Where better to test out the world’s trendiest footwear than fashion-obsessed London? Proudly eccentric, the city knows how to style up a dressed-down look. Whether you’re in the market for vintage Vans or Martin Margiela’s latest paint-spattered calfskins, there’s a trainer shop in town for every taste. From high-end Soho to edgy East London, we’ve rounded up five of the city’s stand-out stores, each with a unique take on streetwear.
Inspired by Tokyo’s underground sneaker boutiques, Footpatrol is London’s most on-the-pulse indie trainer shop. The interior has been assembled from recycled scaffold board, perfect for displaying the season’s latest limited editions. Established lines such as Nike Tier Zero and Asics Gel-Lyte III sit alongside niche labels. It’s a one-size-fits-all destination for sneaker freaks.
Our pick Pharrell Williams’ minimalist ‘Blank Canvas’ numbers for Adidas
This high-end specialist store, which takes its design cues from urban skateparks, sources only the most exclusive footwear. One half of the shop, run by Crep Protect, is a trainer-care salon offering steam cleans, lace replacements and scuff removal. In the other half, you’ll find iconic shoe lines like the Nike Air Mags sported by Marty McFly in Back to the Future II. The prices, ranging from £100 to £100,000, are shown on a stock-exchange style LED screen.
Our pick The outrageous, light-brown ‘Yeezy Boost 750’ from Adidas
One of six branches worldwide, London’s NikeLab 1948 is the discerning cousin of Oxford Street’s more mainstream Nike Town. Set discreetly beneath railway arches in hip East London, the store has been decorated using recycled materials including computer parts and used tyres. Art installations keep the space fresh, footwear styles are future-facing, and you can even design your own shoe from a choice of materials.
Our pick: Gyakusou’s lithe ‘Free Run Commuter’ for NikeLab
Taking its name from an obscure Prince song, this emporium is piled high with deadstock rarities that are as cool as, well, the other side of the pillow. Run by passionate sneaker collector Henry Davies, the focus here is on hard-to-find Vans, from early Disney-print slip-ons to garish, one-off chukka boots. This Hackney store is a treasure trove for sneakerheads and casual shoppers alike.
Our pick Vintage ‘Blue Retro’ Vans
The Berlin branch of Sneakersnstuff may have a club in the basement, but London’s outpost of the Scandinavian shoe store is a happy hunting ground for footwear fans. Stocking staple brands alongside some of the scene’s rarest styles has been a winning formula for Swedish owners Peter Jansson and Erik Fagerlind. In London you’ll find the pair’s archive of collaborations with designers at Adidas, New Balance and more.
Our pick Puma’s suede ‘Dress Code’ numbers, designed by Montreal’s Off the Hook