Store now require you to enter a raffle to get your Jordans on release day, High Point still goes by a first-come, first-served system most of the time, and it's not uncommon to find some of the more plentiful new releases still in stock a week or two later.
What to go there for: Jordan and Nike new releases, it's way less of a pain than a big chain store.
For the sneakerhead who doesn't mind paying resale prices, Pound for Pound in Phoenix is like a giant sneaker treasure chest. Phoenix's only consignment sneaker shop offers everything from the newest releases to the oldest holy grails of sneakers. While the collection is primarily Jordans, you'll find everything from Yeezys (no, really) and LeBrons to Dunks and Asics. With shops in Los Angeles and online as well, Pound for Pound has a wider range of inventory in their sneaker collection than anywhere else you'll see in the Valley, but be wary that since they don't set the prices, two pairs of the same shoe may have two different price tags. If you missed out on a drop and don't want to wait for a restock, Pound for Pound is a far safer and more secure way to pick up some rare kicks instead of going through eBay or Craigslist.
What to go there for: Any high-dollar releases that you didn't get when they came out but you still dream about.
If you like any kind of Nike SBs and you live anywhere in metro Phoenix, you should know by now that Cowtown Skateboards locations aren't just the only locally owned shop to pick up a lot of the rarer SB drops, but they're also some of the only spots in town to hit up for your fix of limited release Dunks and Janoskis. According to Nike's website, Cowtown and Industrial Rideshop are the only two stores in town that are authorized sellers of their SB gear. In our personal experiences, Industrial doesn't tend to get a lot of top-notch Dunks that come out, which makes Cowtown the only game in town when it comes to many SB releases. As a bonus, we've found some Dunks that were sold out online for months at more than one of Cowtown's locations for under retail.
What to go there for: Nike SB and other skate shoe releases.
Scottsdale's King & Duck isn't a sneaker store, but it is one of the Valley's oldest streetwear stores and does happen to have some pretty sweet kicks in stock on a regular basis. You won't find any of the big name Jordans or Nikes here, but you may very well find that you like the look of the house brand sneakers that King & Duck keeps in stock. If you're not the type of sneakerhead who solely cares about the logo on the box, King & Duck is the kind of place where you can pick up shoes that'll have your "Jordan-only" friends asking what brand they are and where you bought them.
What to go there for: Sneakers that might not be the big brands but have big looks and quality.
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While we're talking about places that aren't sneaker stores, New World Culture in Mesa is another one of Metro Phoenix's original streetwear stores. Though the bulk of their inventory is comprised of clothing, accessories, and hats, New World Culture often has a few pairs of sneakers in stock, which have included both new releases and older Jordans. The small shop in Fiesta Mall is also one of the top places to go for socks with pop culture references, streetwear designs, and ornate graphics on them, if you're into that sort of thing.
What to go there for: Streetwear clothes and socks to bring out the best in your sneakers, and you may get to cop a rare pair of kicks while you're at it.