The road to sneaker glory is often rapt with disappointment for Sydney locals. Besides having a burning desire to carve out your own unique sneaker style, you’ve also got to compete with the global hypebeasts and resellers who live to spruik your favourite limited edition kicks for three times the price on eBay.
Luckily we’ve scoured the town to hunt down ten of the best sneaker stores in Sydney. No middle man. No price gouging. Just man and his favourite shoe.
3 Temperance Lane, Sydney CBD
Sneakerboy is a store for men who enjoy having a memorable customer experience as well as purchasing a pair of great sneakers. I say ‘memorable’ because Sneakerboy has a rather unique approach in retail. The store is a showroom display of their stock, where you’re free to try on as many sneakers to your heart’s (or feet’s) content. You try them on, and when you’ve found the one, you make the purchase online. With a little bit of patience, the shoes will arrive on your doorstep in the next few days. They have a huge range of brands to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find something you like.
Brands: Common Projects, Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons, Filling Pieces, Golden Goose, Onitsuka Tiger, Asics, Undercover, Adidas Originals by Hyke, Adidas, Buscemi, Balenciaga, Puma, Off-White, Reebok, Y3, Pony, Giuseppe Zanotti, Nike
Above The Clouds
205 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Sitting strong in Sydney’s streetwear scene is boutique fashion and sneaker store, Above The Clouds. Don’t be deterred by its store size as their wildly extensive sneaker range more than makes up for this. In the shoe wardrobe you’ll find some of the world’s most sought after kicks in ultra rare colours and designs. The store itself is conveniently located on Sydney’s main fashion strip to make sure you won’t be short of street style inspiration. When you’re done shoe shopping, take a good squizz at their premium threads sourced from some of the world’s best labels as well as fresh up and comers.
Brands: New Balance, Adidas Originals, Asics, Diadora, La Coste, Le Coq Sportif, Puma, Reebok, Saucony
Shop 2/3 Palings Lane, Sydney CBD
Subtype is the brainchild of men’s streetwear label ZANEROBE. It is the go-to store for hard-core sneaker lovers as their entire range is hand selected with only a few designs making the cut. The store has a specific criteria in which their sneaker range needs to meet before they sell – exclusivity, creativity, innovation and how well they complement various looks are some of the benchmarks Subtype look at. But the best bit about Subtype? If you’re based in Sydney and order the sneakers online before closing time, the item will be delivered to your address in two hours. Very efficient. Very sneaky.
Brands: Adidas, Casbia, ETQ Amsterdam, Filling Pieces, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Vans
6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills
Wait, what? Why is there fried chicken getting in the way of a good pair of kicks? Settle, child. Butter is the latest Sydney fusion retail concept which rolls a sneaker store, a fried chicken joint and a fun place all into one. Besides selling some of the latest kicks and attracting international attention for its audacious fit out (mural of chicks in sneakers and bikinis eating fried chicken on the ceiling), the place has also been attracting some of the most serious players in the local sneaker scene. Even the Wu-Tang Clan turned up to their joint recently for some kicks and fried chicks. There’s also endless flowing beer and champers for when you’re trying on your next pair of Jordans.
Shop 2/22-26 Goulburn Street, Sydney CBD
Espionage has been in Sydney for more than a decade, and for good reason too. In addition to stocking common brands like Nike and Adidas, Espionage travels around the globe to discover ‘up and coming’ talent, giving these new designers an outlet to sell their products. If you’re the type to prefers to stand out from the mainstream and loves to support emerging labels, Espionage is the way to go. They even offer a consignment service to ensure your best kicks never go to waste.
Brands: Adidas, Adidas Consortium, Jason Markk, Jeremy Scott, Jordan, New Balance, Opening Ceremony, Pharell Williams, Puma, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Y-3
Shop 16B/501 George Street, Town Hall
Sole Mate is a store for all of the avid sneaker collectors out there. They’re often one of the first to get stock of any new collections since Sole Mate is also a consignment store as well. Offering consumers a rare marketplace where they can buy limited editions and one off collectable sneakers you wouldn’t be able to buy anywhere else is the ace card up this store’s sleeve.
Brands: Diadora, Le Coq Sportiff, Lacoste, K-Swiss, Pony, Timberland, Nike, Nike Air
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420 George Street, Sydney CBD
Similar to Sneakerboy (and literally around the corner), shopping at Culture Kings is an experience like no other. It’s your general hub for everything streetwear from snapback hats, fitted caps, crewnecks, jackets and of course, sneakers. The store itself is certainly a feast for the eyes along with the experience of purchasing items. They even have barbers on stand to spruce up your next fade or pompadour hairstyle. To top it all off, Culture Kings bring in the best DJs to play in store so that you’ll be dropping to the beat as drop some dough on your next pair of kicks.
Brands: Adidas Originals, Jordan, Nike, Palladium, Supra, Vans, Converse, New Balance, Nike SB, Reebok, Timberland
Shop 2A, 227 Elizabeth Street, Sydney CBD
Republic Boutique leans towards stocking international designer brands, so it’s the destination if you’re wanting to expand your arsenal of sneakers into more luxurious aesthetics. To get a better idea, think along the lines of Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen and Versace. Their strong representation of European brands means that you only get the very best, designed by the most renowned names in the business.
Brands: Adidas, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Kenzo, Louis Leeman, MCQ, Versus Versace, Y-3
455 George Street, Sydney CBD
Hype DC is a safe haven for men who want a no-fuss shoe store. While other shoe retailers work within only one or two stores, Hype DC has several locations scattered across Sydney and in major shopping centres. Their reach is far and wide, so regardless of where you live you’re bound to find a store near you. They’re quite generous too, offering an online shopping service if you’re too lazy to leave the comfort of your home. There’s also free shipping to your humble abode or workplace if need be.
Brands: Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Converse, Nike SB, Lacoste, Asics, Reebok, Puma, Shubar, Onisuka Tiger, Supra, Converse CONS
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Level 3, 188 Pitt Street, Westfield Sydney
For the discerning gentleman whose feet deserve nothing but pure unadulterated luxury, Harrolds is your go-to sneaker location. The Sydney luxury department store stocks some of the most extensive sneaker ranges from designer labels such as John Lobb, Giuseppe Zanotti, Comme Des Garcons, Rick Owens and more. The store’s immaculately chic fit out is also a sight to behold as it also stocks some of the world’s most distinguished labels like Tom Ford alongside men’s shoes. This is where to sneaker shop when you’ve made it.
Brands: John Lobb, Giuseppe Zanotti, Comme Des Garcons, Rick Owens, Valentino, Saint Laurent